It’s been a week since we’ve been back. It’s funny how you spend so much time planning a trip and it seems to be over in a heartbeat. The Chicago trip was filled with wonderful experiences but we were also glad to get back home.
No trip to Chicago would be complete for me without going Downtown. To me that is the heart of Chicago and ever since I was a child I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of State Street and Michigan Ave. This trip I didn’t have as much time as I would have wanted to spend Downtown, but I got to see some sights on Michigan Ave. and I also had to go see the old Marshall Fields store now Macy’s. I was told that that building is a landmark and so I was happy to see the bronzed Marshall Field and Co. signs were still on the outside of the building. They have to be kept where they are for landmark status. And I was also glad to see that the Walnut Room is still there and still called the Walnut Room and is still in operation. All of the rest of it was definitely Macy’s and for some reason the store did not seem to be as shiny and full as I remembered it. Now mind you that could very well be selective memory, but the feel was definitely different. Up on the 7th floor there is a wall dedicated to the history of the Marshall Fields Store and State Street. There were also pictures of how Frango mints were once made and a replica of the famous clock on the outside corner of the building. I heard stories of people picketing outside of the building when Macy’s took over and some people still refuse to shop there. I don’t think I would be one of those folks, but I was definitely saddened to learn that Fields was no longer there. But I had to see it for myself.
Another highlight of the trip was being able to see my mother’s last surviving sibling, my aunt, Sister Teresita. She is a nun in the order of the Sisters if Saint Casimir and she lives in their Mother House on the South Side in the Marquette Park area. Sister Teresita was such a rock for me when my mother was going through the last months of her life. She is now 91 years old and although a little frail, she is still firing on all burners. I was so happy to see her and judging by how hard she hugged me I think the feeling was mutual. To be able to spend some time with her was a definitely a highlight.
We also got a chance to go out to dinner with some old friends from my Theatre on the Lake Days. Once again it amazed me how we had not seen them in several years and we picked up like no time had passed. The mark of true friendship. We all laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt recalling the “old days and talking about our lives now. What a great evening. I didn’t want it to end.
But everything must eventually come to an end – and so last Saturday we said goodbye to Chicago and made our way back to Colorado. And as I reflect back on the trip, I realize that going back to Chicago tends to reinforce with me how much time has passed. So many friends, so many experiences, it seems like yesterday and yet so much has changed.
It’s hard to fathom all of this time has passed and equally hard to believe that it has gone by so fast. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I left Hiawatha Park? When did my students become adults? How can my aunt be 91? What happened to Marshall Fields and the Crane Company clock? How did my childhood home get to look so old? When did Elaine’s Hide and Seek Polka Lounge close? Changes, changes, changes – life moving on. And so am I. Great trip, wonderful memories. Glad I could share them and now on to the next blog.