Arlene's Blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday October 18 Chicago

Today might well be the most demanding day of the tour. I wake up at 5:00 for a very early flight to Chicago. After waiting in a long line for curbside check in, I am told I had been selected for a special security check. I guess my changing flights after my cancelled flight in New York on Thursday will make a potential terrorist for the remainder of my tour. So I wait in another long line and have by fourth extreme check. It’s good to know our government is vigilant to keep us safe from terrorists.

I’ve started talking about my next project, trying to wake up Americans to the fact that the toxic flame retardants and other chemicals accumulating in their bodies pose more of a threat to their health and well-being than the terrorists in the skies. People seem interested and media folks are asking me to do another interview later about this alarming subject.

My talk today is at the very proper Union Club where formal attire is required. I’m met by my delightful second cousin Marjorie Cooper and her good friend Joanne Geifman who are here to help me recover and deal with my mother’s ashes. We finally persuade the moratorium to deliver the ashes to us here as its too far to drive to get them..

Then there is a lunch time talk and I’m delighted that several old friends, especially John and Nan Wood with whom I did the Ptarmigan Traverse in the 1968 , come to hear me in these elegant surroundings. Denny Cummings, who set up this talk invites me to stay at the author’s suite at the Union club anytime I am in Chicago, which seems a great fringe benefit. I’m not sure when that will be as we no longer have any family here.

Afterwards we drive to Evergreen cemetery. But where are my grandparents gravestones? Just as the cemetery is closing Joanne finds them. I clear away the foliage and then we recite the ancient Jewish prayers for my grandparents and my mother. I sprinkle some of her ashes in this peaceful and beautiful place. The rest I will bring to California where she always wanted to go and we will perhaps have a memorial. After I good cry I take the El back to the downtown.

On the El, I notice how segregated Chicago still seems and have a good conversation about this with a friendly young woman studying art. She is interested in joining which she’s never heard about before. I ask her to spread the word.

There’s barely time to check email and have a quick dinner before a fun two hour radio call in show.

Books signed: Forty
Amazon#7,386 in Books


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