Love, Money + Real Estate #16
The July 4th I'll never forget
This isn’t the way I intended to spend the Fourth of July, a holiday I love.
I didn’t intend to sit in front of my television all day, glued to my phone, laptop and the screen, across which horrors I couldn’t imagine looped endlessly.
I didn’t intend to hunt for details to find out whether some of my oldest and dearest friends, as well as new friends and colleagues, were still alive.
And, I certainly didn’t intend to wake up on July 5th, and realize that one of the images I saw yesterday was of our dear neighbors and their two young daughters, running from Walker Bros. Original House of Pancakes, ground zero. They had just finished breakfast and were getting ready to watch the parade.
I didn’t intend to see a long post on LinkedIn from a dear colleague, whose chairs were set up on Central street, by the train station, and abandoned as they realized the sounds they heard weren’t firecrackers.
They’re all fine, physically. Mentally? Not so much. None of us are.
I know so many people who were there at the parade, in downtown Highland Park. And there were those that I didn’t know personally, but with whom our lives intersected in ways you only realize after someone is gone. In the case of Jacki Sundheim, she taught preschool at my synagogue.
In a different year, if I didn’t have Covid, we might have been there, too, watching and cheering from the sidelines. Sipping a large coffee, trying to catch candy, waving a flag.
Highland Park is just four miles up the bike path from where I live. I often ride to that train station, where my friend’s chairs were set up, in the early mornings before work. Another friend, Harry, and I eat at the local coffee shop regularly, for breakfast or lunch meetings. I shop at Sunset Foods, frequent the Thai restaurant in town, and once in a great while enjoy a bag of hot fries and a char dog from Michael’s.
Lake Forest, Highwood, Highland Park, Glencoe, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Evanston. These are the leafy communities of the North Shore of Chicago. They have peaceful, treelined streets winding their way around large, older homes. Great schools, like New Trier and Highland Park high schools. Long-term residents, who set down roots, hold neighborhood block parties, and raise their families, who often come back to settle within a mile or two of where they were raised.
Sam and I have lived in Glencoe for almost 30 years, now. The decades have passed swiftly. We’ve watched the trees grow along with our boys, our friendships with neighbors blossom, our hopes and dreams sharpened, dashed or satisfied. It’s been a good life.
But none of that is possible in whatever neighborhood you’re in without peace. Without feeling safe and secure in your own home or community. If you imagine you’re being hunted.
Fear is the most powerful controlling force and it is being leveraged against those of us who just want to live our own happy lives. I resent that. And, I’m angry.
For a lot of people, this will be the last straw. They’ll leave and try to find somewhere safer. They probably won’t find it in the U.S. If this can happen in a community like Highland Park, which fought for the right to ban automatic assault weapons, and won, it can happen anywhere.
Wishing you peace,