Our friends of over 40 years are leaving Chicago to be near their kids in California.
I have known them since we were organizing together at Stewart-Warner, a factory on the north side of Chicago making oil gauges for cars.
When I worked at Stewart-Warner the union was the IBEW. What a corrupt outfit they were. Years later they were thrown out and replaced by the progressive UE as their collective bargaining representative.
That didn’t last long. A few years later the castle-like factory closed, was torn down and replaced by expensive condominiums. They saved the clock from the factory tower and placed it in a mini-park among the condos.
I tell people that when I moved to Chicago in 1973 every neighborhood had a factory, a bar, a church and a neighborhood school.
I don’t want to romanticize the Chicago of the past. It has always been a hard-scrabble town, racist, corrupt and violent. If you weren’t rich.
But the city of Rahm Emanuel is a city that has closed neighborhood schools. The factories that populated every neighborhood are gone as well. As are the union jobs with union wages. As are over 200,000 African Americans whose families came to Chicago during the Great Migration. Over the past two decades they have left our city and the region.
Last weekend we were saying our goodbyes to our departing long-time friends and Anne snapped a picture of an original print they own of the Stewart-Warner factory.
Another friend had found the print at a garage sale or something and had given it to them as a gift.
I loved it. I offered to take it off their hands so they wouldn’t have to move it to California. But, no deal.
The print is signed by Richard Slowinski.
Anne did a Google search and could not find an artist by the name of Richard Slowinski.
There is a Ronald Slowinski.
He is an abstract painter who in the 50s worked with a group of Chicago artists that organized the Wells Street Gallery.
Leon Golub was a member of the group.
The folk singer Odetta had an apartment upstairs from the gallery.
But who is Richard Slowinski?
If you know, send me a note.