A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Windy City

Tomorrow we're heading to Chicago for 5 days. The first three will be a conference downtown, and the weekend will be spent with family. I love Chicago. Couldn't handle the winters, but love downtown and all the surrounding areas. It's a great place to visit. When my brother left California with his wife and new baby almost 12 years ago, I was heartbroken. But the plus side is that I've traveled to Chicago at least once a year since that, and when my dad moved there five years ago, the trips expanded to four times a year. And I always loved it. Now that Dad's gone, we're back to probably once a year.

This time we will be staying downtown the whole trip. For those of you who have never been to downtown Chicago, you're really missing something. Millenium Park with it's huge silver bean, Grant Park with Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, Lakeshore Drive, a 5-story Crate and Barrel, the Chicago River, Water Tower, Michigan Avenue (which is probably the cleanest main street in any downtown in the country).

I was born in Chicago, as were my parents. So in many ways it's home to me - even though I left at the age of 2. No, I didn't run (crawl) away from home - my parents moved around Illinois for a couple of years then we settled in Dayton, OH for six years before heading to Tucson. So, a lot of my family history is in Chicago. I have a photo of me and my dad standing in front of Buckingham Fountain when I was three. My Mom worked downtown during the war, my whole family lived in the Italian neighborhood, and my grandmother would throw meatball sandwiches down from their third floor apartment window to my dad and his brother so they could have lunch on the run!

This trip will have a meloncholy side, too. We will finally be burying my dad's ashes and spending some time at the cemetery to say our final goodbyes. He and his brother (who passed away two months before him) will be buried in the same plot as their parents in a beautiful cemetary with large trees, and wonderful marble headstones.

Then on Sunday we'll be driving up to Lake Geneva (which I think is in Wisconsin) with my aunt and uncle to try to catch some fall colors. Plus, that is where my parents spent their honeymoon so it will be fun to see it.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the week. Not to getting up at 4:00am tomorrow to catch the plane, but the rest of it.

11 comments:

Desert Diva said...

Have a wonderful trip and I hope that all goes well with putting your father in his final resting place.

If you have time go to Ann Sather...

Chris said...

Maybe I can come say "HI"? Where are you guys staying? I work at Northwestern Hospital and it isn't too far from anything downtown. Am I scaring you yet? Seriously, you can at least see my ugly old puss and then put a name with a face and yada yada...Maybe? I promise to be on my best behavior....whatever that is. Heh

Fleur de Lisa said...

It love it in the summer but cannot handle the winters there either. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I can see how it would be a melancholy because of your dad but I’m sure that he’ll be happy to be ‘back home’ again.

ira said...

Now I know what to do during my thanks giving weekend! :)

Lifecruiser said...

Thanks for the tips. I hope to get to see Chicago some day... *dreaming*

I hope you're having a nice time there :-)

Chatterness said...

have a great time...

Jenni said...

I hope you have a great time mom. Will you be playing any Sinatra when you bury Gramps' ashes?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for suggesting windy city as a vacation spot for my next vacation trip, I will certainly consider it.

Julia said...

You make Chicago sounds so appealing. My nephew Clay lives there - so far away from us - but he loves it and will apparently stay. Thanks for the sweet note. Hugs.

Luz said...

Regretably, I've never been to Chicago but it is on my list. Someday soon, I hope! Looking forward to hearing all the deets.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Sandi, Found you by way of Maryann, at findingladolcevita, love the name of your blog! Had a nice visit here too!