One of my favorite cities is Chicago!! I mean, who doesn’t love Chicago?! It is a great city! Great food, great sights, great shops, great museums, etc.  I could go on and on, but you get idea! My younger brother, Ernest and his wife, Ellie lived there in the city for about three years, moving from Detroit.  Our family has a special connection to Chicago, as my grandfather (my mother’s dad) was born and raised in Chicago.  On the South Side, in Morgan Park to be exact.  To this day, we still have cousins that call the Windy City home.  For Thanksgiving, 2012, mom and I flew to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with Ernest and Ellie, who lived in the West Loop during their three years there.  The West Loop is part of downtown Chicago.  Ernest and Ellie lived within walking distance of a lot.  They were two blocks from Union Station.  Walk down two more blocks, you were on State Street and the Sears (Willis) Tower.  Walk in another direction, and you could find coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores in walking distance.  Mariano’s is a good grocery store there in the neighborhood, and a good restaurant in the neighborhood I got to experience was Au Cheval, which is known for their fried bologna sandwich, which can be filling! I could only get through half of it!! That Thanksgiving would be the first of three Thanksgivings we spent in Chicago, and we always had a great time! Recently in July, Ernest and Ellie relocated to Southern California for work, so no more Thanksgiving trips to Chicago.   But I know I’ll be back again to visit Chicago at any time of the year! Now I’m looking forward to my first Thanksgiving down in Southern California!!



A bright and sunny November morning along West Jackson facing the Sears (Willis) Tower.  I still remember the weather being decent at that time.


When Ernest and Ellie were living in Chicago, they lived in a loft on the fifth floor.  On our first night in Chicago, I stepped out onto their balcony to take a picture of the Willis Tower lit up at night.


The much talked about fried bologna sandwich from Au Cheval!! Yes, I did order, but could only get through HALF of it!! This isn’t your after school bologna sandwich! The pickle tucked behind the sandwich is made there in the restaurant!


The Chicago River from Jackson Street.  Every year at St. Patrick’s Day, the river is dyed green.  I still have yet to see that in real time!


Me in front of the Chicago River.  The weather was still decent for me to wear a light sweater.  It would be a different story two days later!


Getting somewhat up close and personal with the tallest skyscraper in Chicago!



Going to check out the awesome views from up top of the Willis Tower! My mom came with me that day!!


The awesome view of downtown from 103 floors up!! Off to the left is the 100-story John Hancock Tower, the second tallest in Chicago!


Another distance shot from the tower.  The traffic looking quite busy down there on the Dan Ryan Expressway!


Here’s a surreal sight: standing on the glass enclosure, looking straight down onto South Wacker Drive.  That’s a LONG way down!!!!


Here’s my mom and I standing out on the glass enclosure.  It’s kind of a funny feeling at first when you first step out onto it!


And we have other tourists enjoying the other glass enclosure as well! At night if you look up toward the Willis Tower, you can see flashes from cameras from the glass enclosures!!


I also forgot to mention that Chicago is the birthplace of house music, and there on a portion of West Jackson Street, is the Honorary Frankie Knuckles Way, “The Godfather of House Music”


Outside the well-known Chicago Theatre


The Bean sculpture at Millennium Park, which is along Michigan Avenue! A favorite gathering spot, as evidenced here in the picture!


The original Marshall Field’s department store down on State Street.  Marshall Field’s was a huge department store in Chicago for decades, until it was acquired by Macy’s.  So now it’s referred to as Macy’s on State.


Christmas decorations on parade in front of Macy’s on State!


Mom and I having our picture in front of the Christmas tree inside Macy’s.  Judging by our scarves, the weather had begun to change!


Outside the store of my favorite clothing brand, Original Penguin, which has a shop on North Rush Street in Downtown Chicago.  The jacket was bought brand new there at Penguin, as the temps had dropped down into the 30s!


My mom and my sister-in-law, Ellie enjoying cupcakes from Sprinkles!


Of course, I’m enjoying my yummy cupcake as well!


Yes, Sprinkles even has an “Cupcake ATM”!! How convenient to use if you want to get your cupcake on the go!!


Chestnut and Michigan.  Michigan Avenue that “Magnificent Mile”, with its high end stores and tons of restaurants to choose from, in addition to Water Tower Place.  You could spend a week or more shopping along here!


Me along The Magnificent Mile!


A close up shot of the John Hancock Tower.  At 100 floors, it is the second tallest building in Chicago!


A nighttime view of the city from the top of the Observation Lounge atop the John Hancock Tower.


My mom and her two boys!! Myself and my younger brother, Ernest!


My brother and his wife, Ellie.  At the time, they were still engaged.  They married the next year in May of 2013.


My brother and I


And we’re back on the ground level again!! It was definitely quite nice lounging at 100 floors up!!!


Here we are visiting with our cousin, Donna who lives there in Chicago.  Donna is a cousin from my mom’s generation.  Donna works at the family funeral home A.A. Rayner & Sons, which has been in business for many, many years.  This was taken at the funeral home on East 71st Street, on the south side of Chicago.


Emmett Till Road.  Not many people have heard of this young man, but he was definitely was a part of Civil Rights History.  Emmett was a young African American who grew up in South Side Chicago.  In August of 1955, he went to go visit relatives down in Money, Mississippi.  Being from Chicago, Emmett didn’t know the rules and customs of Jim Crow laws down in Mississippi.  He was with some cousins outside a store in Money where a young white woman worked behind the counter.  As the story goes, he went in and bought some candy.  As he was leaving, he said, Bye, baby” to her.  Word got back to the woman’s husband and brother-in-law, and they tracked Emmett down to his grandfather’s house.  He was taken away, beaten then shot to death.  His body was thrown in the river.  When his body arrived back in Chicago, his mother demanded an open casket funeral so she could show the world what those two men did to her son; he was hardly recognizable to her.  The men were acquitted of the crime, but later confessed to the crime in a tell-all interview with “Look” magazine.

I just realized I didn’t mention when these pictures were taken.  They were taken in November of 2012.   I hope you all enjoyed them, and please feel free to send me comments or suggestions!




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