What would you do with $260 million?
Some lucky guy or gal will get to find out as, according to reports, a winning lottery ticket for the above amount was recently purchased in Blue Island.
Two-hundred and sixty million dollars, that’s a lot of money. I don’t know if it could fix the White Sox, but there’s a lot of things you could do with that.
Let’s say I did hit the winning numbers, and I had to use it around the 19th Ward—or the surrounding area. Here are a few things I’d do—hopefully with enough change to put in my future children’s savings account for tuition, or something like that.
1. Bring back Purple Cow.
Can you still hear the Pac-Man song that would play, seemingly on repeat, whenever you walked in to the ice cream shop near 104th and Western? I can. And man, I miss the purple vanilla ice cream. And the birthday parties there. And the giant, purple cow whose belly I was eye level with.
2. Bring back the Taco Bell at 105th and Western.
Is there anyone in Beverly under age 35 who didn’t go on a date—or just join the rest of the sixth grade crashing someone else’s date—at that Taco Bell? That property’s been vacant for several years now, and I miss seeing bikes stacked on top of each other outside the business, a sure sign that some local grade school had a half day and everyone’s parents gave them 69 or 79 cents to get some tacos.
3. Bring back Red’s.
Who would disagree with that? I miss the cheeseburgers at the popular joint that was located just west of 111th and Western. I miss local restaurants whose walls are covered with pictures of Little League teams featuring at least two kids who are blinking and/or have zero interest in being there for Photo Day. I even miss the giant arcade games in the front entrance. I’ll leave $1 million in quarters for everyone to enjoy the games.
4. Put up temporary fences at local Little League fields, wherever they’re wanted.
I get it that it’s thrilling to sprint around the bases gunning for a homer when you’re 9 or 10 while some poor left fielder runs down a ball seemingly 200 yards from home plate—and likely in the middle of a neighboring field of play. But let’s give kids the chance to be like a big leaguer and slow-trot around the bases. Ridge Park, Beverly Park, Kennedy Park—wherever they’re needed or wanted, we’ll put up temporary fences. They’ll be gone by the fall, so they won’t be in the way at grade school football games.
5. Bring back Maplewood Lanes.
I haven’t bowled in several years, but who didn’t enjoy keeping score by hand at the old joint on 111th Street? I tried it once during a younger sister’s birthday about 20 years ago, and I stunk at it. But I’m sure others have it down pat. Long live nostalgia—and the smell of bowling alleys.
6. Bring back Village Video.
It’s too easy now: if you want to rent a movie, you click a few buttons on your remote control, and boom, OnDemand or Netflix pops up with a wide array of choices. It’s taken away the thrill of wandering into Village Video, formerly at the corner of 106th and Western, and finding that the one movie you’ve wanted to rent for two weeks is finally “in.” Of course, that also means we had to deal with the agony of defeat, watching employees scan the shelves only to come back and say that your movie was “out.”
And, of course, there was the “adult section” at Village Video, which had a mystique about it during all my preteen years. Who doesn’t love a little mystery concerning what lies within a prohibited area?
I’d like to think $260 million (OK, it’d be about half of that after taxes and such) could cover all that, and yes, I’d donate to all the local schools and all the great charitable organizations around the neighborhood.
At least I know it’d be going to a good cause.
I can’t say that’d be the case, unfortunately, if I donated to the White Sox.