Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Summer Spotlight: L. Marie

170 Comments

Image Courtesy of fiftyflowers.com

Do not adjust your screen. You are not seeing things. You have just entered El Space. Thank you for traveling with us.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. You probably noticed that I didn’t include a photo of myself. Though I’ve published books under my given name, I established the pen name L. Marie for my blog (El Space: The Blog of L. Marie and my middle grade and young adult fiction. But I can’t say that L. Marie isn’t a “real” name, because it’s my name too.

I’m still querying agents and publishers about three of my fantasy books. So, I don’t yet have a book to go with this blog post. Sorry to disappoint. Have some virtual chocolate instead. No, I insist.

Image Courtesy of Whisper app.

Instead of three questions, I decided to answer one, since this post would be about three thousand words otherwise. But the question of where I grew up is one that resonates with me very strongly. Sometimes, you have to look back in order to see where you’re going.

Jill asked, “What is special about the place you grew up?”

I grew up on the far south side of Chicago in Maple Park—around 117th Street. For some of you, this might seem like foreign territory. Many times, whenever I’ve mention where I grew up, I’ve either been told, “I didn’t know Chicago extended that far,” or “I would never go there. I’m too scared.”

These days, Chicago gets a bad rap because of the murder count and issues with gangs. Yes, many murders have happened, sadly. And yes, gang activity has increased. But Maple Park was the womb in which I developed as a writer.

Here’s a screen shot of my old house—the first house my parents owned. They were among the first homeowners in this planned community. We moved here when I was three years old. Over the years, I spent many a sun-washed summer’s day in the ’70s riding my bike around the neighborhood.

Image Courtesy of Googlemaps

In my neighborhood, there were many kids my age and the ages of my two brothers. We shrieked, we sang, we laughed, we traded a tremendous amount of words. Because I loved books at an early age, and was surrounded by so many kids, I knew early on (at age eight as a matter of fact) that when I grew up, I wanted to write books for kids.

My elementary school—John Whistler—was six blocks away. My parents were not the hovering types, taking us to and from school every day. Mom walked with me to kindergarten once. After that, I walked with a friend to school each day, sometimes until the watchful eye of my older brother. (He’s only two years older.) I say sometimes, because he was not the hovering type either.

Dad taught my brothers and me to navigate through the neighborhood and the city. “The lake [Lake Michigan] is always east,” he’d say. “Don’t worry if you get lost. Just find your way back.”

I was pretty much a city kid, used to masses of people. I loved taking public transportation all around the city. When I was thirteen years old, I took two buses and the El—Chicago’s elevated train—to get to high school in the inner city of Chicago. Got pickpocketed a couple of times. In these increasingly dangerous times, parents today would probably balk at allowing their children to traverse a neighborhood or a city on their own. But the freedom to do so allowed me to learn my way around—sometimes through trial and error.

Images courtesy of L. Marie

First picture taken from the DuSable Bridge in Chicago. Second shows Willis Tower (tallest building), taken from a Wendella boat on the Chicago River

My parents took us to museums, libraries, live theater productions, and parks (like Grant Park) within the downtown area of Chicago. I developed a love of the arts in all forms at an early age. We went to plays at the Goodman Theater and movies at the drive-in and neighborhood theaters, and listened to a ton of albums at home: Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Andre Kostelanetz, Muddy Waters, Mozart, the Jackson 5, Mahalia Jackson, Diana Ross, Tchaikovsky.

We also went to baseball games—White Sox, since we were South Siders. My older brother, however, was a Cubs fan. (Nowadays, everyone is.)

Because I grew up in Chicago, the city makes cameos in some of the books I’ve written. I hope you’ll get to read them someday. Till that day comes, please feel free to stop by my blog.

Thank you, Jill, for allowing me to take up space here.

You have now left El Space.

 

 

 

 

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

170 thoughts on “Summer Spotlight: L. Marie

  1. Chicago is a wonderful city. I always enjoy visiting it. My husband particularly loves the pizza! Sounds like your parents exposed you to the best of it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful share, LM! I’ve only been to Chicago once (in 1992) . . . but your photos remind me of that trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had a great time visiting Chicago and taking our daughter to American Girl Place when she was younger. We also happened to be there during Taste of Chicago, and what an event that was. A great city I fondly remember.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have never been to Chicago. Enjoyed reading your post about your life there. Now I want to read your books! I am an avid reader..in GA.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I loved hearing about growing up in the 70s in Chicago. My dad grew up there in the 40s. And we used to visit all the time because my relatives lived there, but that isn’t the same as living there. My cousin was 5 years younger, but I always felt like the young naive one because I grew up in a much smaller city.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Luanne! Where did your dad live in Chicago? I hope you’ll visit again. Even though I was born here, I still feel naive in some ways, since the city has changed so much over the years. Public transportation is totally different now.

