The first piece I ever wrote for Bleed Cubbie Blue was a bit of an accident. I’d been out to watch Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS and when the Cubs won to clinch a World Series berth I joined thousands of other fans who poured into the streets around Wrigley Field. That was the first night people began writing messages in chalk on the walls of the historic ballpark. I took some pictures and thought Al might want to use them in a story. He asked me to write it up and, well, here we are three and a half years later.
I don’t know what it is about this neighborhood and chalk. But the pandemic seems to have inspired a different type of chalk message in and around Wrigleyville. These days chalk writing is popping up all over the neighborhood with messages of hope, love and welcome to passers by that are visible on almost every block:
Some of these are clearly sidewalk craft projects that parents and their children are doing to pass an afternoon when it’s sunny outside. But some appear to be just everyday Chicagoans leaving a note of hope to others. I personally witnessed a young lady in her 20s writing these messages on the corner of Wilton and Waveland:
And then there are images like the one below that has no words, just a series of beautiful patterns to catch your eye. This particular image reminded me of a stained glass window:
These everyday acts of beauty around the neighborhood carry such an aura of hope and resilience during the pandemic. While the substance isn’t quite the same as the messages that covered Wrigley Field in 2016 & 2017, they seem to have a similar spirit. The spirit of a neighborhood that continues to hope in the face of impossible odds.