Meditations on an El Stop | Letters | Chicago Reader

Meditations on an El Stop 

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To the editors:

Of particular interest I found your article on the abandonment of the Indiana Avenue elevated station [Our Town, January 8].

For going on two years I had fearlessly used it to get to the school board as often as twice a month--and sometimes of an evening. Fearless I say, for when one gets as old as I, about all there is left to fear is the cold breath of the Grim Reaper.

The station was decrepit but it worked. It just had too few passengers. Closing it saved a ticket agent's salary, speeded up the schedule and helped solve the problem of delayed trains. And at the same time was only a little less convenient for bus transfer passengers. Why, once in a blue moon those pencil-pusher fossils in the Merchandise Mart do come up with a sensible idea! (If you can insult 'em there's hope!)

Yet I do miss it, there contemplating what a horseshit town Chicago has become since Dreiser and Sandburg knew it. In 1988 that wide-wide platform at Indiana has to be a mystery to those to whom the 19th century is only a rumor. Back in the days when none but the rich drove cars, Indiana Avenue teemed with life: one of the busiest stations on the system! At Indiana Avenue was the exchange point between the North-South and the Kenwood-Stockyards lines. I remember! Had it not been for those wide platforms, people would have been crowded off and under the wheels of trains!

Now "everybody" has a car! But as the Master said, the poor we have always with us: women, children, and old folks too. The "old man" puts his woman to work and takes the family bus for himself! This city is not built for "wheels." With 21st-century public transportation we could turn the transportation parade of the country's cities around and lead instead of dragging along at the rear. People feeling liberated by cars fled the problems of the city and then jobs followed them out. The collar counties may live, but they can't prosper as a live collar to a dead city.

People have no time for themselves and to assimilate their experience when it takes them hours to get from where they live to where they have to be: and everybody rubbing shoulders with everybody is the only way a free country can work. That was our excuse for crossing the ocean in the first place and I for one don't want to see us blow it! So there! No longer large-souled-generous enough to give the country back to the Indians, the Natives, in the end will get it back anyway if we're so unmanned as to be no longer able to turn our country around.

We're like children, waiting on the federal government to tell us how and when to do what we've lost confidence we can do for ourselves. We're like children begging and pleading for an allowance. When we come up with our own money and everybody feeding the kitty Chicago can still be the city Daniel Webster dreamed of and a city where every man is a hero to his woman and the wisest of them happy to be at home for the children to return to, a warm supper and slippers for the old man's feet in exchange for the world he lays at her feet.

We'll all be somebodies. No longer will the Bears be the only somebodies in town!

The CTA ought to open up the Indiana Avenue station again . . . and build a historical museum around it! Here hitting the bent spring on the deck how high we have to know we will bounce up!

L. Edmands

E. 76th

P.S. There's no telling what we can amount to until we try. Insist that the little woman pack the family gun and play a tune around your feet with it should you head off the reservation or merely falter. Along with faith in God believe any man who wants his pants back can get 'em!

And with something sensible and virile to get drunk on, the distillers will go out of business!!

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