I grew up not far from the Skokie Lagoons in Northfield, IL. In fact I drove past them several times a week in high school and college on the way to various waitressing jobs in Northfield. I fictionalized them for THE FIELD and they actually play a key part in the story, Earlier this summer I was in Chicago for the ALA (American Library Association) conference. We decided to stay in the suburbs to avoid the traffic and hassle of the city and the hotel my husband found randomly through one of those price-cut websites was right across the street from the lagoons! Mere coincidence? I think not!
A lot of Chicago was swamp and marsh generations ago – the lore of my childhood was that Chicago was an Indian word for ‘smelly onions’ and Winnetka, the town I grew up in, meant ‘beautiful land.’ I research the Skokie Lagoons for my book and discovered another Indian connection. They called them the ‘Chewab Skokie’ which means ‘big, wet prairie.”
It was lovely to see them again!