WBEZ | year25 http://www.wbez.org/tags/year25 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Who was 25-year-old Rahm Emanuel? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahm25yo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As mayor of the city of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s days are anything but repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">Some days, he crisscrosses the city for press conferences, packing in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199">phone calls to aldermen</a> and business leaders on the way.</p><p dir="ltr">Other days, he&rsquo;s in meetings at City Hall, talking Wrigley renovations or budget fixes, or maybe even calling President Barack Obama to talk over top issues, and who knows what else.</p><p dir="ltr">He&rsquo;s known to try to squeeze in a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324564704578626070625333886.html">workout</a> wherever he can, and sometimes, he commutes to work on the <a href="http://redeyechicago.tumblr.com/post/57525285278/our-mayor-really-gets-around">train </a>to mix things up a bit.</p><p>But 25-year-old Emanuel nailed down a pattern and stuck to it.</p><p>The year was 1984. Emanuel lived in Lakeview, near Waveland and Southport, in an old house converted into four apartments. He distinctly remembers his neighbors from that house: Emanuel was a graduate student at Northwestern University then, and would take the L back and forth to class every day.</p><p>As he recalls, there was just one restaurant by the Southport train station: a pizza place that sold pies by the slice.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d get off the train after school, get dinner, which was a slice of pizza, eat it walking home, and sit down and do my homework,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Is that pathetic?&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s two-bedroom apartment was on the second floor of the house. His rent: $330. And that included utilities.</p><p>&ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t touch a parking space for $330 there today,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>His classes were at <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/spring2012/feature/in-your-face-sidebar/rahms-grad-school-days-at-northwestern.html">Northwestern</a>&rsquo;s School of Speech and Communications, where he studied mass communications and classical rhetorical theory.</p><p>Emanuel squeezed the master&rsquo;s program into nine months.</p><p>&ldquo;It was basically I wanted to do mental gymnastics for a year, &rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;When I had graduated [from undergrad] and started working, I was not done enjoying the life of the mind, so to say.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor said 25 marked a critical point. He always knew he wanted to go to graduate school, but that year he realized it was now or never.</p><p>When he wasn&rsquo;t debating about Aristotle or Cicero, Emanuel dabbled in political work. He spent some of that year at the Illinois Public Action Council. He was also in the throes of then-Congressman Paul Simon&rsquo;s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, where he worked alongside people like Lisa Madigan, David Axelrod and Forrest Claypool, to name a few.</p><p>And yes, he was still <a href="http://www.joffrey.org/node/2854">dancing </a>when he was 25 years old. Twice a week.</p><p>Emanuel was a serious dancer in his youth, even earning a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. He passed it up to go to Sarah Lawrence. He says once the pressure was off to dance professionally, he wanted to get back to it.</p><p>Dance, Emanuel says, was important for discipline, as well as exercise.</p><p>But come on, besides all that, he must have been doing some socializing and dating as a twenty-something, right?</p><p>Emanuel says he&rsquo;ll keep most of those stories under wraps, but that his 25-year-old self was very much in the mindset of: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna be single for the rest of my life.&rdquo;</p><p>There was one woman he dated that year. Emanuel says the relationship ended when she decided to move to Washington, D.C. for a job, and he wanted to stay in Chicago.</p><p>But amid all the pizza, Aristotle, politics and ballet, Emanuel&rsquo;s sights were already set on Washington.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to finish Northwestern,&rdquo; Emanuel said was the goal. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to try and figure out how to one day work for a person who&rsquo;s going to be elected president.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 Year 25: Ernest Hemingway http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hemingway25no2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s almost hard to believe that at just 25 years old, Ernest Hemingway was already writing one of the novels he&rsquo;s best known for: <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>.</p><p>Some have even called it his &ldquo;breakthrough&rdquo; work, while others say there&rsquo;s no amount of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-rises.html">analysis</a> that could convey its quality.</p><p>But then you crack the spine yourself, and you find a book full of complex characters trying to find meaning in their lives; a story of friends wading through drama and heartbreak, all the while drinking a leather bag of wine or two (or four) while they take in bullfights and fishing trips.