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I had gone on a short business-related trip with my father, who ran a gas station in suburban Chicago. This would have been in 1950; I was five years old.

Whatever the transaction, it must have been too long for my limited five-year-old attention span, because I grew tired of waiting and began to walk home, knowing neither direction nor distance. This was definitely not the nice part of the city. I had walked quite a few blocks along a busy industrial street, apparently in the right direction, when he found me. I don’t recall being disciplined in any physical way (which is another topic for conversation here, but it will have to wait for another time); he just hoisted into the passenger seat of the truck and told to never do that again.

This was the beginning of my insatiable desire to explore new places, to enlarge the “familiar” world of a small child. It was also the beginning of my expansive love affair with the City of Chicago, which has never diminished in all the intervening years.

It is clear now that I left home at the age of five and have been leaving ever since….


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