Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Boys of Autumn

This picture was taken this afternoon in my backyard. The pitcher is my son Adam and the batter is his friend Julian, who lives down the street. In the summer, they both play hardball at leagues near here. They play catch with a regular baseball, but Adam still loves playing whiffle ball in our backyard, like he and I have done since we moved into this place eight years ago. When Julian comes over, I get a break.

Here's an actual father/son exchange from last winter:

Adam: Dad, can we play some whiffleball?
Dad: No, not right now, Adam.
Adam: Why not?
Dad: Well, for one, it's night. And two, it's snowing.
Adam: It's not that dark. Or snowing that much...

He and Julian (Adam's the one by the imac) have been buddies since Julian's family moved in down the block a few years ago. They have a lot in common besides playing baseball. They are both wonderful little nerds. They share of love of Star Wars, Playstation, music and most importantly fanatical devotion to the Cubs, no matter how badly they do. Adam's favorite musician these days is Jimi Hendrix. Julian loves Grand Funk Railroad-- I'm not making this up. He has an encyclopedaic knowledge of the group. They both love bowling. They are both half Asian-- Adam's mother is Chinese-American and Julian's dad is from Bangladesh. And both of them have a parent who is a teacher (I'm a teacher and Julian's mother is a teacher).

When I moved into this neighborhood (North Center, in Chicago), it was still a little rough around the edges, but the kids could play outside safely even then; parents are always around. And it was cheap. My apartment is still cheap, but I'm nervous. There have been about a dozen tear-downs on my block, including a $1.4 Million, 5,000 square foot one next door. The neighborhood is still great-- the new neighbors are actually pretty nice-- in fact a couple of problematic neighbors have been the ones who sold and left. I don't think that my landlord is going to sell, so I think we're okay for a long time. It's the longest I've lived in one place in my life.

My son thinks of it as home. His mother has moved often; it's been good for him to have at least one of his homes be steady. He was telling me recently how much he likes living here. I'd like to stay here at least until I get him off to college. I hope I can continue to afford it, so we can keep playing whiffleball.


lulu said...

Where does your son go to school? And what high schools are you looking at?

Johnny Yen said...

He goes to Onahan. The ex and I had a long discussion about high school this weekend. His local school is Taft. He'd prefer to go to a smaller school. We're looking at Jones to start with.

kim said...

We will definitely be living if in not the house, then in the neighborhood. Melody informed me a year ago, she is not leaving Chicago until she goes to college. With Adam saying this, no doubt, we will have to keep our promise.

Beth said...

Ugh. Don't you hate the McMansion movement? Adams seems like a great kid.