CHICAGO: "I didn't want you to see this"
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I went to Chicago with nothing except for what was in my Jeep. I found an apartment within two days, after Lainey had scouted out neighborhoods and rental agencies. We pieced together the studio apartment in Andersonville with furniture we found at the Salvation Army - a coffee table, two end tables, lamps and a black velvet loveseat - and I slept on an air mattress until I could afford to buy something I could sleep on, a mattress and a bed frame, which I paid for in monthly installments. One week, I bought a small stereo set. Two weeks later, I finally bought a television and ordered cable.

I found books at sidewalk sales to fill the shelves I’d found on the street, remnants of someone moving out of a nearby apartment, everything from Gloria Steinem to Beverly Cleary to Larry McMurtry, even a l...

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