Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Weekend With the Family

I spent last weekend in Louisville with my parents and sister. Although none of us live there now, we all converged there from our various locations in order to attend the St. James Art Festival. It was also a nice time for reminiscing, as Louisville was where our family lived when I was growing up - from 1978 to 1988.

The River City

I remember going to the St. James Art Festival as a kid and really hating it. Having been back now as an adult, I see what a sharp and perceptive child I must have been.

It was like this, only 10 times more crowded

Honestly, it wasn't that bad, but the part I enjoyed most was looking at all the old Victorian houses that line the streets in that area of town. It takes place in the St. James neighborhood - hence the name - and it really is a beautiful part of Old Louisville.

We stayed downtown in the Marriott, which is a nice high-rise hotel in the heart of the city. My father got abnormally interested in an abandoned parking garage next door, and subsequently insisted that I research it and write a book about it. Apparently books about abandoned parking garages make for best sellers; I hear publishers are dying for them.

The subject of my next bestseller

We did quite a bit of driving on Saturday, going around Louisville and looking at a lot of old places, talking, laughing, reminiscing, and generally having a good time. We walked around our old church for a while, which brought back a lot of old memories.

Walnut Street Baptist Church, which is next door to a lovely eating establishment called Dizzy Whizz

We also drove out to see the increasingly famous Waverly Hills Sanitorium, which is an old TB hospital that now plays host to a Haunted House tour at Halloween, as well as tours throughout the year.

The biggest thing to scare you here are the lingering bacteria

We attempted to find the house that my father was born in, but his salmon-like sense of direction failed him and we weren't able to locate it.

On Saturday evening we went over to the Galt House hotel. We used to have Sunday brunch there after church in the 25th floor revolving room restaurant overlooking the Ohio River.

As though illustrating the changes in our family outlook since those days, on Saturday evening we had drinks in the bar. The bar is suspended over a street that runs between the two main buildings of the hotel. It was very swank. In my jeans and short-sleeve shirt, I felt uncomfortably under-dressed. The bar itself was about 30 feet long and curvilinear, shaped like an uncoiling snake, and the entire bar-top was an aquarium. So as you sit there with your drink, there are fish swimming beneath your elbows and above your knees.

While there, we discussed an enormous clock that sits across the river in Indiana.

My father always told us it was the second largest clock in the world, after Big Ben in London. We argued whether or not this was still true, and got conflicting answers on cell phone Internet searches.

If Wikipedia can be trusted, it turns out that this clock (which is at the Colgate-Palmolive plant) is the 7th largest in the world. It was built in 1906 in New Jersey and moved to the Indiana side of Louisville in 1924. At that time, it was actually the largest clock in the world. It was very quickly eclipsed by another Colgate clock, built in New Jersey in 1924 to replace the one that had just left. It fell to third place in 1933 after a Pittsburgh company built a clock that surpassed both the Colgate clocks.

As for Big Ben, it's only about half the size of the Colgate clock in Louisville. Go figure.

There was also a film festival of some type going on that night at the Galt House. The film they were showing was a recently released film called Another Harvest Moon, staring Ernest Borgnine (who we agreed must be about 132 [actually, he's 92]). Anyway, while we were sitting there, Doris Roberts - who is also in the movie - walked in and sat down at the bar with a small entourage.

For some reason, I am reminded of my mother-in-law

She is a character actress who won Emmys for playing the crazy mother on Everybody Loves Raymond. She also played the mother of Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - one of our family favorites.

All in all, it was a nice weekend of reminiscence with my family in the city of my childhood.

"Now inside that Torino is my cousin, Jackie."


My needle and thread said...

This made me laugh, it was fun to all be together! Nice picture of cousin Eddy

Anonymous said...

Great pics of the Ville. We were going to go over for St. James, but didnt make it. Next year.