A Chicago Evocation


  .  Rob Willson’s Family,  Gary, Jan and Sandra having attended  Robs navy boot camp graduation ceremony at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.  Their journey from Kansas,  mission accomplished, the city of Chicago beckoning a family appearance,  The navy,  E-2, joining the three before their flight back to Wichita.   The family  mounting a hop on, hop off , double deck tour bus,  the guide pointing out all the highlights of the magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue,  the Navy Pier and North Lake Shore Drive,  Gary making  mental notes from the bus’s  traveling advantage point,  setting preferences for a walking tour.

.  Their  walking tour beginning on Michigan Avenue,  the Ghirardelli chocolate store a first stop, continuing,  a surprise encounter,  a television production crew filming  George Clooney,  as Doctor Doug Ross in the TV series E R,  running out of the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue.   The essence of the Chicago ambulating tour continuing,  mounting the steps of the Field Museum across from the Soldier Field pavilion,  entering their expectation fulfilled,  center foremost was the Skeletal remains of T-Rex,  a tyrannosaurus rex from the cretaceous period,   sixty 6 million years ago,  standing exactly as portrayed on the Hollywood screen.   Continuing upstairs thru the various room and  exhibits,  the atmosphere and smell of the museum bringing back childhood memories of Gary’s monthly visits to San Francisco’s  Golden Gate Park,  and The Academy of Science, with its Planetarium and Natural History Museum.

.  The Navy Pier construction starting in 1916,  and was named in honor of those navy personnel who served in the first world war,  designed for the lake shipping industry,   and later used as a training center for sailors during world war 2,  the navy,   purchasing two cruise ships and refit them into aircraft carriers,  naming them U S S Wolverine and U S S Sable.  Together,  the ships would help to qualify 18,000 pilots for carrier take offs and landings,  including the future president of the United States,  George H W Bush, and legendary U S marine corps flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient, Colonel James Elms Swett.  Thru the years, the pier transposed into a public works, and then the  latter half of the twentieth century,  an ongoing lake touring industry began,  shops,  culinary and an understandable tourist attraction,  with a carnival atmosphere.

.  The hungry visitor’s finding an impeccable accommodation for lunch,  an outstanding international food court,  each member of the family fulfilling their own cuisine desire.   Returning to their rental transportation,  a final stop at the tallest building in the United State,  the Sears Tower.   Gary was looking forward to the express elevator ride to the hundred and third observation floor.   Embarking from their park vehicle,  Jan making a decision to forgo the excursion,  choosing to remain outside the building,  while Robert, Sandra and Dad entered the tower for the ascending ride.   Embarking from the elevator, the observation room giving a  panoramic view of the hazy Chicago metropolitan area from a height of 14 hundred feet.

.  The morning,  the family in a departure mode,  arriving at O’Hare International for the return home,  Gary giving a last salutation to Chicago before boarding their flight to Wichita, by eating a Chicago Dog at the airport.   The journey to witness Robert’s Basic Training consummation being chronicled as indelible, and an everlasting memory. Leaving Chicago,  Gary wasn’t looking forward to newly discovered doldrums of Alva Oklahoma and to further his melancholy, upon arrival,  discovering  their feline companion Muffins having passed on.   Gary reasoned, the ups and downs of these events, were just  another exclamation point in the time line of life’s journey.


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