The Rock Island Line

The station at 99th Street on Metra’s Rock Island Division is worth a trip to Beverly alone.

(Chicago, Illinois) When my sister dropped me off at the old station at 99th Street in Beverly on Saturday, I was immediately reminded of many happy memories riding the old Rock Island Line to downtown Chicago as a child.  The Rock is long gone, of course, but Metra does honor the line that runs from Joliet to LaSalle Street in Chicago as the Rock Island District.  The Rock Island Line was indeed a mighty fine line to ride, especially from Beverly to storied old LaSalle Street Station where Hitchcock filmed a key scene in North by Northwest.  We would take the Rock Island from the architecturally significant station at 107th Street every Christmas Eve to have breakfast under the tree at Marshall Field’s.  The Polar Express had nothing on that amazing, annual journey on the Rock. And then there was the time in 1974 when I traveled on the Rock Island Line from Blue Island to Rock Island to visit a fraternity brother and apply for a job at John Deere.  I didn’t get the job, and I lost the fraternity brother, but I gained a wonderful railroad experience that you might call the disappearing railroad blues.  The Rock ran an observation car on the tail end of that train to Rock Island, and I sat there in the dark watching one little Illinois town after another pass by my window in the inky darkness. And, on the return passage, I had a wonderful breakfast in the diner, complete with real silverware and linens.  It was first class all the way.  Yes, the Rock Island Line was a might fine line, and Metra’s Rock Island District is a worthy successor.  Give it a ride some time down to beautiful Beverly.  For the most up to date information, visit: metrarail.com.

The 8:17 to LaSalle comes to collect me at 99th Street.

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Anniversary Concert

(Niles, Michigan) We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday by going to Fernwood Botanical Garden and enjoying the Second Sunday Concert given by guitarist Peter Aglinskas.  The man from the Marquette Park neighborhood of Chicago serenaded us with some soothing summer samba sounds, and, yes, we did talk Sout’ Side with him after his lovely concert. And then we went to the nature center and talked to our friend and fellow frogger and birder, Wendy Jones, before heading over to the various gardens.  All in a day’s celebration.  Here is the photographic record of our glorious day:

Peter Aglinskas knows his way around the guitar.

Natalie knows her way around Fernwood.

Natalie’s nose knows its way around Fernwood too. She is sniffing a Butterfly Bush.

A garden of delight for our anniversary.

Parting shot of Fernwood. We’ll be back.

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Marine Climate

Gazing at Chicago’s Monroe Harbor the other day made me appreciate how much I love living my whole life on the shore of that great sweet-water sea called Lake Michigan.

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Piper Curry

We were piped out of the church on August 13, 1977 by Piper Bill Curry. I recall that he played “Mairi’s Wedding,” but I could be wrong.

(Evanston, Illinois) When our lovely wedding ceremony was concluded the afternoon of Saturday, August 13, 1977, we, the newlyweds, turned to face our congregated families and friends in the intimate Shakespeare Chapel of the First Methodist Church, and we could see that they were all wondering when the organist would accompany our graceful exit.  Nothing.  And then Piper Bill Curry stepped out of the alcove in full Highland Dress and piped us out of the church in true Scottish fashion. Ah, the looks of the faithful.  Grand, indeed.  I could feel the ancestors smiling down from the Highlands of Heaven.  I took my bonnie, wee lassie on my arm and walked as one out of the church and into a truly wonderful life that continues to this day.  As to how we found Piper Curry, well, let’s just say that I had a friend back in the early 1970s who played the pipes in the Stockyard Kilty Band, and I began going to practice with him on Friday nights to: a. listen to the pipes and drums, and b. have a wee dram or two after practice.  That’s where I first met Bill Curry, and the rest is history.  Oh, and Bill Curry was the clout I needed back in 1975 to be hired as a reporter at the legendary City News Bureau of Chicago.  Piper Curry piped me into journalism, and he piped me into wedded bliss. Slàinte mhòr!

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40 Years and Counting!!!

We celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary today and are counting on your blessings and prayers. We were married at the First Methodist Church of Evanston (Illinois) on August 13, 1977. And, yes, we met on a blind date. Who knew? Oh, I think Vince did. Thanks, Vince!!!!

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Saturday in the City

(Chicago, Illinois) I have always enjoyed the relaxed mood of the big city on Saturday. This is looking east on Van Buren from LaSalle.

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Decked Out

Jacqui takes five on our recently refinished deck.

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