Ian Hunter and Stages in Life

After the Ian Hunter show Ernie and I headed back to our hotel….the one I'd booked by mistake you'll recall. We listened to jets from Midway all night and I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep. It's just like post house concert…too much adrenalin. The next morning we had no set plans. We found a place for a greasy breakfast…no healthy eating on this trip…and I surrendered to the lure of a gyros skillet…potatoes, tomato, feta, gyros and eggs over easy. Slightly inept service, chipped dishes, but it all seemed right.


For some reason I felt the pull of going out to Lisle. My parents moved from there  in 2000 when Leo was about a year old, and I don't think I've seen the downtown since then, or for awhile before that actually. I've driven by the house since then but nowhere else. I was feeling nostalgic though so we lurched into the car from our diner and just headed out on Ogden Avenue…. I hadn't driven that way in years….it all felt so familiar and so different. I didn't even stop and take pictures, except for one….I couldn't resist the House of Doors delightful signage…


We stopped in downtown Lisle. It looked very much the same and of course very different. The only things downtown that really looked the same were Lisle Savings Bank (my first savings account complete with the little paper passbook they would stamp when you made a deposit) and the Fox Restaurant. The Fox used to be the Minuette (sp?)…don't know when it became the Fox. I remember going there for lunch with my folks…and sometimes for breakfast with my Dad after church. My Dad was one of the group who started the Lisle Library in the lower level of that building. Later it moved into an old building on Front Street…eventually to what I can't help but still call the 'new library' off of…mmmm Kingston Street maybe? (Updated add that while my Dad was on the Library Board, it was my MOTHER and the Lisle Women's Club that started the library. Thank you big sister for the correction!)


I think behind this is the white building that was my Dad's law office. A tad different these days.


The Book Nook, with its bank of jars of penny candy is called the Nook and sells yarn and serves food. It looked so different I didn't go in. I tried to guess where the Ben Franklin had been, and Leo's Cleaners, the bakery and the like.

We drove out to my folks' house noticing there'd been some tear downs with big new houses inserted. Our neighborhood looked pretty much the same with just a few newer houses down the street. The house looked good. It's not red any longer and they got rid of the shutters and the white picket fence. Mom's little pine grove that Dad planted for her because she missed New England towers over the neighborhood now. I suppose the little stone wall he built for her in front of it is gone too but the back yard is fenced in so I couldn't tell. 


I looked around the neighborhood and marveled that the steep hills in some of the neighbors' yards were barely even slopes. The neighbors' houses looked good…. It all looked good but small in that not a child anymore kind of way.

It affected me somewhat deeply. It's funny how timing changes these things. I've driven by the house before and not had it hit me so hard. It all depends where you are in life though. I remember going to one of the Vertebrats reunions in the early 90's and having a great time but not having it be the emotional hit that the following ones have been for me. I suppose part of it is this is the first time I've been by these spots in Lisle now that Debbie and I are the only ones left. 

We drove up and got on 355 S just as we had so many times before leaving my parents and heading back to Champaign. We got off on Route 47 and drove through the fields in the process of being harvested. Ernie drove and I sat and looked at my pictures from the Ian Hunter show and we talked about the other times we'd seen him. It's funny how these things become markers. I thought about all the different ages and phases in which I'd seen him play. When I was 17 and driving my folks' white and maroon mid 70's Thunderbird to the International Amphitheatre in Chicago in 1980, then in 81 or 82 at Northwestern with my cute record store boyfriend Ernie….at the Riviera in the late 80's or maybe 1990 when we lived in Chicago….House of Blues when the boys were small, and then a few years back at the City Winery, then Park West with Teri and Annette, and then again this week. Of course there were the three times I bought tickets and couldn't go….once sometime in the late 80's/early 90's at Merrillville, Indiana…when my purse, with tickets inside, was stolen at a bar in the Monadnock Building where I'd gone for an after work drink before heading to the show. In I had tickets for a casino in Wisconsin where I was going to meet V'ron but that was the week my sister ended up in the hospital and I had to drive to South Carolina where we heard the bile duct cancer diagnosis. A few years ago I had tickets for the City Winery Show and my beloved Amy Rigby was even opening with her husband Wreckless Eric…but between work and the kids etc. we had to skip it. 


So many different stages of my life and he's seen me through them all with his music. This week we left the boys on their own and didn't even worry about them and they did fine getting themselves off to school and back. I don't think I could have imagined any of these stages when I was 17 at that Heart concert watching the opening band whom I'd never heard of before…the Hunter Ronson Band…. I never could have imagined all those stages when I was in that house in Lisle. It's amazing where life takes you.

I'm looking forward to the next Ian show whenever it is, but I don't think I'll go back to Lisle for awhile. This was enough.