Our Summer Travels 2007, Part III

The Third Part of our Summer Travels took us to Minnesota, Chicago, and Indiana. When we left the Kansas City Area, we took two days to get to Aitkin, Minnesota to visit Aunt Joanne and Uncle Dave. Joanne is Mary Lou's baby sister as well as Bruce's Godmother. The Dugout which they have named their home is a beautiful place to visit beautiful people. It was a short visit but what a wonderful time!

Aitkin, Minnesota
At the Dugout

Joanne ponders the conversation.

Bruce enjoyed the quiet to catch up on his reading.

Birds are all over the place but these are especially pretty.

Dave expresses his views on the birds.

A Red Headed Woodpecker--it took Bobbie three days to get this bird to sit still for a picture!

Lunch With Sue and Ward at the Black Bear In Brainerd

Bruce with his cousin Sue

Sue and her husband Ward

Dave and Joanne rounded out the table

The entire crew after a long visit and a fine lunch

Brainerd is the home of Paul Bunyan Land and, of course, Babe, the Blue Ox.

Then it was off to Chicago to visit Michael. Michael and I met each other in gym class our sophomore year in high school, and he has become one of the closest friends I have ever had. We have both gone through ups and downs over the past 40 + years, but I never had to doubt that Michael would be there if I needed him.

The awesome Chicago skyline

Bruce and Michael on the bridge over the Michigan River

Bobbie and Bruce reaquainted with the Windy City

At the entrance to Millennium Park

Several sculptures are located throughout the park. These pictures are of a few of them.

This is the amphitheatre inside the park. Concerts are held at lunch time and in the evenings. Most are free.

Weird Pictures - Reflections of Bobbie Taking Pictures - Double Images

This is called the bean for its shape.

Back to a Semblance of Reality - We Hope!

Everywhere you look you can find fanatastic examples of architecture in Chicago.

Another of the many sculptures in the park

One of two towers the comprise the water park section of Millennium Park

A very popular spot on a hot day

A last shot of the skyline from the park

Chicago Art Institute

Even here sculpture decorates the gardens.

The lions welcome all visitors.


Monets--this place has some of the best in the world, even Paris!

Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

The Chariot Race by Jean Leon Gerome

More works by Monet

Toulouse-Lautrec painted the Moulin de la Galette

And more Monets--Bobbie's favorite artist

Something a little more modern!

Lunch at the Art Institute

Waiting for a table

The garden restaurant inside the Art Institute

Enjoying a good lunch at a great place with a terrific friend

More of Chicago on the way back to Our Hotel

Now we were off to Plymouth, Indiana

We were there to visit Doug and Sally Anspach whom Bruce had known since junior and senior high school. Doug was Bruce's best friend in junior high when they were very young hoocher people. Bruce attempted football when Doug was an integral part of the team. Bruce would also join the track and field team which I don't think anyone was turned away from. Yet, Doug was proficient while Bruce would be there in spirit if not in deed. What people do for friendship is still wonderful and puzzling!

Bobbie, Doug, Sally, and the Senex Magister.

It was then off to Fort Wayne, Indiana which was Bruce's home from 1961 - 1969. They were formative years, fun years, as well as troubling years. I can remember a President's death when I was in the eighth grade. Then I recall a motorcade we were all allowed to watch in front of our high school when Robert Kennedy came to town during the 1968 Presidential Primary. The following year after graduation from high school saw the landing of the first man on the moon. There were also moments that were less momentous and much more personal that I probably remember the most.

This is where Roger went to school and his parish church. I met Roger when I was twelve years old at Boy's Scouts - Troop 45 sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne. Roger is now a hospital chaplain working in New York City.

The following two photos I remember spending many long hours and many happy moments at each.

We came to Fort Wayne in 1961 when my father took the position of Director of Christian Education at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Our family lived at 421 West Oakdale Drive

For those of us who backed out of this driveway - notice there is something missing!

Oakdale is still a quiet, shaded, and pleasant street on a summer afternoon even after so many years.

"Bruce's Schools"

My years in Fort Wayne saw me move from the sixth grade at Harrison Hill Elementary School which miraculously turned into Harrison Hill Junior High School once you entered the seventh grade. Fort Wayne has moved to a middle school/high school system instead of the old junior/senior high school system of my childhood. Harrison Hill today is only an elementary school leaving behind its heritage of early secondary instruction. That is not a bad thing but hard to accept that part of your heritage is gone. I guess that is what they mean by "that is the way of the world".

Harrison Hill

Then it was the 'Rite of All Passages' - High School, and I am an alumnus of South Side High School. Alma Mater means a 'Nurturing Mother' which all schools should be but many fail to live up to such a simple expectation. The sad reality is that innocent students become the victims of such an attitude and stereotype. That was true in 1968 and sadly persists (but maybe not to the same degree) in 2008.

The Natatorium, new since Bruce attended

Ivy is a very important item at South Side

The Hoocherman's entrance--he did share with others though

Fort Wayne is a city of many pretty and well kept parks. Foster Park was one which was not far from our home on Oakdale.

We were also in Fort Wayne on Saturday, July 14th which just happened to be our 28th Wedding Anniversary. That, of course meant that we had to go out for a nice dinner in the city of my youth.

One of Fort Wayne's best known restaurant groups

Trinity and our church life there became a central focus of Bruce's life in Fort Wayne whether it was serving as an acolyte Saturday morning at the daily mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, assisting the rector with adult confirmation classes, or serving as president of Seganeet (notice the reverse spelling). So we had to go to church at Trinity on Sunday, our last day in Fort Wayne. What was most gratifying to me was to meet people who still remembered my father, and wanted to know where I stood in the pecking order of the five Johnson siblings.

I have to admit that I found many areas of Fort Wayne quite changed and I got myself lost several times. One place that was very different was the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum and its surrounding area. The only significance the Coliseum has for me is that it is the place where I graduated from high school. I also learned how to drive a standard shift car on its huge parking lot.

It appears that Fort Wayne now has a semi pro baseball team. This stadium is adjacent to the coliseum complex. It was all new to me.

There is one more Fort Wayne section that is for my brother David. When we were in Jefferson City, Dave and I were talking about the rest of our trip and especially going to Fort Wayne. He was wondering if BIG GUY, a short order hamburger shop, which was next to Packard Park was still there. Both were close to our Oakdale Home, but I am afraid time has taken its toll.

Packard Park

Sadly this is what is left of BIG GUY.

After Bruce's trip into nostalgia which he enjoyed very much, we had one more stop before finally returning to Virginia. We stopped in Cleveland, Ohio to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bruce waiting for Bobbie to take one more picture

Specialized guitar art was found inside and out.

Oh that Bruce could have met Johnny!

The Cleveland Skyline

The end of the day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

After spending the night in Youngstown, we took off the next morning arriving home around 3:30 in the afternoon. We were both very tired after a long trip, but enjoyed every minute of it.


4,293 miles round trip

19 nights in hotels

Daytime temperature ranges from 98 in Memphis to 72 in Minnesota

Total Days Away From Home: 26

Number of People Visited: 50

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