At the end of June, my tia, Gloria Quito Pinduisaca, locked the doors to her shop in Logan Square— Victoria’s Brides—for the last time.
A typical Sunday meant it was nearly impossible to book an appointment for Victoria’s Brides. After Sunday misa (mass), flocks would come for fittings, alterations, consultations, all while walking around getting an elote or some freshly baked conchas. As the demographic of the neighborhood changed, the food violations for these elote carts were more strictly imposed. Now, an elotero isn’t seen as often. In fact, on the occasions I sit outside a coffee shop to read a book, I can no longer hear the chimes of the paleteros (ice cream cart purveyors), nor do I hear the squeaky horns of the eloteros.
Impermanence seems to escape the purviews of our upbringings, yet it’s imprinted on us from an early age. The first thing I remember learning from my CPS schooling was that there are four seasons. A brutal Chicago winter begets a well-deserved spring which begets a tumultuous summer, and so on. But even now as climate change affects when those seasons happen; they still happen.
“Everyone has their season”, was a good line a friend came up with for a song, as we laid in malaise on a cool brisky summer night under the Logan Square turnabout. It was in reference to new love and old loves. An old girlfriend of mine used to live in Logan Square and was my gateway to this world. We spent summer’s strolling in Palmer Square, walking into small shops on Milwaukee Avenue, getting ice cream from the Baskin Robbins and wondered for so long what was in the Burlington. I wonder what she thinks about the Logan Square of today?
I have mixed feelings about gentrification but I am not afraid to utter the word. We can try and tiptoe around these complex subjects but they happen with or without our participation, much like the seasons. Just this past summer I was at a couple of rallies in Bucktown when the TIF money allocation was threatening my favorite watering hole, The Hideout. These and other social issues are of greater importance to me as I’ve transitioned into a new phase of my life.
I think struggling with this subject of impermanence is a big issue now with the advent of social media. It can be hard to let go. Sure, the Logan Square I see now is safer—just the other night I saw someone jogging out at 11 p.m. But at what cost?
A lot of things are missing from Logan Square now. For Victoria’s Brides, it was her customers; often forced out by rent increases, job losses and developers forcing them out of their community. Logan Square is more white now and Latinos have been pushed out. I know that to my tia, the closing of her shop meant a lot of things, but most of all the departure of an identity. An older, Latina, immigrant rarely makes it this far in America.
Photos Courtesy Gloria Pinduisaca
It is unfathomable to me how my aunt put her three daughters through college all while running her business! But as merchandise stockpiled, my tia faced a tough decision of her life. For over a decade and a half, Victoria’s Bridal Shop sourced so many cotillions, weddings, baptisms, confirmations—all staples of being a Latin catholic. My aunt saw generations walk through her doors, including loyal customers that were with her from the beginning, 19 years ago… and will continue to support her now that she starts a new phase of her life.
Seeing my aunt say goodbye to her store and the memories of all the people that contributed to her dream was very heart-wrenching. As an adult, impermanence has imprinted two things on me: to recognize a good time or a good person, and relish in how they make you feel. Lastly, always say goodbye because your time or theirs is never guaranteed.
Thank you for the good times, and goodbye Logan Square.