Hillary Returns to Edgewater

Vol. XIV No. 3 - SUMMER 2003

By: Kathy Gemperle

Since the publication of her memoir, "Living History," Hillary Clinton has been traveling across the country for book signing events. Her stop in Chicago was at Andersonville’s famous bookstore, Women and Children First. The book signing began at 10 a.m. But the line-up began much earlier. EHS Board member, Lori Lynch, went to the bookstore to purchase the book a few weeks before the event. At that time she also purchased a ticket to the book signing. She planned to get in line at 9 a.m. The line was directed down Farragut and eventually filled about 3/4 of the block. No one could get in line unless they had purchased a book in advance.

Lori had plans to introduce herself to Hillary and remind her about her Edgewater roots. Hillary Clinton was born at Edgewater Hospital and her parents lived at 5735 5722 N. Winthrop. Lori was prepared with information about the Edgewater Historical Society, the Edgewater neighborhood where Hillary was born and membership information. I said to Lori, "I doubt whether the Secret Service will let you hand her an envelope, since the anthrax scare." But Lori was optimistic.

After finding Lori in line and taking her photo with her book, I went to cover the spectacle at the front entrance. On the opposite side of the street from the bookstore behind a barricade was a small group of demonstrators occasionally chanting "liar." One woman was dressed in a pale green plastic table-cloth and wore a crown. Her face was painted green and I presume she represented the Statue of Liberty. She too joined in the chanting. The opposition chanting was countered with chanting of "Hil-lar-y." Neither chanting was very loud. I met a videographer who was recording the event. He told me that there is a small group that shows up in every city to taunt Ms. Clinton.

The Secret Service people were busy watching the crowd and talking into the microphones that were connected to their ears. They were all in black suits- just like on TV. Suddenly three black cars pulled up. It was not clear which one carried Mrs. Clinton until she got out of the car and waved to the assembled masses (most could not see her as they were down the block). Secret Service personnel got out of the two back cars first, stood and looked around before Hillary got out. Within seconds she was inside the bookstore. But the scene was frozen. The traffic had been stopped and it was going to stay stopped for about five minutes until someone gave the "go ahead" signal. No pedestrians could cross the street either. It was as if time stood still. Then just as suddenly, everything began to move again.

Lori succeeded in talking to Mrs. Clinton about Edgewater. The encounter took a matter of seconds. Each person was to set down any of the things he/she was carrying and then hand in his/her book. As people progressed in the line the books were slid along the table. When a book was slid to Hillary it was not necessarily the book you had handed in. She signed it quickly and started on the next one. People who had been reading the book and had marked a place lost their place and bookmark. After each person received a signed book the line quickly exited by the other front door. It was all carefully timed so that Mrs. Clinton could finish 700 books in the allotted time. Lori’s take on the event: "Hillary was very excited that someone remembered that she was born in Edgewater. She asked for information about our new museum which I gave to her friend Betsy."

Note: This article was corrected to reflect that Ms. Clinton’s parents lived at 5722 N. Winthrop at the time she was born at Edgewater Hospital.