My dad was the youngest of 8 kids who grew up in NJ. He joined the military, which meant that our family moved from base to base around the US and in Europe throughout our lives. While most of Dad's family stayed in the NJ area, his sister Catherine (my Aunt "Cass") married, moved to Chicago and raised her family there with my Uncle Bill. Our family typically traveled back to NJ on vacations and between assignments, so I never got to know my Chicago cousins very well. I can remember one trip through Chicago when I was about 16 and seeing one or more of the cousins at various family gatherings over the years, though not very often.
Front: Tish and me
My cousin Mary and I reconnected on Facebook awhile back so I was happy to know that she planned to get some of her siblings together to meet with us while we were in Chicago. Mary and her husband John live about an hour or so out of the city so Rich and I took a nice walk to the train station and rode the Metra to Lake Forest. Mary and her sister Cate met us at the train station (in a cool little convertible!) and took us back to Mary and John's lovely home, where we were joined by Cate's guy Howard, my cousin Tish, my cousin Bill and his wife Patt.
It was super great to spend the evening chatting and catching up on many years' worth of news. We figured out that I probably had not seen Bill in 40 years! We also had lots of fabulous food prepared by several family members and awesome desserts made by Mary, who's a pastry chef.
Bill and Patt drove us back to the city since it was (sorta) on their way. I learned more about the McMahon branch of the family on the ride--I always thought that my Aunt Cass had married a Chicago guy and that's why the family lived there but Bill said his dad was actually from Philly and went to Chicago for his job in the printing business.
See you next year in Jersey!