Before Barack Obama ran for any political office, he enjoyed a busy life in the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods of Chicago as a community organizer, an attorney, a law school professor, a husband – and a private citizen.
On a Saturday morning, Obama could grab breakfast at his favorite diner; browse the neighborhood bookshop; or stroll over to get a haircut. He even took his own shoes to the shoe repair shop; according the owner of Cornell Shoe Service, he regularly wore out the soles of his favorite Cole-Haans.
He and Michelle might be found at a local restaurant known for pizza, or grabbing an ice cream cone at the old Baskin-Robbins, where they had their first date.
Obama often found time for one of his favorite pastimes, a game of pick-up basketball at the lakefront courts in Jackson Park. Look closely at the crowd there now, and you’ll spot players old enough to have been there when Obama was on the free-throw line.
Obama’s decision to run for Illinois State Senate in 1996 set him on a fateful course. Today, you can do almost all of those things in his old neighborhood. And you’re likely to see a signed photo of him on the wall here and there.