I spent four days in the Chicago area this past weekend. I went up there to visit my friend Barb Burghardt. Barb and I went to high school together and it had been more than 51 years since we had seen or spoken to each other. We graduated from high school and went our separate ways. Barb went to University of Illinois and I went to Northern Illinois University. She was a teacher for over 40 years and along the way acquired several more degrees. I studied biology and paleontology and have worked at several very different jobs over that same time period.
It's hard to know if an old friendship would mean that we could spend time together and get along. In this case we proved we could. I had a great visit and I think Barb enjoyed my being there as much as I did. We played with her cats. We sat on the front porch with our morning coffee and watched the kids walk to school. We visited her mom in an assisted living center where I got a nice surprise. Jayne couldn't remember where she lived and she asked me where I lived numerous times but when I introduced myself to her as "Penny" she asked "Penny Conover?" Who knew she would really remember me? It was wonderful.
Barb has been very active in her local theater, Village Theater Guild in Glen Ellyn, IL, and we timed the visit so we could attend the opening night of their current production. The play was Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn and it was wonderful. The cast was fabulous and the crew made the whole thing work seamlessly. It's a very small theater but they really can put on a great show.
Among the things I was looking forward to in the Chicago area was food that I remember from my past. We managed some amazing Italian beef sandwiches from Portillo's and some wonderful pizza. Chicago is known for it's deep dish pizza but we went with my favorite - thin crust. Yes, it was wonderful.
So, I had a great visit. I remembered so much of Chicago but had forgotten how horrible the traffic is. The weather was stunning although Barb wasn't happy because it wasn't quite as cold as it should be for the middle of October. It was simply wonderful as far as I was concerned.