4500 Hazel Street

A week ago my wife and I left the Cubs game and decided to walk for awhile before getting on public transportation to go back home.  My wife wanted to walk home. I estimated we were 7 or more miles from home but that is the kind of thing she likes to do on a whim.

The neighborhood surrounding Wrigley field is reasonably upscale. As you walk north you can go a couple of miles and the area continues to scream yuppyville. But not so slowly after a certain point it changes. The buildings transform from stylish brick to nondescript concrete. The cute little shops and restaurants have disappeared.

At some point I mentioned that we were coming upon areas that I was not sure were safe. Not being certain where the line was, we continued. We went a bit too far. Nothing happened and no one hassled us but we were clearly in a run down part of town. As we headed for the “L” we were feeling uncomfortable. There were groups of teens just hanging out. There was the crazy person walking up and down the sidewalk talking to himself in an agitated tone. Nothing dramatic, we just weren’t in Kansas anymore.

Today I was reading the local paper and had reason to think about our little stroll. Yesterday at 4500 Hazel Street the third shooting death in a week occurred. We were within one block of that spot. Days before the first murder.

After we had safely navigated the area I remember thinking that for the most part we saw normal people in that neighborhood. Families hanging out in the park, couples and parents with kids. (And one crazy guy.) They were just not as economically well off as we are. Now I know they are more disadvantaged than I had realized. They live in an area where they might get killed for no good reason.

Knowing in the back of your mind that these places exist is one thing. Reading about murders in a place we just were makes me realize how close to home this is. Not knowing what to do to change things makes me sad… and a little crazy.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

2 Responses to 4500 Hazel Street

  1. Frank says:

    Whoa. Wow. I love the spontaneity of walking home. That is super charming. But it’s funny how things can change so quickly. The Bonfire of the Vanities had that moment — one wrong turn and a life changes. Scary to be at a place where another 2007 murder happened. Glad you guys were okay.

    I remember years ago making a wrong turn leaving some friends’ apartment who went to school at The University of Chicago. It got bad quickly. Then worse even faster. People surrounded our car. It was 2 in the morning. There were no entrance ramps to the expressway. And I was scared. Fortunately, a nice guy told us where to get to the expressway…and to GET OUT OF THERE. Just like that.

    Life is sometimes just a funny turn away from something very different. It’s the essence of the phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

  2. 48facets says:

    I have a story from high school similar to yours. Wrong way on the highway put us in a neighborhood we should not have been in at night. Police car came by and got us going in the right direction.

    Wrong place, wrong time can change things forever. We were in the wrong place but the time was OK. Lucky us.

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