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Recollections of Travel 

The first time I traveled to Chicago I remember spotting the city abruptly rising up from the surface of the earth like a majestic metropolis among white clouds stationary in the sky. As I looked down, I was in awe of the biggest city I seen to date. After landing I could not wait to look around before I had to go to work the next day on Michigan Ave. 

I was born in the country and became a woman in a tiny town. I had traveled, but Chicago seemed more sophisticated than any city I had experienced thus far. I was so glad that I had brought my camera, something I had never done on a business trip. With my new Canon AE 1 in hand, I stopped worrying about looking like a tourist and started taking pictures of the tall buildings, beautiful parks and the Chicago River running through the city. Before long I felt so comfortable I imagined being a reporter for the Tribune or Sun-Times and by the time I returned to my hotel not only my feet hurt, but also my neck from looking up at the buildings reaching for the sky. What a great day, but alas I needed to prepare for work the next few days. 

Due to my company’s large presence in the area, over the next couple of years, I traveled to Chicago and its suburbs many times and it quickly became my favorite city. I still feel this way even after spending time in New York City and several European cities. Not even the fact that I had zero photographs from that momentous first trip dimmed my enthusiasm. You see, this was during the time when cameras were loaded with film and I had failed to properly engage said film in my fancy new camera so the roll that should have contained 36 newspaper worthy photos was completely blank! I learned to properly load the film and thereafter saved my fancy camera for vacations. 

My Really Bad Idea

My husband had not been to Chicago and I wanted him to experience the city, so we planned for him to accompany me on one of my trips. Having always flown into O’Hare or Midway, I was a little apprehensive about driving my pretty red sports car in the city, but I didn’t really give it a lot of thought until IT happened. 

After five hours or so on the road, discussing our plans and enjoying the trip we were in the heart of the city heading to my favorite hotel, The Knickerbocker. It was a beautiful summer day and I felt lucky we could drive leisurely with the windows down. I was enjoying Raymond’s reaction to the city I had grown to love when someone loudly blew their horn behind us. 

At the next stoplight an apparently full can of Sprite came hurtling through the open window and hit my sweet, innocent husband on the side of his face and the liquid spilled over him and sprayed the car. He looked at me incredulously and I was immediately overcome with guilt and fear. Fear is understandable as the car chased us for a couple of blocks with the driver yelling obscenities, right? But, why did I feel responsible for this terrible assault? IT happened because when the horn blew behind us I had immediately given a reflexive response. I had flipped the driver the bird. 

I now had a serious choice to make. I could allow Raymond to think the people of Chicago were jerks (and this one clearly was) and that he could anticipate being accosted on every corner. Or, I could confess and let him know his wife had precipitated the attack. I chose the latter. 

The trip was only beginning.

 

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Photos by Pixabay

 

Words Matter – I

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Newspaper & Portrait Photography

It may sound trite, but there are words I do not like.  It is not necessarily that they do not sound pleasant, although that may be part of it. And, have you noticed words do not sound the same to everyone? For instance, “coin” is one of those for me. When I say it one of my daughters chuckles quietly. I think I pronounce it normally, but obviously I do not say the simple four letter word correctly. My Mom had a similar problem with the word “oxygen,” however I find that more forgivable. But, I am getting sidetracked before I actually begin.

Depression

What I intended to discuss are words that either do not sound like what they mean or that have meanings with which I disagree. Let me start with depression, which sounds like a lower surface, a dip or swag. A road uncared for might have a depression. An old floor may be depressed in spots. This versatile word may be applied to the economy or even a weather pattern. You get it, but what if this word is used regarding another human? Many people immediately think of a person in a bad mood, sad probably and maybe even lazy. Too often the person suffering from depression is told to “snap out of it” or “get over” themselves. Even if not said in actual words that is likely the message they receive, whether intentional or not. I believe it may be time for a new word for this complex diagnosis which covers an entire spectrum of symptoms from mild and transient to suicide.

“Domestic” Violence?

Another word, or term rather, is not only inadequate, like depression, but is also inaccurate.  “Domestic violence” describes a range of situations from emotional and physical threats to injury or even murder. There is nothing “domestic” about “violence!” This terminology should never have been used to begin with and it serves an injustice to victims of violence, whether in the home or elsewhere. Recently, the term “Relationship Violence” is sometimes used in media reporting and I strongly support this more accurate terminology. Some prefer “intimate partner violence,” but in my opinion this comes up short. First, it obviously leaves out victims whose abuser is someone other than a partner. The abuser could be any relative or friend with whom one has a relationship. Statistics indicate one in three women will be the victim of intimate partner violence, but including other types of relationships would most certainly increase the statistic greatly and there is no reason to limit attention to a particular type of relationship or gender.

Pink & Purple

For many years October has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we have been encouraged to wear pink to bring attention to this illness which effects over 124 women per 100,000 population (1.3 men/100,000). Wear pink if you choose, it isn’t my favorite color and reminds me of

milek9giagirl babies more than women, but I would suggest pink ribbons do little to combat this deadly disease which has touched most of us either directly or indirectly. More helpful is knowing the signs of breast cancer, performing self exams and having regular mammography.

Someone in all sincerity I’m sure, has designated today as Purple Thursday and we are asked to “Wear a little purple with our pink” today. I must admit purple is one of my favorite colors, but rather than looking for something special to wear today I am writing this post. I wish to bring attention to Relationship Violence and encourage each of you, regardless of gender, to take action against this devastating situation which, like cancer, effects so many. Relationship Violence may take various forms other than physical abuse, including emotional, sexual, financial or verbal mistreatment. The signs and symptoms can be reviewed Online, including such sites as this National Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

  • Let’s be better informed.
  • Let’s be brave enough to report, whether it is personal or is suspected in another.
  • Let’s refuse to say, “domestic” violence from this day forward.

 

Theme photo and graphic by Pixabay