Meet the Neighbors: Today’s Photo Shoot

Our next door neighbors, the Simpsons, have been our friends since the day they moved into their brand new house twenty eight years ago. A  Higher Power has blessed us: they’re still here! We’ve raised our kids together, landscaped several times,attended what seems likes a century of Parent’s Nights, prayed our children into the driveway after they got their licences, and have performed more than a quarter century of mutual cat-sitting. The Simpsons  know more about us than anyone but our parents and children.

If you’ve seen my apron photos of Lou looking handsome, but bored and glowering, you’ll understand why I thought I’d spare him the necessity of modelling my backlist — all those aprons lurking in the linen closet in the times before Facebook. Because, if I ever get an apron business plan together, I vow to use only fabulous “real” people as models I set up a session for today at noon with the Sensational Simpsons. I tell you, I’m a genius! Not only is their house two gallons of Windex cleaner than mine, but they actually got into the process! With Lou it’s stand-and-shoot. The Simpsons discussed shots, props, and they actually smiled.

This is a small sample of the pictures I took today — I want this to be about them, not my aprons. I’d love a modelling agency to spot this and sign them all up. Let’s start with Charlene.

She’s an inspired decorator, still the Kool Aid Mom, and she’s holding prop tomatoes from her garden. The UPS truck seems to stop every other day to deliver a piece of genealogical evidence, she’s such a great housekeeper that I swear she could make soup in her toilet, and so help me, her garden has rooms. Here’s a charming little sliver along the side of her house, all marigolds and those tomatoes.

A couple of you have asked what a Ball Apron  looks like. This is close, but not frivolous or lacy enough.

Char always gets it, always understands. I’m not half the woman she is.

Shake hands with Big Dale, and that is one firm handshake. He’s a Vietnam era Marine, a retired cop with twenty years in, a teacher and a role model to his kids’ male friends. His day job is making sure that the atoms at Fermilab don’t overheat. He’s the straight- up skilled, endlessly kind neighbor of your dreams. He’s been taking classes with his daughter at Sur la Table, and I know his knife skills must be fearsome.

I love this menu Charlene prepared for their last family dinner party:

This is a man whose masculinity is so secure that he didn’t mind posing in this:

He might have preferred the cowboy verso:

(Great gams, Big D!)

I could write a book about Little Dale, and someday I may. I’ve known him since he was four, and he was my daughter’s partner in crime and friendship until the politics of third grade boy/girl stuff separated them for awhile. Honor totaled one car when she was in High School. Little Dale pushed his parents’s auto premiums as high as cornfields in August.  What Little D always possessed, and still does, is a ton of charm. He teaches college level Anthro and Archaeology now. Charlene and I have a collection of first day of school pix of Honor and Dale heading for yellow  bus. Here’s the 1990 edition:

Little Dale (as tall as his father now,) had, um a late night. Here’s his big boy self, refreshed with a samurai attitude and a breakfast beer. God, I love this kid.

The reverse:

Obligatory kitty photo:

I was one lucky photog today. Christina swung by! She’s the daughter of the house, a florist, a gardener, a mother and so gorgeous that restraining orders were taken out on some of her high school boyfriends. Like her brother, she possesses ridiculous amounts of charm and smarts. Here’s the verso of the “Ball Apron.” Another member of the Simpson tribe is due next week.

If I were religious I’d use the” Blessed” word for whatever prompted two young couples to buy adjacent lots in the ‘Ville, and hang in here. And Lou has some serious competition in the high fashion  world of  apron modelling.



Filed under Apron of the Day, Born in Chicago, Collections, Free, Home, Into the Mystic, On the Street Where I Live, The 'Ville

12 responses to “Meet the Neighbors: Today’s Photo Shoot

  1. Doesn’t Life just surprise you by doing the exact RIGHT thing sometimes? We just sorta FALL into some things that were the absolute best things we coulda thought of, and we didn’t have to. You seem to have serendipped this group, as they you, and how fortunate you all are.

    And that nice young man is wearing the HE version of MY apron!!

    What a nice neighborhood.

  2. Rachel, it is a nice neighborhood — I love the humble Street Where I Live. And , yes, the Tract Home Gods were smiling when the Simpsons moved in.

  3. Kim Shook

    I want some Simpsons. Or Maggie and Lou. Or Rachel and Chris.

    • The house on the other side is for sale Kim!

      • kim shook

        You don’t know how tempting that is for me. Even my parents would come – they adored Chicago when they lived there. Tell you what – you all find a job for Mike and I’ll put the house on the market!

  4. Patty

    I loved reading about your neighbors, we’ve heard such lovely things about them in the past, and now faces with the stories… not to mention the great looking aprons on the great looking and ‘happy’ models! How fun, thanks for sharing.

  5. Katherine Porter

    It’s true – every last bit! When it comes to friends, Dale and Charlene are treasures!
    Thank you Margaret!

    p.s. happy anniversary Dale and Charlene! –
    Aug 21st

  6. Charlene

    We are sooooo honored by what you wrote.
    We are the neighbors because we have such good neighbors in return.
    We all have had fun, shared both good and sad times, our kids pics K-12, gardens, FOOD (yours)
    I could go on and on……. we are blessed to have known you, Lou and Honor, Willa and all the cats.
    We had so much fun in the photo shoot, and can’t wait till your catalog comes out, and get our apron orders.
    Love you,

  7. Gretchen

    this is lovely. I really got to know the Simpsons in just a few sentences ( although I am sure they are more complex than a few sentences)
    Great photos!

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