Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, February 29

Gapers Block

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Andrew / January 14, 2004 1:35 PM

(Thanks to Heather for the question.)

I'm orignally from the northwest suburbs, specifically Barrington. After college I knew I didn't want to live in the suburbs anymore, so "Downtown" it was. My girlfriend moved from Ohio to here, we got a place and some lousy jobs, and the rest is history.

holden / January 14, 2004 1:36 PM

Farragut, Iowa originally. I'm not actually in chicago yet, but I'm hoping to be out of Des Moines and be there by mid-February. I'm planning some intensive apartment hunting this weekend. I was attracted to Chicago like a moth to a flame when I met the best girl ever.

Joseph J. Finin / January 14, 2004 1:38 PM

Mt. Prospect's my hometown, then Palatine. Moved here to actually live in civilization and be closer to the wife's job.

Miranda / January 14, 2004 1:43 PM

York, Pennsylvania. And if you had ever lived there, you wouldn't need to ask why someone would choose to flee...but why I fled to Chicago in particular is because it was the closest great city to my grad school (U/MI).

murgatroit / January 14, 2004 1:56 PM

The mean yet dull streets of Waukegan; or Wauk-town as we called it in the day. As a teenager we just drove down to Chicago or up to Milwaukee for fun, and it just seemed to make more sense to live here since I ended up spending all my freetime here. Been a bonafide resident in the city for over 5 years now, and never looked back.

jennifer / January 14, 2004 2:13 PM

i was born in chicago, and lived my first six years here, but spent the rest of my formative years gorwing up in a town of 900 people an hour and change west of the city. I came back at age 20 when I realized that on any given night one or more of my favorite bands would be playing at either lounge ax or empty bottle.

lacey / January 14, 2004 2:22 PM

Franklin, Tennessee, baby! I wanted to find a job in a metropolitan area with good public transportation, and the rest is history. I've helped to convert at least two other southerners to the Chicago life. I'll be here for a while, anyways.

Naz / January 14, 2004 2:38 PM

London, UK - 10 years. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 9 years, and now Chicago ever since, this is my sixth year. A good city to be in.

Ian / January 14, 2004 2:45 PM

Iím originally from Bury St, Edmunds in England. I moved to Chicago, via the Netherlands in 2000, after meeting my wife here on vacation in 1997. So far, itís been a great city for us and we plan to be here for the foreseeable future.

Onid / January 14, 2004 2:53 PM

Lived in Rogers Park until I was about 6 then the family packed up and bought a house in Skokie (along McCormick for easy access to the relatives still in Rogers Park) and then moved back into the city during college. Then I went back to Skokie for the past two years to re-group (read: pay off massive debt) and now I am looking for a place in the city.

suzanne / January 14, 2004 3:13 PM

orginally, i think i'm from here, there, and everywhere in between.i was born in VA but been all parts, really. i moved here partly cuz i was tired of the south, i loved chicago,best friend was here,thought there was better opportunities here. except for the job thing (does anyone want to hire me?!) it's all been grand!

Kenan / January 14, 2004 3:16 PM

I'd lived all my life in various parts of Texas -- most recently Austin for ten years -- until I moved to Chicago in September. It went down like this: my girlfriend and I decided to move... somewhere. New York was too expensive, San Francisco was too expensive, so we decided on Chicago and never looked back. I spent the better part of the next year learning about the city's history with the goal of out-Chicago-ing the Chicagoans once I got here. I'm still working on that. So far I love the city... big but not scary big, beautiful but affordable, romantic but not sappy, and full of great people.

paul / January 14, 2004 3:44 PM

New Jersey was to expensive, and the food is pretty good around here.

lacey / January 14, 2004 3:47 PM

Oh yes, the food. How could I forget the food?

shechemist / January 14, 2004 4:24 PM

I grew up in Streamwood Il. I went to school in Peoria, and then Las Cruces NM. I spent 5 years in Seattle.

I moved back here cuz my mom died, I was in a crap relationship, and my Seattle place of employment was going tits up. I wanted to be closer to what family I had left, to get out of the crap relationship, to get out of debt, and I had what I thought was a good job offer at Abbott. I refused to live in Lake County, I love urban life, so Chicago it was.

I spent the first 2 years here missing Seattle. I still miss it when the weather turns too cold or way too hot. That said, I love chicago. I love the food, the screwy politics, the public transit, and my apartment building neighbors. I love being able to walk to 2 grocery stores, over 10 places to eat that range from shitty hot dog joints to bistros, an independent movie rental place, an independent coffee shop, a couple of pubs, and 5 million hair cut places. I love that I can live near all that and pay only 650 bucks a month for a large one bedroom apartment that lets me have my great dane.

