Visiting my childhood
Wednesday morning I took a step out of my comfort zone and began a journey back in time. I flew to Chicago to visit my friend Shirley from elementary school. It isn’t like we were still in touch in a big way. We had dinner together 6 and a half years ago and before that we probably saw one another in 1961 when we graduated from Edge brook Elementary School. Shirley found me on Classmates.com about 8 years ago and we have been in touch by email and then FaceBook.
I made this trip by myself while Neal and his friends were at March Madness in Vegas.
Shirley met me at the airport and we started talking and only stopped talking to take time to sleep. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. Everything from all those years ago just flowed back into my brain. It amazed me how much we were both the product of where and how we grew up. Our elementary school teachers must have really influenced who we were.
Shirley and her very nice husband David live on the 22nd floor of a high rise building near downtown Chicago. This was a new world for me. I have stayed in hotels this high but never really had the time or interest to explore the world way up there. I was surprised at how quiet it was and I always slept with the door to my terrace wide open. All I really heard were the trains going by including the City Of New Orleans that went by every night at 8:15. I had to hum the song every time I heard that train. That is one of my very favorite songs. I had to take that as a sign that I was meant to be there.
We walked Shirley’s wonderful dog, Liberty and of course talked. Shirley took me to the Chicago History Museum where we saw An Ebony Magazine fashion exhibit and she described every dress to me in perfect detail. We also saw the bed that Lincoln died in.
We went to the flower show and walked through stunning gardens and sat and, of course, talked some more.
We walked Michigan Avenue and found a great shoe store with a salesman who knew exactly how to sell to two older women having a good time. We bought matching shoes.
We spent hours in a very high end grocery store just looking at all the wonderful stuff and then had a great lunch in one of the many, in store, restaurants. We found out afterwards that we could have ordered a glass of wine and sipped it while we wandered the store. We have that to look forward to for next time.
I even enjoyed hearing the names of streets we passed and watching the local news. Of course the nightly news is at 9:00 pm, the way it should be in my opinion.
Now I am home and chocked full of memories and excited about our reconnection. We just kind of skipped over 50 years and are ready to go on as friends.
Life is so full of wonderful gifts but sometimes you have to reach out and grab them.