WBEZ | neighbor http://www.wbez.org/tags/neighbor Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Won't you be my neighbor? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/wont-you-be-my-neighbor-99861 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/neighborhoodwatch.jpg" style="width: 613px; height: 613px;" title="(Flickr/chrisinplymouth)" /></div><p>Chicago is oft described as a city of neighborhoods&mdash;which is understandable when you consider that there are more than 200 distinct pockets, each with its own identity, history, quirks and perks. Historically, neighborhoods were largely defined by the people and places that occupied and roamed its streets; by the parish and the pub; by the porches and the familiar faces out front. But as many of our most intimate communities move online, have we lost touch of the people right outside our own doors?</p><p>Growing up in Chicago&#39;s northern suburbs, I knew the names and faces of every family on my block&mdash;where they worked and where they worshipped; which neighbors were nice and which were not so nice; which were nosy and which were no good. Our doors were left unlocked and if, for some strange reason, your own home was shut, you walked over to a neighbor&rsquo;s house to use the phone, kick up your feet and wait for mom or dad to come home to let you inside.</p><p>Nowadays, my door has two locks and a baseball bat by the entryway. I&rsquo;ve lived in my apartment for more than three years but could not tell you the name of any of my neighbors&mdash;that&rsquo;s actually a lie, I know one name: Kerry Wood. But I assure you, if I weren&#39;t a sports fan and if every third person in Wrigleyville didn&#39;t have his name affixed to their back each summer, I would not know his name or flash him a creepy star-stuck grin on the sidewalk.</p><p>Once upon a time, when someone on the sidewalk flashed you a grin, it was considered a friendly gesture&hellip;now, it feels more like a confirmation of crazy. People, it seems, tend to be fearless online but increasingly terrified of face-to-face interactions.</p><p>There&#39;s no denying things have changed. Columbia College history professor <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Humanities_History_and_Social_Sciences/faculty/Dominic_Pacyga.php" target="_blank">Dominic Pacyga</a> has been teaching and writing about Chicago&rsquo;s historic and evolving neighborhoods for more than 30 years. He says he&rsquo;s seen a real shift over time&mdash;part of it is economic, part of it is technological. But a big part of it, he says, is fear.</p><p>&ldquo;People are simply afraid of other people; that&rsquo;s increased over time and neighborhoods have broken down,&rdquo; Pacyga said.</p><p>That said, Pacyga grew up in Chicago&rsquo;s Back of the Yards neighborhood and still lives on the city&rsquo;s South Side&mdash;so there must be some reason, some roots, keeping him in the hood.</p><p>WBEZ blogger Claire Zulkey likes many things about her Edgewater neighborhood. In her most <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-06/my-favorite-neighbor-bar-99851?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClaireZulkey+%28WBEZ+Blogs+|+Claire+Zulkey%27s+An+American+Writer+%28According+to+Wikipedia%29%29" target="_blank">recent post</a>, she writes that she finds it, &ldquo;charmingly real, or realistically nice, or whatever combination you want to come up with to describe &lsquo;urban&rsquo; and &lsquo;neighborly.&rsquo;&rdquo; She also writes that her favorite neighbor is a dive bar called Ollie&rsquo;s.</p><p><em>Afternoon Shift</em> asked Pacyga, Zulkey and Kathy Chaney, managing editor for the <em><a href="http://www.chicagodefender.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Defender</a>, </em>to join the show&mdash;and you&mdash;for a conversation about neighbors.</p><p>So tell us: what kind of relationship do you have with your neighbors? What makes a great neighborhood?</p></p> Wed, 06 Jun 2012 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/wont-you-be-my-neighbor-99861 For writer Rita Coburn Whack the rain brings memories of a quirky neighbor http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-04/writer-rita-coburn-whack-rain-brings-memories-quirky-neighbor-84699 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-04/carwash.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It is spring but in true Chicago style the warm weather keeps coming in fits and starts. But those April showers are on track! For writer <a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/author/32937/rita%20coburn-whack" target="_blank">Rita Coburn Whack</a>, the rain always brings back memories of an old neighbor. As a child Coburn-Whack thought the neighbor was strange. But now her behavior doesn’t appear quite so crazy.</p><p><br> My sister and I considered one of our childhood nemesis, our next door neighbor whom we called Old Biddy Hen. Even I knew at 9 years old, that having someone watching you from one driveway away, was nerve wrecking. “Late to school, late to school,” she would say when I was in fact, late to school. Lord. Old Biddy was quirky too. Once, we over heard her in our kitchen complaining about a ticket she had gotten for running a red light. “It was orange, it was orange,” she yelled to my mother. My father walked from the kitchen down the hall mumbling a couple of expletives. My sister and I quietly laughed ourselves limp.<br> <br> Whenever it would rain, Old Biddy would don a rain scarf, the kind they give you at the beauty shop, clear plastic with white trim and a sort of hood that comes over the forehead. There she’d be outside with a bottle of dishwashing liquid and a rag, scrubbing her car.&nbsp; She’d wait for the rain to administer a rinse and then return to dry her car. This too irritated my father and sent him realing…string of expletives to follow. So, whenever it rained, we’d check to see when the homemade car wash would open, then make an announcement and listen to my father’s color commentary.<br> <br> For some odd reason this story was with me recently as the winter weather offered temperatures in the low 50s and a rainy reprieve. So for no reason that I can think of, other than, I am older now, probably as old as Biddy Hen was then - I drove my well-soaked snow and salt covered car into the garage and soaped it down. My plan was to take it back into the rain…Old Biddy style. But when I raised the garage door, the rain was barely a drizzle. I had no choice but to hose my car down, pull it back into the garage and dry it with towels.<br> <br> Perhaps I too am becoming a bit of a Biddy. Later, my husband came home and exclaimed with a quizzical look on his face. “It rained and you finally got a car wash?” I decided against telling him the whole story, but I thought about it, at least twice.</p><p><em>Music Button: Eric Cunningham, "Goofy A-Go-Go", from the CD Kitschorama, (Swell Records)</em></p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-04/writer-rita-coburn-whack-rain-brings-memories-quirky-neighbor-84699