      My parents live in the Houston area. I have been there many times. But as you said, it isn’t the same as living there. I’m the naive one there. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • I guess being an outside makes one feel naive! My dad’s mom moved them around a lot–to where she could afford the rent. I know they live on the south side when I was a very little, so late 50s. But there were many other apartments. I think I took notes from my uncle, but you have reminded me, I need to pull that stuff together so I don’t lose it. They never lived far out from the city, I believe. Dad went to Lane Tech high school, but that was a bit of a bus ride for him.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by to learn more about L. Marie, Luanne. I enjoyed her trip back to the 70’s too. Enjoy your weekend! Good luck with those Galleys. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nicely written. I loved entering El Space.

    I, too, walked to school on my own, but not in the big city. I can remember driving to Seattle on old Hwy. 99 to do school shopping or see the Christmas decorations. When we reached a certain point in the ride, we could see the city, and my heart would leap with excitement. That’s the way it feels to be a small town girl. Later I went to college in Seattle, so my heart was more likely to beat as a result of climbing the hills.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you Jil for hosting. Thank you El for sharing your special story. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on El Space–The Blog of L. Marie and commented:
    Hi! I’m guest posting at Jill’s blog today! Drop by and say hi!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, two of my favorite bloggers in one spot! Good to see you here, Linda, and thanks for sharing your story. What a treat that you grew up in Chicago. I’ve never been but many years ago my husband was sent to work in Chicago for two weeks in the dead of winter. He loved it, though. Went to the museums every chance he could. Maybe someday I’ll get to visit 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww. Thank you for coming, Marie! 😀 I feel sorry for your husband, coming in the dead of winter. It’s sooooo cold here. But the museums are great. I hope you’ll get a chance to visit. There are so many museums in the downtown area. I also recommend the boat ride, which gives you a love trip along the Chicago River.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Aw…it’s so good to see you, Marie! I’ve only been to Chicago once, in the fall, and the weather was absolutely perfect. If you ever get a chance to visit, check out the aquarium…it’s amazing. Enjoy your weekend, even though it’s shorter than what we had last week. We’ve got to take what we can get, right? xo

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I dated a guy from Chicago so I’ve been there a few times. Love the food. I loved that a lot of the bars make their own potato chips. And the pizza! But there was a lot going for it. Sounds like a great childhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh my goodness, I ADORE visiting Chicago, L. Marie, and love their pizza! Like you, my parents allowed me and my two sisters to walk to our neighborhood school six blocks away starting in Kindergarten. But that was a different time and place. Now, though, I cannot imagine my grandkiddo walking that far. I really don’t feel comfortable letting him play in our back yard unattended. Guess that makes me a hovering grandparent. lol. But I admire your experiences and that your parents allowed you the freedom to discover. Great to meet you! Waving to Jill! Happy weekend to both of you. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  12. As a Chicagoan myself, your post warmed my heart. Okay, so I’m not a city Chicagoan, I’m a suburbanite. We road our bikes all over the burbs…to the library, the public pool, Ben Franklin for Teen Beat with David Cassidy on the cover. I wrote a few short stories about those days in my memoir anthology. I moved away after marriage for a quarter of a century and always longed to move back. I finally did, 2 years ago. I’m happier than ever to be home. Do you still live in Chicago, or have you moved out of state? The city truly is an underrated gem. Thanks for sharing about our lovely city and your wonderful memories.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I love your dad’s advice–“Don’t worry if you get lost; just find your way home”. If kids are taught that worry is debilitating it is. Your dad saved you from that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Jacqui. 😀 Yes, my dad wanted us to learn to get around without fear. His advice helped shaped my sense of direction. This is one reason why I avoid GPS most of the time. It throws off my sense of direction. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jacqui! I loved her father’s advice too. I thought sink or swim, when I read it. Thanks so much for stopping by today. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Love this! Thank you for the stories and the picture of your house. Growing up in the city offers so many opportunities for those who take advantage of them (as my husband did growing up in NYC). I look forward to seeing how you incorporate Chicago into your books.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi, L. Marie! Thanks for sharing your Chicago with us. Would love to visit someday.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I hope you’ll get a chance to visit Dylan’s Candy Bar, Jennifer.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Chicago is one of the major cities in America I have yet to see outside of the airport. It was great to learn so much more about your past and experiences, L. Marie. Thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I lived in Palatine for a couple of years. I certainly enjoyed Chicago while I was there. It sounds like a good childhood L. Marie. Thanks, Jill.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Lori, there’s a good chance I might see you at a Cougar’s game. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Cozynookbks, hope you’ll get to see the new location someday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I came I read and I liked,

