Summer Train Trip: Time with the Kids

June 17-26 – Chicago

We go to Chicago a few times each year to visit our youngest son, his lovely wife, and our two grandkids. Most of the time we spend there are dedicated to playing with the kids so I usually neglect to pull my camera out for much. And really, as much as I love my kids and grandkids, I’ve learned that not everyone shares my adoration.

Okay, I can’t resist; here are the three year old and one year old – they both recently had birthdays – riding in the wagon they got for their birthdays. Jurgen and I played for hours  (really – hours) with that balsa wood plane.

Summer Train Trip: Chicago - Grand Kids
Summer Train Trip: Chicago – Grand Kids

Carla’s sister Linda came out to spend some time with the family and we did do a couple of cultural things while there. One day we took the Metra train into Chicago to see the sites. Walking downtown we passed Alexander Calder’s sculpture Flamingo.

Alexander Calder's sculpture Flamingo in Chicago
Alexander Calder’s sculpture Flamingo in Chicago

We then went to the Art Institute. I split up from the sisters and wandered the halls. My three favorites were

  • Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877 by Gustave Callibotte
    Paris Street Rainy Day 1877
    Paris Street Rainy Day 1877

    I’m not sure what draws me to this – maybe the size (it is quite large). It seems lonely with the grays and the fact that people are not looking at one another


American Gothic. Credit Google Art Project
American Gothic. Credit Google Art Project

Reading about this surprised me. I always figured the woman was the farmer’s wife; but according to the notes it is supposed to be his daughter. Her domesticity is symbolized by the house plants behind her right shoulder. I also got a kick out of who the models are: the woman is Grant Wood’s sister; the  man is Wood’s dentist.

  • Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Like the other two, it’s a classic of course. I’m struck by how barren the picture is; there is almost nothing on the counter and there is no obvious doorway into the diner from the outside.

We had a small dinner downtown then I headed back to the train station and the trip back to Riverside while the girls went to see Hamilton. It is on a long run there so if you can’t see it in New York head to Chicago. Carla and Linda loved it! Linda is a fifth grade teacher and used the play to teach about American history. The kids loved it apparently.

We played with the grandkids a few more days then it was time to think about heading home. The day before we left I went trackside a little after 2:00 to catch a glimpse of the California Zephyr roaring by. Please forgive the initial image of this video – I don’t post many videos and don’t know how to pick the frame I want for the  still. Maybe what I did will work.

We caught this train the very next day. My next post will cover the magnificent trip we took through the Rockies and Sierras.




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