On St. Joseph’s Day, March 19th, I was walking fast to the All Things Lincoln! Reunion, to catch the next elevated inbound train, when my eyes caught a forgotten Lincoln penny that slipped out of someone's pocket, on the sidewalk. Lucky for me, I slowed down and stooped to pick up the Lincoln penny on my way to the Lincoln Restaurant at 4008 North Lincoln Avenue. I wondered, “How fortunate can I be?” Twenty-eight (28) years ago, I was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship for Communications, Rhetoric, and Theatre, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, also known by older UIC alumni as Harvard on Halsted and Taylor Street, Little Italy, in the Windy City. Then, when a high school classmate shared in Facebook that she was working for the Abraham Lincoln Library as a top executive, I was delighted. I wrote to my high school classmate that I had been a Lincoln fellow at UIC in 1983 and visited the Capitol and Lincoln’s Historic Home in Springfield, Illinois. So, all the high school buddies had to celebrate All Things Lincoln!
Fortunately, I made all the right train connections and got there early to ponder over the last thirty-four (34) years since my Catholic high school graduation in May 1977. I had not seen these high school classmates for three scores and four years ago, though we all lived in the Windy City, for the same number of years. I was going to visit my old neighborhood on the near Northwest side of the Windy City, where I grew up, to see old high school classmates again at the six corners of Lincoln Avenue, Damen, and Irving Park Road. I got there early and started to walk around familiar streets, remembering where all the stores used to be and remain today. Nothing had changed as much as I have over the last 34 years, living in the far western suburbs as a Lilac Town resident homeowner in York Township, DuPage County, Land of Lincoln, U.S.A.
Walking along Irving Park Road, I found the same Orange Garden, Chinese Restaurant where my father and I used to stop for a Chop Suey lunch, after visiting the bank across the street.
Since I was two-and-a-half hours early, on a Saturday morning, I stopped by Starbuck’s as usual, to have a steaming hot Cappucino and read the morning newspaper. I found familiar faces when I walked into the coffee shop. High school friends who have lived in the neighborhood all their lives and never wandered away from familiar places.
I spent time reminiscing and trying to remember familiar faces and places I used to know thirty-four years ago, before I moved away to the boonies in the Land of Lincoln.
When I met my old high school classmates, I felt relieved that I still recognized and remembered their names and familiar faces at Lincoln Restaurant. All Things Lincoln! was a great excuse to meet everyone again, chat, talk, drink coffee, and brunch over Lincoln’s Generals Omelettes for three hours. It was a great day to meet for St. Joseph’s Day Table with Catholic high school classmates.
On the way back, I was in a hurry to catch the train back, and lost my CTA train card at the station. Wondering who picked up my train card, walking fast and noticed another Lincoln penny on the sidewalk. I stooped to pick up the second penny I had found on St. Joseph's Day.
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