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Oh wow, so much to relate to, L.Marie!!!! The Family was rooted on the Southside, but my Dad was the rebel and moved us all North during my mid-childhood…always got together for Mass and Sundays at GranMa’s tho! More to chat about later…
    Remember Riverview???????????!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laura, I sure do! I was sad when Riverview closed. Were you around for Old Chicago? That amusement park didn’t last long. Then Great America came! We love going there still. Good times. Though it’s not cheap to get in. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, that was the whole point of amusement parks back in the day…access for us working class families, right??? Anyway, Dad’s work gave out entrance passes to Riverview each summer; we didn’t always redeem them, but I do remember those eyes on Alladin…creepy!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you Jill, for ‘allowing L.Marie to take up space here” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I enjoyed L. Marie’s whimsical tone. It felt like one-side of a real conversation. Our married kids lived in Chicago to get their graduate degrees, so I have seen the bold architecture and cultural richness. We also just sold a 1960s house that looks like the one you featured. Best wishes as you move toward publication!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Marian. 😀 Yes, that is a 1960s house. My parents moved out of it in 1991. One BFF lived next door at the right, the other at the left. Good times.

      Where did your kids attend grad school?

      And thank you for your best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marian! L. Marie has a great voice. I really enjoyed her post and learned so much more about her. I’m happy you’ve been able to visit the lovely city of Chicago. I know how busy you are, so I really appreciate you stopping by to meet L. Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve always loved Chicago. It’s one of the first trips I remember taking as a child. My parents were youth leaders and we (my parents and other youth leaders) drove a group of high school kids from Owensboro, KY to Chicago. I was probably five at the time.
    Thanks for sharing your memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. It’s good to learn some new things about you Linda, in a non-voyeuristic, stalkerish way ! 🙂 Thank you to Jill for enabling this.
    I’d love to read your books Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. It was my visit to Chicago sometime in the 1980s and taking a tour of the city with an architectural conservancy group that sparked my appreciation of 1920s architecture in downtown Los Angeles. That was the beginning of many good things in my life. I have wanted to return to Chicago ever since and take that same tour again… maybe one day…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, RMW! Next time you come, I also would recommend taking the Wendella architecture tour on the Chicago River. It was really great!

      I’m glad you’ve experienced great things!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Roslyn! Your architectural photographs of downtown LA are amazing…actually, all of your photo are. It’s great to know that your interest began after a trip to the Windy City. Thanks for the visit and for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Jill. That period of time was the beginnings of the Los Angeles Conservancy and right after my trip to Chicago I became an architectural docent with them… and that led to becoming a professional tour guide and also my interest in architectural photography. That’s why it’s so important to get out into life and experience things as you never know where anything is going to take you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well said, Roslyn! I couldn’t agree more. What a journey it’s been for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. I still have never been to Chicago (apart from an unplanned stopover at a hotel on an icy winter night when flying from Belgium to the west coast), but have heard wonderful things about the city (except for the winters). It is so wonderful that you grew up playing outside (I did as well and feel sad for the current youth that these are experiences from the past) and with many books. I”m sure I will make it out there one day. My husband’s ex-wife is from there, so he is pretty familiar with the area. I might have to venture out myself one day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Liesbet! I hope you’ll make it to Chicago–anytime but winter time. We’ve had some cold winters.

      I love being outside. I used to love climbing trees and hunting for bugs. Yeah, I was that kind of kid. I also feel sad that I don’t see a ton of kids outside playing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Liesbet! I can’t believe the queen of travel hasn’t been to Chicago. I hope you’re able to visit one day. Growing up, we played outside from dawn to dusk too. Like yourself, I feel bad for kids today. Being indoor with and iPad or iPhone isn’t the same as playing flashlight tag at night! Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  29. Hi L. Marie! I loved reading about your memories of growing up in Chicago. I have never travelled to the States let alone Chicago but I live in hope that I will one day.
    Hi Jill! Thanks for introducing me to L. Marie. I hope you both have a great weekend! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Clare! I sure hope if you ever make it to the US, you’ll swing by Charlotte, after Chicago, of course. Thanks so much for stopping by to meet L. Marie. Enjoy your weekend too. I hope you’re catching up on your rest. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Clare! Thank you! 😀 Where do you live? I hope you’ll get to travel to the States someday. I’d love to travel out of the country again someday. I love to travel!

