The strange obsessions of the gargoyle hunter


I don’t expect to get much sympathy, but truly, being a gargoyle hunter is not easy. It’s not easy on the hunter and it’s not easy on the hunter’s friends. The only person it’s at all easy on is the gargoyle (and yes, I realize I just called a stone building ornament a “person”).

If you’ve been following this blog of late, you’ll know that I spent 10 days at the end of July in Chicago with my sister Roxe, the family genealogist (whose life is also hard, but I’ll her get her own blog to complain about the travails of the family-hunter). We attended one arranged family reunion (the Murrays) and a dinner Roxe organized with a few members of the Kalodimos side of the family.

As you can sort of tell from this map of Chicago* I posted in our hotel room, replete with little Post-It flags showing all the places we had to go, we had some ground to cover. For reasons too complicated to go into here, Roxe did all the driving and I did all the navigating. But everywhere we went, I was checking out buildings for interesting faces. (While I was navigating – which is easier and safer to do than gargoyle-hunting while driving.)

To her credit, Roxe did not wring my neck, although she did ask several times, “What?! What happened?! What are you looking at?!” thinking a crime in progress or a crash site had caught my attention.

She also agreed to drive up and down Clark Street so I could find this fellow

who I shot when I was in the city in 2004. On that trip, I rode the #22 Clark bus all the way to the northernmost end of the line, way past Diversey where I lived for a short time. (Sorry to bore those not familiar with Chicago with these details.) It was a long ride, up to Devon (which Chicagoans mispronounce). It was on that bus ride that I saw this guy, hopped off and shot him (and a partner he had on a neighboring building) and I thought it would be fun to find him again and reshoot him.

We drove up and down Clark Street three times — and I never saw him or his friend. Who knows what happened to my stone friends? I fear his building may have been torn down in the intervening six years. I actually felt bereft… until Roxe had enough of Clark Street and announced that we were going to do some actual genealogy work, whereupon she turned into one of the cemeteries just off Clark where our maternal grandparents are buried.

* A common feature of Chicago maps is the truncation of the South Side. To any Chicago mapmakers who might be reading this: give us back the South Side! It should be possible to put the whole of Chicago on a map. Besides, the South Side is an important part of the city. When was the last time the North Side baseball team won a pennant, never mind the World Series, hmmm?

One thought on “The strange obsessions of the gargoyle hunter

  1. Anonymous

    Um, you didn't mention we were losing the light so we kinda had to stop our tour of Clark Street… sniff… ;-)Guess we'll just have to go back.- Roxe

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