When asked if I’m from here, I just say “my family has been here since before the Fire” (which is only true of one part of it, and they went to Minnesota before returning, but by the time they had gone to Minnesota, other parts had arrived) because it’s the easiest way of saying “yes” without having to explain myself.
The stories are all lost. Ever more every year. Some days it pains me that the stories of how the Mob gave my aunt a bicycle or how my great grandfather walked back to Hull House from Wisconsin or the scandal of the jilted Ona are ever more vague and always more sketches than truths.
Some days, I don’t mind. Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. When I’m riding past it, and the Lake washes up and into my shoes, it’s the same Lake Emma rowed in, even if none of us speak her language anymore.