Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicago on a Spring Afternoon

My favorite time of the year in Chicago is the spring. I have great memories, particularly of a wonderful spring in 1969 or 1970. I came into town from Rock Island, riding the Rock Island train. We arrived at LaSalle Street Station. I was riding in the observation car (this was the last year of the Rock Island Line). When we arrived in downtown I took my grip and exited the station.

By rights I should have headed straight up the stairs at LaSalle and Van Buren and caught the Ravenswood Line (as we called it then) and been to Western Avenue in a half hour. Instead, I headed east to the lake and then followed the lakeshore north to Foster Avenue.

It was a beautiful day, much like today.

I detoured to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where I'll go tomorrow after I get done researching at the Chicago Historical Society. Out the north gate from the zoo, up past Diversey, and back out to the lakefront.

From Addison north the path diverges. You can either follow the lake around the Montrose Harbor and then up north past Wilson, Lawrence and Argyle until arriving at Foster Beach and then a mile inland to Ruth and Oscars.

I think that's the route I took, though I may, by that point in the walk, have chosen the shorter route, a hundred yards from the water, next to soccer fields, baseball diamonds and open park land.

I think it took me two hours to make the walk, and maybe a half hour extra in the zoo.

I remember that when I arrived home my mother was rather surprised - I hadn't told anyone I was coming home - surprised rather than angry about the time of my arrival. I think the sun was still shining, but I don't remember. I remember that I was tired, but elated. A great day.

Today was another one. Research at the public library, then to the lakefront, to Marshall Fields, north past the ugh Trump Hotel and Towers (where Sun Times used to be), north up the Magnificent Mile with a stop at Marbles the Brain Store, a stop in the Apple Store (got a few good tips for using the address book in a more efficient way), and finally a long stop at Starbucks (sorry) at Division and State.

That's as far as I got. I was tired, but elated, just like I was still 19. Only the legs were telling me I am a bit older.

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