Wednesday, July 25, 2012

25 July 2012, Day 50

This simple picture incorporates Chicago history, family heirlooms, and solid evidence that -- as we who live here have long maintained -- Rogers Park is the coolest place in Chicago. According to the Weather Channel, it is currently 100℉ in Chicago, while here in the RP, touched by the gently cooling presence of Lake Michigan and substantially less concrete and steel than the Loop, it is a refreshingly temperate 98℉. The thermometer, a souvenir of the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, was one of many leatherette tchatchkes that my uncle brought home from his job at a leather works in Philadelphia. As a child, i loved this thermometer, which seemed to me to be an exotic talisman of far-off places and modernist design. I wouldn't have known to call it "modernist," but i recognized it as celebrating a future that still seemed excitingly futuristic three decades after the Century of Progress. In time, i inherited the thermometer and it has travelled with me since, until eventually i (and it) moved to Chicago. Wandering through the local antiques malls, i've discovered that Century of Progress memorabilia is fairly cheap and commonplace here, but to me it is still rich with that aura of other places and other times that it had for me as a child. 

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