Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Photo Shoot: Mural Walk

The side of The Regal Theater East 79th Street

It's interesting to me how public art murals become landmarks and reflections of the history of a community, era, genre, and/or culture. I grew up seeing many of these murals through my community and am saddend that many of them are now gone. Here are a few of my favorites.

I remember seeing this every day as I road the #6 Jefferey bus to school. It depicts Father Simmons, once a pilar in the community who was a mentor to many African American boys who often turned gangs and drugs during this most critical age. This mural made me want to learn how to paint. I wanted to paint something that someone who always remember (the way I remember this).

I use to see this one when I road the Metra Train along 75th Street. The floding chair on the lower left shows the scale.

...stumbled across a viaduct mosaic work-in-progress (cool!!!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Favorite Thing

My spouse is my favorite thing. I had never been one to chat with or meet people online, but active duty military life is so boring that everyone needs some kind of outlet to keep sane. I, like so may other soldiers chose the Internet.

I didn't decide to go active duty, the poor job market did. I had a great job teaching as a high school art teacher but wanted more. I decided that I really wanted to get a masters degree but knew I couldn't afford it. So, I decided to finally join the National Gaurd, after all most of my family members joined just so the state would pay for their degrees. The plan was, I'd take some time off of work to train and my job would be waiting for me when I returned. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The training class I was scheduled to take was full which delayed my training by several months. This pushed me three weeks over the allowed absence time from my job. Of course, I wasn't fired. Instead I was added to the pool of inactive teachers employed by the Board of Education.

Since I'd now be forced to find a teaching job in late September-an impossible task, I decided to stay in Texas on active duty. Since I had a rent-to-own contract on my home in Illinois and no longer had a full-time job there, I decided to explore my options in Texas. I didn't know anyone or anything about Texas outside of the military post so I decided I'd go online.

At first I was scared, I'd never done anything like that before. But, military people are crazy, I figured even if I met a crazy person online they couldn't possibly be crazier than the soldiers I worked with every day. I met a ton of people, saw the town, as decided to make formal plans to relocate permanently.

Then, my tenant called and said she would not be able to purchase my home. I was devastated. In my mind, I was already a Texan! I loved it there; but there was no way I'd be able to pay rent in Texas and a mortgage in Illinois. I'd have to move back.

I was greatly saddened by this realization. Although I hadn't lined up a job or home yet, I had made friends that I liked much better then the "crazy-makers" I'd been around at home. I hadn't even missed my old friends. Though saddened by the lose of my job, my new friends and surrounding excited me. I decided, since I didn't have a choice about returning to Illinois, that I'd make new friends the same way I did in Texas-on the Internet.

I began to look through ads in Chicago and came across one that stood out to me. It said amongst other things, " don't have to lie to kick-it." I thought to myself "wow," he definitely isn't a crazy-maker. I sent a message and it all began a few days later when he replied. We became great friends over time and finally decided to meet five months later after becoming increasingly curious about one another romantically.

So, losing my beloved job and later the buyer for my home, as it turned out, were the best things that has ever happened to me.