Next weekend, I will be leaving Los Angeles to attend the Klein family reunion. My mother grew up in a very small town two hours southwest of Chicago. Granville is where my grandparents lived, close to my grandmother’s family farm in Putnam. The closest towns that appear on the map are Peru and Springfield – you’ve likely never heard of them, so that gives you an idea of where I’ll be spending my weekend.
After living in Minneapolis and now Los Angeles, one might think I would loathe a visit to this very small, Main street town – except that I’ve been looking forward to it all summer. Going back to Granville brings back some of my greatest memories from my childhood and it quietly reaffirms the solid Midwestern values that I miss out here in California.
There, under the brilliant Midwestern sky, we’ll sit and talk about our lives and eat food from the earth and drink beer because cocktails have no place on the prairie. We’ll swim in the above ground pool, eat nectarines from the roadside stands and we’ll pretend to remember the neighbors who remember us as “Bob and Margie’s grandkids.”
Main Street in Granville, IL
When we traveled there as a family, my mother would get very sentimental as we headed into town along Rt. 71. It was her “coming home road,” the one she always took when she came back from school or her job in Peoria. My “coming home road” is littered with Walmarts, Sam’s Clubs and car dealerships – a mark of how much the landscape has changed in the growing demand for immediate service and convenience. For all I know Rt. 71 is unchanged. It is still lined by old trees and farmland, traveled on by tractors and pickup trucks, delivering fresh sweet corn into town. So for one weekend, I will breathe deep the country air, suffer many a mosquito bite and wipe peach juice from my chin.