Chicago August 8-12, 2019

Aunty Pauline’s Memorial Service

I thought my traveling days were over, but I flew to Chicago to attend my Aunt Pauline’s funeral. It was a beautiful celebration of her life of 92 years. Also, as with most memorial services, it was a chance for family reunion, and meeting long lost friends and extended relatives from my childhood.

One doctor said I would have no trouble flying that far. Another doctor said she thought I was crazy. I flew anyway. I made reservations with Southwest Airlines for a round trip nonstop flight – which meant five days in the Windy City. I checked the weather reports and packed for hot, humid days. Bad idea.  Since it was so warm, air-conditioning worked full-blast. I forgot to pack extra scarves, pashminas, and heavy sweaters to wear indoors. Also, Southwest no longer provides blankets – or food

We stayed in a handicapped room in the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue. The hotel was located in two connected buildings. Our building was extremely cold. We had to call engineering to cut off the air conditioning. Didn’t help. I also ordered an extra blanket.

 Before I left California, I ordered a power scooter from Howard Medical, which was waiting for me at the registration desk.   The hotel was quite large and it was a long walk from the elevator to my room. I also brought a rolling walker with me to get around the hotel room. We paid extra to use the Concierge room for breakfast and pre-dinner appetizers. Since we were downtown, there were many restaurants within walking distance.

The next day (Thursday), Bill and I wandered around Michigan Ave at lunchtime. Did some shopping and ate at Starbucks. There was entertainment from local bands every Thursday at lunchtime right outside our hotel.

A dinner was planned in Chinatown for the out-of-town family.  We had two tables (for 10), so those Chicago people who could fight the traffic joined us. We took an Uber SUV to the Lee Wing Wah Restaurant, where we were dropped off on the outside of the mall with the scooter in pieces. Bill had to reassemble the scooter. Luckily the restaurant was on the first floor. The food was delicious!

When we returned to our hotel, the valet suggested we order an accessible Uber to go to the funeral home. It was cheaper than the SUV, and we didn’t have to disassemble the scooter. I rode my scooter up the car’s ramp, the driver tied my scooter down, and away we went. When we got to the funeral home, another ramp was provided over the few steps into the building.

The memorial service was a beautiful tribute to my aunt. Her grandson, his wife and three of their oldest children provided the music.

Aunty Pauline would have been proud of them. So many people attended, that the staff had to provide extra chairs in the adjoining room. Afterwards everyone was invited to a post-funeral Chinese dinner at the beautiful New Furama Restaurant, equipped with an elevator.

Then the family gathered in my aunt’s condo for more food. and conversation.

Judy and Cousin Valerie at Randee’s house

My cousin James took us back to our hotel for a short nap. I ate so much that day, all I could eat for dinner was lobster bisque soup at the hotel’s Grille.


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