There's No Place Like Home
Four years ago to the day that he was taken off of the roof by the evil act of the 'Wicked Witch' the Tin Man went home.
He'd stood atop that building overlooking the intersection of 159th Street and Cicero Avenue for thirty seven years.
I'd driven by him as a child so many times on the way to go to Grandma's house.
We were always excited to see him.
In a move that symbolized everything that's wrong with government, the village officials of Oak Forest Illinois and the 'Wicked Witch', the mayor, forced the owner of King Heating and Air Conditioning to remove the Tin Man.
The village had wanted the man to sell his property to a developer so that some condominiums could be built on the spot.
When he said that he wasn't interested the politicians started harassing him about the condition of his building.
So he remodeled it.
When he put a new roof on the Tin Man had to be removed for a day to allow the work to be completed.
As soon as the Tin Man had touched the ground the Wicked Witch saw her chance to get rid of the Tin Man forever and she pounced with a vengence.
VIllage ordinances concerning signage like this had been changed... but since he'd been there for thirty seven years the Tin Man was 'grandfathered' in.
Even though he was reinstalled the very next day the Wicked Witch ordered him forever removed.
Since he'd been 'removed' the 'grandfather' clause no longer protected the Tin Man.
The business owner told the Wicked Witch where she could put her broomstick.
The Wicked Witch did not like that idea... at least not publicly... and she retaliated.
She tried to fine him five hundred dollars a day for his 'insolence' in keeping the Tin Man on the roof.
After a legal battle that cost the residents of the community and the owner of the business hundreds of thousands of dollars the courts sided with the Wicked Witch and the TIn Man was removed.
Grown men, women and children who loved the Tin Man cried.
His empty pedestal became a potent symbol of bad govenment.
The people rallied around him crying 'Viva la Tin Man' and ultimately the Wicked Witch was thrown out of office.
The new mayor, very aware that the people's love for the Tin Man had caused the previous mayor to be thrown out of office, changed the ordinances to allow the Tin Man to regain his throne.
It was a victory for the people, and the world in a little way it seemed was made right.
Today the Tin Man was returned to the pedestal where he'd transfixed thousands and thousands of children over the years overlooking that intersection... and even a few adults.
When the lightbulbs that are his eyes were lit up today I almost shed a few.
The Tin Man had returned to his rightful place and the order of things had been restored in our democracy... or technically republic... but you get the idea.
Hundreds of people showed up to cheer as he was lifted back proudly on top of the building by a crane.
The Tin Man had only wanted a heart.
He must have found it in the hearts of thousands who rallied behind him and cried out for justice.
A justice that was won after four long years.
Now the Tin Man stands as a symbol of what the collective voice of the people can do.
Viva la Tin Man!
Faces on the street
35mm 1.8 SOOC