Going to the old neighborhood

Yesterday’s adventure was taking the train to the area in which I grew up. We rode the Metra Electric to Homewood, to visit a friend of my mother. I’ve known her since I was The Boy’s age, and my mother and I used to have play/coffeedates with her and her children. Although the trip required some advance planning on my part and broke up the journey into arguably unnecessary legs, it was a lot of fun and I’d do it again. I drove to the 55th-56th-57th Street station, parked the car on Stony Island Avenue, and the kids rode in the double stroller up to the station (thank goodness for accessibility regs and elevators!) and onto the train. The train ride was about 1/2 an hour from 57th Street to Homewood, which is the perfect length of time for a train-interested (but still impatient) 3-year-old and a people-interested 1-year-old. It took me about 20 minutes to walk from the station to our destination in Homewood.

We had an enjoyable time in Homewood. I visited with my mom’s friend. She delighted in my wee ones and bemoaned the fact that her offspring have not yet produced grandchildren. The Boy and The Girl played with a circa-1976 plastic Fisher-Price Little People farm set (complete with silo!) with which I clearly remember playing. We had lunch that included freshly picked blueberries (another activity I remember doing as a child) and freshly picked tomatoes from the garden. Then we prepared to go home.

I overshot the train station by about 1/4 mile so that we could stop at Mitchell’s Candies and Ice Cream. No trip to Homewood is complete without a stop at Mitchell’s. In business since 1933, Mitchell’s was the place we went to after band concerts and baseball games, to celebrate good report cards, to buy Father’s Day and birthday presents for my father, and occasionally “just because.” The Girl had fallen asleep in the stroller, so she didn’t get anything. The Boy got a sugar cone filled with chocolate ice cream and covered in sprinkles. In tribute to my mother, I got a chocolate chip malted milk shake, which The Girl had some of later when she woke up. We bought 1/4 lb. of vanilla pan caramels to bring home to Mr. C. and I got 1/2 lb. of mixed creams to save for later.

We arrived at the station with about 15 minutes until the train was due. While The Girl snoozed, The Boy and I watched a freight train start, stop and start again on the far track, and talked about the different types of cars and the couplings. On the train ride back, the conductor amused both kids by answering The Boy’s questions about the ticket punch.

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