Driving past my Oak Park Music School and seeing it now vacant during the Shelter at Home period, along with all the other businesses along Lake Street, elicits an eerie feeling. Only weeks ago, villagers visited the bookstore next door and the restaurants up and down the block and below The Cappelli Institute of Music. I so enjoyed walking across to Delia’s kitchen for Oak Park’s best omelet, homemade soups and honey from the owner’s bee farm. Now empty and quiet, the street is vacant except for construction vehicles. Ironically, a restoration of Lake Street in Oak Park is happening at the very same time.
Whenever we get back to a semblance of normalcy, I believe I will have a new appreciation for the hustle and bustle of life, work and friendships. For now, however, we respect the Federal and State mandates to help prevent the spread of Covid-19; we wait until the appropriate time to re-open.
I also hope that we will think more carefully about staying away when we are not well, to give ourselves time to recover and keep others well and washing our hands before and after touching musical instruments. We must all learn to be more courteous and thoughtful when we cough or sneeze in public.
Private music lessons in Oak Park and elsewhere, restaurant visits and trips to The Book Table will return for all of us. Lake Street will be rebuilt with new sidewalks and street fixtures. Piano, vocal and instrumental music will pour out of the windows at the Cappelli Institute above and the tantalizing smells of excellent Mexican food will return below at Hecho en Oak Park. Across the street, pizza from Lou Malnati’s and fresh eggs made into omelets at Delia’s will be enjoyed again.
Here’s looking forward to that moment with a new appreciation for all the street noises, the hustle and bustle of children going to school and their music lessons again, and welcoming friends and neighbors as we gather in appreciation of good lives and worthy goals.