The Sears store that I grew up with is closing. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the last Sears within the Chicago city limits will close in mid-July. This store has been a staple in the neighborhood since 1938.

For those that are unaware, I grew up on the Northwest side of Chicago in the North Mayfair neighborhood. A mile and a half south of my house is the intersection of Cicero Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue, and Irving Park Road. This intersection is affectionately known as "Six Corners".

Yes, many communities have a "Six Corners", but ours is a thriving shopping district with its own economic development organization. According to the Six Corners Association Web site, Six Corners is poised as the "downtown of Chicago's Northwest side."

I have many memories of Sears at Six Corners. We would always park in the Sears Auto Center, because it was always the closest parking available to the north entrance. When you walked in, you were immediately hit with the smells of the cafeteria. It was one of those places that, as a kid, looks amazing (is that a chocolate pie on the shelf?). Ma would always tell us "we have food at home!" My friend Tommy and I would stop in for dessert when we ventured to Sears on our own.

Then it was off to the second floor to check out the music selection. I'd look through the stacks of 45s, and maybe pick one up if I had a spare 99 cents. Of course, I could never leave without grabbing a WLS Music Survey.

As a child, Christmas at Sears was dreadful. It was so hot in the store, and it would take forever to get through the lines. On several trips, Ma would sit me and my three sisters down underneath a clothes rack and tell us to "stay here, I'll be right back". I believe she was buying Christmas presents for us, and didn't want us to see. In a given year, I might be looking to receive a new pair of Toughskins jeans (from the husky rack). But when you are ten, all that mattered was "can we go home?"

In later years, my trips to Sears shifted from toys and clothes to Craftsman tools or Die Hard batteries...but I'd still eye that delicious chocolate pie in the cafeteria.

I'll be in Chicago the weekend of June 22, so I'll try and remember to take one final walk through the Sears at Six Corners. Maybe I'll pick up some Craftsman tools for old time sake.

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