Visiting Our Childhood With Our Daughters

A week ago today, my daughter Leslie and I were on the plane to Chicago. We had a rough start because of a plane issue but it did not dampen our spirits. Although we were supposed to land in Chicago at 10:30 and landed at 1:30 we were ready for the adventure to begin. I really want to thank Leslie for cheerfully coming along to visit my childhood.
We checked into the hotel just a few minutes after my sister Peggy and her daughter Jennifer. Peggy came from the east coast of Florida and Jennifer from Huston Texas. We still needed Allison; Peggy’s other daughter who was coming from the west Coast of Florida.
We headed out for lunch. None of us had eaten since breakfast. We were staying right downtown at a perfect location selected by Peggy. We walked to a German restaurant, starting our trip with some childhood food that our grandmother used to cook. Then we headed for Nor Strums for a little bargain hunting.
We returned to the hotel and purchased tickets for the river tour that evening.
We met up with Allison and headed for the river. We had directions from the hotel that turned out to be completely wrong. The other problem was that we were all so busy chatting we would miss our turn. We had three great GPS users with I Phones who did there best to keep us on track but remember, the directions were also wrong.
The boat was leaving at 8:00. We must have been circling where we were supposed to be. At 8:30 we found the place. There was still someone there and it turned out that the hotel had never put us on the list. The people were great and put us on the same trip the next evening.
Now we were starving again. We found a great little place that was on Leslie’s list of recommended restaurants. We shared several small plates and a pitcher of sangria.
Then it was another long walk back to the hotel. We certainly did not have to worry about what we ate with all the walking we were doing.
Leslie and I had our Fitbits so we could track our steps and miles. I think we did 7 and a half miles that afternoon.
The next morning we met for breakfast and headed out again. We started the day by walking to the Art Institute and visiting our dad’s building that held his studio when we were kids. We were able to visit the lobby but not his studio. Then it was off to Millennium Park.
Everyone took turns being my sighted guide so I got great time alone to catch up on everyone’s lives. When ever I am with Jennie or Allison they are so busy fussing with their children that I don’t get to talk to them about their lives. This alone time with everyone was a real gift on this trip.
Next we did the chocolate, walking tour. Yes more walking. We would do 10 and a half miles on this day. The tour was not as good as we hoped. Who can eat that much sugar in 2 hours, certainly none of us could?
Then back to the hotel for a brief rest. Next we went to a restaurant we discovered on the chocolate tour and then the river boat trip. We were getting good at really walking fast and still paying attention to where we were.
I am sorry this is so long.
The next morning was the special day of going back to our old neighborhood. We took the train just like we knew what we were doing. We met my elementary school friend Shirley at the train and we road to Edge brook together. When we got their we met Peggy’s friend Beth at Star Bucks. This used to be Lockwood castle and Peggy and I were not allowed to go there. This was a stupid rule but never mind, we survived.
We started by heading to our elementary school and a stroll through Shirley and Beth’s old neighborhood. It turned out they live a block from one another but did not know each other. Three years of school at that age make a big difference.
We then took great pictures out side our elementary school and our church. Next was lunch in a cute pizza place and the big event.
I think the most significant part of this trip for me was the walk through our old neighborhood of Old Edge Brook. We took the path through the woods that we walked every day to and from school. My sister thought the old house had been sold so she wrote a letter to the residents and warned them that we would be invading their front yard and taking pictures. We took a lot of pictures and no one seemed to be home. Allison decided to ring the front door bell over and over and what do you know. Someone finally realized how stubborn Allison was and answered the door. It was the same people we met on our last visit and they graciously invited us in. Maybe they thought that was the only way we would go away. What fun it was to show my daughter where my bedroom was even if it is now a bathroom.
On our way out on the path we came to two deer. We never had deer when we were kids so this was a new experience we all got to share. They were perfectly relaxed and let us take great pictures.
Good byes were said to Shirley and Beth and we were back at our hotel.
Our next plan was to have cocktails at the bar high up on the Hancock building. Of course we walked. There was a long line and we would never get in. I was afraid we would not get in anywhere on a summer Saturday evening. We did find a lovely place and as soon as we were seated the rain came in full force. It stopped raining before we left but Peggy made it clear she was taking a taxi. We had final drinks at our hotel and said good bye and committed to doing this again but in a new city that we could explore.
How fun it was to all be together. I have such a great family and we are all so busy it is hard to take time to be together.

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