Imagine my surprise last Sunday when our family walked into an antique shop in Michigan City only to find a book about my family heritage. I couldn’t believe it. I was looking at old books with my parents, and a book about the history of South Holland, Illinois popped out of the bookshelf at me. I picked it up, and my mom said, “That is crazy! My teacher in high school wrote that book. Your great-great Uncle is in there hauling cabbages to market.” What?!? I couldn’t believe it.
While flipping through the pages, I found photos of the railroad bridge over the Calumet River right behind my Grandma’s old house. I spent hours and hours playing on those railroad tracks with my brothers growing up. There was a lumber yard over the barbed wire fence lining the back of her yard. We would get all cut up climbing over the fence to get over it and to the woods, but it was all part of the adventure.
The railroad bridge in the background of this photo was where we spent a lot of our time. By the 1970’s-80’s it was abandoned, and cut off about half way across the river. We used to sit there and swing our legs and throw rocks off the bridge into the river.
It’s fascinating to me to reflect back on this time in my life. I think this is where I got my keen sense of adventure. Nothing was too dangerous, nothing was off-limits in our minds. We would walk for hours down the frozen Calumet river exploring. I was Lucy from Narnia….always on the look out for Aslan. I was sure he was hiding behind any tree waiting to pounce out and surprise me.
Finding this book was such a great reminder of those times, as well as an incredible visual to go along with the stories my Grandparents, Mom & Dad have told us about the history of the place we grew up. I used to sit on the old railroad tracks and daydream what things used to look like around there.
Now I know.