Thursday, July 14, 2011

Family Reunion - 2011

It just goes by too quickly.

I’m referring not only to my time with my Grandparents, but also the times our family has been able to get together. We have had a few family reunions over the years. I distinctly remember two such occasions at Arlington St. and in St. Louis. What the hell we were doing in St. Louis I can never remember, but anyway, I recall us all being there.

Uncle Boo-Boo. Not in the mood for a picture.

Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things about getting older: you get busy, and you see people less. So with this last trip, I have a feeling we were all pretty excited despite the circumstances.

Jen and I left Los Angeles on the 4th of July. We got into Midway early afternoon, took the “L” to the loop, and caught a Metra for Elmhurst. Because it was a holiday, the trains only left every two or three hours. While we were waiting outside Northwest Station, we marveled at how empty the city was. I mean eerily quiet. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Jen, Me, and my cousin Christina Carmona outside
Maple Tree Restaurant

My brother David and his family were already checked into the Marriot (courtesy of my stepdad Randy. You rock, if you’re reading this). We picked up a Lou Malnati’s Pizza, which was literally next to the station. We inhaled the food before heading over to my Aunt Tari’s parents house to catch fireworks. I hadn’t been in Roselle in a very long time and I was truly amazed by the level of the show. There were three fake endings before the real grand finale. Best fireworks I’ve seen for free in a VERY long time.

The next day was when everyone really showed up at my Uncle Pat’s house. I finally got to meet my cousin Ryan’s new family, and saw Kelly’s fiancĂ© Matt for the first time in years. I think we only met once before. I finally saw Bryan for the first time in a good while, too. I keep forgetting he’s back in Chicago. Gotta see him more often.

I think that's Nim around Alex's shoulders.

Nana’s memorial services started with an incredible breakfast at the Wilder Mansion. It was formerly the Elmhurst Library, where I would spend many of my days growing up. Now, back to its former glory, it turned out to be quite a place to say, “goodbye.”

We played Amazing Grace on Kazoos, and my uncles and Mom shared some stories and appreciation. Mixing the ashes might have been the hardest part for everyone, although the proper evening memorial had its share as well.

This is my favorite picture from the trip.

The next day Uncle Doug’s family had to head back. The rest of us had a Wiffle ball game outside the hotel. Our team lost, but I was amazed that I could even hit the ball with that tiny bat after so many years. The rest of the day we just kind of relaxed and talked a lot. Lots of laughs.

And my God, the food! I am really glad I don’t live in Chicago anymore. There’s just too much good food and it’s all bad for you. In this one trip, we crammed in Portillo’s, Nancy’s Pizza, Lou Malnati’s, and a lot of breakfast from the Maple Restaurant. We also had a bomb barbecue at Pat and Tari’s.

"Amazing Grace" on Kazoos

The next day I saw my Dad and he took me to Midway. The connecting flight was delayed by three hours, and of course I had an early call time the next day. I got about five hours of sleep before pulling a long one on a very hot Southern California day. I miss everyone already.

Much Love,


P.S. All of the pictures on this post were taken with ILFORD 100 speed film on my Canon old school, manual focus camera, or as David James calls it, “the antiquated piece of shit.” I processed the film and scanned them myself, hence the delay. There are a few more pictures I'm really curious about, so I may post more later.


  1. a very sweet recording of events. You always seem to make everything seem so classic~ I love that about you.
    We miss you guys already too...

  2. Mikey I'm so sad I didn't get to see you even for a moment. I'm so glad you and your family had such a wonderful, memorable time! I hope to see you soon!