Family Reunion in Milwaukee
My cousin John Powers has about the best job imaginable. As I understand it, he basically goes around the world and drinks beer, and then tells his bosses at the Miller Brewing Company which breweries to buy, and they pay him handsomely for it. I hadn’t seen John in years until he visited Virginia last year and we caught up over dinner. At that time John made me promise that I’d come to his daughter Yvonna’s confirmation party as he hoped to have lots of family there. Since Yvonna was already 13 years old and I’d never met her or her brother and sister, I decided a visit was long overdue.
Milwaukee is a great town and John made sure we saw the best of it (or at least drink the most variety of beers in as many bars as possible). I really enjoyed the new art museum, while all the nieces and nephews ran wild in the children’s museum. The highlight of the weekend, however, was Yvonna’s confirmation party at John and Jane’s house in posh Whitefish Bay. John’s wife Jane is an amazing cook, and her Greek cuisine is second to none. So with Greek food and German bier, and tons of aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins you’ve got all the makings for a memorable family reunion. It was great catching up with cousins I hadn’t seen in years, and really enjoyed meeting Cousin Bob’s new bride Annette.
Milwaukee Photos – Click on Photo to enlarge
On the way home I stopped in Chicago to have dinner with friends Steve Loucks and Chris Caravette. It’d been a long time since I’d seen either of them and it was fun to catch up on what is happening in their lives. The next day I took a quick trip to old childhood haunts and proved beyond a doubt the words of Thomas Wolfe. You really ‘can’t go home again.” Touring what was, in my childhood, a fairly quiet exurban area southwest of Chicago I was disheartened to see how it had all become an endless jumble of tract homes and strip malls. Only a few treasured spots remained. I looked at all my old schools and my old neighborhood. Luckily the new owners of our old family home didn’t call the police when they found me tromping around their property taking pictures, but instead were kind enough to invite me in to see all the “improvements” that they had made. Taste is awfully subjective. The real disappointment, however, was going back to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. What once was a fine example of mid-20th century Midwestern modernism and spare Lutheran understatement, is now a horrible pastiche of mega-church meets shopping mall.