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Photographer's Note

We spent a weekend in Chicago and wanted to see the Pilsen neighborhood -- originally settled by Czech immigrants and now home to a large Hispanic community. We have interests in both cultures.

We were walking down 18th Street and came upon this scene -- at first glance, it appeared an Indy Car racer had been parked while the driver ran into a shop.

Of course, the car had come in a trailer and was on the street as publicity for a book signing by driver Milka Duno. Ms. Duno was congenial and witty, signing copies of a bilingual children's book called "Go, Milka, Go" that encourages young people (and girls particularly) to pursue higher education. (Milka has earned four masters degrees!)

Technically, this shot was a lesson in trying to see what was in the viewfinder, as the car was surrounded by orange cones and the trailer was parked nearby. The crew allowed very close access to the car, but asked "Just please don't touch it; this is the one we race." The IndyCar series had been racing in nearby Joliet, Illinois the day before.

I also got a lesson that weekend about a Jewish superstition surrounding the number 18. (Ms. Duno is the daughter of Czech Jews from Venezuela.) The Hebrew word "CHAI" ("life") is written with two characters, het and yud. The numerical values of these letters add up to 18. Read more here.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 224 W: 76 N: 434] (1898)
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