</p><p>And then it all makes sense: These tales scream of life as a twenty-something.</p><p>Well, maybe not the bullfights.</p><p>We&rsquo;ve learned through the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/year25">Year25</a> series that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-105315">25</a> can be a pinnacle year, one that marks a period of great influence (positive or negative) by different places or people; one of big <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967">decisions</a>, some angst, maybe even serious <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358">romance</a> or adventures that can put a person on a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-alpana-singh-25-105949">path</a> that shapes the rest of his or her life.</p><p>As it turns out, Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th year was full of all those things - and he put them right into his writing.</p><p>Of course, we can&rsquo;t ask the famed author what was going through his head at 25, or if he had any eureka moments or transitional conversations during that year.</p><p>But he did leave us with many works that give a sense of his life at that time. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/068482499X">A Moveable Feast</a>, for example, is almost a memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920s. Not to mention there are scholars all over the world that have devoted their lives to discovering his.</p><p>By 25, Hemingway had already been through a lot. He worked as a news reporter for the <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/hemingway/">Kansas City Star</a> for under a year. By 18, he was driving ambulances through Italy during World War I where he was seriously <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ernest-hemingway-wounded-on-the-italian-front">wounded</a> by a mortar shell.</p><p>He even experienced an earth-shattering <a href="http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/hemingway/agnes-von-kurowsky.html">heartbreak</a> - served up by a <a href="http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/u26j-RrGEEiEGDwx9R2Zgw.aspx">nurse</a> that he met while recovering from his injury.</p><p>Hemingway eventually married another woman, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/hemingwayadventure/paris.html">Hadley Richardson</a>, his first wife, and together they had a young son Jack.</p><p>By July 21, 1924, also known as Hemingway&rsquo;s 25th birthday, Jack was just over a year old. At the time, the family lived in Paris, France, and visited Spain in the summer to watch the bullfights. It was during this time when Hemingway mixed in with other famous Modernist writers and authors like <a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gertrude-stein">Gertrude Stein</a> -- people who would become a huge influence on his writing style.</p><p>&ldquo;[Stein] is the one who told him he should really spend time looking at Cézanne especially,&rdquo; said John W. Berry, Chairman of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.</p><p>&ldquo;He talked all of his life about the impact that Cézanne&rsquo;s paintings had on his early writing -- where you kind of put the background in very low focus and then you focus on just a few things in the foreground and really treat them with great detail.&rdquo;</p><p>Stein became sort of an editor figure for Hemingway. As he wrote away the days and drank away the nights, Stein was there to tell him which pages to cut out and where to look for inspiration. Hemingway also published a collection of short stories just after his 25th year, called <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-time.html">In Our Time</a></em>, which experts say was polished by Stein&rsquo;s editorial advice.</p><p>But it was <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> that really launched his career, according to <a href="http://lieslolson.com/">Liesl Olson</a>, director of the Scholl Center for American History and Culture at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The stories of carousing with friends, the incredibly detailed scenes of bullfighting -- those were all inspired by experiences of his 25th year.</p><p>Not every review was full of high praise when <em>The Sun Also Rises</em> was first published in 1926. He was panned by literary editor Fanny Butcher of the Chicago Tribune, a paper he read faithfully no matter where he lived.</p><p>&ldquo;What she wrote really mattered in Chicago,&rdquo; Olson said. &ldquo;She basically thought the novel was full of too much drinking, too much sex. It was sensational. It was about a group of twenty-somethings who didn&rsquo;t know what they were doing with their lives.&rdquo;</p><p>He also received a bad review from a critic close to his heart: His mother, Grace Hall Hemingway. She wouldn&rsquo;t even attend her book club meeting when the group was discussing <em>The Sun Also Rises</em>. According to Olson, Hemingway&rsquo;s mother sent a letter to him in Paris, saying, among other harsh things, &ldquo;you&rsquo;re prostituting a really great ability to the lowest ends.&rdquo;</p><p>Ouch.</p><p>Yet despite all that, the work he wrote at 25 became major bestseller, and it&rsquo;s never been out of print.</p><p>&ldquo;For all the twenty-somethings out there right now trying to do something big,&rdquo; Olson says. &ldquo;This is a really instructive moment.