Friday, November 5, 2010


First I want to thank everyone for your prayers. We all made it back and forth to Chicago safely which is a wonderful blessing from God. Landing in Chicago on Wednesday after all the storms that had been going through gave us a very bumpy landing but I wasn't even scared. (well maybe a little)


So for those of you that are newer followers I am going to give a brief description of why we went to Chicago. Our son's girlfriend is going for her doctorate at UCLA and had a conference to attend in Chicago. So a few months ago our son asked us if we would be able to join them. He was hoping that we could show them around and take them by the places that our son remembered when we lived there. They were leaving on October 27th. My husband wasn't real sure if he wanted to go, feeling that if we went he would have to visit his Aunt Butch who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. Not a comfortable situation for him. So he decided to call his mom, Butch's sister, to see what she thought. Well since Butch's birthday was on the 27th she was also heading to Chicago with several other relatives to celebrate Butch's 90th Birthday. So as you may have guessed we went!

We took off at 6:30 am out of Ontario, Ca. My husband was bumped up to First Class but he gave it to me. Initially I was mad because I thought if we go down I want to go down together. (that is how my mind works) Well I of course loved it and enjoyed a great breakfast on our way to Denver airport. Then we flew on to Chicago meeting our son and his girlfriend (of many years who bought a condo together last year) at O'Hare airport. Then the fun began.

We stayed at the "W" on Adam's street and it was wonderful. (thankfully we were able to get rooms for the conference price) However parking was $53. a night! The "W" was awesome, pretty trendy, geared for the young but a great experience. The entrance with the big lamps is also a bar with seating everywhere. I loved the Bliss samples that they had in the room and made sure I kept my supply each day to take home.

(Please click on the pictures to enlarge them. I could never post all of my pictures without doing them in mosaics. Also many of these pictures you will see over the next few days are taken from the car. We had a tight schedule to keep)

After we got all settled in we went to Gino's East off of Michigan Avenue. We took a cab because if your already paying for parking it would be silly to park and pay again. The cab rides were the better bet. So it was an awesome dinner at our FAVORITE DEEP DISH PIZZA PLACE. As we were seated I noticed that our daughters name was on the booth so I had to take a picture. It was as wonderful as I remember.

Then we went for a walk on Michigan Avenue over to the John Hancock building. We couldn't go up because of a special group that had something going on and we didn't have a chance to go back up into the observatory. It was a great Wednesday!

On Thursday morning we headed to the suburbs where we grew up. It's funny how you don't realize that we were only 12 miles from the city. You don't appreciate what you have until it is gone. By the way the downtown area was incredible and very clean. We were very impressed.

Our first stop was Woodlawn Cemetery to visit my Mother who passed away in 1982. She is in what is know as the inside garden in the center of the mausoleum. As you can see my Father's name is on there too. I always thought that was creepy. He will join my Mother in Chicago someday, hopefully many years from now. We didn't go over to the other part of the cemetery where I have other relatives buried because we were on a timetable for the day.

Moving on we visited houses that I, my DH and son grew up in. The first house is the house I lived in until I was about 3, below it is the house I lived in until I got married. Those were in North Riverside, IL. The house to the right is our home in Western Springs off of Route 66. This is the home we lived in when our children were born. We had put an addition on that home but the new owners have even a bigger one off the back of the house. The bottom of the house use to be brown and the Tudor parts were beige & brown. Next is the water tower in Western Springs.

The smaller pictures on the right are my husbands Nana's house which he spent a lot of time at. Next to that is a townhouse that he lived in with his mother after his parents divorced. Below those two homes is the Riverside water tower which is a town we spent a lot of time in when we were in H.S. Then the other home belonged to my grandparents (mothers parents) before they retired to Florida. The blue house belonged to my father-in-law and my husband lived there during his H.S. years until the day we were married. (we didn't have an opportunity to go out to Bolingbrook to see the townhouse we bought when we married) The white townhouse is where the kids and I lived after I was divorced from my husband, selling the house in Western Springs. We lived in that townhouse for five years before we moved out to California to reunite with my husband and become a family again. :)

In the next photo you will see the H.S. Riverside Brookfield which we both attended and fell in love. The white brick building is in Western Springs which was a day care center that our children attended and it was a must see for our son. The other day care in Clarendon Hills where my townhouse was we could not find but we actually searched for a very long time. The Cock Robin sign was a must have. It is closed but they had the best hamburgers and ice cream.

So after visiting the houses we headed out to Gurnee, IL. My father had a cottage near Antioch on a little lake called Huntley Lake. Our son had very fond memories from our time spent here on weekends during the summer. We also came out here for several weeks each summer after we moved to California. FUN TIMES! We got off at the Gurnee exit to meet up with my brother Raymond who lives in Milwaukee, WI. We haven't seen him in 9 years. He is an actor but for many years now he has directed many of the local theatre groups in Milwaukee and is very well known. The cottage is nothing special but was a wonderful place to spend the weekend. The kids would swim all the time and got to spend special times with their cousins. There are maybe 20 cottages on this lake which belonged to a farmer and was deeded with 100 year leases. You owned your cottage but not the land. My father really misses it. Please click to enlarge.

