Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a weekend with a mix of rain and sunshine

Anne's parents were here over the weekend. They're good folks, and of course, we had a nice time.

Anne's paternal grandmother died not long before she was born. Parts of her life are well known, while some details remain shrouded in mystery. One of those mysteries has been her early life in Chicago. Anne's Aunt Mary has recently been doing some genealogical research, and between her research and Anne's dad's great uncle, we learned the name of the street she was born on: Grenshaw.

In my summer class on Chicago geography, we worked with a lot of homeowner data in Chicago's Puerto Rican neighborhood, so I learned how to find a lot of information online. I thought, Surely there must be a way to find her birth certificate, so I poked around the city websites. And, I found it. Fifteen dollars later, we knew a bunch more information about Anne's grandmother, including the address for the house in which she was born.

Saturday, we headed over to the North Lawndale neighborhood and found the house.

2009-10-19 10:19:32 -0500

(That's her dad.)

After her parents flew home on Sunday, her dad emailed a few pictures to his siblings, along with the copy of the birth certificate, and he CC'd Anne and me. It's been a joy to see the responses from his siblings, reading how much it means to all of them to have this information. I'm happy I could give that to them.

Anne ran into one of our neighbors on her way in from the garage on Sunday, after dropping off her parents at O'Hare. We don't really know our neighbors that well, and in a moment of channelling her mother's extroversion, she stopped to chat with him.

He's living with his best friend in an apartment that's made me happy -- from the street, you can see the beautiful red color they painted the living room, and the bay windows have been flanked with beautiful flower boxes with amazing arrangements. The best friend told Anne about his friend, who went about creating the perfect space in that apartment. He wanted that work to continue around him until it was finished, even as he spent the weekend in bed, dying of cancer. The doctors did not expect him to survive the weekend.

The weekend was bittersweet. All around us... life and death, beginnings and ends, discovery and loss, joy and sorrow. Seemed fitting, really, that the weekend was a mix of cold rain and warm sunshine.


Amanda said...

awesome post. hugs to everyone, including the dying man in the happy apartment across the way.

Anonymous said...

I second Amanda's comments. Love you girls - Great Aunt Shirley