Monday, May 01, 2017

Dear Friends and Old Memories

Last week I flew to Chicago and my dear friends, Jack and Jean, picked me up at the airport and took me to Joliet to spend a couple of days with them.

Arriving in Joliet, Jack asked what I would like to see, so he drove us past the church where Steve and I served for nearly ten years. The church, which was sold to another faith years ago, still looks cared for and vibrant. Down the short alleyway is the parsonage which we lived in for five years. Hans celebrated his first birthday there, and we lived there when Peder was born.

Old parsonage
We drove past Anselmino's where we used to buy our meat. We loved the Italian bulk sausage we bought there—used it in spaghetti sauce and on our pizzas. The store is no longer, but it brought back good memories. Next we drove out to where Hans started elementary school—Union School. He attended his kindergarten through second grade there.

Union School
Not far from Union School was our new (new in October 1975) parsonage. We moved into it in October of that year. A couple of years later Heidi was born while living there.

The day we moved into this new home, our new neighbors from across the road, the Eich's, walked over to meet us. I'll always remember their welcome: a nice cake in a Tupperware cake container. Doris, the mom, introduced herself and her three daughters to us and told us the girls were available if we ever needed a babysitter. This was the beginning of a dear, dear friendship. We took them up on the babysitting offer! They no longer live in that house, but 21 years ago built a house that is very close to Wooddard's.

Just down the road from this parsonage is the Joliet NASCAR race track. It is located in what was farmland when we lived there.

Next Jack drove us to where the former U. S. Army Arsenal was located. This spot has been changed into a lovely cemetery for veterans. It is called the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

After touring the cemetery, we drove to the Eich's and spent a couple of hours visiting. It was so nice to catch up with them again.

L to R: Bob, Doris, yours truly, Jean, Jack

L to R: Bob, Doris, yours truly, and Joanne
That evening we went to see Jeannine, who is one of Jack and Jean's daughters. Jeannine and her husband have four very nice kids. Their household is busy, but I got to meet each of them over a couple of hours. It was very enjoyable.

L to R: Juliana, Jack, Jean

L to R: Jean, Jeannine, Juliana, yours truly
The next day we got to tour a portion of Joliet Central High School. In the ten years we lived there, I was never inside this beautiful building. Jeannine works in the special education part of this school.

We visited the classroom where Jeannine assists and had lunch together. I was very impressed with the school and the program for those with special needs.

Next Jack asked me what I would like to do, so I said it would be nice to see our friend, Florine. I called her and asked her if she would like to go for a ride through Pilcher Park with us and she agreed. Joliet was really in "spring mode" with tulips, daffodils, and flowering trees. It was really lovely.

Driving through Pilcher Park we spotted white and red trillium in bloom.  They were really pretty.

That evening we joined our good friends, Dee and Bob, at my favorite Joliet area restaurant, the White Fence Farm. They are famous for their fried chicken and delicious corn fritters.

Corn fritters

Fried chicken

John, one of Jack and Jean's grandsons. Notice the chickens in the carpet!

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