Alice / January 14, 2004 4:30 PM

I was born in the city (Northwestern Memorial, to be exact) but grew up in nearby suburban Park Ridge (aka "Action Ridge"). My parents' house is about 3 blocks from the Chicago city limits so I sort of straddled the line between city and suburban living. Went to high school in the city and finally moved to the Rogers Park area when I went off to college. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mike / January 14, 2004 5:19 PM

I'm the first cheese head to post??? Fond du Lac WI, then Milwaukee for 11 yrs. I moved here for work, the arts, --- and the weather about 6 yrs ago. No intentions of moving away at this point.

Craig / January 14, 2004 5:39 PM

Born to a Virginia Suburb of Washington DC. Led to a Southern VA college to be educated. Lured by a job offer from a Chicago-based company after graduation. Love Chicago, don't miss DC-- the city of no skyscrapers.

armaghetto / January 15, 2004 2:48 AM

Salinas, California! Birthplace of John Steinbeck and where most of your produce comes from. No, really. Go ahead and look at that bag of salad in the fridge.

I moved out here for a job about a year ago. I have completely fallen in love with Chicago. I used to be in love with San Francisco, thinking of it as an attractive hippy girl who thought nothing of giving change to the homless. Now I realize San Francisco is in actuality a grungy homeless woman begging for change. Chicago...I dunno what it is, but it's definitely male and I fear that makes me ghey.

Pete / January 15, 2004 8:25 AM

Distant Northwest suburbs (Cary), though I felt the inevitable siren call of the city shortly after graduating college, and ended up living there for over six years. Both my parents grew up in the city, so maybe it was some sort of ancestral urge. My aunts and uncles, all of whom had not only left Chicago but the state of Illinois itself, were somewhat aghast that I was willingly moving back into the wicked city.

heather / January 15, 2004 9:24 AM

Like alice, I grew up 3 blocks from the chicago border in "action ridge."

My parents are native chicagoans, mom descending from ukraninan/austrian immigrants who moved here 'cause it was cheaper than new york, dad descending's just say I'm a daughter of the american revolution and you'd have to have moved here pretty damned early to have gotten in on the revolutionary action. His family forged into the frontier only to find themselves in the midwest, engineering airplanes in the early 20th century.

when my folks married, they moved to the northwest suburbs to raise kids - it's what you did in the 60s - marry, buy a house in the burbs, have an extended dance mix of a honeymoon, then raise your kids outside of the 'dangerous city'. I often wondered what happened to them as kids in chicago, that they wouldn't want me and my siblings to have grown up in andersonville or irving park where they grew up.

I moved to Chicago from the burbs when I graduated college, for the easy transportation, proximity to work, and abundance of restaurants and vibrant young people. and the gapers block, of course.

dana / January 15, 2004 10:19 AM

I live with my parents too, Heather!!!! Maybe we should hang out. They usually knock on the basement door when I have company down there.

Carlos / January 15, 2004 10:21 AM

Born in Chicago, St. Frances Cabrini to be exact. Unfortunately the hospital has been turned into condos, sad isn't it?

Lived the first few months of my life on Ashland near 18th St. before my parents move to an apartment building on Fillmore near Western.

After about 10 years there, the whole family moved to the wonderfully gang infested "Little Village" on Avers and 31st. I won't lie and tell you that it was a wonderful place to live but we could of done much worse.

8 years later and a gang problem hitting close to home sent us packing out west into the wonderful town of Berwyn...wait for it...wait for it...


(Son of Svengoolie fans will understand)

I don't know but I think I'm the one and only that still leach off of the old folks and live at home rent free...all I can say to those of you living in the city paying hundreds of dollars in rent is...SUCKERS!!!!


Lena / January 15, 2004 10:40 AM

born in arizona, raised on the arizona/mexican border in a tiny mining town called bisbee though my parents weren't miners, they were hippies. after they split my mom moved to las cruces, nm (chile, shechemist?) where i went to college and found my hub. we wanted the city life and i have family here with my mom originally from milwaukee. it's way different from home but this is home now and somehow i ended up with a slight milwaukee accent so it works well.

jenny / January 15, 2004 10:57 AM

I'm from Maine. I once heard another Maine ex-pat say that Mainers are "geographic opportunists" -- because if you're not Downeast, it doesn't really matter where you are, so you go where chance takes you. That sounds about right. Chance took me here, first for school, then for the arts (no better place for theater in the US than Chicago)'s a nice place to be, until the wind blows me elsewhere...

Kate / January 15, 2004 11:35 AM

Jenny's absolutely right. I'm another Mainer and came to Chicago for grad school. I'm in a field where there are no jobs in Maine (well, I could teach at Bowdoin, Bates, or Colby, but all those jobs are full at the moment) -- so I'll just have to go wherever I can find something. But of all the places that aren't Maine that I could have ended up, Chicago is pretty great. Chicago taught me to love cities -- and showed me that a city skyline could have the same majesty as a stand of old-growth white pine. I never would have believed it.

