Friday, September 27, 2013

Oregon Bound: pt.3

Upon heading out of Chicago, our next destination was Rockford, Illinois. This may seem like a city in the middle of nowhere and perhaps an arbitrary location, but in fact it was the city in which my dad grew up. It had been quite some number of years since he had been back, and he was very excited to show me around. When we first passed the Rockford city limits, my dad immediately noticed how much the town had grown since he was a kid there. Chicago has been sprawling west, and Rockford has been sprawling east, and the cities may eventually meet in the middle, where there once existed a deserted open plain.

The first place we stopped was a park. But it wasn't just a park; my dad remembered going there and so we took a stroll around. Surprisingly, it was super hot outside. We're talking 90's, which is apparently very unusual for that area, especially in September.

After stopping for lunch at Steak and Shake, a venue at which I had never been in my life (it was delicious, for the record) we headed outside the city since we couldn't check in to our place for the night just yet. We headed to the cemetery where my dad's parents are buried. This is a pretty big deal for me... I have never met either one of them. My dad's mother passed away before my parents were even married, and his father passed away shortly thereafter. For those of you who were able to have your grandparents as a big part of your life, consider yourself lucky. I never even got to meet my paternal grandparents, and my maternal grandparents live in upstate NY (though my maternal grandfather has already passed away).

The cemetery was pretty standard, lots of grass, lots of graves. But seeing my last name on a gravestone was nothing short of a bit haunting. Nonetheless, we took a moment and said a prayer. It is probably the only time I'll ever really get to "meet" my paternal grandparents.

We proceeded to then head back to the city, driving through downtown (or rather what's left of it, as the majority of busy areas are not actually in downtown anymore) and just getting a feel for the city.

We eventually moved a little outside the city center and into some of the more residential areas. My dad actually lived in three different homes in Rockford, and so we drove to each one to see them. Mind you, I felt like a complete creep stopping on these residential roads, cruising around super slowly as my dad dug around in his brain how to remember where to go to get to these places. And then taking pictures of people's current homes... that was kind of odd. But, nonetheless, it's a pretty cool thing to see where your parents grew up, especially since I don't know very much about his childhood. Here are the three houses, in successive order:
first house
second house 
third house (which my grandfather actually designed!)
After visiting a church that my dad had gone to as a kid, we were on our way to the next big adventure: Minneapolis. But that will be in the next post!
the church -- note that that window is not direct light (even though it looks like it)

Had to throw this one in there just because it was cute.

1 comment:

  1. I love that your Dad is taking you down memory lane for this road trip and that you're seeing some of the homes where he grew up. It's really unique and special...


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