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Dearborn Station

by judithmcconnell

Nearly every summer a friend and I attend the Printers Row Lit Fest. We take the El which is when the Chicago Transit Authority train is traveling above the city; it becomes the Subway when it takes the same track beneath the city. These frighten me since childhood, especially the Subway and I avoid them always. We both love books though, so we go.

We walk along Dearborn Street checking this booth and the other, she in search of any first edition Jane Austen and I looking for no book in particular; often buying something inviting or perhaps one by a presenter, having it autographed. We stop for lunch and continue our quest. Books abound. Writers read.

We head into a building which seems far too large for the offices and retail shops within. “I’ve been here before,” I tell Christine. This sense grows stronger as I wonder when and why. I just know - for certain. As we exit, I look up at the red brick structure and read ‘Dearborn Station’ near the top yet far below the tall clock tower. It could be a train station and I take trains so many times as a small child, but there are neither trains nor tracks here.

Now, years later. I read a book about trains and learn that the Santa Fe El Capitan, Chief and Super Chief travel from Chicago’s Dearborn Station to Los Angeles from the 1930’s for 30 plus years until the station is no longer in service. Where once tracks carrying trains that take me to and back from LA a small charming Dearborn Park with its pathways and trees stands amidst the ‘Dearborn Park’ area of newer townhouses, mid and high rises.

Reading is a good thing; so much to learn and understand.