Anne / January 15, 2004 11:46 AM

Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, (I'm happily surprised to see at least 2 other Virginians posted already) where I went to school, then proceeded to move around (much to my family's horror) to London, Boston, and most recently, Montana. I loved the west, but the job market there is non-existant, so I moved to Chicago (without ever even visiting) where a couple of friends had already settled. I've been here six months and I'm still pretty happy with it, though I miss the mountains something fierce!

steve / January 15, 2004 12:17 PM

st. paul, minnesota was where i spent the first 18 years of my life, followed by 5 years in madison, wisconsin. after that, i wanted to move to a bigger city, and i love the midwest (even though i curse the winters) so chicago was a winner. also i like the trains here. yeah trains.

jima / January 15, 2004 12:39 PM

Lived in a number of different cities and states when I was growing up. Eventually settled in Peoria, went to school up through grad school there, went elsewhere for grad school.

Moved to Chicago because that was where the job was. Also, some good good friends live out in the burbs, and they helped me out greatly when I got outta school.

kegz / January 15, 2004 1:08 PM

I grew up in Norridge/Harwood Heights (the "island" in the city). No matter which direction you drive, you're in Chicago. So that's where I am.

scott / January 15, 2004 1:09 PM

What, no south siders?

My parents were from Brighton Park and Ashburn Gresham.

I was born at Little Company of Mary, on the corner of 95th and California, in the fabulous town of Evergreen Park.

Grew up at 103rd and Central in beautiful Oak Lawn.

Went to high school in the big city, two miles from home. Sometimes jealous that I didn't live in the city, but soon realized it was more similar than not to the surrounding neighborhoods of Mount Greenwood, Beverley, West Lawn, and Archer Heights.

Then I found myself living on the North Shore going to college and learning how broad the term middle class can be.

After that, straight to hipster mecca, Wicker Park. I got priced out of there in a year, and tried my hand at Cermak and Damen. Didn't find the mini-gang war in my alley fun and moved to Bridgeport when my lease was up. The gang bangers here never did shoot much (thank you, neighbors and CPD), making me happy enoug to stay.

Now I'm married and own a two flat, and unlike most kids from home, I got out, just not very far.

Ian / January 15, 2004 1:17 PM

I am from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

I moved to Chicago so I could attend DePaul University and now I hate every second I spend in these hallowed Vincentian halls.

I like the city though. It's nice.


Onid / January 15, 2004 2:20 PM

As long as most of you are representin' with the hospital you were born in....Illinois Masonic in the house!!!111!!!! W00T!!

Andrew / January 15, 2004 2:32 PM

I'm a Ravenswood baby. :)

kegz / January 15, 2004 3:07 PM

Edgewater Hospital. Yanked into the world by the obstetrician father of author/attorney Scott Turow.

j3s / January 15, 2004 3:11 PM

Born in Evansville, Indiana. My mom and I moved up here to Evanston when I was 4, because she didn't think Indiana was a good place for me to grow up. After that I spent a some years in Champaign-Urbana (undergrad), 6 months in Sydney (semester abroad in Australia), a year in Minneapolis, and have been back here in Logan Square/ Humboldt Park for the last four years or so, excepting a brief stint in Hyde Park. Now I'm starting to think about where to go next, though Chicago will always be home...

Brenda / January 15, 2004 3:25 PM

St. Louis, MO. Drove straight up 55 to Northwestern University 20 years ago (20?!?) and never looked back.

miss ellen / January 15, 2004 3:54 PM

south side reprezent!

ok, i now live in humboldt park, and also did a stint down in champaign-urbana, but i'm a chicago girl.

grew up in beverly, *in* the city, although i was also born at little company of mary hospital in evergreen park.

next up, logan square. t-4 months & counting (shit!?).

Jake / January 15, 2004 4:30 PM

I'm from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Came here when my wife got into Loyola's masters program for social work. Also, because it was just a matter of time until getting a DUI in a town with absolutely no public transportation. Everyone I know there has been pulled over for drinking and driving. Thank goodness for the el and for cabs. Now I no longer have to worry about getting arrested or running over pedestrians!

Kris / January 15, 2004 4:45 PM

I spent my first 23 years in Fayetteville, Arkansas before moving to Chicago. One of my best friends from college grew up in Tinley Park, so I'd visited the city a few times with her, then another friend moved here for grad school, so I decided to follow. Actually there are a lot of us; I can think of [counting...] nearly 20 former Arkansan friends and acquaintances who've moved here over the last several years, mostly theatre types like myself.

Spent my first year in Humboldt Park before bolting for yuppieville, aka Lakeview, where I remain...

