Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Suburban Universe

I live in the "burbs". For most of my life I have lived in the suburbs in some way or another. I was born in Philadelphia but only lived there until I was 7 years old. I grew up in New Jersey,in what was a suburb of New York City. The town I grew up in, Westfield, was actually a town. I realize that times are very different now but it amazes me how much I did on my own in "town". I could walk places, like school, shops, restaurants, library and even my church. Even if I lived there today I am not sure I would let my kids walk so far on their own anymore, but I remember doing it. I was able to not depend on the car for EVERYTHING.

When I went to college, I lived in a college town. I also did not need a car until I was completing my student teaching. At that time my sister bought me a car, all I had to do was visit her once a month in Philadelphia. (I have a REALLY cool sister) In college I walked to restaurants, grocery stores, classes, work, and to see friends.

Once I graduated and left campus, that was when I got to really experience Suburbia as an adult. Strip malls, driving for everything, and living in a "Development" not a town. In Suburbia you get Malls, chain stores, and big box places to shop at. People will complain and say, every mall looks the same, every strip mall or big box mall has the same things.

At this moment in my life I have found those places comforting. When we moved here, I searched out a Target and other places. More importantly, finding the same places for my kids gave them comfort. I was picking them up and moving them away from everything they know, but hey, they could still have a Claire's and a Justice!

I was on the phone with a friend and we were laughing about this idea. I live in my own little Suburban world. Now I find myself searching online to see if my favorite chain store exist in Chicago. I tell my children, we are losing the Chocolate Factory but we get back a Trader's Joes! These location and stores offer scraps of normalcy and predictability in this time full of transition and change. So raise a glass and toast to Trader Joes, Target and all those other predictable chains. Which reminds me, I want to get online and see if there is a Total Wine in Illinois hmmmmmmmm.


  1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...but Total Wine is only on the East coast. :-(. However there is a Hershey Store on Michigan Avenue!

  2. There's the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, about 13 miles west of Naperville. My sister-in-law and I started a Christmas Eve tradition and go shopping there every year; it's not too crowded when it's freezing outside :). Here's the link: