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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rockford and other places

Wednesday Nancy, Debbie, Nolan and I went to Rockford about an hours way northwest from here. We visited Nancy's sister Joyce and her husband Pat. Pat was busy working on a new porch, but the rest of us went on a museum tour of Rockford. At the first museum we learned that the first Swede arrived there in 1852. It was a town with a considerable Swedish population, and they were very industrious. They were particularly engaged in furniture manufacturing, tool making and sock knitting. At the second museum (which took a while to locate), we were overwhelmed by the number of Swedish artifacts. It was the home of an Erlander family, whose origin was in Småland. The husband had made his living in the furniture business, and the house had eventually become a museum. It had very nicely decorated interiors and typical style of the 1870s. In the basement the historical society had gathered an interesting book collection with several rare books about Swedish-Americans. In the evening we all had dinner at a Thai restaurant, which served spicy but good food.

Thursday I went by train to Chicago to do research at the Newberry Library. Didn't make any great finds, but a few details. Found a nice Italian restaurant, Giordano's, where I had a chicken sandwich. Did some window shopping also before I took the same train back as Richard.

Friday Debbie came to pick me up, we went to a jewelry fair at a convention center. For some strange reason Nolan was not allowed in to the fair, so Debbie had to stay outside while I was shopping for cheap necklaces and bracelets. We soon departed from there again and went to a mall instead. I did once again some clothes shopping at Lane Bryant. Definitely one of my favorite stores. In the evening we were babysitters to Nolan, while Debbie and her husband went to a party. We watched a lowbudget comedy entitled The Ex, and then we managed to connect my camera to the TV so that we could see the photos I have taken during my trip. The photos were surprisingly good. I'm sure it's pure luck.

Today (Saturday) Nancy and Richard brought me to Oak Park. We started at the architect Frank Lloyd Wright's home (www.wrightplus.org), where we took the self-guided walking tour. We had ipods, where a woman's voice directed us in the neighborhood, so that we could see the houses Wright had designed. Interesting buildings in the prairie style, with horizontal lines and little ornamentation. Directly afterwards we joined the guided tour in his own home and studio. After a quick lunch at a fastfood place, we continued to the other museum in Oak Park, the Hemingway Museum. Ernest Hemingway's life and works were displayed, showing how his childhood memories had ended up being part of his production. We also visited the house where his family lived in the early years. Interesting old house. Dinner was closer to the city, at Mrs Murphy and Sons, an Irish style place. Very good food and the waiter was kind of cute. On the way back we stopped by at Nancy and Richard's son Mark's place, just to say hi to him and Cheryl.

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