| 12 | EPILOGUE: Jan-April, 1987—we publicize and rename Playlot #293

     In January 1987, we prepared a flyer with a report and the drawing of the new playlot.1  We distributed these for two months, until the demolition began.  In March, we advertised a naming contest for the new playlot and set up drop boxes for entries in several locations.2  But there were very few entries.  So in April, the committee just agreed on a name among ourselves.  “I think it should be “Unity Playlot”, said Delia.  “That’s the word that keeps coming back to me.  Manuel kept saying ‘Total Unity’.  That’s what kept us together.  We could have broken, but we didn’t.  Without that unity, we wouldn’t have gotten this playlot.”   [insert photo of Unity Playlot Park sign]

     Unity is a central concept in the Buddhist religion.  Delia had joined Manuel at his Buddhist temple.  I went once, but it didn’t feel right for me.  Later in 1987, Manuel changed jobs, and moved to California where he would marry a well-educated woman from southern Mexico.  They raised a daughter, and Manuel went to work as a family organizer and public advocate, within the Sacramento public school system.  

     Delia and I were profoundly affected by Manuel.  He had lived alone in a studio apartment on Diversey near Halsted, almost without possessions.  He seemed to live completely in the moment.  He understood human nature, and had an ability to forecast developments.  During our fight for the playlot, I often felt swept along into taking steps that ran contrary to my intuition, but which, in hindsight, helped us achieve our goals.  Manuel taught us to visualize, in advance, how events would play out, and to anticipate conflicts, so we could manage them.  At age 35, with a professional education, when I wasn’t really asking to learn anything new, I had met Manuel, who taught me how to think like an organizer.    

Comments