July 21, 2006
Leaving Milwaukee
Posted by Christine Hurt

Three weeks ago we moved from Milwaukee to Champaign, and I am happy to declare us "moved in."  We have pictures on the wall, books on shelves, and leftovers in the refrigerator.  At work, we have permanent offices, computers, phones, etc.  So, I thought today would be a good day to pay homage to Milwaukee, a town we never thought we'd live in but came to love in the three wonderful years we spent there.  So, here's what I'll miss about Milwaukee:

1.  Living by Lake Michigan.  Raised a land lubber, I never lived by the water.  (Houston is at least 45 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.)  Living walking distance from Lake Michigan spoiled me for life.  I know all of you in California or Florida are chuckling to yourselves, but you also have to empathize with being able to stroll by a body of water so large you can't see the other side.

2.  Kopp's Custard.  Driving home from work and seeing the flavor of the day on the Kopp's sign -- that's how we planned our evenings.  Yum.

3.  Neighborhood schools.  We lived within walking distance of our public elementary school, and our duaghter was getting to the age where she would have joined the group of kids from our block who set off for school each morning at 7:45.  Neighborhood schools have great ripple effects.  Kids go to school with people on their block, play dates are easy to manage, you get to know your neighbors through school activities, you can always get someone to pick up your child, take your child, etc.

4.  The Weather.  Paradox?  I will not miss the winter weather, but I will miss the summer weather.  Living in the 70s (temperature, not decade) is not a bad way of life.  Not running the air conditioner for weeks at a time, but getting the breeze through open windows, is really something everyone should experience.

5.  Laundry Chute.  OK, this may seem like a small thing, but why did people stop building houses with laundry chutes?  In our older neighborhood (1920s-30s), houses have laundry chutes on the 1st and 2nd floors that go to the basement, so you just send down dirty clothes straight to the laundry room.  We're having trouble going back to the "lug the hamper up and down the stairs" system.

6.  Wisconsin State Fair.  Cheese curds, sausage on a stick, cream puffs?  Sigh.

7.  Major League Baseball.  We grew to love the Brewers, and at least we got to see the Astros a few times a year.  But, we have four stuffed dolls to remind us -- Polish Sausage guy, Brat guy, Hot Dog guy, and Italian Sausage guy.

8.  Jewish Community Center.  Although we're not Jewish, our life seemed to revolve around the JCC in our neighborhood.  Our kids went to preschool/after care there, we took swim lessons there, we went to summer camp there, and I went to Mom's Night Out there.  Luke said to me last night, "They don't have challah at my new school."  That made me very sad.

9.  My friends.  Someone once told me that after age 30, if you can say that you have three good friends, then you are blessed.  How blessed am I?  I had three good friends that I worked with every day!  I also had great friends in my neighborhood -- real friends -- the kind that you don't have to clean your house for, the kind you can drop in on anytime.  We are beginning to make those kinds of friends here as well, but we will always have a place in our heart for our Marquette/Whitefish Bay friends.

10.  Teaching at a Jesuit institution.  My experience at a Jesuit institution should be the subject of a different post, but I think it's sufficient to say that I was given a great gift at Marquette, and I am a better person and a better teacher because of it.

Farewell, Milwaukee!

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