50 Wards in 50 Weekdays: 22nd Ward's Miguel Gonzalez isn't waiting until he gets robbed again

May 31, 2012

(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Miguel Gonzalez chats outside his home in the Little Village neighborhood.

Miguel Gonzalez has had a tough week.



“I [was] just…robbed the other day,” he says. “They got into my house.”

Gonzalez had left the house to go help his son with something. He thinks the burglars saw him leave and broke in through the back.

They didn’t take anything big, but he’s not waiting for it to happen again.

“That’s why I have these guys to get me a new fence,” Gonzalez says, pointing to a pick-up truck parking on the street. “New door with locks and everything.”

Gonzalez’s initial reaction is to call Little Village, his neighborhood, “dangerous.” Moments later, he softens that.

“The neighborhood, it’s not bad. But, you know, sometimes you never know.”

Gonzalez has lived in this house since the early 1980s, and raised his three kids here with his wife of 38 years, Marilu, who now works for the Archdiocese of Chicago. They met a couple years after he moved to Chicago from Mexico.

He worked for more than two decades at Field Container, a box manufacturer based in Elk Grove Village. But after the longtime owner died, his son signed off on a merger. Just over a year later, there was another merger.

“I lost my job when I was 58 years,” says Gonzalez, who is now 62, and recently applied for Social Security. “I don’t work no more. I don’t look for a job, so I stay home and do my own stuff.”

That stuff includes taking care of his yard and beautiful home, with brightly painted front steps covered in decorative tiles. There’s also a White Sox 2005 champion flag.

“All the way!” he says.

But, this year? All the way?

“They’re doing good,” he says after a pause. “But I don’t want to say…but they’re good. They’re playing good baseball. I love them. And every time we get a chance, we go.”

I asked him about Rahm Emanuel, and how he thinks the new mayor has done this past year. Gonzalez says he actually paid more attention to Emanuel when the politician was in Washington.  

“Now, I lost the interest. It looks like, you know, the richer is getting richer and the poorer is getting poorer. That’s it. That’s the bottom line."