Benjy / January 15, 2004 5:41 PM

I lived in Highland Park for my first 18 years-- well, except that year we moved to the Netherlands. Headed down south to Atlanta for college and stayed a few years after because of a girlfriend and the warmer winters. But after a while I got sick of a 4 million person suburb so I headed back home to Chicago (Lincoln Park). I've been back 2 1/2 years and it's much better than Atlanta, even with the cold ass winters.

Marc / January 15, 2004 7:02 PM

England 5 years.
Calgary, Canada 10 years.
England 4 years.
Chicago 2 years.
Champaign-Urbana 3 years.
Seattle 2 years.
Moved back to Chicago because the job market in Seattle was dog's mess at the time and my girlfriend (now fianceé) missed her family.

Marc / January 15, 2004 7:03 PM

Oh and, despite the weather and the distance from my family (they moved back to Oxford) I really like it here and plan on staying a while.

Kevin / January 16, 2004 6:48 AM

First there was Minneapolis for 15 years, then Denver for 4, then Seattle for 2, then Denver again then to New York City, then here since August 1987.

Audrey / January 16, 2004 9:46 AM

Detroit, Michigan. I'm reminded of an awful tourist campaign (or was it a broadcast news promo?) gospel-style song that was ubiquitous on TV when I was growing up: "Stand up and tell 'em you're from...DETROIT!"

stephen / January 16, 2004 9:53 AM

oak park, IL 7 years
albuquerque, IL (crime capital of America! yee-haw!) 10 years
champaign/urbana, IL (drinking capital of America!) 4 years
Chicago, 6 years

stephen / January 16, 2004 10:45 AM

oops, that's Albuquerque, NM..that was pre-coffee.

stephen / January 16, 2004 10:47 AM

What I remember of Detroit is the ingenious chant from the old Chicago Stadium.."Detroit sucks!", those fans weren't the most friendly around, but at least then we could at least compete. Now I'm pretty sure I could get on the Blackhawks and like start on the first line. Bloody hell.

katie / January 16, 2004 1:36 PM

i'm from central iowa. i still love it there, it's so spacious and quiet. but it's not the best place to be 23.

i actually can't remember my exact reason for moving here. i enjoy making blind irrational decisions about important life events; usually it turns out better that way.

Marie / January 16, 2004 3:50 PM

I was born in England, but grew in Hyde Park. I went to school in San Diego and lived there for a while, then returned to Chicago. This is a great city, lively, interesting and definitely better food then San Diego. People keep telling me I was crazy to leave San Diego, but I don't agree.

Simone / January 17, 2004 10:52 AM

Buenos Aires, Argentina -- and I'd still be there if it wasn't for the military coup in '76. Spent formative years here in Logan Square. Other places lived: Cambridge, England; Dakar, Senegal (Peace Corps); New Delhi, India. Chicago is nice, although the people are pretty conservative and they don't seem to have seen much beyond the Midwest (yawn).

amyc / January 17, 2004 3:15 PM

"Stand up and tell 'em you're from...DETROIT!"

Oh, dear god. Remember "Say yesssssss to Michigan! Say yes, yes, yes! Say yes!"? I do. Because I was born and raised in Pontiac. I moved to Chicago in '94. I like it here. I think I'll stay.

Stewart / January 17, 2004 3:38 PM

Born and grew up in Kalamazoo, MI (motto: "Yes, there really IS a 'Kalamazoo'"), went to Ann Arbor, MI for college, Worked in Detroit for a year after that. My then-girlfriend went to U of C for grad school, so I came along for the ride. Now, 5 years later, we've married and bought a nice little condo in Hyde Park. I still dream of moving back to Michigan often, though.

Quinn / January 17, 2004 9:41 PM

I was born at Rush St. Lukes Presbyterian right off of the Ike. My parents lived in Oak Park, then Darien and when my brother and I were born we moved to Downers Grove and then Geneva. I moved back to the city because if you're a musician its the only place to be. Its impossible to get bored here. I love Chicago.

LD / January 17, 2004 11:19 PM

I'm from Briarcliff, NY (a town 45 minutes north of NYC along the Hudson River). Went to college in Ohio and kept moving west. Chicago is home for me now, but I do miss NY, especially the people, the ocean and the bagels, pizza and seafood.

Vincent Truman / January 18, 2004 7:08 PM

I'm originally from Morris, Illinois and moved to the city because the woman I was freeloading off of at the time wanted to move here.

Morris doesn't have a motto, but if it did, it would be: "Morris: A Good Town to be From" (it is definitely not a good town to go to).

Reggie / January 19, 2004 6:58 AM

Grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. Moved here for school. Got married to a Chicago girl. Still here.

When I told people in Asia I lived in Chicago, the only thing they knew about was MJ and Capone.

emily / January 20, 2004 1:06 PM

Grew up in a suburb of DC. I followed my husband (then fiance) to Chicago after college. We're never moving back. Ever.

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