Alphabet Challenge: W

I’ve signed onto The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021.

The challenge is to blog the whole alphabet in April and write at least 100 words on a topic that corresponds to the letter of the day. 

Every day, excluding Sundays, I’m blogging about Places I Have Been. The last post will be on Friday, April 30 when I finally focus on the letter Z. 

W: West Catchment Area

When I started my job as a nurse practitioner in home care at a Veteran’s hospital outside of Chicago, I had the choice of taking care of patients in the north or west region. The north region was deemed a safer catchment area. The west region, which surrounded Oak Park where I lived, had pockets of crime caused by rampant gang and drug activity. I wanted to be closer to home and stop off for lunch if I was in the neighborhood. I didn’t think twice before choosing the west side. Maybe I thought I was invincible, a city girl used to the gritty streets and boarded up homes. 

I tried to keep my senses sharp and stay alert when I drove through the neighborhoods making my home visits. I kept my distance from the car in front of me in case I needed to make a quick U-turn. I avoided groups of young males loitering on the street corners and always locked the car doors. 

In the long run, it wasn’t just the neighborhood that proved unsafe. Any home I went into could hold danger regardless how dilapidated the outside environs. My close calls, and there were some, depended on the character of those with whom I interacted. 

Still, to this day, I keep my handbag on the floor of the car and out of sight.

Alphabet Challenge: O

I’ve signed onto The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021.

The challenge is to blog the whole alphabet in April and write at least 100 words on a topic that corresponds to the letter of the day. 

Every day, excluding Sundays, I’m blogging about Places I Have Been. The last post will be on Friday, April 30 when I finally focus on the letter Z. 

O: Oak Park

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

Oak Park is noted for being the place with the most houses, twenty-five, designed or remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, lived and worked in Oak Park with his wife and six children from 1889 to 1913 when he left them for the wife of one of his clients. But that’s another story.  

I moved to Oak Park with my husband and two children in 1977. In ‘83, I enrolled in a course sponsored by the FLW Home and Studio Foundation. For six consecutive Saturdays I sat in a large room at the Oak Park library with other potential volunteers listening to the experts discuss architecture in general and FLW’s life and work in particular. The class was free. I still have the three-ring notebook.  

For the next five years, I volunteered in the Book Store interacting with myriad visitors from all over the United States and abroad. And at The Annual House Walk, which at that time was held on the third Saturday in May, I gave tours. The Friday before the House Walk, all volunteers had a private showing of the homes that would be open to the public the next day. 

J. Kibben Ingalls House 1983

When we had out-of-town guests, I often took them on an informal walking tour of the FLW’s historical homes throughout Oak Park. 

I still have a keen interest in architecture, especially since my daughter became an architect and married an architect and my 17 year old grandson is planning on studying architecture in college next year.

William G. Fricke House, Oak Park, Illinois Sections & Details 1901

Book tour in Chicago

Saturday, June 1, 2019

I am scheduling this post to publish on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. That day, I will be in Chicago talking about my book to the Advanced Practice Nurses at Rush University. I have three other venues scheduled before I head home on Monday. In between events, I will spend time with old friends. I’m having lunch with one woman that I haven’t seen in over 20 years!

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois

On Sunday, I will be reading at the Oak Park Library, Oak Park, Illinois. My daughter and 15-year-old grandson will have flown from Raleigh to join me. Afterwards, my daughter will show her son where she grew up. Maybe we’ll visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio where, to get a change from nursing, I volunteered in the gift shop. I learned so much about Frank in particular and architecture in general. I always wondered if my involvement with the FLW Foundation had any influence on my daughter’s choice of a career—architecture.

So, think of me in the Windy City as you read this.