~4:15 pm – ~5:00 pm
It was growing considerably cooler outside of Garfield Elementary. The pace of people still wasn’t picking up. The chatter continued. Mrs. Perkins introduced me to a young man named Gerard Moorer (bottom right, talking on cell phone), a member of now-Alderman Jason Ervin’s 28th Ward Democratic Party organization. He was passing out campaign literature for Maywood United. He’s a graduate of Northern Illinois University and is considering pursuing a law degree. He wants to practice corporate law. I asked him if this was his first time campaigning. He said no; that he’d been doing this for a long time. “I think politics is a great thing…it’s good to help make other people’s lives better.”
The air was frigid. I walked over to mayoral hopeful Gil Guzman (bottom, wearing black fleece jacket), head of the All In for Maywood (AIM) ticket, who was taking a call. When he hung up, he talked about his campaign’s uphill struggle. “We’re all volunteers. Nobody gets paid,” he said, juxtaposing the relative simplicity and grassroots nature of his campaign to the intricacies of the Maywood United Party, replete with paid staff and high-profile surrogates like Mr. Ervin.
A few dozen of Guzman’s campaign volunteers–relatives, friends, supporters drawn into AIM’s orbit by the ticket’s message–were scattered throughout the Village, trying to round up as many stray voters as possible. One of them was Guzman’s brother, Andy, the proprietor of Candy Man Wholesale Distributors on 5th and Lake. The Guzmans are lifelong Maywoodians, products of Lincoln Elementary and Proviso East High School. Later in the night, Andy would tell me that he’d come across “big, nice, empty homes either foreclosed or for sale.” He had handed out literature and talked with people who didn’t even know that it was an election day. “I refuse to leave [Maywood],” he said. So, with the option of exiting out of the picture, he and his family decided to fight. As if on cue, as Gil Guzman and I were talking, his sister rode up to update him on things in the field. Gil suggested I hitch a ride with her to observe things at AIM’s election headquarters. I gladly (and with relief) took him up on the gracious offer. Things were a lot warmer this way.