Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Day at Marquette (part one)

So, today (Wend. Oct. 20th) we drove up from the Harvard Castle* and I got to spend the day at Marquette while Janice had fun lunching with friends from her days in the Milwaukee office (Judy, Monica, and Nancy), seeing the Mitchell domes, and revisiting the old neighborhood (seems like the Beans & Barley is still there, though the sushi shop of doom is long gone, and the earth opened up and swallowed part of the nearby street). The theme of places where I used to know being torn down continues, and seems to be accelerating. From the freeway we saw that Tory Hill -- a v. pleasant green space on Marquette's SE corner few students paid any attention to -- is now buried beneath a new Law Building.** Coming down Wisconsin Avenue from 27th street to the Marquette area, we passed building after building where businesses that'd already been there when I arrived in 1981 we now gone, at least one (the florist shop) with a 'Lost Our Lease' sign in the window. But the biggest surprise was my discovery that my apartment on 17th street--where I lived when I took my doctoral exams, struggled over my dissertation topic, and helped plan two Tolkien conferences--is now gone, its building, and the building behind it, and the parking lot on the corner all now vanished beneath what will be the new Engineering Bldg once it's completed.

I'd planned to meet three friends for lunch, and had decided for old time's sake to meet up at Angelo's, the local Italian place at the corner of 16th and Wells where I went many a time with Taum back in my Marquette days. When I heard that morning that Angelo's too was soon to close, I was glad I picked it and looked forward to eating their lasagna one last time. Unfortunately, when Richard (West) and I arrived to meet up with Jim (Pietrusz) and Jim (Lowder), we found it was already too late: Angelo's was closed, with fond farewell and we'll miss you -type messages scribbled on the door and wall in chalk. Gah! Meanwhile, I found out later from Janice that her apartment on Kenilworth, where we lived after we first got married (and indeed where we had the marriage ceremony itself), is now not just gone but replaced by some ugly condos. So far as I know that just leaves the Abbotsford, the place in Hales' Corner, and possibly the house on 25th street remaining of all the places I lived in the Milwaukee area, and I wdn't bet on the 25th street house's having survived, given that it was in a 'transitional' neighborhood. Too bad; I'm the kind of person who likes physical corolaries to my memories.

Thankfully the new Archives is still there, and I enjoyed seeing Matt (the Archivist) and Susan (the Archives Secretary) and having a chat with Mark (who's in charge of the Indian Missions records), who I hadn't seen the last time or two I'd been there. Richard came over from Madison (via the faltering service of the Badger Bus, once a stalwart method of getting back and forth between the two cities) to join me, and I'm glad I took the time out at lunch for the get-together with Jim and Jim, both of whom I don't get to see nearly as often as I'd like. We caught up on each other's current projects and recent horror/war stories and just generally enjoyed the chance to get together. Then it was back to the Archives for Richard and myself. I had a busy day but did just get through everything I needed for the main project I was working on (the Kilby piece I'd just done a lot on at the Wade the week earlier), thanks to Matt Blessing's generosity with his time and providing access to the materials I needed to see. It was fascinating to read about events I'd participated in from a different perspective, and to see bits of my life preserved in a fashion in the official record.


*Ravenstone Castle, just outside of Harvard, Illinois. Since it's worthy of a post in itself, I'll hold off on further description here.

**the v. one in which Feingold and his challenger had their debate a few days later

1 comment:

David Bratman said...

So far as I know, every building I've ever lived in is still intact. So this definitely varies. Favorite old restaurants are more problematic, and book and record stores drop like flies.