Lost in Chicago

May 25, 2008
By Abby Loiacono, Park Ridge, IL

Lost in Chicago

My family always tells me that my grandmother and I are a lot alike. The way I act and even the way I talk. We also share two very similar experiences that bring us even closer together. For my grandmother, it was 1933 at the World’s Fair in Chicago, and she was separated from her family. For me, it was one wrong move and I found myself lost in Chicago, IL.
Every summer the Sloan family had a reunion in Pontiac, Illinois. And every year after the reunion my great grandmother would take my grandmother Rosie up to Chicago with some of her cousins. But 1933 was a special year because not only were they going up for their normal visit but the World’s Fair was in Chicago, so the whole family headed up.

Once they got to the Fair my great grandmother took my grandmother on a few of the rides, but since my grandmother was only four years old there wasn’t much that she could go on. One of the rides that she did go on was the little cars. My great grandmother put her in one of the cars and told my grandmother to go out of a certain gate when the ride ended because that was where she would be waiting for her.

The ride began and it was a lot of fun. But when it stopped, it stopped in front of the gate that was opposite from the one that my great grandmother was waiting at. My grandmother went out that gate but her mother was nowhere to be found. The Fair was so crowded and people were pushing and shoving and she kept getting pushed farther and farther from the ride. She was scared to death and she had no idea where her mother was in that enormous crowd of people. It felt like it had been forever when a woman with rouge and lipstick on came up to her. “Little girl are you lost?” asked the woman.

“No, no I’m not lost”, my grandmother replied.

She said this because her mother always told her never to talk to strangers. But eventually she took the woman’s hand and the woman lead her to a clearing. While standing in the clearing, with her green organza dress and matching hat on, her twelve year old brother spotted her. He went running across all of the beautiful flowers with the policemen chasing after him. He should not have run across the flowers but he had been so worried about his little sister he couldn’t help it. He was yelling, “But that’s my baby sister!” to the police.

Her brother got her and they both went back to their family, who couldn’t have been more relieved to see her. I was in a very similar situation, even though I was older than my grandmother, being lost is still a very scary situation to be in.

One hot July afternoon, my grandma Darlene called me ask if the next day I would be able to come over and help her get things together around the house for the big party that she was having. I told her that I would be there. Later when I asked my mom if this would be alright, she told me that she would be at work but I could take the train to my grandma’s house. Since there is a train station only a few short blocks from my house I thought it would be fine. On the way to the train station all I could think about was my stop, Damon. I had to remember the stop name.

When I got to the train station, I bought my ticket and got on the Blue Line headed into the city. The train was incredibly crowed and I didn’t see anywhere to sit so I stood until a lady sitting near me got off the train. They were calling out all of the stops and I couldn’t wait until I heard mine.

The lady that I was sitting next to got up and a man sat down in her place. The man was wearing a brown shirt, green shorts and gym shoes. The first thing that I noticed about him were, the sweat beads rolling off his shiny forehead and that he reeked of salami and feet. Now I really couldn’t wait to get off the train.

The announcement said, “Western, next stop Damon”. The speeding train came to a halt, the doors opened and I jumped off the train as fast as I could. As I walked out of the station I didn’t notice anything but I knew that when I came out of the station I needed to turn right. So I did but the more I walked less familiar everything looked. The neighborhood was little scary but what made it worse was the fact that I had no idea where I was. As I walked my stomach was twisting into tighter and tighter knots and my legs were shaking so badly I could barely walk. “What have I done”, I whispered to myself, “Where am I ?” All I wanted to do was sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and cry. But I kept walking and hoped that maybe I would see something that I would recognize.

When I saw a Mc Donald’s I knew that I was defiantly going in the wrong direction. I walked a little bit past the Mc Donald’s and when I got to the corner of Western and Armitage I decided to go in to Margie’s Candies, which was right on the corner, and ask for directions. They pointed in the right direction and I got on the Armitage bus. About ten minutes into the bus ride everything started to look much more familiar. I got off the bus and walked to my grandma’s house. I was about forty minutes late, but my grandma wasn’t too worried because I had called her when I first got off the train. She made me some sweet tea and I told her all about what had happened. When we finished our sweet tea we started cleaning and getting everything ready for the party.
From hearing my grandmother’s story and experiencing a similar situation of my own, I have learned that remaining calm is important when you are lost or in any other situation where you feel frightened. In the future, if I am ever in a situation where I feel scared, I will know how to act because remaining calm is the best way to get yourself out of any scary situation.

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