I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009: An (almost) Final Visit to Chicagoland

The old saying goes, "you can never go home". There is some truth to it, especially as maturity and careers expand. I took time out to drive alone back to the old neighborhoods of my youth and forefather's neighborhoods the past three days. Living in the Berwyn-Cicero enclave (those that know Chicago understand my choice of term) gave rise to several life-long relationships which I deeply cherish. Meeting these few friends and breaking bread over a great meal of pork, dumplings and sauerkraut with liver dumpling soup,Czech desert and coffee included (that's a Bohemian meal!)starting just where we left off a long time ago was priceless. Eating the ethnic eastern European foods of my culture at the Riverside Restaurant, Bohemian Crystal and a family favorite since the 1930s, Russells Bar-B-Que in Elmwood Park, then shopping at Veseckys Czech bakery on Cermak Road, Crawford Sausage Company on Pulaski, Josie's Czech Dumpling Factory (best fruit dumplings in the world) on Pershing and Bobaks, a more recent addition for great homemade sausage on Archer Ave., reinforced the notion that food tastes of youth evoke strong memories. Many other establishments have had their day and closed, but these and a few other culinary remnants remain after many decades or longer of existence. Their days, sadly, are numbered. Si?

I also performed a family ritual and visited the graves of close relatives, especially my father's. As my parents came from large families, we had a very close, clan-like family relationship - nothing like that which presently exists as a rule in our society. It was interesting to see that Bohemian National Cemetery (a national historical landmark - relative's pictures are on their tombstones as per custom of the culture and period)- now has a special Chicago Cub Section where fans can actually be buried facing a mock ivy wall replica of Wrigley Field.

A high point was being able to thank my 92-year old Band Director for modeling me for success and for many other things which will remain private. He is frail and we spoke by phone. He is in a nursing home at this time but his memory was sharp as a hawk. I expected nothing less. And being able slowly drive by the family homestead and other important locations from my youth in the 1950s and 60s made my adventure complete.

Many memories and duties to perform in three short days to an area where I may, or may not, return.

I think that many readers would like very much to return to their roots,on personal terms and a personal schedule. It reminds one of a past much different from today, and an appreciation for the trials and tribulations of growing into adulthood. I, for one, wonder how in the hell I actually managed to do it.

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