Good Morning, Evanston

It’s April 8, the 99th day of the year. Yesterday the water temperature of Lake Michigan was 45 degrees at the Chicago crib and 47 degrees at the Chicago shore.

Musicians and fans are mourning the death of John Prine, the singer-songwriter who portrayed the irony, loneliness and enigmas of getting by in this life. There were so many: Vietnam-era songs like “Spanish Pipe Dream” and “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore,” the ecological ballad “Paradise” and haunting laments like “Angel From Montgomery,” “Hello in There,” “Donald and Lydia” and “The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” and more, more, more.  He was born in Maywood but later moved to Nashville, where he died last night from complications from the coronavirus. 

Last night’s hail storm clattered on roofs and sidewalks for only about 20 minutes, but what a racket it made. Magnolia buds were scattered on the path in the Ladd Arboretum this morning. In the rotating photo box are some shots of the hailstones and an example of the sturdy spring flowers that made it through and will probably be upright once the sun appears. 

This day in history (from

1974, Hank Aaron hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record.

1990, Eighteen-year-old Ryan White, national symbol of the AIDS crisis, dies of pneumonia, having contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion.

1993, Astronaut Ellen Ochoa boards the space shuttle Discovery and, after liftoff, becomes the first Hispanic woman in space.

When photographer Lynn Trautmann ventured out in northwest Evanston on a snowy day last month, she captured the spirit of the times in Evanston – the dynamic tension of staying away from each other and supporting the community. Shops are empty but many have websites; some restaurants and coffee shops are open for walk-throughs, pickups and catering.

These next two weeks are projected to be very tough for this area. I am one of probably millions of fans of the memes of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reminding people to stay home. She tells her daughter, who calls from home because she is bored, “You’re not bored; you’re saving lives.”

In 1655, poet John Milton writing about his blindness, put it this way, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

In 1895, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote , “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts” (“Homesick in Heaven”).

In 1905 or 1906, Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in” (“Death of the Hired Man,” published in 1914).

In 2015 or thereabout, spoken word poet Rudy Francisco “home is any place that makes you forget the world is on fire, at least for a moment.”

How fortunate are the some 75,000 of us who call Evanston home.

Happy Passover, which begins tomorrow; remote celebrations are still celebrations

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...