Another Daley will soon reign from the fifth floor of City Hall and in the old neighborhood, in places like Vita's Clips and Snips, Grassano's Jewelry and Sheehan's Tap, all seems right with the world again.
"You go to work, you raise a family, you keep up your property, you live with your own," said Ed Burba, ticking off the priorities for residents of Bridgeport, the working-class, Southwest Side enclave that Mayor-elect Richard M. Daley, his late father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and three other Chicago mayors have called home."And," he added, "you have a Daley calling the shots downtown."
Nearly a week after the mayoral election, the familiar red, white and blue Daley campaign posters remain tied to trees and taped to windows. But nothing is like it once was - even in fabled Bridgeport.
There are more blacks, more Asians, many more Hispanics and fewer city jobs to go around than there once were.
The stockyards nearby are shuttered, a few storefronts along the commercial artery are boarded up, pockets of poverty swell at its edges, and even the most unabashed Daley backers among its 32,000 residents know the son can't recreate the halcyon days of the father.
It has been 12 years since that fateful day when Richard J., age 74 and less than a year into his sixth term, suffered a heart attack and died.
Shock waves rippled across all of Chicago, but nowhere with more effect than in Bridgeport. The Old Man, as Daley is still called with affection, rarely missed a christening, a wedding or a wake and almost everyone in Bridgeport - or so it seems - knew him, his wife, or one of their seven children.
And more than a few owed their livelihood to the acquaintance.
"We've got firemen, people from (the departments of) streets and sanitation, water, whatever. A lot of people still work for the city," Burba said. "But it's nothing like it once was."
When Edward J. Kelly became the first of five native sons to call the shots downtown in 1933, Bridgeport was a Democratic precinct captain's dream, an all-white, blue-collar neighborhood covering three square miles, full of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Poland and Latvia living in single-family brick bungalows or small apartment buildings.
So well-oiled was Bridgeport's political machinery that when Kelly left the mayor's office in 1947, it went to another native son, Martin Kennelly, who was, in turn, pushed out of the way eight years later by Richard J. Daley.
After Daley's death in late 1976, yet another Bridgeporter, Michael Bilandic, filled the rest of Daley's term and to the victorious continued to flow most of the spoils.
But soon thereafter, the courts narrowed the stream with a series of decisions severely limiting political hirings and firings. And in 1979, an upstart Democrat named Jane Byrne, a one-time protege of the elder Daley who spent much of her subsequent term fearing a challenge from the younger Daley, upset Bilandic in the mayor's race and shut the spigot completely.
Residents differ, sometimes heatedly, on whether garbage pickup, snow removal and other city services got better or worse under the late Harold Washington, who defeated Mrs. Byrne in 1983 to become Chicago's first black mayor. It was Washington's death in late 1987, just months into his second term, that set in motion the rise to power of the younger Daley.
Pearl Koltz usually solves such debates simply by reminding both sides, "we got kind of spoiled."
Almost no one in Bridgeport expects it to happen again, even with "Richie" Daley in charge.
"Times change," said Sherri Yersich, trying to corral her three youngsters in front of the two-flat across the street from Burba's home.
"People who come into the neighborhood now think it's political. But I hear stories from my uncle . . . who used to be a precinct captain, about how everybody, even kids, used to pass out literature and ring doorbells and that kind of stuff. It just doesn't go on much anymore."
"I mean, my husband works for the city, and he's a good friend of Richie's. But other than go to his victory party the other night, we didn't really do much.
"But you know what? I grew up in Bridgeport and lived here all my life," she added, "and just knowing Richie is the mayor makes things seem a little more like they've always been."