It's All About the Benjamin Franklins During Chicago's Money Smart Week

05/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Oh. My. God!!!!!! I met Ben Franklin.

I was just minding my own business Monday morning, heading into my office at the Thompson Center, when one of my peeps told me Ben Franklin was outside.

My squeals of delight disrupted the normally quiet office and I ran out the door with my cameraman, Chuck.

As he likes to tell the story: "She couldn't see him through the revolving door and she was all 'where is he, where is he?!' and when she finally saw him she started screaming, 'Oh my God, there he is!' It was like she was seeing R. Kelly or something."

R. who?

Never mind the Kelly business, I burst out of the revolving doors (sorry for crushing half your body Chuckster, I'll pay for that emergency room bill) and went at him.

He was a bit surprised as he saw me rushing toward him and couldn't help but say yes when I panted, "ohmygodBenFranklinIloveyoucanItakeyourpicture?!?!?!"

BF, my best friend (and yours - you can thank him for kites, universities, sidewalks, stoves, libraries, firemen, streetlamps and about 7 billion other things) was out on the street decked out in his very best knickers and buckled shoes promoting the upcoming Money Smart Week.

If you're unfamiliar with Money Smart Week, it's put on by the Chicago Fed as a way to help people understand how to manage their money. If you really want to hear my impassioned plea for this country to start educating its students from Kindergarten on about how to handle money, please see my column, "Financial Illiteracy is Killing America."

Money Smart Week, happens from April 18 - 25, in spots all over Chicago and the suburbs. Just go to to find a short class (most range from one hour to three) about anything from "Securing your Retirement in Today's Economy" put on by SOUL, the Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, to "How to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)" and "College Illinois!(SM) The Smart, Secure Way to Save for College" both put on by my favorite state agency, ISAC - the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. For a full listing of college-related financial workshops by ISAC click here.

But back to Ben.

I was too star struck to ask him about what John Addams was really like in France and he was too busy passing out Money Smart Week brochures out in the rain to play chess (I hope his gout doesn't flare up tonight, it was kinda cold out there). But my soul-daddy did say this after I told him, for the fifth time, that I was his biggest fan:

"I'm your biggest fan, too!"

This was the best morning of my life!

Esther J. Cepeda writes about Dr. Franklin and many many other subjects both historical and hysterical on