This amazing picture of summer fun in a fire hydrant popped up on my feed. I knew instantly that it had to be Chicago. I grew up in the Back of the Yards on the south side of the city, and open hydrants were as common as sunburns and ice cream trucks. I have memories of using the bathroom in the basement apartment of our two-flat because there was no water pressure up on the second floor where we lived. That’s what happens when just about every hydrant is open in a two mile radius. But more than that, I have so many memories of playing in the water–the whole street, even the kids that hated each other, having fun together. Good times.
I’m sure there are pictures somewhere of me and my brother and our friends in the hydrant on the corner of 50th and Laflin, but they’d be at my dad’s house. What I do have are some pictures of my kids in 2008 when the fire department opened the hydrant on the corner during our annual block party. The kids had so much fun, and I was taken right back to my childhood, as I bet many of the parents were because that’s how the South Side rolls in the summer.
The bleached-blond in the “Go Army” shirt is my oldest son (then 6 1/2). The cutie in glasses and the striped shirt is my middle daughter (then 5 1/2). And the adorable smiling face in pigtails is my youngest daughter (then 2). The rest are old neighbors and friends from the 5800 block of Tripp Ave on the southwest side.
We’ve since moved almost 2000 miles away to the Pacific Northwest where kids don’t know the joy of running barefoot without a care through the flooded streets. Or, you know, not being able to flush your toilet because there’s no water pressure.