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I’ve known Julie longer than any of my friends, I was the new girl in our Kindergarten class and she was also a bit quiet and loved crayons and clay as much as I did. Instant friendship. I always thought she was a little bit cooler than I was, I loved her hair and her clothes and her name. When she wasn’t around and I was playing “house” my name would always be Julie. Over the years I became cooler yet Julie has grown to be WAY cooler.

I teach art, she is in the corporate world as a designer. Cooler.
We are both stylish but my clothes are inevitable stained by drops of red or purple paint because some kid got paint on a table I walked by or dropped a brush on me.
I eat lunch in a windowless cafeteria, Julie works in the loop so she’s got world choice cuisine to choose from daily. Maybe she has power lunch meetings with other cool corporate people. Either way: lots cooler.
My work computer runs on Windows 97, I’m guessing Julie has a Mac at work, probably with multiple screens. By default, cool people have Macs.
I have a dying tomato plant on the tiny balcony of my apartment in Pilsen. Pilsen is pretty cool, I’ll admit, but Julie lives in a gorgeous Craftsman cottage in Oak Park with a quince tree in her backyard. Come on.
We both broke bones in this past year. I broke my hip when I slipped on ice; Julie broke one bone riding an ATV and another in a Roller Derby bout. Seriously, seriously…it’s not even fair.

When I roped her into my #SummerOfArt14 project I suggested Intuit Art Center in River West. Being the way cooler of us two, Julie knew of the art exhibit there because her friend was the artist. Intuit Art Center is a non profit museum dedicated to the work of self taught artists. Julie’s freind, Jeff Phillips, has a photo exhibit there until August 30th. In it are large format color photographs that tell the story of the travels of a couple from the mid 20th Century. Jeff found a large quantity of color slides in a second hand store in St. Louis. Using his photography skills he turned the photos into prints and then posted them on a Facebook page called Is This Your Mother?and asked for the help of the public to find the family of the couple. Finally, a niece of “Edna” identified herself in one of the pictures and the mystery was solved. We walked around the gallery marveling at how our world has changed since these photos were taken, we tried to guess the ages of the people in them, we identified similarities in photos of our own families, admired the clothes and cars and hairstyles and then we took this great selfie with Edna in her cruise ship drill outfit.

Now Edna’s cool factor has gone up like mine does every time I get to hang out with Julie.