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ernest-hemingway-108094 Where was Rep. Aaron Schock at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP080205045166.jpg" style="float: right; height: 278px; width: 350px;" title="Rep. Aaron Schock in 2008. (AP/File)" />At 31, (soon-to-turn 32 in late May), Congressman Aaron Schock is the youngest participant of the Year 25 series.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a designation he&rsquo;s pretty used to. He was once the youngest Illinois state representative and school board president&mdash;at the same time.</p><p>At 25, Schock lived in an old house that was supposed to be condemned by the city of Peoria, Illinois.</p><p>But Schock bought it and flipped it himself when he finished college.</p><p>He was also a few years into his stint as an Illinois state rep, but that was only a part-time gig. Most of his days were spent in the private sector, working in real estate.</p><p>Schock says he had no idea as a 25-year-old that he&rsquo;d live most of his days in Washington as a federal lawmaker. But as he told WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, he&rsquo;s pleased with how things have turned out so far.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is&rsquo; WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><strong>More from this series</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-dan-savage-105358" target="_blank">Dan Savage</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104" target="_blank">Sen. Dick Durbin</a>&nbsp;|&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rick-bayless-25-106967" target="_blank">Rick Bayless</a></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-aaron-schock-25-107295 Where was Rep. Tammy Duckworth at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/duck.png" alt="" /><p><p>At 25, U.S. representative <a href="http://duckworth.house.gov/" target="_blank">Tammy Duckworth</a> was just beginning her career as a helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard - a bit sooner than she originally expected.</p><p>Usually, she says, it was about a&nbsp; year-long wait before you could get into flight school.</p><p>But when she got the call in 1993 that a spot was open last minute at Fort Rucker, Alabama, she packed up her bags and left Chicago, reporting to duty just three days later.</p><p>That is, after a quick stop to the Justice of the Peace to marry her then-boyfriend.</p><p>&ldquo;I did not want to go to flight school and do something that dangerous and my husband not have rights in case I was injured or wounded or hurt,&rdquo; Duckworth said.</p><p>They had a full wedding ceremony later that summer.</p><p>So off she went, incredibly focused on becoming a helicopter pilot and not at all thinking about the office on Capitol Hill she sits in now.</p><p>The Illinois Congresswoman sat down with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian in Washington, D.C., to tell the story of 25-year-old Tammy Duckworth.</p><p>She reflects on what flight school was like, some of her favorite memories from that year and how it got her where she is today.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought I would be commanding an assault helicopter battalion,&rdquo; Duckworth said. &ldquo;I have, you know a little ache in my heart when I think of my peers who are now at that point and I&rsquo;m not. But this is a pretty good gig I have now, too.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p><p><object height="300" width="400"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633495888176%2F&amp;set_id=72157633495888176&amp;jump_to=" height="300" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-rep-tammy-duckworth-25-107159 Where was Senator Dick Durbin at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin mid 30s (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At 68 years old, Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin is one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill. First elected to the Senate in 1996, Durbin now serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate.</p><p>His memories of being 25, however, might be classified as his more humble beginnings.</p><p>Durbin was a young father and husband&mdash;he had one young daughter, with another baby on the way. He was graduating from Georgetown Law School and had just accepted a job offer in then Lt. Governor Paul Simon&rsquo;s office in Springfield.</p><p>And, as he&rsquo;ll tell you himself, he had hardly any money to his name.</p><p>&ldquo;I skipped my graduation ceremony,&rdquo; Durbin recalls. &ldquo;I needed to get on to payroll and get a paycheck so fast that I just skipped it and said send me the diploma in the mail.&rdquo;</p><p>So, he packed up a U-Haul truck with his few belongings and his Newfoundland dog (the dog&#39;s full name, for the record, was Johann Sebastian Black. Durbin says they called him Bassy, for short. He didn&rsquo;t explain further.) and headed across the country to Springfield. His brother followed the U-Haul in Durbin&rsquo;s old Volkswagon.</p><p>Durbin says he spent his last dime putting his wife and baby on a plane, so he spent the nights of this road trip in the back of the U-Haul with his brother and Bassy.</p><p>He thinks even the people who know him well now would be pretty surprised to hear how poor he was when he was 25.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-senator-dick-durbin-25-107104 Where was Congressman Gutierrez at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/luis25.