So when we were going around to the houses we planned on going to Carm's for an Italian Beef and Sausage combo. Well the place was closed so we ended up at Aurelio's which is my husbands favorite thin crust pizza in Chicago. I love it too. We did not have an opportunity to get over to Barone's pizza in Downers Grove which is my favorite:( So we arrived in Gurnee to meet up with my brother, meeting at White Castle so we could each have one tiny burger because it's a must. Then we headed to the cottage. After being at the cottage we went back into the Gurnee area to have Uno's pizza which is a Chicago favorite too. They also have a deep dish pizza like Geno's but we always loved Geno's more. It was a great Thursday!

Come back Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the trip.


Kristie said...

What a neat trip! To be able to go see all your old homes and places you used to go, must have been wonderful! I'm glad you got to go and reminisce a little :-)

Garden of Egan said...

Wow! What a trip back in time! Beautiful photos.
Sounds like you had a great time.

Silver said...

The pizza look really inviting! Glad you had a nice trip, Debby!


Randi Troxell said...

what an awesome trip.. and i LOVED all the pics.. cannot wait to hear more!!!

Amy said...

What a fun time you had. I am glad you got to go. I saw you if that was you in the pictures you are a very pretty. Have a great weekend. Thanks for sharing..

blueviolet said...

I'm jealous but I'm going there in 2 weeks. Gino's East makes a frozen pizza which is marketed in the midwest and I miss it so much! While I'm in Chicago, I'll have to have the real thing though!
Glad you are home safely!

purejoy said...

oh yum. i haven't had great pizza in forever. Papa Johns just cannot compete!
how fun to be invited. how great to go back to all of your old haunts. and what fun to eat your way through chicago!! {jealous!}

what part of milwaukee does your brother live in? i went to high school in milwaukee and all of my family lives there.

as close as we are to chicago, and as many times i've had to drive THROUGH chicago, i've never visited to introduce myself to all her greatness.
it's a must do… but when the weather gets nicer!
so glad you had fun!

Mara said...

When my grandmother was buried, I saw a grave with my father's name on it and even though it was his grandfather, it still gave me the creeps!

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I have never had deep dish pizza. It looks so good. Maybe one day I can visit Chicago.

Sonya said...

Looks like a fun trip! I love Lou Malnatis pizza! I get to have it this weekend! My SIL's bridal shower is there!

That corgi :) said...

looks like and sounds like you guys had a great trip! that was sweet of your husband to let you be in first class! I never flew first class but I would imagine it would be a great thing to experience at least once!

Wow $53 for parking, and we thought parking in Southern California was expensive!!


xinex said...

Sounds like you had a great trip, Debby. You were able to visit so many of the places where you have been before. I go to Gurnee Mills a lot when I am there cause my sis lives in Waukegan. We used to live there too....Christine

jayayceeblog said...

What a wonderful vacation. It's almost always good for the soul to go back and revisit the memories from when you were growing up. Great pictures!

Mary said...

Isn't it weird to go back and see houses that you lived in, knowing that somebody else is living in there and has changed it to fit them? And the eating! When we went back to the town we lived in in SC, we had to hit all our favorite restaurants!

Cherie said...

That is so neat that you have so many memories from this area - Going back in time together and reliving it. Awwww a little romantic.

Technodoll said...

So this was your Pizza Trip! Yum! :-D

I really like your collages, btw, they bring your experience to life!

secret agent woman said...

How cool to be able to visit your old stomping grounds.

Unknown Mami said...

I am so glad that you guys went. It really seems like you had a great time.

I have never gotten to ride first class. Lucky you!

Kirby3131 said...

Gino's East has some of the best pizza I've ever eaten. My husband and I have gone there several times.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cock Robin sign. What a delight that you captured it.

Kristin _ The Goat

Brandy@YDK said...

I've never been to chicago but you make me want to go for the pizza alone.

Kerri said...

yeah the food alone would get me to go haha ...LOVE the pictures and everything is soo pretty! i dont see why they just cant hold the space and leave it blank because i wouldnt want to see that either if the person was alive

Alexis AKA MOM said...

I'm LVOING all the food shots!~!! The pizza looks so freaking yummy :)

The city lights are beautiful!! and the buildings are just wonderful!

My grand parents are in a mausoleum it's so pretty and a wonderful place for them to rest. Many Many years from now he'll be there.

Ahhh Nana's house looks so charming! What a great memory lane with the homes!

I love you guys fell in love in HS :)

The lake shots are my fav, it's just has such a great feel I want to go :)

Ginny Marie said...

Gino's East definitely has the best Chicago-style deep dish!

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