The news broke as it so often does these days: on Facebook.

Immediately, I tried to go to the Sun Times website. It would not load, so I went to Chicago Tribune instead. There I read the headline about Roger Ebert’s death, and the essay about his life.

I posted my own thought on Facebook, and one of my oldest Chicago friends pointed me to the WBEZ stream, the whole show being dedicated to discussion about Roger.

And that led me to this tweet:


And that led me to this thought:

twitter screen-at the moviesDays like today, when pieces of my childhood, pieces of my life in Chicagoland, are gone not just from me, but from the world, my heart is never more there.

We used to have a little black and white TV in our kitchen, and roger and Gene Sikel’s At The Movies TV show, on channel 11 {aka PBS} is one of the shows I most remember being on it. As a teenager and budding journalist (my dream job is still “paid columnist”), I loved that Roger was a graduate of University of Illinois, my dream school and where I eventually attended for a year. As an adult, I still always turned to Roger’s movie reviews first…and sometimes found myself stirred or angered by his social commentaries on Twitter.

I heard him described 100 times on Thursday afternoon as “prolific.” ‘Tis true.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever think of any place but Chicago as home. I still go to Chicago websites for news. I  know what the weather is like there most days. I hold allegiance to their teams, museums, colleges, Mexican restaurants, and airport. And even though it would be entirely sensible, I have not been able to change my area code form “708” just yet. And upon hearing the news of Roger Ebert’s passing, just a day after hearing about his recurrence of cancer and lovely turn of phrase, “leave of presence,” I found myself more than a little homesick.

In these past few weeks, I have made big strides in solidifying the south strand as my home. We have found doctors… local-owned favorite shops and restaurants…shortcuts. I am in the mix of things, like playdates and meal trains and gatherings. I get asked where to get hair done or what is the best movie theatre! I am so, so, so happy about and grateful for this.

But for now, my home is still divided a little (hence the title!) {Chicago-lina, if you’re new here). I first heard this beautiful song the month we moved, when Rod and I were sitting in our still-not-quite-unpacked living room and watching the season/series finale of the great show, Chicago Code. I can’t imagine moving away from my beach, from the blue and green and salty air and basket full of flip-flops, but sometimes, often really, I still dream of Chicago.

Recently, the same dear, talented, lifelong friend I reference above sent me pictures she took of our “See YouS Later” party. Here are a few of my favorites, and just a few of the reasons my diverse, sweet home Chicago is close to my heart always:

Mort Castle and Miranda
Mort Castle and Miranda
My Gramma, Aunt Janice, baby cousin Gavin, and Dad (Paige laughing in background)
My Gramma, Aunt Janice, baby cousin Gavin, and Dad (Paige laughing in background)
Me, Rick, and Bex
Me, Rick, and Bex