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://gutierrez.house.gov/about-me/full-biography">Illinois U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a> has made a name for himself across the nation as one of the most vocal &nbsp;proponents of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786">immigration reform</a>.</p><p>Gutierrez is a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives &ndash; he&#39;s been serving since 1992. And years before that, he served as alderman of the 26th Ward in Chicago.</p><p>So, you&rsquo;d think, this guy must have been working toward a spot on Capitol Hill all his life.</p><p>Wrong.</p><p>25-year-old Luis Gutierrez was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd teacher in Puerto Rico. He had followed his then-girlfriend, Soraida, there and eventually married her.</p><p>The two were making a life for themselves - Soraida was going to school, and Luis was the lone male teacher in a little school out in the mountains. He was paid minimum wage - about $3.25 per hour, he says &ndash; which was hardly enough to feed the two of them and get Soraida to school. So, as Gutierrez recalls, he gave what little money he had to Soraida for school and then got creative.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember - it&rsquo;s probably a violation of the law today, I hope it wasn&rsquo;t one then, although I&rsquo;m sure the statute of limitations have run out,&rdquo; Gutierrez said. &ldquo;I used to eat with all the children in the school lunch program.&rdquo;</p><p>Gutierrez says he soon realized Puerto Rico wasn&rsquo;t the best option for him and his wife, so they moved back to Chicago, where he was from originally. After a month or so of fruitless attempts to find a job, Gutierrez decided to get his his chauffeur&#39;s license and drive a cab.</p><p>Yes, you read that right. Illinois U.S. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZbMdFUFAro">Congressman Luis Gutierrez</a>, drove a cab when he was 25 years old.</p><p>&ldquo;So, for all of those that see the cab driver, remember, it could be a transitional moment in their life, and one day they could be actually adopting and proposing the laws of the nation, that guy in the front seat,&rdquo; Gutierrez said.</p><p>In this interview with WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian, Gutierrez tells the stories of his 25th year, and explains how that person had not a clue in the world that he&rsquo;d wind up in elected politics. He also discusses how his personality has changed over the years, and what parts of his 25-year-old self had to change in order to be the lawmaker he is today.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is the WBEZ Morning Producer and Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 15:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-congressman-gutierrez-25-107062 Where was Roger Ebert at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-roger-ebert-25-106487 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ebert 25 final.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When we started brainstorming for the Year 25 series, Roger Ebert was one of the first names that came to mind. What was the life of a to-be Pulitzer prize-winning film critic like during the intense twenty-something years? We had to find out.</p><p dir="ltr">I reached out to Roger Ebert via email in January, before the series even started, asking if he&rsquo;d pen an essay for our website. He responded immediately, saying thanks for thinking of him but, &ldquo;Only time to write for myself.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">This was right around the time, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/film/roger-ebert-cutting-back-workload-after-cancer-returns-106443">as we&rsquo;ve recently learned</a>, that Ebert was in and out of the hospital for radiation treatments to tackle the return of his cancer. He wrote Wednesday in his online blog that he&rsquo;d be taking a <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2013/04/a_leave_of_presense.html">&ldquo;leave of presence</a>&rdquo; &mdash; essentially cutting back on writing reviews, working on a bigger and better website, and possibly writing about his illness.</p><p dir="ltr">Sadly, Roger Ebert lost his battle with cancer <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/17320958-761/roger-ebert-dies-at-70-after-battle-with-cancer.html">Thursday</a> at the age of 70.</p><p dir="ltr">In his email to me in January, he graciously allowed WBEZ to excerpt from his memoir, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Life-Itself-Memoir-Roger-Ebert/dp/0446584967">Life Itself</a>&nbsp;and gave us insight into his life at 25.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;My 25th year was the beginning of my 1967 term as film critic here,&rdquo; he wrote in the email.</p><p dir="ltr">How about that.</p><p dir="ltr">A little context: Before he turned 25 in June of 1967, Ebert was accepted as a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Chicago and needed a job. He ended up getting an interview with the city editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.</p><p dir="ltr">Ebert&rsquo;s description of the Sun-Times in those days is epic.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I arrived in Chicago one morning on the Panama and walked up Wabash Avenue to the Sun-Times/Daily News Building, which looked like a snub-nosed ship on the banks of the Chicago River. A boat was moored at its dock, and a crane was offloading huge rolls of newsprint.