When Mike, Hanni and I decided to move from Urbana, Illinois to Chicago in 2003 we looked for a neighborhood that would be friendly, safe, and easy for Hanni and me to navigate.
That’s how we found Printers Row.
Printers Row is a tiny neighborhood in Chicago just south of the Loop. The buildings in our neighborhood were originally used by printing and publishing businesses.
Before electricity, printers used natural light to check their work, so the windows in neighborhood buildings are tall and wide. You know, to let light in. The ceilings are high, too, to accommodate old printing presses. Most of the buildings in Printers Row have been converted into residential lofts. There’s always a lot of activity up and down the street, so I feel safe. When I’m walking around with hanni, I feel like people are looking out for me.
Printers Row is close enough to the Loop that Hanni can walk me to my part-time job at Easter Seals and the weekly writing class I teach for senior citizens at the Chicago Cultural Center.
And so, the neighborhood feels safe, it’s easy to navigate. The last requirement: it had to be friendly.
Trust me, it is. In my previous post I told you about the champagne celebration at our local tavern. Now it’s time to tell you about our local bookstore.
Copies of “Hanni and Beth: Safe and Sound” arrived at Sandmeyer’s Bookstore Wednesday. Ulrich
Sandmeyer called me the minute the books arrived. Mike and I ran right down to admire the box load. One book had already sold by the time we got there – a neighbor had seen Ulrich pulling a copy out of the box and insisted on buying it right away.
“There’s not another book like it,” Ulrich said, marveling at the illustrations inside. “It’s going to sell very, very
well.” To that end, Ulrich immediately placed one copy of Safe & Sound in the front display window.
Ulrich owns the store with his wife Ellen — today she pushed that boxload of books on a pushcart to our friends Pat and Carol’s house on Michigan Avenue. Carol and Pat are the couple who watched Hanni while we were in Poland, you might remember my blog about how much Hanni loved her stay with them. Today Carol and Pat showed their generosity once again, hosting an open house to celebrate the publication of Hanni and Beth: Safe & sound. It was only when I sat down to write this blog post that I remembered: Carol and I met on the street! She had seen an article I wrote for the Chicago Tribune Sunday magazine and recognized me from an accompanying photo. She stopped me on the street afterwards to tell me how much she enjoyed the piece I’d written. We’ve been friends ever since.
I sat with Ellen Sandmeyer at the party, signing, Brailling, and rubber stamping Hanni’s pawprint into books for anyone who wanted to buy one. And lots of people wanted to buy one. Or two! or three! A woman from the writing class I teach even bought SEVEN — she’s in the Safe & sound Frequent Flyer Club now.
Neighbors were there, friends from my book club , my writing group, my senior citizen class came. My sister Cheryl surprised me by bringing Flo to the party — what a delight!
The event was wonderful. My neighbors are great. Once again I was reminded: Mike and I made the right decision when we decided to live in Printers Row.