As I review my journal accounts from our recent three-month road trip in the U.S. and Canada, I’m reminded of just how rewarding it was. For the most part, Kay and I structured our travel around visits to you, our friends and family. Staying in touch with you long distance via email and social media is one thing, but when we’re with you in person, face to face, and in your homes, we feel reconnected and our friendship renewed.
Chicago is known as a city of neighborhoods, of which Beverly, on the city’s far southwest side, is one. It is special to me because it is where I lived full-time from the age of five with my family until I left for boarding school at fourteen and thereafter where I lived part-time during school holidays until I left more-or-less permanently to take my first full-time job in Michigan. My family remained in Beverly, and my sister Janis married and raised her children there. She still lives only a few short blocks from where she and I were raised. For these familial reasons, Beverly has always been part of my life. Over the decades, I’ve returned countless times for visits.
Finally! After 82 days, more than 10, 000 miles of driving, and 27 destinations we’re glad to be home in Istanbul. It’s hot now, and in a few other ways life isn’t perfect, but it is comfortably familiar. Walking again – to the neighborhood stores and restaurants – feels natural here, whereas where we’ve been for the last three months, outside of a shopping mall or a recreational area, it felt strange to walk, and we walked very little.
William Ronald Gurdjian passed away the night of June 17, 2018 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He was 78 years old. It is an understatement to simply say he was a friend of mine because ours was one of the longest and deepest friendships of my life, dating back to my early days in Detroit. Kay and Ron loved each other, too, but that came later.
O the miles we’ve traveled and the sights we’ve seen since I last wrote about the April leg of our American journey!
I write to you today from Chicago where Kay and I are resting a few days while visiting my family. Soon, we’ll be on the road again to complete the journey.
Dear Family and Friends,
Kay and I are on the road again. Wait! I have to qualify that. We’ve been on actual roads only part of the time unless we extend the literal meaning to railroads, for on much of this voyage through North America, we’ve taken the train. In fact, we embarked on four long-distance train journeys: from New York City to Oakville, Ontario; from Toronto across Western Canada to Vancouver; from Vancouver to Portland, Oregon; and from Portland to Chicago. Though no strangers to train travel in other countries, until now we hadn’t traveled long distance by train in our own. The results were not bad at all.
Well, it’s over. As we sit here watching the rain fall outside the window of an airport lounge at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, we think how long it’s been since we left home almost three months ago. We’re tired; we want to go home, and yet we feel a bit melancholy at the end of the trip. Maybe it’s just that endings are hard or maybe continuous travel is like a drug that we’re withdrawing from.
Certainly there has been nothing unrewarding about our activities since our last epistle. In Illinois, we sampled the pleasures of 19th-century Galena and learned about the life and times of Abraham Lincoln at Springfield. In Indiana, we relived old friendships and old memories at Wabash College in Crawfordsville before discovering one of our country’s greatest concentrations of modern and post-modern architecture in Columbus. Finally, in Chicago, we said goodbye to friends and family members before heading to the airport. It’s been our kind of trip, and it’s been fun. Allow us to expand a bit and recount some of what we’ve experienced.
Days Later at home in Istanbul . . .
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
At Sea, Approaching New York
At 7:30 a.m. it was still dark, and the promenade deck was slick with rain. Today felt different in another way, too. This was the last day of the cruise. Our twelve-day idyll was ending. Soon, there would be no more timeless conversations with our friends. There was already a sense of tasks to accomplish before we would leave the ship tomorrow morning. As I have done so many times in my life, I put responsibility on hold temporarily and went to see the late afternoon movie.
Our final dinner together was bittersweet. The six of us have really enjoyed dining together these past evenings, and now it was time to say goodbye.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Confined to Quarters on the QM 2
A call to the medical center brought a young woman carrying a large red backpack. She took my temperature, my blood pressure, and measured my heart rate. Then, she gave me an injection that knocked me out for hours. Even after waking, I was so groggy I could hardly stand. All I wanted to do was sleep more. Late in the evening Kay ordered some chicken broth for me from room service.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Were beginning to come full circle. Kay and I were here in Washington three months ago just before renting the Beast and driving off in the rain.
Kay and I love coming to Washington. Its monumental architecture and world-class museums are big attractions for us. Another is that, with its wide avenues and magnificent vistas, it is a beautiful city to walk around. We’re proud of Washington where we feel we are in the capital of a great and powerful country. If you’ve never been to Washington or haven’t seen it in a long time, we urge you to make a visit. It’s rewarding.