My handsome Chauffer and I go back quite awhile. We met in 1973 when my family moved in to his neighborhood. We went to a small country school that had grades K-8. To say it was love at first sight would be a BIG reach. In fact we disliked each other immensely. Fast forward a year and you guessed it … We were in “love”. They said it was “puppy love”,but 42 years later I can happily report what started as a school girl crush has grown into a love that is bigger than the Galaxy and continues to improve like a very fine wine.
Recently we have moved back to Illinois. Back to where our love story began. We have put the Mobile Condo in storage and moved into a “Sticks and Bricks” house to help out our family for awhile. We ever so grateful that God has given us our life of flexibility and ability to change our course whenever a need arises. We feel so blessed.
Growing up in 70’s seems like yesterday. We have had lots of time to reminisce about the fun we had and the shenanigans that ensued. Being back in our old stomping grounds have brought back floods of memories. Although there are many changes since we left, especially lots of homes built where fields once were, we have enjoyed lots of laughs talking about the good old days.
Good old days before cable TV, video games and cell phones. We grew up in a close knit neighborhood where not only were the kids friends, but our parents were too. It was hard to not get caught doing naughty things as all of our parents gave free reign to other parents to keep an eye out on all of us and not hesitate to discipline us if necessary.
Days were spent outside until sun down. Playing “King of the Hill” on mounds of dirt that were present from a new home being built in the neighborhood, touch football in the neighborhood church yard, riding bicycles or walking to our local Dog N Suds for a treat, and exploring in the local forest preserve away from the watchful eye of parents🙃🙃🙃.
Back in the forest preserve we could play hide and seek amongst the big pines, go fishing in the lake, and open the dam between the lakes to create a “swimming pool”. Some of the guys also built “pipe bombs” to be thrown in the water to watch the explosion of fish which was ALWAYS a blast 😉. Then there were forts to be built. Many groups of people would claim stake in an area and set up their forts. My handsome Chauffer and I were no exception.
Most days after school and every weekend we could be seen with a select group of friends trudging across the neighborhood with a plethora of my Handsome Chauffer’s father’s tools. We would return at dusk with the tools covered in sap from the pine trees we were harvesting for our “home”.
For the life of me I cannot remember how long it took for us to complete our “castle”, but at completion our fortress measured 8×10 foot and 6′ tall with the ceiling. All constructed with pine trees we fell and a ply wood roof we “confiscated” from one of the new homes being constructed in our neighborhood 😬. We also had a “corner fireplace” that was under construction.
It was a beautiful spring day all of us were at the fort just hanging out listening to our transistor radio bragging about how our castle was the fairest in the land when all of a sudden through the trees came a Forest Ranger! RUTRO … This was worses than getting in trouble by a parent in the neighborhood!
The Ranger marched our motley crew out of the woods and to our parents. I won’t elaborate on what happened next as you can read about it in a previous post on our blog.
Fast forward 40 some years to now. My handsome Chauffer and I took a nice hike back to the “scene of the crime” yesterday. We were in search of any remnants of our castle. Today the forest preserve is a beautiful place with groomed trails through out. Lots of people take advantage of hiking through looking for wild life.
It was so surprising how close the homes appear now to the preserve. Because it is February in Northern Illinois the trees are no where close to budding so we could see forever. We stayed on the groomed trails until we got to the location of our first home. Through the forest we spotted it!!!
Erueka!!! In order to get s closer look at it we were going to have to leave the groomed trail and cross a creek that was our land mark from years gone by. Hold on Nelly…. We are not as agile as we were 40 plus years ago, but our curiosity was getting the best of us. DOWN I GOOOOOoo ….literally. Sailing down the soggy hillside on my rump not only once but TWICE.. Yikes
Thankfully nothing broken or bruised except my pride. Wet and covered in mud did not dampen our spirits, but common sense kicked in and we decided we better just leave well enough alone and get out of the mess before we really hurt ourselves. At least we saw our fortress from afar.
Hanging on to trees and planting our feet on roots the climb back up was more successful than the trip down. We made it back to the groomed path. As we walked a bit further we “spied with our little eye”…
Yep ..a perfectly built bridge to get us to the other side where our fortress had been!!! All the mud and fun we had a few yards back was NOT necessary! We crossed the bridge walked along the ridge where we had built our memories all those years ago and laughed until we cried!
Another day ….another adventure. As we reflected on our walk back to our truck, we agreed we are blessed beyond measure to have created more memories today, relive the past and we are certain there will be many more for this beautiful life we so cherish as we continue to live “back in time” here in Illinois