You discover a whole new city on foot.
I mean, I knew Chess Records was at 2120 S. Michigan, because the Rolling Stones cut a little organ-and-harmonica instrumental there in 1964 called "2120 South Michigan."
Or at least, I knew Chess had been there. Maybe it is incurious of me—okay, it definitely is incurious of me—but the question of whether the classic recording studio is still there never crossed my mind. Or if I knew, I forgot.
Shameful. The place where Muddy Waters recorded "Hoochie Coochie Man" and Chuck Berry sang "Maybellene" and "Johnny B. Goode" and the Rolling Stones recorded "Satisfaction" (a year after recording Muddy Waters' not-at-all-similar "I Can't Be Satisfied.")
Then again, had I known, it would have watered down the happy surprise of walking with my younger son down Cermak, exploring his new neighborhood, turning the corner onto Michigan, and seeing, first this little gated music venue, "Willie Dixon's Blues Garden," just south, a kind of foreshadowing, and then the famous building itself, which Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation owns.
All these years in Chicago, and I never parked the car and walked around Motor Row. That's one of the many glories of having children. For the first two decades, you show the world to them. And then, if you're lucky, they show the world to you.