It's been ten years since I filmed those CTA trains pulling into 47th Street Station. A lot has happened in Chicago, the nation and the world since then.
We've had two third ward aldermen, Dorothy Tillman and Pat Dowell --- two mayors --- three governors --- and two Presidents.
So many police superintendents and acting superintendents, I lost count. Garry McCarthy got thrown under the bus.
Five Illinois state comptrollers. The late Judy Baar Topinka was the best, because she was the most honest. "Hey! We're only five months behind paying bills now. We're improving!" She was great.
Robert Taylor Homes, Stateway Gardens and Cabrini Green came down.... Trump Tower went up.
Bronzville's historic Rosenwald went from eyesore to eye candy! Thank you, Alderman Dowell.
There were examples of bad driving...... and even worse towing.
Wal-Mart came... Oprah left. At State and Madison, Carson's closed....Sears closed......Target opened. Sears Holdings had a bad decade on Chicago’s south side. Sears at 61st and Western and 79th Street and K-Mart at 51st & Kedzie all closed.
On the transit front, the Dan Ryan Expressway's local and express lanes closed, alternately, in 2006 and 2007 for rebuilding. The Dan Ryan Red Line rapid transit line closed down for six months in 2013 for rebulding. Hybrid buses made their debut. We went from the Chicago Card... to Ventra. Illinois Central’s “new” 1971 bi-level cars were retired by Metra Electric.
All over Chicago, red "X" buildings sprouted like weeds through pavement.
Building things with Legos went from a hobby to a profession.
Detroit began its long climb back from oblivion. Think it can't happen? New York City barely dodged bankruptcy 40 years ago -- look at it now.
A year before I dropped my subscription, I toured Chicago Tribune headquarters. Five years later, I still want everything on cartoonist Rick Tuma's desk.
Five months after dropping the Tribune subscription, I also dropped Comcast cable. It's been digital broadcast and antennas ever since. One of the best decisions of my life.
Years of ever-increasing non-metered water bills forced my hand. I finally got a meter. Huge savings. From $450 every six months to a little over 30 every two months. More on that later.
Changing the subject, who is Heisenberg? Must be one of those cable shows.
Then there was the Great Flood of 2011! Streets and alleys turned into rivers; basements turned into swimming pools. SUV drivers got to try out their gas-guzzlers' capabilities.
I turned 60 this year. A few gray hairs. Still waiting for the mid-life crisis. When does that normally happen, by the way.
Some things haven't changed. As usual, in a Chicago winter, there was snow. Dry and powdery or wet and heavy. Always snow. Piles of it. Mountains of it. But after the winter, there was always, always spring.
There's been friends and relatives who have made life worth living. I'm grateful for all of them, near and far. With the internet, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr, distance isn’t the barrier it used to be.
Same house. Same cars. Same 1956 Bryant furnace. Same 27" Sony flat-screen CRT TV. Not getting rid of it till it wears out, so enough about LCD screens. Okay!?
And how can I forget.... my trusty Blackberry! Physical keyboard lovers, unite! iPhone!? Bah. Humbug!
What do the next 10 years hold? Who knows?. But I'll be here, camera in hand. So, happy holidays, and I'll see you on YouTube!