I never thought of myself as a gentrifier when I moved into Chicago’s West Loop 15 years ago, but that’s the fate of anyone starting a family in an unestablished neighborhood. Now, I’m an amateur historian, racing against progress to document the place where I live.
Long before he was the successful Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly’s baseball life bore the arc of unfulfilled expectations. A story about my childhood hero, originally published in Elysian Fields Quarterly in 2008 and later picked up by The Cauldron in 2015.
St. Louis occupies a kind of in-between territory for me, an anchor for my young and adult lives. It’s the mythical big city of my childhood, where my favorite baseball team played two hours west across the stark cornfields of southern Illinois. Now it’s the smaller weekend destination downstate, but its own divisions seep into my experience in new ways.