Chicago skyline

Who would have thought we would have such difficulty on two successive American Airlines flights? In our last post, we (I) bewailed how AA wouldn’t let us out of Kansas City until the next day.

This week it’s Chicago. Our Monday flight from St. Louis was delayed, causing us to miss our O’Hare connection for London-Heathrow. Can’t fly until tomorrow, they said, same time (Tuesday, 10:25pm), same flight (AA 98). As I type this, we’re sitting in the airport (7:25pm), a little early for the 10:25 departure. A lot early for our 1:00am tomorrow departure, it turns out. Another two-and-a-half hours were added on to the 24-hours we’ve already been held here. The helpful agent just assured me there’s no way we’re lifting off at 1:00am, since our incoming plane hasn’t left Los Angeles yet. (As a matter of fact, we departed at 2:00 am Wednesday, estimated London-Heathrow arrival time 3:05pm. This time the estimate was correct. We are in London!)

Back in Chicago: This time I had to pay for the hotel Monday night. Weather in Chicago, they had told us. The airlines assume no obligation to help if the problem is weather. However, the weather here seemed fine when we arrived. Who knows?

Chicago’s newest Ferris Wheel, seen from the river. George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. built his much larger original for the World’s Fair here in 1893–but without the new one’s comfort. Each of the 42 gondolas holds up to 10 persons on padded seats in air-conditioned splendor. There’s even a TV in each one.

BUT, all was not lost. Joy discovered an advertisement for an architecture river cruise through the city. We booked it–then came close to missing it, also, since our next challenge was the city’s traffic; Uber deposited us at the dock just in the nick of time. Still, this serendipitous outing erased our frustration, at least temporarily.

Chicago’s no stranger to street art–an attempt to “modernize” this older structure?

When we lived in Indianapolis in the 1970s, Chicago was our escape-to place. We’ve always like the city. We weren’t prepared, though, for the changes in the intervening 40 years. Weeks would be required to do it justice. Joy found a stunning photographic site every few minutes.

The Carbide and Carbon Building from the 1920s features a gold champagne bottle top, a good example of art deco architecture.

Our knowledgeable commentator spoke non-stop for 90 minutes, pointing describing examples of styles that represent Chicago’s architectural history from its earliest days to the present.

For the President’s fans among our readership, here’s Trump Tower, rising 90 stories over the heart of the city. That makes The Donald’s structure only the second highest, trailing the Sears Tower (officially now the Willis Tower) in vertical feet. It’s OK, though. Trump uncharacteristically settled for second place on purpose. Before construction began, along came 9/11, which made being the tallest a little less appealing. It’s not always best to be the top target.

We can’t show you one of the most fascinating facts we learned. In 1900 the Chicago River’s flow was reversed. It was a desperate measure to reduce the staggering numbers of people (up to thousands) killed each year by the waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid. The water was so befouled with human and factory discharge something had to be done. The river had become an open sewer. Engineers called for a deep cut between Chicago and Lake Michigan to reverse the flow. Now clean water could flow from the lake through the city to the DesPlaines River and beyond. The radical plan worked. The river grew cleaner, the death rate plummeted, and wildlife returned.

Sometime in the future, we’ll be among the returning wildlife.

Life has not only returned in the river, but on it as well. The picture above shows a table set for dining just above the water. Here as elsewhere people show creativity in making life livable on their terms.  We hope it won’t be too long before the loose Lawsons can return for a more leisurely visit. We’ll look for a table on the riverbank.


               Joy was in St Louis while I was in Oregon

Anne Chenault with 3 generations: mother Bre, grandmother Kim, and great-grandmother Joy. Picture taken in St. Louis before we left for the airport and our ill-fated trip through O’Hare.
Waiting for furniture at Kim’s new home in St Louis








Boys loving the big bang of the 4th of July









St Louis  4th of July















After the fireworks















Kim is holding our place in line in the St Louis  ANTIQUE ROADSHOW line.


  1. I took that same cruise a couple of yrs.
    Ago and enjoyed it.
    So antiques road show, how much did.they say you and joy were worth?

  2. Add us to the list of those who have enjoyed the Chicago River architectural tour, as well as the story about how the river’s directional flow was reversed! Glad you finally made it to London.

  3. Another Chicago flight story …… we have ours also!!! Some things I want to do here ……a wheel to ride in Chicago ……. facts I don’t remember knowing such as reversing the Chicago river in 1900. I do want to visit Chicago for long enough to explore the city more!!!!

    Good to see Kim again and how did they do at the Antiques RoadShow??

    1. Hi Toni,
      The Antique Roadshow was long lines but fun to talk to lots of people. Kim, her daughter Bre and I took six antique items of mine (now Kim’s inheritance). 1) An English fan that was given to us by a Shakespearean actor that had performed at Milligan. The 1796 year old fan is really from the1800’s, but in beautiful condition and worth $500-600. 2) A glass bud vase with silver overlay. It would have been worth $400 if it didn’t have a small crack but now worth $50. 3) An Art Nouveau copper wall scone I purchased in London many years ago, was considered very unusual, beautiful but not in demand so worth $150. 4) A doll I was given 70 years ago which had been passed down from my grandmother was made by a major German doll maker but mine was the most mass produced so only worth $100. 5) A leather pencil box from my father was worth $50. 6) A Roseville vase given to us by Roy’s uncle when I told him that Roseville is a collectible, Bush berry pattern and since 2008 now only worth about $75.

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