This post is part of a series about a road trip to New Orleans that starts here.
I had a surprise up my sleeve for Lynn. It was a piece of Americana she couldn’t miss, I thought, so after we had our fill of Tiffany at the Cultural Center I led us northwest through the city. Did I mention it was cold, and how I was dressed for New Orleans? We stopped in the first of many Walgreens we would see on the trip and bought matching, stupid-looking but warm hats with giant pompoms that bobbed as we walked.
What is it with all the Walgreens? I like Walgreens, but do we really need one every few blocks?
We approached our destination and Lynn was none the wiser until we walked in the door of … a MacDonald’s! But this was not just any MacDonald’s. This was the rock ‘n’ roll MacDonald’s. I had visited it every time I’d been to Chicago. I don’t know why, but it was stuffed full of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia—or at least it had been the last time I was there. I was particularly enamored of a hologram—I couldn’t remember who it was—Elvis? Hendrix? There was also a life-sized sculpture of the Beatles from the Abbey Road album, and a classic car with characters from the Archie comic books.
These are photos from online, because all of it was gone—gone!
In place of all the fabulous rock ‘n’ roll mementos was an exhibit about … MacDonald’s. There was no explanation and no indication that there had ever been any rock ‘n’ roll exhibit. I tried to paint a picture of it to Lynn but of course it was impossible.
The building is still cool and there was a lot of mid Century Modern furniture, which I love. So we looked though the exhibit which also included non-MacDonald’s-related stuff from the 50s, 60s, and 70s like hula hoops and manual dial telephones and Twister, plus references to historical events like the Vietnam War and Nixon’s resignation. We shifted to a different style of tables with each decade, and Lynn nearly fell over trying to get onto a high-concept but wobbly stool.
It was okay, but I was really disappointed. We walked across the street to the Hard Rock Café. Maybe the collection had been acquired by them? But no, there was no sign of it.
We had a cup of coffee and I asked Miquel, our server, the most scenic route to Rogers Park, where we would meet my niece and her boyfriend for dinner.
Miguel was full of suggestions. We had plenty of time, so I decided we could take the slow bus that would give us views of the lakefront. We waited half an hour for the 151 bus in the blistering wind. It crawled through traffic and just when I thought we were set for a nice scenic ride, the driver shouted, “End of the line! Everybody off!”
There are two kinds of bus drivers: friendly, helpful ones and crabby, unhelpful ones. Ours was the second type.
“Will there be another 151 that goes to the end of the route?” I asked.
“No,” was all he had to say.
“How far is it to Belmont Station?” He waved his hand dismissively and said, “Too far to walk.”
“How far is it to Rogers Park?” I asked.
He just laughed derisively, so we hopped off the bus to find ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
It’s times like this that I’m glad to be 56 instead of 26. Back in the day, this would have been a disaster, and I would have walked all the way to Rogers Park and probably gotten frost bite rather than pay for a cab. Instead, I hailed a taxi and we were there in five minutes.
Erin and Chris had picked a great Peruvian restaurant and brought a six-pack of local beer to share. It was nice to catch up with them. The food was abundant and they took home enough leftovers to last a week.
We took a taxi back to the inn. I hadn’t thought about my car all day.