Gosh. I’m back — it’s been a while.
So here’s the news — I went to Chicago.
It was my mother’s 75th birthday, and for a strange conglomeration of reasons — my brother wanted to take her to see Taliesen for his birthday and hers; we lived in Oak Park between 1964 and 1969 and it was a happy time for the family, for the most part — my two sisters and I and a good friend of my mother met up with them in Chicago to go look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and studio and our old house — sadly run down — (both in Oak Park) and to walk around Chicago for a day or so.
It was fun. I like Chicago a lot. I like Oak Park a lot (Harriet, I think you should move there. The schools were fine 50 years ago — don’t know what they’re like today.) We saw the art institute and millennium park and went on an architectural tour. I could have stayed a lot longer, actually. I’d like to go back with N and M.
It was kind of nostalgic, not surprisingly, and my sisters, who are quite a bit older than me, were old enough when we lived there to be able to do things like ride the el to the beach on their own. For me, the two block walk to school was an adventure, and it was amazing to see that the hill that had seemed so very steep for sledding now looks like a gentle slope, and the walk to the library, which I was not permitted to make on my own because it crossed a busy street, was only 3 blocks. But also, hearing my sisters talk, I got a better sense of the oddness of my childhood. When I was five, my mother married a man with 5 kids, all older than me. They were a pretty solid unit, having been through most of a childhood with each other and other traumatic stuff, like the death of their mother. They are good people, and they have always been close, and have always taken care of each other. They’ve never not been nice or welcoming to me, but of course they were a group with a solid history behind them, and I was only one small 5 year old whose only link to a previous life was my mother, who was busy managing everything and who was also a grownup, and not really an ally in the sense that they were allies. I’m a shy person anyway, so it’s no surprise that I spent most of my childhood holed up in my room reading. Hmmm.
I’ve known this, of course, but I just sort of experienced it again when we were back in the spot where it happened. It actually explains a lot. It would have been different, I think, had I not been the absolute youngest.
Anyway — now I’m back again. I missed M’s prom, which was traumatic. I would not have gone had I known she was going to go. I think it was pretty much the way proms always are — not nearly as much fun as they ought to be, but better to go than not to, I guess. Her dress was very sweet. I’ll post a picture when I get a copy from K.
So — I am really, really tired, despite the fact that I got back yesterday at 11 and spent the rest of the day pretty much doing nothing at all. It was grueling.