"Summer in Chicago" is a photo series put together by Caleb Hamernick and the students in his Studio Darkroom Photography class held at Gallery37 Center for the Arts.
The project centers its focus on aspects of growing up on the south side of Chicago. Mainly because of my own experience; specifically the younger years. My summers were spent growing up on 46th and Evans, the block was full of kids and every day we'd go knocking on each others doors to start the day's activities. Biking around on chopped up bikes, throwing the football around in the street and yelling "CAR!!" to pause the game and allow local traffic to pass by. Bouts of yo momma roasting sessions. We had the milk crate nailed to the light pole in the alley. The empty lot was used as our baseball diamond. The rotating candy lady that sold 50 cent bags of frooties and chews, iceys, Now and Laters that tasted like paper, Hot Cheetos with the option of hot cheese and peppers, and assorted flavored of fruit barrels juice drinks. The candy lady helped us learn to count money, the friends were always competitive, and the grandmas, grandpas, and parents kept us from cussing. The block parties where everyone was grilling up and down the block, the music of Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Mary Mary, and other gospel artists were on full blast all day. It was the time just before the cops took notice, the gangs recruited, and the city's and societies problems were kept just around the corner, literally and figuratively.
"Socks on the concrete, Jolly rancher kids, I was talking back and now I gotta stay at grandmas crib."
This song looks back at this time, it brings me back to those years.
Someone's uncle would come around on the 4th of July and sell the firecrackers, poppers, and bottle rockets out of his trunk after making the trek to Indiana to make sure we had a fun Holiday. We had red fingers, stained from the countless 25 cent bags of hot crunchy curls. Our white t shirts were to big and had blue streaks of icee syrup down the front. Our closets were full of oversized Fubu, Southpole, Girbaud jeans, and jerseys. The empty parking spaces were used for Double Dutch tournaments. The biggest fear was being "TREATED!!" The goal was to be the rawest.
Our names were Booger, Woogy, Aaron, Spider-Man, k-dog, boom boom, moo moo, white chocolate, shay shay, monae, fat cat, man man, Jazmine, Jared, Edward, red, tre, wanye, and more that I can't think of now.
46th St. was America then.