      Hope you have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank-you L.Marie. I live in England in the county of Suffolk which is part of East Anglia. If you look at England on the map East Anglia is the round bulge on the east towards the south of the country. I live a few miles from the coast in the middle of agricultural land and about 5 miles from the nearest town. London is about 100 miles away to the south. 🙂

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  30. I’d love to visit England someday, Clare. I looked at a map as you suggested. Did you grow up there? How far are you from Manchester?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Ohh..many thanks for the offer of the virtual chocolate! I like you already!! 😀😀 Many thanks for this very visual portrayal of Chicago, for taking us along on your childhood traverse of the city (yikes!) It sounds like an idyllic place to grow up and spoilt for choice with the arts! Best of luck with your writing and lovely to ‘meet’ you here on Jill’s terrific Summer Spotlight series! 😀❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Annika! 😀 Yay! So glad you accept my offer of virtual chocolate. Enjoy! I’m glad to meet you too. Glad to provide a window into my childhood. Chicago has had its ups and downs, but it’s home. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Annika! I had a feeling you’d enjoy that chocolate and meeting L. Marie. I appreciate your support of the series and I’m so looking forward to your post! Have a great upcoming week, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  32. Chicago is a great town. CH and I spent our honeymoon there in January of 1974… think huge snow storm. We had one more semester of college left and no money to go very far. We loved the aquarium and the FOOD! Love reading your description of growing up there. Hello, Jill!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh man! I hope you weren’t stuck somewhere without transportation during the snowstorm. That’s the problem with Chicago in the winter. 😦
      I love the aquarium and the planetarium. I hope you’ll come back for a visit! And thank you for your kind words about the post.:D

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pix! Seeing those feet always makes me smile. Honeymooning during a snow storm sounds like a great way to begin your life together…what fun! Thanks so much for stopping by to meet L. Marie. I hope you and CH are both doing well and surviving the heat. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Hi, L. Marie – I have been to the Chicago International O’Hare Airport….several times! Does that count? Probably not!
    Great post — especially about the freedom to roam that so many of us had when growing up. That is sorely missed by much of the younger generations!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Hi L. Marie. I am so glad to know you better now! My husband grew up in Chicago. He and our daughter drove out there from California a couple of summers ago so she could see where he grew up and meet friends he is still in touch with. They had a great time! It sounds like you had a wonderful childhood! I love your blog even though I haven’t visited it as much lately nor anyone else’s much either! (Sorry, Jill.) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Thank you, Jill, for hosting L. Marie, and thank you, L. Marie for taking us through your childhood, which was much like mine, though my roots are from the West Side of Chicago and ‘burbs, we share many experiences.
    My 7th grade teacher lived down the block. I really liked him, but, we all waited until he started to walk to school to leave – so we didn’t have to walk with him. 😦 Once, in a snowstorm, he drove his car. Half of the neighborhood piled in for the six and one half block ride. (The one half block was important).
    I love Chicago! Love that boat ride, which give a different perspective of the city. Loved this post.
    Can I have one more piece of chocolate? Thank you. Yum.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s my pleasure, Penny. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your Chicago experiences. I laughed about you all liking you teacher, but not wanting to walk with him…poor guy. 🙂 I’m sure L. Marie will give you another piece of chocolate. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Penny! Thank you for stopping by! I would have avoided walking with my teacher too! I remember when my kindergarten teacher was invited for lunch at my friend’s house next door. My friend and I thought that was the weirdest thing! Teachers didn’t eat lunch or have homes. They lived at the school! 😀 Ah childhood!

      Yes, have more chocolate! I love it because it has zero calories! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome -and you once again remind me of yet another memory. Sigh. Every school year my mother would invite my and my sister’s teacher for that school year to our house for lunch AND she would also invite the principal. Two teachers, two children, the principal, my mother (who didn’t finish grade school) and my Greek grandmother. I don’t know what was worse; walking home then back to school with them, or riding in the principal’s car. haha Actually, it was a very nice gesture on my mom and grandmother’s part.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yikes! The principal! You’re right, Penny, that was very nice of your mother.

        Liked by 2 people

  36. Oh my goodness, Penny! Did any of the other kids see the principal enter your home? I would have die of embarrassment! Were you teased by anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Loved this! It sounds like you grew up in my old neighborhood near Detroit. Your memories brought back my memories. We’d walk for blocks to school too and we’d always play in the neighborhood into the night (pickle, baseball, different kinds of tag, it didn’t matter – there was always something like that going on). Thank you for bringing back those memories (and thank you Jill – hope you’re having a fun summer)!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Best of luck with those agents and publishers L Marie xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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