Tag Archives: oak park

Every Wednesday

Yesterday my hometown newspaper, The Wednesday Journal, featured a front page article about my life with ALS. The writer, Ken Trainor, and I spoke on the phone several times before the piece ran. He visited my parents to get their take on how ALS has affected our family. He even interviewed a friend and former neighbor. And yesterday he came out with a beautiful, thoughtful article that you can read here.

When I was a kid growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, I had a job delivering The Wednesday Journal. If you are particularly observant, you may have guessed that I delivered the paper on Wednesdays. On those mornings, I got up early and went across the street to my friend Stephanie’s house, where the papers were sitting in flat stacks, next to a large box of plastic bags.

First, we folded them up, wrapped a rubber band around each one, and bagged it. They left our hands black with ink, and the smell of it lingered, so that if I picture Steph’s enclosed front porch, even now, I can summon up the scent—fresh ink on paper and her schnauzer named Fritz—that goes with it. We piled our bagged papers into enormous over-the-shoulder tote bags provided by The Wednesday Journal, and headed off on our route. I had the east side of Scoville Avenue and she had the west. For four blocks, we perfected our paper-tossing arcs, standing on the sidewalk and launching the bags onto each front stoop. I loved nailing a perfect landing. Then we went home and got ready for school. Read More>

Out on the Road

When we moved into our new neighborhood last year, I looked at the hills around our house, looked down at my wheelchair and thought Hell No. I took one harrowing walk with Scarlett “around the block”, which took 20 minutes and included several encounters with cars blocking the sidewalk, forcing me to wheel down short, steep driveways into the street.

Scarlett was riding her bike about a half block ahead of me the whole time, and if that sounds ok to you people who live on perfectly flat streets, let me just say that it was really not all that ok. I’m from a suburb of Chicago where we went sledding down hills that weren’t as steep as my San Francisco street. That first “walk” resulted in no injuries, and only one suggestion from a stranger that I attach a leash to Scarlett’s bike, but I was seriously sweating.

That was in my first wheelchair, a lightweight cutie that couldn’t handle a whole lot of climbing. When I got my new wheelchair, it was time to try again. I wanted to head out with my daughter, explore with her, just be alone with her for a while. But I was freaked out. Read More>