But reason does not make this go down any easier. Even for business people, for those who spend their days trying not to let emotion cloud their judgment, the news on Field's came hard.
"It's clearly a chromosomal loss of some kind. It really is a loss," said O'Connor. "It's clearly a blow to the Chicago psyche. It's a finger in the eye."
But the hurt is more than just some parochial paroxysm. "Chicago properly should resist this national homogenization to the extent it can," O'Connor said. "But this is beyond our control, really."
That's the part that turns facts into emotions: This growing sense that, more and more, the world at large is beyond Chicago's control. Sometimes the city is just a spectator to decisions made elsewhere, based on facts and not our unique, emotion-filled history.
There was First National Bank of Chicago and Amoco Corp.--and even the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana that preceded it. There was Ameritech, which had been Illinois Bell. There was Continental Bank and American Hospital Supply.
None of them meant a whit to children growing up in Chicago, or to the parents who brought them downtown to see the Christmas windows.
Field's is a name that mattered, so Field's hurts more than the rest.
"I saw Santa at Field's."
That's what the buttons used to say. White lettering on a red background, and a gothic script in the fashion of the Marshall Field's logo itself.
Parents would pile families into the old Rambler, their children buttoned into starchy Wieboldt's blazers and clip-on ties. And from the back seat of the station wagons, the kids would search the skyline for the huge Magikist billboard--a neon kiss on the approach downtown.
Facts tell us that it's probably time, but that doesn't make it any easier to kiss the Field's name goodbye.