Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Blue Lady Goes Home Again

Rockford is the home of the Sock Monkey. We love them.
People say I have too many homes. This past weekend I went home to my hometown, Rockford, and when I told people in Salt Lake that I was going "home," it confused several people. I say I am going home when I mean I am leaving this place in Salt Lake & going to where
 Smokey Rose and my things are. I say I am going home as I prepare to leave for the Black Hills. I say I am going home when I go to Rockford.

Maybe I told you that a few years ago I decided to give up on going to Rockford in the summer. It's wicked hot, and I don't want to do much of anything outside. Autumn is the best time of year, so I have been going to Illinois in October for several years now. Fall break beginning weekend, or Columbus Day weekend, often works out very well.

This time I did most of the things that I really like to do in Rockford and the surrounding area. I spent a lot of the time with my dear friend Jan, someone I have known since forever because our parents went to grade school together. She has a boss who can be difficult about permitting the use of vacation time, but this time the boss gave Jan Monday off (it's not a holiday at her workplace.) That coupled with the weekend meant Jan had 3 days to do things with me.

The first thing we did was to listen to a one woman show in which the actress Ellie Carlson portrayed Mamah Borthwick........, the mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright who was murdered at Taliesin, the house he had built for her. This show was an event and find raiser for the newest Rockford attraction, the recently opened Laurent House Museum.
The back of the Laurent House with the hemi-circle big window
The Laurent House is a Wright designed house which was the only one he designed specifically for a person who used a wheelchair, Mr. Laurent. The house was in the family until very recently when it was donated and made into a museum.  It is in pristine condition.

This is where I want to sit and have a glass of wine and knit and talk with you.
The wood and the light make the whole house glow.
The house is in my brother's neighborhood and is totally unassuming. I have driven by it a zillion times and never knew it even existed. I'm sure Mr. Laurent must have worked with my dad at National Lock Company (or at least my dad would have known who he was). The daughter Jeanne would have been my contemporary, only at our big rival high school.

I was enchanted by the house. I want to live there. The lighting and the wood make the place glow. Everything is built in and fits just perfectly. The curved wall of windows across the back opens up the whole house.The furniture is ingenious. It works perfectly for a person in a wheelchair.
I adore the little ottomans that slide under the tables.

So....add the Laurent House to your list of must see places in Rockford, along with my longtime favorite, Anderson Japanese Gardens. Sometimes when I have been home, the garden is closed in early October. This time it was open. Not only that, but there is a new restaurant (I hope it lasts...these things seem to come & go rather quickly.)

The west waterfall at Anderson Gardens.
Midway Village is another place worth your time. The museum tells you all about Rockford, but I like just walking around the historic village myself. I didn't know there was the old hospital there; I hope someday I can go back when it is open.
Inside you can see it's furnished as a hospital.

Midway is a popular place for weddings. Jan, who knows about these things, says that now barns are popular venues for weddings, and there is a good events barn at Midway Village. There was a wedding in the works when we were strolling around. I don't go to enough weddings these days. I was amazed at the bridesmaids' outfits can I be gracious about this?.... reminded me of costumes of women of easy virtue. I did not take a photo, but I was told later that I coud have. These days it's not considered rude to do so. But still, I would not have taken a picture and posted it up here because I assume the people involved were all quite pleased with how everyone looked. It's just fashion, and I am admittedly, old fashioned, literally. To each their own. Maybe in a few years the people involved will have a look at the photographs and realize that an error was made after all.

Jan & I also took a road trip, something we always enjoy. This time we headed northeast and had intended to go up into Wisconsin, but we made a big mistake. In Richmond, Illinois we ran into a line of cars as far as the eye could see coming from Chicago and heading to Lake Geneva which is just over the border from Richmond.
We would have tried this charming place if we had wanted Italian, but we went for sandwiches instead.

We had lunch and turned around. But that meant we got to stop at one of those destination farms which was all decked out with pumpkins for a whole lot of fun activities for kids. We just bought pumpkins and donuts, but were glad we stopped. It's the kind of thing you do in the midwest in autumn.

So many kinds of pumpkins. Jan bought a white one with orange veins.

I bought handmade apple donuts.
They proved to be excellent when dunked into black coffee.

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