We are back from our week long jaunt from Toronto-ish to Chicago to hometown number one in central Illinois to hometown number two in southern Illinois, St Louis and back. By my calculations it was; 1 grown-up, 5 children, one child’s suitcase left behind in Canada, 3300km, countless cornfields, 4 pizzas, iced tea, the Mississippi, long lost friends, recent friends, soul family, family, complicated family, three museums, untold number of gun, ‘gentlemen’s’ club and doomsday religious billboards seriously, US. pull it together, your crazy is showing.
I had not been to central Illinois in 25 years. Who has changed more, me or it? It’s still in my gut and I’m trying to digest it all.
I hadn’t been in Southern Illinois in 12 years and it is exactly how I remembered it. Exactly. St Louis, yup.
This trip more than anything re-enforced to me that I am a people person rather than a place person. I might be in the center of one of those middle life crisis situations where I am looking for where I belong. Turns out it might be everywhere. I loved Chicago and texted my husband more than once, we could live here, you know, after we raise all the folks in canada.
At the risk of this post being a total gloomy gus I have to say this election is dragging me down, giving me a jaundiced eye. It also gave me get a glimpse of what all this turmoil is about. Illinois, you are not in a happy state.
On the upside, we had a super time with super people. The super-est people. Below is my mini-tour guide and yes,you can get do all of this in a mere seven days.
Museum of Science and Industry which is not only unique to Chicago and embodies the American spirit everyone always yammers on about has several of the plastic tchotchke making machines which are 100% unique to the Midwest. ahhhh, smell the plastic, burn your fingers on it. guys, really. i love these machines. and i took this video there. it sums up most of my life.
Quimby’s BookstoreQuimby’s Bookstore basically a zine store. we did the guy behind the counter a solid by leaving before the toddler ate any of the merch. the teenager and i nearly died in there. could have spent hours and countless dollars.
Lucca Grill in Bloomington toasted ravioli, pizza, brewed not sweet iced tea. bliss.
Pere Marquette Lodge my children were suitably impressed by the large sized chess, Mississippi river and ole man river’s obvious joy in gobbling up it banks and taking back what is his, guys, that river. what a beast, i love it, indoor pool, sleeping in a hotel and awesome restaurant with catfish dinner! and of course, meeting their grandfather for the first time.
Cahokia Mounds woodhenge, monk’s mound, the confounding mystery. what’s not to love.
City Museum in the name of all that is holy, get your butts to city museum, now! it defies good photography and is impossible to explain. this place could only exist in st louis. it is all about personal responsibility and a gem. we spent seven hours there and that is only because the grown ups wimped out and needed dinner and a chair to rest their weary bones. the children could have been there all night. how there are not at thousand memes of children pulling stuck grown ups out of tunnels coming out of the floor i will never know.
ps people, take your children on a road trip. spending time with them like that is more fun that you can imagine.