Admitting That You’re Home: A Photo Diary

I'm on the floor watching Punky Brewster. Punky lives in Chicago, Illinois, with her dog Brandon and her foster dad, Henry. "Me and J.W. used to live in Chicago," she says from behind me.

I can't believe anyone I know has ever lived anywhere but here.

She tells me that after the Depression, lots of poor people moved up to Chicago in the 1940s to work in factories because there wasn't any work back home. They'd gone with several of my grandfather's brothers and their wives, and left my uncle — their son — to live with my grandfather's mother so they could work more and save more money. I get stuck on how sad that must've been for my uncle, for everyone. She says he sent them letters and drawings, and tells me how much she'd missed her son then, how her heart broke to remember it, but how it had to be done. She tells me about hot dog carts outside their apartment window, about getting together with the other wives for coffee in the morning, the pizza place on the corner, the c...

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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 841 articles for us.