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Driving up through Chicago to Milwaukee I am surprised at how close Chicago is to Wisconsin. I forget every time I visit. I expect the long drive from Portland to Seattle but I end up with an hour or so drive. Dennis drove, following the directions of the GPS, which has the intense desire to show us sights we never would have seen. I cannot figure why it took us down Countyline Road to get to Racine when two exits up there is a direct shot with only one turn to my Aunt’s.
Of course, somewhere on Countyline Road it also got confused, but I saw a sign for 30 and recalled driving on that north of my aunts. I am sure that if we go North we’ll run into something that either I recognize or the GPS will return.
Racine is the home of my mom’s family. My father’s family lives farther out in the county. Their mailing address is Franksville, which we used to pass through quickly with a nod to the Sauerkraut factory, where my grandmother worked until they forced her to retire when she was 70 or 75. I can’t remember which. Driving by there and out farther you end up in Raymond Center.
The farm is still there and still stands, though we don’t know for how much longer. It is strange to me to be at the farm with no one there. There were always people around. Someone always answered when you said, “Anybody home?” which was how you greeted people on the farm, opening the door, walking in and yelling that.
One of my aunts laughed remembering my Aunt Jenny doing that, as she saw everyone sitting around the table. What did she expect they said? We were all dead and these were our ghosts?!
Still, there was a habit of that and I found myself doing it in past years. But these days no one lives there and for the first time in it’s hundred or more years of life there is no one home at the farm. Sandi’s son has been mowing and it looks nice. I half expect a neighbor to come by and ask me what I’m doing skulking around the house and barn but no one comes. My cousin knows we’ve been there so no doubt there were phone calls being made where I couldn’t see them.
There’s 100 acres there that are all ours. I feel at home here in a way that nothing else is home. I don’t understand the draw but it is home. My husband thinks he could live easily in Wisconsin. Part of me hopes that this can be a place of retirement for us. There is even a ski hill down at Wilmot Mt. I can ski those runs and travel when I need something more substantial. Still Wisconsin is flat. How can I leave my hills in Seattle?
I am a child of two lands. I am my child of the land where I live here in Seattle. I am still drawn at my core to the land of my father and his father and his mother’s father. That land has my name on it. I have never lived there. Though I was born in Milwaukee, a fact I point out to my husband on our “tour” of the sights I must show him, I have never lived on the farm. Still that land calls me like no other. I know it is a place where my family has lived and it pains me that they might be moving on. If the money is right perhaps one of my cousins children will buy part of the land and live there. They feel the call too.
The people in Milwaukee and Racine are inevitably nice. I find people here much friendlier than in the Northwest, though I would be hard pressed to explain how. They are just a little more open. One friend described the people of the Northwest as passive aggressive. We all took that with a grain of salt as he is from New Jersey and they are all just aggressive. But I get a sense of what he means every time I visit the Midwest.
There are lovely people on our tour of the Pabst Mansion. I have been by it. My father has pointed it out. I have never been inside. I didn’t know you could go inside. I didn’t know there were tourist things to do in Milwaukee. After all, in my time here I have been chauffered often my father who showed me the sights of his childhood-the farm, Aunt Jenny’s, the Sauerkraut factory, Lee’s Hardware store, the corner where Jenny’s Hats used to be, the cemetery, the cemetery his mother is buried, the hospital I was born in, the apartments he and my mother lived in… so many places. And of course Leon’s.
It is a surprise to me that I can’t find the West Lawn Cemetery in the GPS. I know vaguely where it is so we find it. However, in Milwaukee as we look for Leon’s, I input Leon’s and there it is. A Milwaukee landmark. They have frozen custard to die for. Apparently Bill Clinton made a habit of visiting it when he was in Milwaukee. I am sure my father would not be pleased. He didn’t much care for Clinton. I don’t know why. Clinton was for everything my father believed in–it’s just that Clinton was a Dem and my father was an old style Republican.
The frozen custard tastes as good no matter what your particular political views.
And we head back to my Aunt’s. We’ll be visiting the cat bloggers at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I am looking forward to this as I haven’t been there either and wonder that I’ve missed it. Chicago, after all, is not all that far.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I set out for a vacation. This year it was my turn to do what I wanted. I wanted to visit my aunt. Upon arriving, I realized why the call of “home”, the home of my parents but never to me, called so strongly. It had been seven years this time. I had been visiting, if you can call it that about every two years, for one funeral or another. Now most everyone is gone.
Still I have one aunt that I see and cousins. There is still place and the land upon which the farm sits. There is still the call.
Early morning plane rides are pretty much par for the course when you live in Seattle and want to visit the midwest. We were lucky to find a low cost flight out that included a nonstop flight from Seattle to O’Hare where we would rent a car. My family was from Racine and surrounding areas outside Milwaukee and my husband’s family is from outside Cincinnati, though his father is buried in Indianapolis. We had a fair amount of driving to do.
Getting to the airport early in the morning isn’t a problem. Seattle rush hour starts somewhat later than 5 AM and we made good time to the airport. My husband forgot and packed his shaving cream in his carry on and lost that. Ah well. Shaving cream is easy to find.
We got on the plane. I got to sit next to a lovely woman in a sari. We had barely nodded to each other when the pilot came on to tell us our navigation system was out. They let us sit for 15 suspenseful minutes waiting and wondering what this meant for us. Apparently there was no part to be found at Sea-Tac airport so they let us off the plane, carrying all our luggage with us. We would wait inside the airport for the part to arrive, perhaps two hours.
