Thursday, February 21, 2008
On N. Broadway Street (Broadway Street? Nobody noticed the redundancy there?) near Rosemont sits this series of concrete slabs, remnants of commercial buildings long gone. Most are undifferentiated gray, but this one bears the terrazzo imprint of the long-ago business that it housed. The sloped cursive letters, the material, and the sea-green color suggest a date of birth in the 1950s or early 60s.
Such fragments always raise up questions, thoughts that drift in like ghosts: who was Cushman? What did he or she sell? When did they move in; when did they leave? What happened to them? Could they have envisioned that their elegant entryway would be the only thing remaining from all their hard work, the last indication that there had once been a thriving business here? With such a permanent marker at the door, would they be surprised that their building had not lasted longer, its life instead proving to be vanishingly brief?