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">He got a job on the spot - he&rsquo;d start working under the Sunday magazine editor.</p><p dir="ltr">Ebert writes of the newsroom camaraderie and the ways he tried to work his 25-year-old-cub reporter self into the fabric of the newsroom.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I knew I lacked authenticity in this company. I was young and unseasoned, but I discovered there&rsquo;s nothing like drinking with the crowd to make you a member. I copied the idealism and cynicism of the reporters I met at Riccardo&rsquo;s and around the corner at the downscale but equally famous Billy Goat&rsquo;s.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">[See my chat with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25-0/year-25-rick-kogan-105329">Rick Kogan</a> for more on that subject...]</p><p dir="ltr">Now remember: The year was 1967. That Sun-Times/Daily News building was full of experienced journalists, including Mike Royko. Ebert writes of one memorable moment where he and Royko shared a drink on New Year&rsquo;s Day in an &ldquo;eye-opener&rdquo; bar by the L tracks.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I sipped the brandy, and a warm glow filled my stomach. It may have been the first straight shot of anything I&rsquo;d ever tasted. I&rsquo;d been in Chicago four months and I was sitting under the L tracks with Mike Royko in the eye-opener place. I was a newspaperman.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Then in March of 1967, the feature editor at the time told Ebert he&rsquo;d be Sun-Times&#39; film critic. Ebert writes that this &ldquo;came without warning,&rdquo; though he&rsquo;d written a few pieces on the movies here and there. He decided to drop his classes at the University of Chicago and focus solely on writing.</p><p dir="ltr">Interesting fact about 20-something Roger Ebert: Being a movie critic was not his career goal at the time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If I had one at all, it was to become a columnist like Royko,&rdquo; he writes. &ldquo;Now I had a title, my photo in the paper, and a twenty-five dollar a week raise.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And that&rsquo;s where it all began.</p><p dir="ltr">Ebert says he got a lot of attention from the start for being such a young film critic. You can read some of the reviews he wrote <a href="http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041215/COMMENTARY/41215001/1023">here </a>- Ebert keeps an archive of his writings on his website RogerEbert.com.</p><p dir="ltr">In his memoir, Ebert writes at length about the movie scene in Chicago at the time: How it was centered in the Loop, how new movies opened on Fridays...</p><p dir="ltr">Here&rsquo;s my favorite detail: &ldquo;The Clark [Theatre] offered a $2.95 special: a double feature, a three-course meal at the Chinese restaurant next door, and free parking.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Not a bad deal.</p><p dir="ltr">He also mentions the movie stars who would come through town, and what it was like to be interviewing them.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I was by then twenty-five years old, naive for my age, inexperienced, but representing an important newspaper, so the stars and directors were kind to me. It was so new to me that I took it very seriously indeed&mdash;not just my job, but their fame and glamour.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There&rsquo;s all sorts of great anecdotes in<em> Life Itself</em> from Roger Ebert&rsquo;s 25th year and beyond, but I&rsquo;ll leave you with this excerpt, which seems to sum up his 25th year pretty well.</p><p>&ldquo;It was a honey of a job to have at that age. I had no office hours; it was understood that I would see the movies and meet the deadlines. I loved getting up from my desk and announcing, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to the movies.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-roger-ebert-25-106487 Year 25: Chicago seniors reflect on an 'eventful' year http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-chicago-seniors-reflect-eventful-year-106288 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85190477" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">As we&#39;ve learned thus far through the Year 25 series, a single year can really influence how the rest of your life shakes out. And that is really evident within the walls of a large room in the Chicago Cultural Center, where every week, a group of ladies gather for a senior citizens memoir writing class.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Each week, they&#39;re given a new assignment by their editor and teacher Beth Finke, a local writer you may have heard on WBEZ before. She&#39;s been teaching the class for almost 10 years now, so she&#39;s always on the lookout for new assignment ideas. When she heard about our Year 25 series, she thought it might be fun to ask her students where they were at 25.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Well, of course, I had to be there.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">The class of about dozen older ladies meets in a wing of the Cultural Center named, pretty aptly, I think, Renaissance Court. The writers are in their mid-60s to early 90s: You can imagine the stories they have to tell.