Gonna' Take a Sentimental Journey

They say you can't go home again...But, I did...back to two former homes, in fact, all in the month of October: I left my heart in San Francisco from September 1990 to January 1994, and of course, my 'sweet home' is Chicago (from birth to 1990).

10/1: We get in the car and head toward SF, stopping at the kooky Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, of course. They assign us to The Hideaway Room. We jump right into some R&R. Isn't the bathroom surreal? (And, for those of you who liked the tryingtogettoamillionhits and psycho jpegs so much from last month, here's another gratuitous rock shower shot.)

10/2: Next stop, Carmel and Pebble Beach. I have modeled here for top fine art photogs. like France's Lucien Clergue and Denver's Owen O'Meara. Strangely, today, I was 'overdressed'.  We stay at Gosby Inn in Pacific Grove. Another great bed. Another strange sink.

10/3: San Francisco. You know the typical views. What's not typical is Joe's Taco Lounge in Mill Valley on Miller Ave. Eat there next time you visit this part of the country. I swear by it.  Also, new to me was the Yerba Buena Center and the new art museum. Fabulous!

10/4: Sonoma and Napa Valley wine-tasting. The best: Valley of the Moon (yeah, I got really excited when Bruce bought us a case of Cuvee de la Luna and the Syrah).  It was also lovely to visit Peju and V. Saatui. The Sterling Vineyard has a tram! Clos Pegase is spectacular with its neo-classical moda italiana. Speaking of Italians...check out Francis Ford Coppola's staircase and the original Chiles House on his vineyard's bella terra.

That night, I have THE BEST DESSERT OF MY LIFE: a fig and thyme crisp at The Girl and the Fig restaurant in Glen Ellen. Just recovering from Portugal/Portuguese, I can't help but tell the manager that her restaurant translates to A Rapariga e O Figo...which translates back to The Girl and the Hot Guy (figo=hottie in Portuguese slang, if you look back at your July Portuguese lesson, queralho!). She has a wonderful sense of humor about it and says she also owns a strip club in Lisbon.

10/5: Yosemite National Park. Can't believe I've never been here before. Better late than never. Half Dome. Cathedral Rock. Fall colors. We stay at the Ahwahnee. President Theodore Roosevelt dined here. Eleanor Roosevelt had coffee here. These rocks rock.

10/19: We leave for Chicago for my folks' 50th wedding anniversary celebrations.

10/20: Before we start celebrating their nuptial bliss, they are honored by Northern Illinois University with the first ever Outstanding Philanthropists Award. They both give amazing speeches. Mom goes first and brings the house down with "Any of you who know me know that I never let a man speak for me." You go girl! Dad quotes Lao-Tse, the founder of Taoism who lived 2500 years ago, "The wise man does not lay up treasure. He knows that the more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."

10/21: My folks' actual anniversary date. WBEZ-FM wishes my folks well during a commercial break for Garrison Keiller's "Lake Woebegon" broadcast. We have a small dinner party and see our old Channel 5 friends, reporter Rich Samuels and his wife (a math teacher in Evanston), Judy Korshak. We have a marvelous and intense conversation about politics and the state of democracy in the US. God! I miss Chicago! A real dinner where no one mentioned movies or box office or whether Nicole and Tom are actually straight.

10/22: My folks' big party night! We set up at the Terrace Restaurant in Lombard in the morning. Mom wears her veil in because her hands are full...then gets so busy that she forgets and provides me with this great bribery shot. Don and Shirley Wilson come in from Indianapolis for the big night. I see cousins I've not seen in many years: Gerald Gum, Judy Kay and Terry Minor and Tudy Gum, Bill and Juanita Gee, Bob and Pinky Gee, Cara Bartel and Adam Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Christine Lund and Nathan Johnson, Barbara and Rebecca Whalen, Paul and Barb Lund, Tyler and Beau Baldwin and Carrie Lund, Elliot Allen and Jessica Lund, Kristen Westlake, Sarah Allen and her sister Christine Lund...This new generation loves to dance to dixieland jazz! So do I! So do my folks! So does my Aunt Elaine, and Aunt Cecilia and Uncle Norbert! Aunt Jackie from Florida meets Bruce for the first time. (I think she approves.) Aunt Syb gazes into Uncle Dave's eyes. I see lots of old friends...From Junior High and High School, from my acting days in Chicago, my neighbors from when I was 0-3 yrs.,etc.!  Mom toasts Dad. Dad toasts Mom. I roast them. Roger Kotecki and his mom, Myra, sing "Always" a capella. The dress mom designed for herself is on display. All this and cake, too. It was a GRAND affair.

10/23: Mom and Dad open their many cards and gifts.

10/24: We go into the city to lunch at Nick & Tony's on Wacker with Ron and Elise Magers...Bruce used to produce for Ron at Channel 5 (NBC) and he was the best man at our wedding in 1989. I sigh when we drive by the Merchandise Mart...where Bruce and I met in the Channel 5 Newsroom, on the 19th floor, back in 1986. After lunch, Ron gives us a tour of his new digs, Channel 7 (ABC) where he is the 5 o'clock anchor. We run into Mark Giangreco, the sportscaster we knew and loved at Channel 5 (now also at 7), and also Bruce's old NU chum, Tony Shute, now the executive producer of the 11:30am and 5pm shows at 7.

10/26: Mom and I go hang out at Thomasina McKinnon Hammond's house with Janet Larry Hubbard and her little daughter, Marie. Thomasina has a new daughter, Megan. Her son Mitchell greets us at the door with a "Hello, Girls!" He's having fun with Megan's presents, of course. Janet, Thomasina and I have known each other since we were around four. We walked home from grade school, junior high and high school together. Man! Look at us old broads now.

Tonight, we go to a political debate between Brent Christensen (D) and Incumbent Congressman Henry Hyde (R). (You'll remember Congressman Hyde. The man who persecuted President Clinton for Monicagate while trying to backpeddle about breaking up his lover's marriage some 20+ years ago.) It turns out that Brent and I used to compete against each other on speech team...He 'spoke' for Fenton HS in Bensenville; I for Wheaton Central in Wheaton. He was a powerhouse in Original Comedy, and he's still funny. Hyde phoned in his debate appearance from Washington, DC (scaredy-cat!) and NEVER once consented to appear with Brent in a forum during the entire campaign. So, Brent provided a blow-up picture of Mr. Hyde and set it in Hyde's empty chair. I'd love to provide a picture of this hilarity, but the Hyde people balked and made the debate organizers take it down. Boo-hoo! The First Amendment is so often bent to the right in DuPage County. Eerily, some yahoo kept yelling, "Illinois! A one-party state! Yeah!" from the back of the auditorium. Chilling. (Don't write me mean e-mails about this paragraph, people. If you like Hyde, get your own darn website to praise him. ;-) I vote and fight for your right to do so.)  Here’s one candidate from Pacific Grove, CA who you don’t want to “get behind”, however. ;-)

10/31: Happy Halloween! Bruce did a bang-up job on our vampire and Fright This Way pumpkins. CBS-Los Angeles has their Halloween party. Check out the coffin cake. Maria Nicoletti and Barbara Pierce enjoy some chicken. Then, there's a plane crash and Steve Allen dies, so bureau chief Jennifer Siebens tells Bruce it's back to work over some green beans.







© 2000 Dawn Westlake