Day 7: Sometimes, You Can Go Back

Milwaukee Public Museum. Photo: Jenny Williams

(This post is up quite late because by the time I was ready to write it on Sunday night, I was already nodding off. Yes, this happened again. I’m afraid this won’t be the last time, either. Darn all you fun people… And also this oddly slow connection prevented me from posting it even just past midnight on June 28. So this one is for June 26, 2011.)

Inside the Milwaukee Public Museum. Photo: Jenny Williams

We’ve been on the road for a full week now! Tomorrow we drop Ed off at the airport so he can be at home for such things as his job. Fun, fun.

Our day started out with an informal breakfast with the wedding folk. It was a great chance to say our last goodbyes to family and new friends. At said breakfast, there were plenty of leftover bars from the night before. Oh man. I need a couple of weeks of healthy cereal, salad, and sandwiches. Too… much… food…

We then touched base with Chuck Lawton, GeekDad number three for this trip. We planned to meet at the Milwaukee Public Museum, where my family used to go pretty frequently when I was a kid. I wanted to relive the experience, and Chuck was happy to join us, along with his lovely wife and two darling children. We saw everything there was to see in the museum in about three hours. Much of it was the same from when I was last there 30 years ago. But not in a bad way. There are familiar dioramas everywhere. Life size ones. And a lot of taxidermy. But some of the newer animals seem to be reproductions, instead of stuffed former creatures.

The house that I used to live in. Photo: Jenny Williams

The Milwaukee Public Museum is also one of the darkest museums I have ever been in. Some parts of it, like the Streets of Old Milwaukee and the European Village, are meant to be dark, since they are set at night time. But many of the other areas were fairly dark as well. To hide imperfections, perhaps, but for me it was just mood lighting. I liked it.

After the museum, we headed to my old neighborhood that I lived in from 1976 to 1981 (age 3 to 8). I wanted to see my old house better than I could on Google Street View, and to walk to my old school, and to generally soak up new impressions of the place. When I revisit places of my youth, I usually feel like everything is smaller, and that some parts just don’t hold up. Well, this day, I had the complete opposite experience. Yes, the houses seemed closer together than I remembered, and the neighborhood was a bit more compact than in my memory, but everything else was the proper size. (Oh, except for the really, really “steep” driveway at our neighbor’s house that we rode our Big Wheels down – it was barely a hill, and I’m no longer surprised that my mom allowed us to ride down it.)

The magnificent house next door to my childhood home. I always loved this house. Photo: Jenny Williams

But the neighborhood was perfect. It was even nicer than I remembered. The last time I was there, I was little and didn’t think about such things, but these houses are magnificent. Our house was one of the modest ones on the street, though it was still decently sized for a family of four. The houses in the general neighborhood were all different. I don’t know why they don’t make neighborhoods like this anymore. They were mostly at least partially brick or stone, and none of that crappy “brick front” concept. It was BRICK! The general neighborhood feel and some of the houses themselves were more awesome than I remembered. Very classy. It really almost makes me want to move back.

Wisconsin is showing us its best. I haven’t forgotten the cold, humidity, and mosquitoes, but hell, this place is awesome. I see why people stay. I have a new appreciation for my girlhood home.

Then we went back to my ex-stepmother’s house for some packing and eating. We were able to eat much of the food we’d had sitting around (including cheese, bars, and Sprecher’s soda). Then off to Chuck’s house for games and astronomy! While the astronomy part didn’t exactly work (we could see two, yes, TWO stars in the sky – I was weeping inside from not being able to share our nothern Arizona sky with city dwellers – so seeing Saturn didn’t quite work out), we played a few games. Somehow I managed to trounce everyone at both Carcassonne and two rounds of Wits & Wagers, but they didn’t complain.

But wow, Wisconsin has really put its best foot forward on this trip. Cool weather. Cheese. Fantastic people, events, and food. Cheese. A lovely old neighborhood experience. Cheese. I’m trying to remind myself that there is occasional hot weather, bitterly cold winters, and millions and billions of mosquitoes.

Drove: Around town.

States: Wisconsin

Weather: Pleasant, sunny, and sort of humid.

Kids: Mostly good. The boy gets bored easily, though, and both said their feet hurt. But we did do a lot of walking.

Best Parts of the Day: Successfully reliving parts of my childhood, meeting Chuck Lawton and family!

Worst Parts of the Day: Being in a hurry.

Songs Going Through My Head: Still none. I wonder if it only really happens on driving days.

Total GeekDads Visited: 3


About Jenny Bristol

Jenny Bristol is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, playing board games, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.
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One Response to Day 7: Sometimes, You Can Go Back

  1. Wilhelmena Haynes says:

    We still remember fondly our time in the UP of Michigan. It was cool, mostly sunny and there were only mosquitoes at two of our MANY stops. We were probably very lucky and shouldn’t expect that ever again!

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