Chapter 12: Wulf Does Research
While his grandmother Nora was busy teaching the inquiring young minds at the University of Chicago, Wulf had been doing research of his own, inside the Blackstone library. He wondered to himself why the library was so very uncrowded, since it was such a wonderful place, loaded with books and computers ready to take anyone on a journey anywhere in history. Fiction, along with any subject under the sun was available all about him, more than he had ever imagined was available. The tiny library on the reservation at home had the classics, and some really wonderful books, but this place had- everything! And Wulf had numerous questions within his mind about this, his new environment. He went to a computer, and began researching…
Once upon a time, Wulf learned, Chicago had been quite a safe place, a bastion of American and Western civilization. Especially before Prohibition in 1920, crime was quite rare. Punishment was swift and sure, sentences harsh. After Prohibition though, organized crime just exploded in the city! The culture became riddled with corruption, since prohibiting alcoholic beverages was virtually unenforceable.
More and more people came to the city, since there were jobs there. All sorts of jobs, many of which required no special skills, but which still paid well by national standards. The schools were increasingly overcrowded and run down, with the money from taxes being siphoned more and more into the pockets of the school bureaucracy and unions rather than into hiring competent teachers and more books.
Many of these recent immigrants to the city were blacks, and since communities were completely segregated before the 1960’s, the black communities had their own professional class: shopkeepers, small businessmen, and every other type of profession, all within their own community. Then came the disastrous “Great Society” act of Lyndon Johnson, which effectively sought to eliminate segregation, while simultaneously transferring trillions of dollars from the producers to people who did not produce, or work.
With segregation gone, most of the most desirable residents of the black communities on the South and West sides of Chicago simply left for the suburbs. This left primarily only those that had no other option, the uneducated and the unmotivated. Chaos simply festered, and eventually exploded- idleness and crime, enabled by ever increasing welfare and food stamp payment transfers, just grew and grew.
Most white people left, as did Asians who had the ability to leave. The new immigrants to the city from other lands such as India and China opened small groceries and other businesses in the black communities, since their black counterparts had long since left for the suburbs. These entrepreneurs were resented by the black residents, and were increasingly singled out for robberies and other crimes.
Wulf had really not known any of this! He had suspected Chicago to be a decadent place, as most cities inevitably become, but this was really unbelievable. ‘How could this be countenanced in a place within America?’ he wondered. Now, he kind of understood the looks the black youths had been giving him, the angry, hostile glares- they actually blamed HIM. Someone who had only been here a few days, and if given any choice would be gone tomorrow, it was all HIS fault, and that of anyone who looked like him. This was the real racism, and the youth shook his head in disgust. Disgust that no one was addressing the problem, that no one really would even mention the problem.
Looking up the statistics of his future high school of the very next day, Hyde Park High School, he noted one fact- the school was 100% black, with only a very few white teachers. Now he understood the altercation on the school steps the other day with the youth they called Tibo, and why he had been attacked. It was simply because he was white!
Wulf was a young man of very direct action and thinking; long ago he had learned to live completely in the moment, because it is all that you really have. He would not even really have known just how to worry, and he certainly knew that it would do no good at all. And so, he moved on to other things.
He began to read from one of his favorite books, one that he had read many times but always profited from- The Odyssey. From a time when Western civilization was vital and real, and the tenets that were the very framework upon which our civilization was based were being determined, and followed to great success! Like many a cloistered scholar has figured out over the years, our future is in our past. He who does not study history is condemned to repeat it. At his young age of 17 years, Wulf had hit upon this wisdom, which so many with hugely expensive Ivy League educations found eluded them their whole life long.
Finally he decided to leave for the journey home, descending the marble steps and down from his retreat in the wonderful Blackstone library to the sidewalk. Setting off on a jog, he headed for the lake, and the long paved trail back to Nora’s condo.
In the long green parkway along the lake, Wulf took off his shoes and t-shirt, slinging them into a small backpack he unfolded from his pocket. He ran along on the grass, and sometimes in the sand, which made the running more difficult and thus more effective as exercise. Occasionally, he would sprint, and the few people on the beachfront that day stared in amaze at the speed shown by the hulking youth! He paid no attention whatsoever, just concentrating on the sensation of his own superbly trained body doing what it did best- physical action of any sort.
Periodically he would stop to do pushups, and alternated that with self resisted exercise, with one limb resisting against another for repetitions. Then, off he would go like the wind, a light sheen of sweat glistening on his torso that was already getting quite bronzed from the sun. He felt good, having found his physical outlet along the lake and in nearby Promontory Point; and his mental refuge in the wonderful Blackstone library from when Chicago had been a civilized land of promise.