We flew up to our old home town of Mundelein, Illinois yesterday for a weekend of family and friends. The place we went to high school at is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the school’s opening…NOT my 50th reunion…the school’s. So there will be celebrants coming from across decades to be here. It ought to be just the kind of thing to do to remind me of my roots. So I’m happy to be going. Even though the weather, so far, is “Chicago Gray”. Normally it is about 15 degrees warmer during this month. But like my Mom used to say about our weather, “If you don’t like it, stick around, it changes all the time”. We’ll see about that Mama.
Mundelein High was a nice school to go to. American Graffiti could have been filmed there. It was smaller then but it was much larger than the grade school the 30 or so of us that went to came from before that ‘graduation day’. We were in awe of the new schoolmates. In time we overcame our fears and made friends. I will see a number of them these days. Some stayed in Mundelein. Some stayed nearby. And some of us came from far away to be here.
Soon we’ll be at The Homecoming Parade. They’ve invited me to ride in the convertible as part of the notables who have graduated from MHS. I’m tickled.
My sister Jane was the first of our family to enter the school. She was part of the first student group to arrive. I was in the middle and my other, (younger) sister Bet was the final Van Aken to graduate. My sisters were much more social than me and seemed to know everyone. I was kind of a dreamer with my head in the clouds most of the time. But I did love it when our town changed and more Latino families came to live and work there. The early flavors of tacos al pastor were a revelation that continues. As soon as I wrap up writing this I will head over to ‘Tacos el Norte’ for a bowl of menudo or some soft tacos of some kind. I need to lay down a foundation for the day and night ahead. After the parade and meeting god knows who we will be congregating here for Leinenkugel beers by the pitcher full. When Wolfe wrote “You can’t go home again” he may have been right about staying to live…but he couldn’t not have meant a visit. We’re going to have a ball I think.