The pandemic was tough at first. Like really tough. Our story time and library programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays were cancelled. Our Fridays at Ormsby were gone. The playgrounds were off limits. The days were long in the beginning. Really long. But then this neighborhood decorated its windows with bears, and they painted rocks, and we built something together. Neighbors who we mostly saw during story time have become friends we see daily, hunting bears, painting rocks, exploring the South Side. In many ways, being a Southsider saved me during this pandemic. Sometimes being a Southsider is hard, but it feels like we have a bond now. One string that ties us all together. And I’m so grateful to be walking this journey amongst my fellow south side neighbors.