Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hey New Mom, Meet Hyde Park!

The coiner of the phrase "Mulatto Heaven" and
a few small friends enjoy HP's Promontory Point.

1.     It IS Mulatto Heaven.  Seriously, this 'hood is ground zero for mixed race families, gay parents, and single parents.  Getting the bad stares here is rare.  It's an oasis, so much so that when you leave you forget that this diversity is far from the norm.

2.     Sure there are conservatives here, but for the most part we're either liberal, progressive or so to the left crunchy you crack your teeth just lookin'!

3.     Hyde Park's retail clothing situation is pretty much non-existent.  Unless, of course, you want a t-shirt with Obama's picture on it.

4.     The Hyde Park Parents Support Network is a blessing.  You can buy, sell or borrow any child-related item.  You can get advice on anything from introducing solids to why, despite your ardent pacifism, your son is a budding Ted Nugent.  And, you can witness passionate neighborhood cyber-battles about letting dogs into parks and the suggestion that if you're concerned about schools you should move to the 'burbs.

5.     Expressing disdain for beloved all-American rituals like trick-or-treating or the Super Bowl will earn you, at worst, a massive eye roll, and an unspoken "get over yourself," as opposed to being accused of treason and run out of town.

6.     It's a gem of a village in the part of Chicago that most people assume the worst about - the Southside. Everyone knows everyone - two degrees of separation at best. If you want to get out of HP Produce (a scaled-down, neighborhood version of Trader Joe's or Whole Foods) without fifteen stop-and-chats, consider wearing a Yosemite Sam Hat and some Groucho Marx glasses.  

7.     You knew this already, but it's the president's hometown. How cool is it that his multimillion dollar home is steps away from Section 8 housing?

8.     The only thing separating an elite college preceptorial from the neighborhood moms' book group is wine.  Lots and lots of wine.

9.     As you can see from #3, Hyde Parkers see clothing as purely functional. We might as well walk around wearing barrels. If you rock it frumpy, or embrace the no-style lifestyle, then this is the 'hood 'for you!  We save the fancy stuff for visits to other parts of town.  Consider the following typical exchange:

Mom #1: (dressed in her just-shy-of-pajamas momiform) "Wow, you look great - makeup, skinny jeans, cute boots!  Where are you going?
Mom #2:  "Yeah, I'm meeting a friend on the Northside."
Both: (nodding and grinning knowingly)  "Ooo-oooh...."

10.  Sure, it's a college town. But with the exception of a few Greek domiciles, it is the life of the mind, baby.  A few popular slogans describing good ol' U of C are "Where Fun Comes to Die," "Where the Squirrels are More Aggressive than the Men," and "Where The Only Thing That Goes Down on You Is Your GPA."

11.  Bixler and Butternut Playlots.  Where it is the norm for parents to actually talk to each other, and where for the benefit of the children who play there, people deposit no-longer-needed toys that range from misfit status to perfectly good. 

12.  It's not Highland Park or Lincoln Park. Far from it. If a Prada garment found itself here, it might suffer an existential crisis. As far as I know, there is very little hopping into bed with other people's husbands, but there is definitely a gossip circuit.  Surely, SOMEONE could do a real housewives thing here.  Maybe on PBS?  What have I been smoking, you ask? Okay, fine.  I'm done now.


  1. Oh, how I miss my HP!!!!!! Can't wait to be back in August. Bixler, here we come.

  2. I am a new follower, I found you on the February Blog Hop. It is nice to see another mixed race family blogger!

  3. Some of us "rock it frumpy" up here on the old make me miss Hyde Park! It's a great hood.


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