</p><p>They all sit around a long table littered with lipstick-stained coffee cups, a few<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wanda.JPG" style="width: 442px; height: 300px; float: right;" title="Wanda Bridgeforth, pictured at left, celebrates her birthday (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " />&nbsp;pairs of reading glasses and small stacks of paper.&nbsp;</p><p>Wanda Bridgeworth always sits in the same seat - at the head of the table, on the left side. You&#39;d think at 91 years old,&nbsp;it might be difficult to match memories with specific years of a long, full life. But as she begins to read her essay, it&#39;s clear that 25 really sticks out.</p><p>&quot;The VMAIL letter read VJ Day! Our unit alerted to head for home,&quot; she read. &quot;I could hardly contain myself. I hugged my daughter and shouted, &#39;Daddy is coming home.&#39;&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">It was October 1946. Wanda&#39;s husband was coming home from war, just in time for her 25th birthday. She says she remembers a big party at the house, with family and friends, celebrating both his arrival and her birthday. This would also be the first time Wanda&#39;s husband would meet their daughter, who was born after he left.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">All went well, Wanda writes, until bedtime.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;When he started to get into bed, she jumped over the side of her crib and grabbed his pajama shirt screaming, &#39;You get out of this bed! This is my mama&#39;s bed! And you don&#39;t belong here!&quot; Wanda read, while all her classmates burst out laughing.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Wanda writes how that year brought lots of changes: she was diagnosed with hearing loss, lost her new home to the railroad and on and on.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Another reminder of how unpredictable 25 can be, no matter what generation you&#39;re born into.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">For some of these writers, the adventures were of their own making. For Nancy Walker, all it took was one decision to kickstart a year of self-discovery. The year was 1963 -- she had been teaching in Mount Prospect for three years.&nbsp;</p><br /><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;I loved teaching,&quot; Nancy read, &quot;But I wasn&#39;t meeting any new people in my 2nd grade classroom. So I decided to resign from my job and look for a glamorous job downtown.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/nancy.JPG" style="float: left; width: 257px; height: 300px;" title="Nancy Walker, one of the students in the class (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " /></p><p>So off she went, submitting applications for the few female-wanted ads in the newspaper. Turns out, her search ended up bringing her right back where she started -- she was hired later that year to teach at a school in Skokie. And she stayed there for the next 31 years.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;The decision to resign from a good job when I was 25, could have been disastrous,&quot; she went on. &quot;But now, I view it as one of the best decisions of my life.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">And that&rsquo;s the thing about this class: 25 was so long ago, that the lens these ladies are looking through often lets them see quite clearly how that one year fits in the span of their whole lives. That&#39;s something I learned from Hanna Bratman, who was 25 almost seven decades ago. It was that year that she gained her U.S. citizenship.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;It meant that I now could say I&#39;m an American. I no longer had to identify myself as a German Jew,&quot; Hanna told me after class.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">Hanna says that new identity was very important to her. She calls herself a &quot;Holocaust person&quot; and told me some of the stories from her young life in Germany. She was thrown out of school when Hitler came to power, she recalls. And then there was the time she broke her leg and had to drive for hours in the middle of the night to find a doctor who would treat her.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hanna.JPG" style="float: right; width: 350px; height: 300px;" title="Hanna Bratman, celebrating Wanda's birthday (Courtesy of Darlene Schweitzer) " /></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;I think you grow up pretty fast when you&#39;re really on your own,&quot; she says.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">But yet, she says, she&#39;s always been a positive person. And today, at 93 years old, she&#39;s still keeping busy. She leads a support group for people with vision loss, she leads a midlife group, and as she puts it, &quot;I help all the way around.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">And she also shows up for this class, every week, to listen to her peers tell their own stories.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">But there&#39;s another story here that was not shared in the class. A 25th year that has rippled out from one person to all of these students. For Beth Finke, the woman who is teaching them, 25 started out with a lot of excitement. Her now-husband, Mike, proposed to her on her birthday.</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&quot;We looked forward to having all our friends come in town...we got married in my sister&rsquo;s back yard. [We] all went to a White Sox game the day after, just, fun, fun, fun,&quot; Beth recounted.