The last time I had flight delays, I ran around the airport finding a phone card so I could keep my aunt informed of any updates. This time I used my cell phone. It seems that whenever I fly for pleasure to the midwest there is something to keep us waiting. It is only when I fly for funerals that the flight is easy–almost pleasant. Perhaps the universe wants to make up to me that there is another loss in my life. I was even upgraded to first class when my uncle died because the other seats were taken.
We waited around the airport, watching people get out their cell phones. Business travelers on the flight were frantically searching for a way to get to Chicago earlier than our plane delay would get them their. People wandered off looking around for what to do. Several times I thought I heard Chicago. Upon investigation there was another flight to Chicago leaving a few hours after ours was to have left.
Our plane commenced boarding about the time theirs finished. However, the advantage this time was that my friend in the Sari had moved seats. My husband and I had three seats to ourselves. It seemed that our flight was no longer completely full but had lost many of it’s passengers. It was far more comfortable for the delay. It was unfortunate that we would arrive in Chicago in time for rush hour, but not horrible. After all, O’Hare is on the north side.
It is easy to arrive in Chicago. We were warned that we had landed a long way from the terminal. We taxied. And taxied. And taxied some more. When I thought there was no further place to go, we continued taxing to the terminal. I recalled the night I flew into O’Hare with my father when another Aunt had died. He had wanted to fly into O’Hare and rent a car. We could borrow a car from family if we went to Mitchell Field where they would pick us up. I scheduled us into Mitchell. As we taxied the long way out to our runway my father looked over and said, “Maybe we are driving to Milwaukee?”
My father is long gone and there have been many flights since. I have seen that the landing space over Mitchell Field goes out over Lake Michigan. Prior to my father’s death I had always landed late at night and never seen such a thing. I have since walked through the small museum of flight at Mitchell and wondered how to send in my father’s information. I have had Easter dinner with his family. I have walked across the graves of people I knew well and who were cornerstones in my life.
The farm used to be the place we all gathered. Now most await me at West Lawn Cemetery. I still go by the farm. There is something in my blood that draws me. My cousins understand. I considered calling my cousin to tell her if she got a call about strangers on the property it was just me but I avoided that duty. It would make the lack of people there too real. Instead I led my husband out, nearly unerringly to the farm. We walked around and I pointed out the places I remembered best. Sandi said she knew I’d be out there and she hadn’t worried.
Arriving, finally in Chicago we got our rental car. The GPS works, although Garmin’s idea of the direct route and mine are definitely on two different wave lengths. Apparently Garmin hates the Interstate and state routes as we stayed on farm roads that took us twice as long to get to my Aunt’s house. No matter. Dennis liked the scenery.
There was something lovely about the scenery in our midwest tour and something of the wanderer through the countryside that time. I was looking forward to family, to meeting Dennis’ family and most of all to meeting the people behind the cats that I knew online.
I’m frustrated with my affiliate sites. Now I haven’t sold enough on CJ to stay on–unless I buy something from myself. I like the sites they have for My Siamese so I am staying with them. My Siamese is picking up again in Google and I think I found the problem that caused it to not be listed.
Quantum Lifestyles still isn’t making it. I’m thinking I don’t want to continue with that. I need to keep the domains and the site because I have so many emails linked to that site. However when this hosting is done, I’ll put up some sort of page and then just leave the emails. I might keep it as a site for the cards. I don’t know. But it won’t be like it is. I find it a lot of work to keep up on the Acupuncture Marketing Blog.
Although I write Wed Cents and it is a bit of work, it’s more fun. And I see it as this grand experiment. It’s a bit lighter for me than the Acupuncture stuff. I have a book that I am working on as well. It’s about healing and not about acupuncture. I think that healing was more my focus but I know acupuncture. However so many people “know” acupuncture that they don’t want to listen to what one other person has to say–not so much anyway. I mean some might like it. This comes from a more intuitive side. It was inspired by Georgia’s comment and her equanamity in this illness that she has. I think it’s worth writing and will be worth reading.
It’s a little sad to let go of my first website. Still it’s got a generic name and I can bring it back to be anything I want at any time. We’ll see what happens and what I end up doing with it!
However it does leave me more time for this, My Siamese, Wed Cents, and the Ski site I keep thinking I want to do. My focus right now is more on working on things that can focus my OWN products rather than affiliate products and also advertising on my writing sites. I hope I get some thing up that people really really like. It will be a challenge I think.
In my twitter account, I have an animal communicator following my tweets. I started following her as she seemed interesting. Georgia is getting on in years and I know that decisions will need to be made at some point.
I was thinking I could call this woman, but then I thought, why? I can communicate with Georgia. I used to sit out in the back porch at night and think about her when she was out wandering the neighborhood. I’d remind her that I’d be worried if I had to try and sleep before she came in. If she didn’t, I didn’t know that I’d be able to let her out again. I would picture her in my mind very strongly. Then as I opened my eyes and would be standing up to go in, she was almost always (there was one time when she didn’t) jumping over the fence and giving me her little squeak of a mew.
I knew that I could ask her this.
She tells me she is content right now. And I am happy. I told her how this was hard because I felt so badly for missing out on what was wrong with Simone. Georgia reminds me, “There was nothing wrong. She was sick.”
And I press my case, “But she didn’t have to be sick. Maybe we could have fixed it if we had known what it was. I should have talked to the vet more..pushed her case more…”
Georgia said quite simply, “But why do you think sick is wrong? It just is.”
I was so stunned I was knocked out of the meditation. And it has been food for thought for sometime. Why do we think that sickness is wrong? Perhaps it just another way of living?