Today marks my return as a newspaper columnist — after a lengthy hiatus following stints with the Daily Times in Ottawa, Ill., and the Chicago Tribune — with my debut column for the newspaper I grew up reading as a kid, the Daily Journal in Kankakee.
I’d like to again thank everyone who’s been in touch this week since I broke the news that I was returning to the writing game. It’s much appreciated, and I look forward to you following along with me as we see wherever it is that the Wisch List takes us this time.
And, so, without any further ado, it’s on with the Wisch List, version 3.0 …
Happy Homecoming: Wisch List returns to print
The WISCH LIST
May 30, 2009
When I was 3 years old, there were few things – save, maybe, Santa Claus, Superman and sugar – that got my motor running more than the news that company was coming over to visit.
Because, immediately upon getting word from my parents that friends or relatives were headed our way, I’d hustle off to grab my box of Crayolas and pad of construction paper so I could get down to business.
Half an hour or so later, I’d proudly emerge from the salt mines with a mess of meticulously scribbled chicken scratch. And upon our visitors’ arrival, I’d hop up on the family room couch and proceed to regale them with the elaborate story that I’d just written.
Even though I didn’t yet know how to write.
Three decades later, I like to think that big imagination is still alive, but that I’ve also picked up a few new skills along the way.
Including, you know, literacy.
Since graduating from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1994 and the University of Illinois four years later, I’ve used those lessons learned to launch my own newspaper column, win a slew of writing awards, earn a reporting gig with the Chicago Tribune and even publish a book.
Somewhat ironically, though, in a lengthy writing career that even predates, well, writing, I’ve never before written for my hometown newspaper.
For those of you who don’t know me, hey, I’m Dave. And for those of you who do, well, it’s great to be among friends. But what I’m really here for today is to introduce you to something else.
The Wisch List.
(It’s pleased to meet you, too.)
This marks the debut of my column in the pages of the Daily Journal, and I couldn’t be happier for it to have found a home here.
Seven summers ago when I was writing sports and features for the Daily Times – a sister paper of the Daily Journal located in Ottawa, Ill., that’s now called The Times – I launched the Wisch List as a self-dubbed column about “Life – and the people who live it.”
Since then, both the Wisch List and myself have been on quite a wild ride.
In November 2004, I published 75 of my columns in a book that I entitled, “Northern IlliNOISE: Tales of a Territory.” Less than year later, in July 2005, I took a news reporting job with the Chicago Tribune, and took the “Wisch List” with me.
There, I adapted the column into only the third-ever blog to appear at chicagotribune.com. And after two busy years of covering the city and the suburbs both online and in print, I left the Trib in July 2007, but not Chicago.
These days, I write full-time for a suburban advertising agency, live just blocks away from Wrigley Field and revel in all the wonderful things that the Windy City has to offer (as well as occasionally grumble about what it does not).
And it’s Chicago that the Wisch List is now all about.
Through this weekly column, I hope to bring Chicago closer to home for all of you, sharing stories about the interesting people I meet, the sights you should be seeing, the sports teams you care about, and the issues up here in the City of Big Shoulders, Taxes and Potholes that are relevant to you.
Beyond that, who knows what else we’ll get ourselves into through this column, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.
As for you, all I ask is to feel free to get in touch with me anytime, whether it’s by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, finding me on Facebook, following me on Twitter (twitter.com/wischlist) or checking in with me through my blog at wischlist.com.
You can just say hello, or, even better, pass along a column idea or a Chicago-related topic that you’d like to see explored.
It was 4½ years ago that I opened my book with the following passage:
If nothing else, I am an Illinois boy.
Born (in tiny Clifton) and raised (in bigger Bourbonnais). Bred (on Chicago Cubs baseball) and fed (a steady diet of disappointment. Naturally).
Through thick (winter coats) and thin (wallets, as a college student). In sickness (again, Cubs fan) and in health (the Michael Jordan Era).
For richer or poorer. For better or worse. And so on, and so on …
‘Til death do us part.
(Which, hopefully, won’t be for quite some time.)
And those words still ring true today.
Although, I should add that in between my birth in Clifton and my youth in Bourbonnais, I spent the first 3½ years of my life living on Nelson Avenue in Kankakee. So, for me, this column truly is a return to my roots.
You could even say it’s like going home again, home again …
I think my 3-year-old self would have liked that one.