I went to Wisconsin Friday and Saturday, to see family. It was a sentimental trip. In Washington, when people ask me if I am related to this Bollinger or that, I tell them I am not. But if someone asks me that question in Wisconsin, I tell them I probably am. My grandfather's family was just too large, and he had too many siblings (16 altogether) for me not to be related in Wisconsin.
Driving back roads south of Eau Claire, I thought through different family stories. Like how my grandmother moved from Strum when she married my grandfather, as though Strum were some foreign city. Growing up, that's what I thought - the faraway town of Strum... Turns out, Strum is about 15 miles away from where my grandparents settled. I figured that out when I drove by it on Friday.
And then there's Eleva. Its original name was New Chicago. The story goes that a farmer went to paint the word "Elevator" on the grain elevator. He got as far as the letter "a" but then the snow came and he had to stop, and by the spring everyone was calling the town "Eleva," after the letters he had painted on the silo. So Eleva it became, even to this day. Population, 1001.
It was a great trip, but I'm glad to be back in Chicago. And now I have five whole days of babysitting my two-year-old nephew (well, nearly 2). Just the two of us. For five days. He's two, did I mention? Fun days ahead! And I mean that, actually. I'm not sure who will be in charge, though...