Long Day’s Journey into Chicago
The Silver Palate Cookbook was published in 1982. My well-loved copy has had a place on a shelf in my kitchen everywhere I have lived since. We learned that one of the authors ran a Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, Michigan, that was sort of on our cross-country route. Immediately, I planned a pilgrimage, or I should say, made a reservation at her Inn. It was a beautiful place with, wait for it, incredible food.
We left the Wickwood Inn yesterday morning during the first serious rainstorm of our trip. We were met in Chicago by Sarah and a college friend of hers who now lives just a few blocks away from our uncentrally located hotel. Mariah, Sarah and I also saw him three years ago on our previous cross-country trip when he showed us around Google’s Mountainview campus in California where he was working at the time. Sarah’s friend currently works for Google in Chicago and is a rare recurring guest star in our travel blog.
Our first stop in Chicago was a brand new museum that is garnering national accolades. The Writer’s Museum lived up to the hype. It was crowded with readers of all ages who, like us, were enthralled by the thoughtful exhibits celebrating the influence of centuries of American writers and their works. The interactive exhibits included poetry, lyrics, speeches, drama, fiction, nonfiction, journalism and more.
One of our favorite rooms featured books and imagery from the children’s literature we treasure. It brought back all sorts of memories.
Visitors were invited to sit down and use typewriters of every vintage in another area. When I showed Mariah how to use a typewriter like the one my dad kept in his office, an older gentleman leaned in and nodded approvingly. For me, sitting down and typing on the blue IBM Correcting Selectric II was like reuniting with a long-lost and much-beloved friend. If my Dell laptop’s keyboard is the synthetic glop in a plastic tub of Cool Whip; my old IBM Selectric II was fresh, homemade whipped cream.
Our next stop was the storied Steppenwolf Theater. It is the permanent home of arguably the best ensemble of American theatre artists working today. Think John Malkovich, Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Martha Plimpton, Bruce Norris, Gary Sinise, Anna D. Shapiro and several dozen others. Any one of them would mesmerize you by simply reading from the phonebook. Seeing a performance here has long been on my bucket list. We did, and it did not disappoint.
We concluded our first very long day in Chicago by attending a magic show at a place that opened just a few months ago. To enter, guests must walk through an unmarked, operational laundromat. It gets weirder once you are inside the Chicago Magic Lounge. Despite our initial apprehension, we ended up loving it.