Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicago Part 2

Ah, Chicago weather. After I wrote about the crazy day with sunshine, then hail, rain and wind, the weather changed again. This time to near perfect and it stayed that way until we left, making it much easier to get around. I went to 22 bookstores and signed their stock of You Better Knot. I went to suburbs I’d never been to before. All the booksellers were very cordial, though a few seemed a little surprised. I guess it isn’t every Saturday evening that an author from California shows up in the Deerfield Barnes & Noble.

It wasn’t all just booksigning. We discovered the Oberweis Dairy store, too. I’m a picky ice cream eater. Basically I only like McConnell’s of Santa Barbara ice cream. Or I should say I used to only like the one ice cream. Now I like Oberweis ice cream as well.

Then there was operation trash can. A raccoon had chewed holes in the plastic garbage can on my back porch, making it easy for the critter to find the banana peels and other choice items in my trash. Since I don’t rent a car when I come alone and didn’t really want to drag home a metal can on my luggage rack, we stopped at a Home Depot between bookstore stops and bought a shiny new raccoon proof garbage can. It rattled and rolled around the back of the SUV for the rest of the day.

Of course we spent some time walking around downtown Chicago. L.A. is trying to make its downtown into something, but it’s still got a long way to go as far as I’m concerned. Chicago’s downtown is a destination. There were lots of people on the street even at night. Even though Marshall Fields is now Macy’s, they have kept the Fields tradition of putting up a giant Christmas tree in the Walnut Room restaurant. The tree lighting was last weekend. We stopped by to look at it on Monday. Wow.

Marshall Fields is full of holiday memories for me. I remember drooling over their Christmas catalog when I was a kid. Then when I was in college, I worked in the toy department from October until New Years. There were carolers and so many shoppers you couldn’t see the counter across the way. Their Santa Claus set up was legendary with their special characters Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly. And their magical Christmas window displays always attracted a huge crowd.

We were done with bookstores by our last day there and took a nice walk to the lakefront. The sky was a hazy blue and the lake calm. The weather so warm that a sweater was enough. We stopped and sat on a bench, admiring the view of the downtown buildings in the distance. Then we got in the SUV and drove to the airport.

This Saturday, November 13, I’m going to be on a cozy panel with Hannah Dennison, Aileen G. Baron and Michael Mallory at the Julian Dixon Library, 4975 Overland, Culver City, CA. The program goes from 2-4 pm. Everybody is welcome.

What is your favorite memory of stores around the holidays?


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a delightful visit, Betty. We're planning to go to Chicago soon to visit our son and d-i-l--but probably not until spring!

Betty Hechtman said...

Spring is nice in Chicago, Linda. I bet it will be great to see your son and dil.

Terri Thayer said...

22 stores. Who knew there were 22 books within driving distance of anywhere? Glad to hear that!

Welcome back to Cali.

Betty Hechtman said...

Terri, it's thanks to my son that we got to all those Barnes & Nobles and Borders. He found the stores, did the routing and drove.