</p><p dir="ltr">But things took a sudden turn on her honeymoon in Scotland. She recalls that she started seeing strange spots.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I took my contacts out and cleaned them and put them back in,&quot; Finke said. &quot;And I knew right away.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BigCrop%20from%20scan.jpg" style="width: 441px; height: 300px; float: left;" title="25 year old Beth Finke at her wedding (Courtesy of Beth Finke)" />Beth had been diagnosed with diabetes when she was seven, so she knew issues with her eyes were a possibility, but she didn&rsquo;t think she&rsquo;d lose her sight altogether.</p><p dir="ltr">For the next few months, her 25th year would be spent going back and forth between downstate Champaign and Chicago for surgeries and doctors&rsquo; visits.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;We tried really hard to save my eyesight,&quot; she said. &quot;But by July of my 26th year I was totally blind.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">So the things Beth saw during her 25th year - her wedding, her family members&rsquo; faces, the White Sox stadium - those are the images she still has in her head today.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, the following years were transitional ones; she had to learn how to read Braille, how to use a cane, but with all of these changes came a gift: writing. She says there was something therapeutic about putting all her feelings and life changes on paper.</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s a gift she&rsquo;s now able to pass on to her students.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I give them 500 words. That&rsquo;s all they have to write these essays, so if you only have 500 words to work with you have to use really strong words. You have to really think about what you&rsquo;re writing,&quot; Finke said.</p><p dir="ltr">And as many of her students near the end of their years, it&rsquo;s these strong words that give them a chance to honor the lives that they&rsquo;ve lived.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 10:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-chicago-seniors-reflect-eventful-year-106288 Year 25: Toni Preckwinkle http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-toni-preckwinkle-106274 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tonipreckwinkle20s.jpg" style="float: right; width: 240px; height: 300px;" title="20-something Toni Preckwinkle" /></p><p>Many of you know Toni Preckwinkle as a longtime Chicago politician. Currently, she&#39;s Cook County Board President, a seat she&#39;s held since 2010.</p><p>Before that, she served for almost 20 years&nbsp;as alderman of the 4th ward.</p><div><div>But where was she at 25? That&#39;s something you might not know.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She was just a few years out of college (she got both her Bachelor&#39;s and Master&#39;s degrees from the University of Chicago) and was working as a history teacher in Englewood.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At the time, she figured she would continue teaching for the rest of her career. Maybe she&#39;d become a principal, but she thought she&#39;d stay in education.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But life took her in a different direction.&nbsp;</div><p>President Preckwinkle joined Rick Kogan and WBEZ Producer Lauren Chooljian on the Afternoon Shift recently to talk about how teaching, though not a life-long career, has informed who she is today.</p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/year25">Year 25: Sharing stories from a milestone age</a>.</em></span></span></p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F3821524&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-toni-preckwinkle-106274 Where was Alpana Singh at 25? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-alpana-singh-25-105949 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/25sing.jpg" title="" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82210526&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>2013 has already been a big year for Alpana Singh.&nbsp;</p><p>After a ten-year run as host of WTTW&#39;s restaurant review show <a href="http://checkplease.wttw.com/">Check, Please!</a>, Singh announced she would be <a href="http://interactive.wttw.com/about/pressroom/2013/01/23/alpana-singh-step-down-check-please-host-after-10-seasons">stepping </a>down to focus on other food and wine endeavors.</p><p>Singh is now master sommelier and proprietor of <a href="http://boardinghousechicago.com/dine/">The Boarding House</a>, a wine bar and restaurant in River North.</p><p>The Chicago Tribune recently gave it a <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/ct-dining-0307-vettel-boarding-house-20130307,0,3851586.column">two-star review</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>But before all that, she was a 25 year old, still fairly new to Chicago, working as a sommelier&nbsp;at the high-end restaurant Everest.&nbsp;</p><p>But 25 wasn&#39;t the easiest year for her, and it certainly wasn&#39;t her favorite.</p><p>When she wasn&#39;t serving wine at Everest, she was cramming for the master sommelier exam. And as she told WBEZ producer Lauren Chooljian, that was quite a task.</p><p>Lauren recently sat down with Alpana outside the loud, lively kitchen of The Boarding House.</p></p> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 09:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/where-was-alpana-singh-25-105949