Sources of Joy: Dunreith and I celebrate our twelfth anniversary!



As if often the case when I pay attention, I found today filled with gifts.

The joy of working hard at our new project Crunch Time and the privilege of listening to people share their experiences living in the South Side.




One mother with whom we spoke told us that her kids’ response to hearing so many shootings in their neighborhood was to develop a form of PTSD.


Each time her two boys heard a car backfire, she said, they’d come running in and tell her that they had heard more gunshots.


The woman explained that she had moved to the area because she and her family would be in a larger apartment.

But she didn’t realize the extent of the gun violence.





This woman is planning to leave the city with her two children and join her husband in Dallas by the year’s end.

“I don’t like bullets and all that,” she said.



We also were privileged to hear from a father who said he’s determined to educate his 9-year-old son about the dangers of their neighborhood while at the same time protecting him from those very dangers.

Too much on either side could have negative consequences, the gentleman said.


I always feel humbled and honored by people relating their experiences to me.


I also continually feel grateful to have work that means a lot to me, in which I have a chance to grow, and in which I believe.

After coming back to the office, I wrote up one story and polished another.


I also had the pleasure of talking with a colleague with whom we are engaged in a substantial project.

I got to talk with family members and to pass through a hazardous neighborhood without incident, to have the time and space to reflect on my life as I drove from our home down to the city’s South Side.

I had the great and good fortune to see my brother Jon quoted extensively and his work shown in The New York Times’ photography.

These are all wonderful things, and without a doubt they are all trumped by a single fact: today was our twelfth wedding anniversary.

Those who are expressing confusion since I just wrote about this topic not more than six weeks ago have good reason.

Dunreith and I got married three times, but always to each other.

We had a public ceremony on July 28, 2001.

We had a Jewish ceremony on September 3, 2001.

But the one that we count, our true anniversary, was on September 4, 2000.


That was the day Justice of the Peace Bruce Zeitler married us under a tree with three roots that came together at the base

That was the day we recited vows we had written and also had moments to speak from the heart to each other and to Aidan.



That was the day we cemented our commitment to be a family forever.



It’s an expression often said, and it’s still hard for me to believe that a dozen years have passed since that day.



It’s not that little has occurred in our lives.




Aidan’s grown from a boy to a man.


Both of Dunreith’s parents have passed away, as has my stepmother Diane Lowenstein.

We’ve moved from Massachusetts to Chicago and I’ve changed careers from education to journalism.




It’s more that it all still feels so recent, that I can, with very little effort, think back to that day and place it as just a little while back in my heart.

It’s also that I can project forward and imagine the next 12 years going even more rapidly.

Whatever the perceived speed of life’s passage, though, I can without reservation say, as I have done before, that becoming Dunreith’s husband and Aidan’s father are the two best decisions I have ever made.

It’s not that there haven’t been moments of challenge.


Any life and any partnership between people of clear mind and sufficiently strong  will have some.

It’s that there is no question in my mind that I have found, and will be with, the right woman for me with whom to engage in the messy, sprawling, momentary experience we call life.



That knowledge, our history, and that sense of future direction are the biggest gifts of all.


Thank you, Dunreith.





6 responses to “Sources of Joy: Dunreith and I celebrate our twelfth anniversary!

  1. Sandra Hollingsworth

    Hi Jeff,
    I just adore the 3 of you. The love you have for each other comes through to those of us who have witnessed it first hand. Happy Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I enjoyed reading your wonderful words about the wonderful experience of the wonderful couple that you and Dunreith are. And I laughed at your “married three times, but always to each other”! May you have many more wonderful years together.

    I also took note of your interviewing of people from the South Side about living amidst violence. Recently I heard three references to what’s been going on there. The teacher next door to me grew up on the South Side and visited back there in August. When I asked him how it was he replied, “There are too many young black men getting killed.” Last week I struck up a conversation with someone at the beach, and I mentioned that one of my daughters is in Columbia. “Interesting!” he said. “I was just talking to someone from there, and when I asked her about violence in Columbia she came back with ‘Why is that all anyone ever thinks about my country? Just because there is a lot of murder in Chicago does that mean that the whole US is like that?'” A couple of days ago a colleague and I were chewing over the teachers’ contract impass in Boston; I mentioned that I read about a possible strike in Chicago. His immediate association with your city? You guessed it. Hopefully your bringing to light the stories of the innocents will make some impact on the maddening reality. I wish you strength and insight as you continue this valuable work.

    Our kids start school tomorrow, and I am eager to see what impact I can have. Despite spending a great deal of time setting up my room, planning, collaborating, etc., I never feel that I get as prepared as I’d like to, and, indeed, need to be. How well do I know how address my students’ assorted needs? How can I improve my program? Quite soon tomorrow, though, I will be into it, and it will be like getting back on the proverbial bike. I hope I can muster the will to climb the hills, the wisdom to make the right turns, and the stamina to stay the course. I dream that that investment of heart, brain, and muscle will on occasion bring me to a rise from which I can see beyond the momentary madness and feel some smooth acceleration, if only briefly, that is not only fueled by my effort.

    And speaking of bikes, now literally, I will be doing my third Wediko Century Ride on September 15. If you would like to contribute you can by going to, scroll down to SPONSOR A RIDER, and click my name.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks so much, Dave, for your kind words of loving support.

      I’m excited to read about your continued passion for doing the work you do and to talk soon and hear the latest crop of students fortunate enough to be in your classroom.



  3. Happy Anniversary to you and your family!

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