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Happy ‘Homecoming’: Wisch List returns to its roots

Last May, the Wisch List returned to print in the pages of my hometown area newspaper, the Kankakee Daily Journal.

And, today, the Wisch List returns to its own roots, appearing for the first time in the pages of The Times in Ottawa, Ill., where I originally launched the column almost eight years ago on Aug. 22, 2002, back when the newspaper was called the Daily Times prior to its merger with the Streator Times-Press.

Next week, the Wisch List will fully enter into the world of syndication, running each Saturday in the Daily Journal and The Times, both members of the Kankakee-based Small Newspaper Group publishing family. But, without any further ado, here’s today’s re-introductory Wisch List column from The Times

Happy ‘Homecoming’: Wisch List returns to its roots

The WISCH LIST

March 20, 2010

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 of mine is still alive, but that I’ve also picked up a few new skills along the way.

Including, you know, literacy.

For those of you who already know me from the seven years (1998-2005) I spent in Ottawa writing for the former Daily Times, it’s great to be back among friends. And for you those of you who don’t, well, hey, I’m Dave.

And this is the Wisch List.

(It’s pleased to be back, too.)

Way back in the summer of 2002, I launched the Wisch List in Ottawa as the self-dubbed column about “Life – and the people who live it.” And since then, both it and myself have been on quite the wild ride.

In November 2004, I published 75 of my columns about life in La Salle County in a book entitled, “Northern IlliNOISE: Tales of a Territory.” And eight months after that, 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 about.

Back in May, I resurrected this column for my hometown area newspaper, the Daily Journal in Kankakee, which like the Times is a Small Newspaper Group publication. And I’m now pleased to say that the Wisch List is its return to La Salle County.

Through this column I intend each week to bring Chicago closer to home for 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, you’ll also find me occasionally delving into other state-related topics, as I plan to be keeping you on your toes.

As for myself, well, I’m the same guy I was five years ago when I left the small town for the big city. I’m just a little older and a lot wiser – except, of course, when it comes to putting my faith in the Cubs.

I’d love to hear from old friends – and make new ones – so feel free to get in touch with me anytime, whether it’s by e-mail me at wischlist@gmail.com, 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 Chicago-related topic that you’d like to see explored.
In many ways it’s hard for me to believe, but it was nearly 5½ 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.)

Those words still ring true today. Although, I should add that while I consider Bourbonnais to be where I grew up, I do consider Ottawa to be where I became a man. So, for me, bringing back this column to La Salle County truly is a return to my roots.

You could even say it’s like going home again, home again …

Jiggity jog.

I think my 3-year-old self would have liked that one.