Our new donut partner this year is Learning Edge, a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides free one-to-one tutoring to more than 100 students in grades K-12 who primarily come from the Austin neighborhood.
We’re excited to share another SEOP story. Meet Melissa Elsmo, from the 1150 block of Taylor Ave.
SEOPCO: Tell us a little about yourself.
ME: My husband, Leif, and I bought our home in SEOP more than 20 years ago. We fell in love with our tiny bungalow and our SEOP community immediately. We raised two kids, Emma and Finn, in the community and still miss spending time at Irving School. These days I am a food writer for Wednesday Journal and work on Oak Park Eats–a food related vertical supported by Growing Community Media. I adore celebrating our local food artisans!
I am also a passionate chef and my SEOP bungalow has become a sort of secret (ish) dining destination for food-lovers who live both locally and globally. Sharing my SEOP home with both friends and strangers has become on of the greatest and most unexpected joys of my life!
SEOPCO: What do you love most about living in SEOP?
ME: I love the smaller footprint living exemplified in our SEOP community–as a result I find our little corner of Oak Park is made up of very close knit families and tight friend groups who are committed to celebrating our community and setting the stage to keep things great for the next generation. SEOP is made up of forward thinking, open minded and down-to-earth people who are thoughtful about creating and maintaining our vibrant section of Oak Park.
SEOPCO: Tell me something interesting you’ve learned about your house/block/neighborhood?
ME: I learned my house and the houses to the north and south of me were all build by the same person. They were identical in layout and completed in 1921, 1922, and 1923. I learned the builder, a mailman, was running out of money so each home had less woodwork than the next. The house to the north had two oak cabinets flanking the fireplace, my house only had one, and the home to the south had none. Today my 1922 bungalow still sits between its siblings, but is the only home with any of the original woodwork in tact- including that lopsided fireplace cabinetry. The vintage touches in my house makes it feel more like a home.
SEOPCO: How would you describe SEOP in one word or phrase?
Family is on everyone’s mind this time of year, and we’re proud to share another SEOPCO Story, of someone who raised their children in Southeast OP. Meet Billy Kunz!
William (Billy) Kunz lives on the 1150 block of South Lombard. He’s a retired CTA bus driver and yogi who enjoys READING, his grandchildren, and travel (emphasis his). You can check out his and wife Angela’s Little Free Library in the front yard right… near one of the oldest American Elm trees in Oak Park!
A. Born and raised in Brooklyn; began baking sourdough bread as a hobby when I became a stay-at-home dad six years ago…which has since turned into a small home based business: Lyman Ave. Bread. You can reach them on Instagram @lymanavebread
Q: What do you love most about living in SEOP?
A. It’s a great community filled with friendly people. Our daughter has had a wonderful experience at Irving Elementary (which she misses nowadays).
Q. Tell me something interesting you’ve learned about your house/block/neighborhood.
A. The previous owner of our house was a professional trumpet player and played in Frank Sinatra’s back up band.
Q. How would you describe SEOP in one word or phrase?