The Children of Lincoln Park

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I've made the decision that when I grow up I'd like to be a Lincoln Park child.

Lincoln Park is a neighborhood about two miles from downtown, give or take. The homes are immaculate, the yards are beautiful, and almost every child has their own nanny. The only thing older than the brownstones in this area is the money that lives in them.


Lincoln Park is the only neighborhood I've lived in since I moved to Chicago. I've tried to move to Wicker Park or Logan Square a few times when I start pretending I'm super cool and hip, but it's never worked out. Because I am not super cool or hip. Lincoln Park just fits my old stuffy soul.

The only thing better than growing old in this beautiful neighborhood would be being born into it.
I decided this the other day while I was sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by a table of well dressed pre-teens. It was a warm Thursday afternoon, the sun was shining, and these four young girls were having book club. They were discussing, in great detail I might add, Jane Eyre.

Do you know what I was doing on a warm afternoon in the summer when I was their age? I was either covering my trampoline with shampoo and water, then sliding back and forth as fast as possible, often times getting my head stuck in the springs and enjoying every second of it.

Or I was sitting on a sprinkler. Literally sitting on it just for the hell of it. I enjoyed the rush of water, what can I say. To answer your question, no, I wasn't the sharpest child. I also used to enjoy putting tape over my mouth and spinning around in circles as fast as I could until I fell over.

So I couldn't help but be totally enamored with these intelligent young girls. I stopped what I was working on and just observed.

They all wore hip glasses and skinny jeans. One of the girls was wearing a Bulls jersey, but it was like a fashion statement and not in the way I used to wear jerseys as a kid. I wore jerseys because my brother had outgrown them and passed them down to me. And then I would proceed to wear a huge t-shirt underneath it that fell out of the sleeves and from the neck of the jersey just to ensure everyone was certain I was wearing clothes two sizes too big. This girl was rocking hers like it was specially made for her. Which it probably was.

They had better highlights than me. And nails that looked like they had never been chewed on or had ever had to endure pulling weeds from the front terrace while their dad shouted from behind them "you're staying out there until every damn weed is pulled! And stop trying to hide them under the rocks."

"But dad, they make sprays for this stuff now! Please, I hate this..." while mumbling every swear word they could think of under their breath.

No, these girls were a classy bunch. Have you ever felt inferior to a table full of children? It's an odd feeling. I wanted to snap a photo of them simply for this post, but I've heard parents frown upon strange adults taking photos of their children so I resisted.

Their discussion moved from Jane Eyre, to weekend plans, and they even touched on gay marriage for a bit or two. They all had gay friends and didn't understand why it was ever an issue.

I was just about to ask their savvy young group if I could please join their clique as well as their book club, when one of them got a text from a boy and they all went from being classy young women, to boy obsessed little girls.

The reaction to a cute boy texting is universal, no matter where you are raised.

And for a second I felt bad for turning my back on my rural upbringings. But at 4:00 o'clock on the dot when the girls were picked up in a white Range Rover I thought, no I would probably do okay here as a child after all.


22 comments:

  1. When I grow up I want to be a highland park child. Same thing, just dallas. And the girls wear XL tshirts and shorts that are so short the large t-shirts cascade over it and they are just much much cooler than me.

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    1. I feel you. I feel so inadequate when I go to SMU's campus.

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    2. hahahah - We have the same thing here at the University of Texas campus! Don't forget about the Nike Frees as well. :)

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  2. Haha last time we were there I am telling my boyfriend how I want to move to and raise our future kids in Lincoln Park. Daydreaming about our perfect little home. I have lofty goals.

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  3. Now wait a minute, this soapy water trampoline you speak of....it's just for kids? Because I could see that being the highlight of my next party! And that phrase is just begging for a 'your mom' joke. Great post, lady!!

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  4. I would never be cool enough to hang out with those girls. I wouldn't be cool enough to hang out with those girls' nannies!

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  5. I feel you! I'm currently in Orange County, California, home of the rich and richer, where little 12 year old girls are more stylish and self aware than I was at 21 (and honestly, more stylish than me now.) When I compare the 15 year old teen girls I see here to my 15 year old cousin back home, growing up in rural, country central Virginia, it's like night and day. They have no idea what it's like for my cousin back home, who runs dogs with her dad on Saturday morning (a hunting thing) and thinks American Eagle is expensive, fashionable clothing, and she could never picture what it's like to grow up buying Kate Spade purses as an "everyday item" and getting her hair and nails done bi-weekly. It's an amazing world out there.

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    1. Also, totally down with the soapy trampoline and sprinkler. Did you ever point your sprinkler TOWARDS the soapy trampoline? Two birds, one stone. I grew up doing that!

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  6. So, so, so true. Oh the the neighborhoods of Chicago!

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  7. I always find it incredibly interesting to people watch. It's pretty weird to see the new generation of kids and teens and how they relate with each other. I asked my 10 year old nieces if they had heard of N'Sync and they just stared at me. Who would think there would be a day when kids don't know N'Sync haha!

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  8. It's like the Gossip Girl of Chicago. I want to be their friend. Or have my thirteen year old sister discuss Jane Eyre with me. But no, we talk about boys. Because that's what I talked about when I was fourteen.

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  9. I feel this way about my younger sister and her friends... There's a 9 year age gap, she's 18 and when I look back at pictures of myself in high school {& think back to what I was doing at her age as well} there would be no way I would be cool enough to hang with them. It's a weird feeling, coming from the same family and still having these feelings, I do enjoy listening to their conversations when I'm over at my parents and they're in the next room :)

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  10. Is it wrong to admit that I used to sit in the coffee shop in the neighborhood of kids I nannied and listen to them talk about clothes and boys and summer houses and wonder why I wasn't ever a fashionable wealthy teenager?

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  11. I would love to watch them and imagine being cool enough to be their friend. I mean, isn't this why we all read blogs?

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  12. chicago is so pretty! After moving here, I think I'd like to be a kid from west omaha. They have it made.

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  13. I've always wanted to visit Chicago & see all the different neighborhoods. Lincoln Park has always been top on my list even though I know very little about it.

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  16. Maybe it's different in the 'burbs? I never really cared much about the neighborhood I lived in.

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  17. They were discussing Jane Eyre?! Wow! That's impressive. However, I read that book, was in the play & watched the Orson Welles version multiple times while I was in junior high but I was not discussing it over coffee with my friends. I spent time with friends eating Doritoes & drinking Mountain Dew & tried to tell my parents that Dew was good for me cuz it had OJ in it (I still use that argument).

    It's just SO crazy how different kids nowadays are.

    Mandie ~ http://badbrewpack.blogspot.com/

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  18. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious! I can relate one-hundred-percent after teaching at an uppity preschool where every student speaks multiple languages, is picked up by a nanny, and has fancier threads than me! Talk about not feeling worthy to care for these kids. Glad to hear I'm not the only one:)

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