Wolfsnail Makes Theatrical Debut

Chicago tripWe’re home and settled in enough to post about the rest of our trip to Chicago. After wrapping up at the ALA, we drove to Evanston, the town of my birth and my college years. I gave a talk/workshop for students in the journalism division of Northwestern University‘s National High School Institute. (I attended this program myself in 1983 and worked on the staff in 1985, 1986, and 1987.) Longtime director and friend, Roger Boye, sat in on the session. I had a lot of fun talking about how I have applied the skills I learned in journalism school to the business of writing and taking photographs for nonfiction children’s books and magazines.

In the hours before the workshop, my family walked around campus. The boys loved the lakefill. They were also impressed by the student center and the library. We stopped in to see the back shop of the Daily Northwestern, where I worked in paste-up during my college days, and I was delighted to see Stacia Campbell, the publisher. I marveled at the new Mac’s, remembering that I had worked at angled paste-up tables. I was able to show the boys the old tables — now relegated to the side room where we kept our coats and junk.

We ate lunch the next day with a good college friend, Andy White, who is a founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre. We had tickets to his current show, The Arabian Nights. During lunch, D asked: “You are in this show. Why should we believe you when you say it is good?” (Luckily, Andy has his own 11 and 9 year olds) He told D it was an excellent question and that he looked forward to seeing us after the show so he could ask D (and N and G) what they thought.

Chicago trip-6Well, the show was fantastic. Andy (pictured left after the show) played several characters (Abu al-Hasan, Pastrycook, and others). At one point, he and one of his fellow cast members improvised a scene in which each claims a bag found in the market place. A judge asks each one to detail the contents of the bag. Andy began his list with several small items (the bag was small), but then went on and on and on – until he said it contained a wolfsnail. He detailed the wolfsnail’s special characteristics. We (and most of the audience) were rolling. It was a wonderful theatrical debut for Wolfsnail. Thanks, Andy!

We stayed with friends from my early days in Evanston. We rolled into town with a dented front hood and smashed bumper from a minor fender bender. Our friends were able to recommend a great mechanic who made time for out-of-towners on a busy day and pounded us into good enough shape to drive the 800 miles home.

Chicago tripD and I spent time at the beach on Lake Michigan (the beach of my childhood). The water was stone cold, which matched up really well with my early memories. We had a dessert party with my god parents and others who formed a tight circle with my parents in the late 60s and early 70s. We drove by the house I lived in when I was small (and verified that the triangular window my Dad wrestled mightily to put in when he finished the attic remained).

All in all, a wonderful trip.

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