On Wisconsin

Showing the girls how the harness works.

Showing the girls how the harness works.

I spoke at the Milwaukee Montessori School last Wednesday, so I missed out on all the Olympic frenzy going on back here in Chicago last week. The Montessori mom who volunteered to drive Hanni and me back to our hotel after the presentation was the only person to even mention Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. The mom worked for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and the organization was hopeful Chicago would get the Olympics in 2016. “You took the train here, right?” she asked. I nodded. “So you know. Milwaukee is only an hour-and-a-half away from Chicago.” Her association was hoping tourists might opt to stay in Milwaukee, take the train to Chicago for the games by day, head back to a peaceful retreat by night. Milwaukee would benefit without footing the outrageous Olympic bill.

I was in the hotel lobby working on my laptop when the announcement was made about Chicago losing the Olympic bid. I heard no collective sighs. People there had never assumed Chicago would get the bid, so they weren’t shocked to hear the news. They might have been disappointed, but they didn’t act like the Chicagoans I was hearing about in the news. I didn’t sense anyone in the Milwaukee hotel lobby feeling angry. Or cheated

That’s one – of many things – I love about Wisconsin. People there are sensible. Kind, too. I stayed up there a few days after my Montessori School visit to work on my writing. The seclusion worked. I made good progress on two new books, and rewarded myself with occasional breaks to listen to the incomparable Bob Uecker call Brewers’ games on my transistor radio. Hanni and I felt downright carefree during our three-night stay, everyone there was so willing to guide us when we’d come to the lobby for a change of venue, or when Hanni needed to go outside for breaks. The hotel staff also recognized when Hanni and I were doing fine on our own, so they’d leave us alone.

Another reason I love Wisconsin? Our son lives there, in Watertown. After driving there to visit Gus Friday morning, Mike headed over to Milwaukee to spend the night with Hanni and me at the hotel. We had such a great time in Wisconsin that we’re going there again this Friday. This time, though, we’ll be heading to Madison. Hanni and I are doing a presentation at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison on Saturday morning, October 10 at 10:00. The theme for this year’s festival is Courage.

Presenter(s):
Beth Finke,
Katie McKy
Two writers who’ll appeal to kids from ages 4-8. Themes of courage in the face of disability/difference, and the courage to be oneself. Wolf Camp, by Katie McKy, is a comedy of parents’ unconditional love as their kids try on different skins. And Beth Finke returns with Hanni, her beloved Seeing Eye dog, to talk about the courage they both exhibit every day.

Gus’ house in Watertown is about halfway between Madison and Milwaukee, so it’ll be easy to stop in and see him again this weekend. On, Wisconsin!

Gus, Hanni and I--in front of the Hank Aaron statue outside Miller Park on a previous visit to Milwaukee.

Gus, Hanni and I--in front of the Hank Aaron statue outside Miller Park on a previous visit to Milwaukee.

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4 Responses to “On Wisconsin”


  1. 1 sandysays1 October 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    A great post. Your well written piece warmed my Golden Retriever heart. Might I say for both me and my human, you see the important things quite well.

    http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

  2. 2 Sandra October 4, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    It’s nice you got to visit Gus — how’s he doing?

  3. 3 Beni & Sheelagh October 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Nope, the bid went to Rio…. Chicago, I think, were out in the 1st round (poorest score, oh dear). Madrid were runner-up. Hope you guys are well. Hugs from us both xxx

  4. 4 bethfinke October 5, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for asking about Gus — he is doing well, happy and well taken care of in his group home. About the Olympics, I heard someone here say last night that the IOC in Internat’l Olympics Committee really stands for “International Organized Crime,” and that’s one reason we lost the bid, we didn’t pay enough to play. But hey, I’d think Chicago would be *good* at that part, we have a long history…


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