Ready to travel back to Chicago? Good, come on!
Sunday we stayed pretty local. Our main goal for the day was to see all our favourite places and visit the cemetery. I feel like I've talked a lot about cemeteries recently. I hope you don't think I'm too morbid haha, but cemeteries have never bothered me much. Especially the one up here in Chicago, it's very beautiful and peaceful. And aren't those flowers just gorgeous! They're fake of coarse so they'll last a while. But I'll talk more about the flowers in a bit. I'm getting ahead of myself. We have to actually get to the flower shop first!
You can see a sliver of the Des Plaines River there.
We also drove through the beautiful town of Park Ridge. It's one of my personal favourites, my dad too. If he doesn't retire to Alaska he wants to retire here. It's a beautiful. lush, and vintage town. take a look!
That's a theatre above where they show different films. Beautiful architecture, am I right? I fall in love every time I see it.
I thought I had a picture of the outside of the flower shop but it must have gotten lost. Oh well, the inside is just as beautiful. The flower shop has been here for as long as I can remember and for as long as my mom can remember too. It's very close to the cemetery so we always stop here first. We some fake flower bunches and a couple of Polish flags too.
Drive by photos of the outside.
We had a hard time finding my great-grandparents, turns out we were literally maybe 20 feet away. But as we were searching we were noticing the blatant lack care taken in maintaining the graves. The section we were in was easily at 80 years old so some sinking headstones would be expected. But what we found was just awful. If you can see the gray spot at the bottom of this picture, that's a headstone I found and tried to dig the grass up. And all that green, it's grass covering more headstones.
It was horrifying and sad. I tried to clean the grass off of as many headstones as I could but there were areas that were just completely covered. It was so disheartening. None of them were people who were related to me but they're all graves of people related to someone. That's people's family being covered up and forgotten about. I can't stand it, it's not right.
Needless to say, I wrote to the cemetery expressing my concerns and disgust. If I had the time, and it wasn't 47 degrees out with wind, I would have sat there all day digging up the grass. I would be such a good cemetery caretaker. I don't know why but it's something I feel so strongly about. I guess because I feel like everyone deserves to be honoured and remembered. And as a caretaker it's your responsibility to do so. You're the person visiting the grave every week so why not show them love.
I got really carried away there, so sorry! Mind you the rest of the cemetery is very well taken care of it's only the old part they've neglected.
Moving on though. We spent about two hours there and then made our way to our favourite food store. On the way though is my grandparents old house. It's the house my mother grew up in and the house I spent all my summers in. After they passed away we had to sell the house, it would have been to expensive to keep. This was the front, though the new owners put in the flag pole and Virgin Mary.They also built a huge garage in the back and enclosed the porch.
I always have mixed feelings when I see the house. I understand it's not our anymore but in a way it'll always be. I still remember all the details of the inside. The way the kitchen floor looked, how the hallway had stone flooring instead of wood. The pink bathroom for girls and blue for boys. My mom's calico carpeted bedroom floor. My god, I paid way too much attention to the floor!
There are things about the house that I'll never forget and I want my future house to have them too. Oh, I'm getting teary eyed thinking about it! Okay moving now!
They specialize in produce, obviously, but they also have all the ethnic food you could every want. And a big portion of the store sells Polish goods. We pretty much go there with one thing in mind. Chocolate.
Wawel Kasztanki is my absolute, most favourite chocolate in the whole entire world. I'm seriously not joking when I say this is one of the main reasons I go to Chicago. It's for this chocolate. It's a hazelnut chocolate with groats maybe? I'm not entirely sure to be honest, there's no description. But trust me it's to die for.
We also get Polish beer to take back with us, for my dad, and "Gala" a Polish fashion magazine for me, some soup for my mom, cookies, and some more chocolate!
We stopped by the Harlem Irving Plaza on the way to my Aunts' house for dinner. The Harlem Irving Plaza, or HIP is a mall which used to be an outdoor shopping plaza in the 60's and 70's. My mom would shop here back when it was just an outdoor mall. Now everything is indoors and they have all the big chain stores. We didn't go to shop though. We really only went because I love the parking.
I know, it sounds crazy! But because everything is so tight the mall is build upwards not outwards, and the parking lot is on the roof. They have escalators that take you from the roof into the mall and I think it's just the coolest thing ever! We walked the full length of the mall to see it and then headed out to my aunt's house.
My aunts live together on the South end of Chicago. The house they live in is also the one they grew up in. It's over a 100 years old and you can feel the history when you walk in. It feels like home. I didn't take pictures of it but here's a picture of Lucy, one of the dogs.
This was a wordy post wasn't it? I think I've kept you long enough and I'll end it here. Tomorrow I'm taking you downtown!
I hope you have a great day!!