Voting early in Wrigleyville

November 3, 2016 • Posted in baseball, careers/jobs for people who are blind, guest blog, memoir writing, politics, Uncategorized, writing by

This week I asked the writers in my memoir classes to write a letter to past or future generations about how they’re feeling now, a week before the 2016 presidential election. Sharon Kramer lives near Wrigleyville, and I thought this piece she wrote about voting early last Sunday while Cub fans were gathering for the fifth game of the World Series really knocked it out of the park. Enjoy!

I Saw America Sunday

by Sharon Kramer

That's me with Sharon Kramer and three other writers from our downtown class:, Audrey Mitchell, Wanda Bridgeforth, and Darlene Schweitzer.

That’s Sharon Kramer to my left and three other writers from our downtown class: Audrey Mitchell, Wanda Bridgeforth, and Darlene Schweitzer.

I saw America Sunday. Oh, I’ve seen America before. Videos of policemen shooting young black men. A candidate for President of the United States degrading women, the disabled and Muslims. Anger from citizens not able to replace a lost job. Hatred of our first African American president. Yes, I’ve seen too much of that America. But Sunday in Chicago, for one brief moment, America was working the way my imaginings told me it should.

I decided to vote early at my public Library on Belmont Ave. Just blocks from Wrigley Field, where the Cubs would later win game 5 in the World Series. At Clark and Diversey, about 100 policemen and women were lining up on bicycles, like a chorus line on stage, guns at their sides (I always check that), on their way to the Cubs game at Clark and Addison to keep the peace. Intermingled in this bike parade were everyday men, and women, and children dressed in blue Cubs shirts and Halloween costumes, going to the same place, inadvertently caught in the police bike procession. Nothing happened. Nobody acted self-important. It was just a long display of people and police on bikes on their way to an event. I felt like I was in the audience of Radio City Music Hall and the program was about to begin.

When I got to the voting location, there was a long line. The library was technically closed on Sunday, so I couldn’t take out a book to read. I’d left my cell at home, too. So, I had nothing to do but look at the waiting people. The shoes were mostly sneakers. All sizes and colors and styles coming together to vote. Maybe what we all have in common is sneakers.

The clothes represented young and old — black elastic-waisted pants (like mine), skirts too short coupled with torn stockings and lots of sweatshirts and baseball caps. The hair was gray, black, purple, blonde, brown and pink. The faces Black, Latino, Asian, White.

Not one word of complaint. The long line, curved and orderly. The only loud voice was from one of the voting officials trying to straighten out a line or push us closer together. No one took offense. It was just someone trying to do his job. Everyone was eager to vote. Graceful and beautifully choreographed in curvy lines, I half expected to hear a rendition of “God Bless America.”

On my way home after voting, the Trick-or-Treaters were mixed up with the Cubs fans and they were all mixed up with the police and early voters. Proud parents moving their young princesses and witches from store to store to add goodies to already bulging bags. Another dance. This time in technicolor, with joy, humor and generosity.

A perfect confluence of goodness was happening right before my eyes — voting, Halloween, innocence, pride, passion, and humor, on a lovely fall day. Everyone respected everyone else’s space. It was the way I want to think of my country. Everyone moving in their own direction, to their own song. Yet somehow, still together, respecting one another.

Will I ever see this perfect storm of civility and graciousness again? I hope so.

Sharon Kramer compiles essays by writers from the “Me, Myself and I” class I lead at the Chicago Cultural Center at a blog called Beth’s Class. This “I Saw America Sunday” essay was first published there, along with pieces written by her fellow Wednesday writers. Check them out!

Hank On November 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much.

bethfinke On November 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I’ll pass your thanks to Sharon, Hank. I know she’ll appreciate it.


Sharon kramer On November 3, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Thank you, hank.

Janet Sterling On November 3, 2016 at 1:50 pm

She DID knock it out of the park!!! Loved this post!!

bethfinke On November 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Me, too.


Sharon Kramer On November 3, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Thanks Janet. I appreciate your comment.

Diane K On November 3, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Beautiful makes me wish I was there.

Simone On November 3, 2016 at 11:56 pm

So beautifully expressed and described so visually
in words.

bethfinke On November 4, 2016 at 7:50 am

Yes. We all look forward to hearing what Sharon comes up with for class each week.


marilyn On November 5, 2016 at 5:28 am

I just joined and couldn’t have possibly started with anything better than Sharon’s beautiful story!!! Thank you

bethfinke On November 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Yes! Hope you aren’t disappointed by the comedown when I start writing posts again…!


Sharon Kramer On November 7, 2016 at 11:52 am

Thanks Marilyn. I appreciate your comment.

Linda Miller On November 6, 2016 at 10:08 am

So nice to read and envision this positive experience as we head into election day!

bethfinke On November 6, 2016 at 10:51 am



JI On November 8, 2016 at 2:30 pm


Caryl shared your story with me yesterday, and today I realize that it was on my e-mail all along. That means I read it twice, getting tear-y each time. Your story is so lovely. I am one of those people suffering from PESD/Pre Election Stress Disorder: whatever can ache — stomach, head, etc. Your story on voting offered a respite, offered hope. Thank you.

Deborah Darsie On November 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm

Sharon – THANK YOU for infusing such a joyful tone in your essay.

My state is all mail-in with several locations which are supposed to provide in-person support for accommodations physical and linguistic.

Sharon Kramer On November 29, 2016 at 6:59 am

Thank you Deborah for your positive take on my story.

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