The Leaning Cow

Our musings . . . Our emoos

The Leaning Cow header image 2

Surprise trip to Chicago

April 12th, 2015 ·2 Comments

Okay, so a college in Chicago had an open house and (skipping the usual AmeliaJake story with the details and asides) at the last minute, I find out I am taking someone to it. Downtown. Urban Campus. Be there by 9:45 am.

We get up at four, drive to South Bend, take the South Shore, hike from Van Buren St. Station and get there in time to stand in a wrap-around-the-block line. Then we climb – with me carrying a heavy case of “necessities for being in the city without a car in which to stash stuff we might need” – up four flights of stairs to the balcony of the auditorium in the old Roosevelt University building.

This is when I learn the true meaning of Urban Campus: they give a presentation and tell you to look at the folder you have been handed four floors below and say, “Almost all our buildings are in walking distance.” I, as primary shepherd, latched onto the bit about “shuttle buses” – and, when I heard the main building the prospective student wanted to visit was one of the lunch venues, announced that’s where we’re going and focused – a skill stressed to students in the Open House presentation – on steering everyone onto a shuttle.

The catered buffet lunch was very, very good. I found that out after the first “meet the professors” meeting on the fourth floor. My companions went on a tour to the 8th floor; I headed down to the first floor and then texted to them: “Eating downstairs.”

After that, they took their map and went to a couple more stops and I walked over to the Field Museum area. Do you know there are many streets to cross in downtown Chicago, including Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive – and relatively long stretches of park grounds? And I am still carrying the bag.

After awhile my phone vibrates in my pocket and we have our own telephone GPS conversation about locating the lady in the bright deep pink sweater standing on the museum steps by the flag pole. Reunited, we walked by the lake and a lot of places and finally ended up back at the Van Buren Street Station in a waiting room from a long time ago with long wooden benches, covered with etched carvings . . . of graffiti. Picture to come.

The real highlight of the day then revealed itself. We were in a train car with a hyperactive preteen, who got up on his knees and with his upper body sticking way above the seat, talked all the way to South Bend. Normally, I can tune these things out with the thought, “not my kid,” but this was different. By the time we pulled into the South Bend Station, we all felt ourselves thinking thoughts of violence. It was not unlike the scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, in which Steve Martin rants about being able to take anything life throws at him because he has survived John Candy’s constant talking. As an inside joke to those in the know – that boy has reached “Wanda” status.

We got out of the newly-constructed and possibly confusing airport entrance/exit and found ourselves on the Toll Road just before the light failed. Then in the dark, we pulled into our driveway . . . and not long after that, I had on a nightshirt and was wondering if all the muscle aches would keep me from sleeping. They did not.

It was a beautiful day in the Windy City – absolutely beautiful. I might post a picture or too later.

Tags: Just Me - AmeliaJake · The Peanut Butter Cafe & Roadhouse

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 pottermom // Apr 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    For three years my husband rode the train from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago. His office was on Michigan Avenue and often he would wander down Lake Shore Drive on his lunch hour. Summertime only of course, the snow didn’t call out to him in the winter the same way the green parks did in summertime.

    I tended to avoid downtown, not something to take on with three small children on a regular basis but when I did I would make sure to go eat at the Berghoff, Chicago’s oldest German restaurant. My grandfather worked there when he left Indiana when he was 16 seeking his fortune. It amazes me as I think today it looks very similar to how it did back then in the early 1900s.

    I haven’t been back to Chicago for years. Might have to take a trip some day…

  • 2 pottermom // Apr 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    By the way: The Berhoff brewed their beer in Ft. Wayne. 🙂

Leave a Comment