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Mimi & The Blue Angels

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

This weekend is Chicago’s 52nd Annual Air & Water Show.  I look forward to this event every year, but not because I want to head down to the lakefront to jostle for position and sweat with thousands of suburbanites and tourists.  My reasons are far more sentimental.

My paternal grandmother (Mimi, as we called her) loved the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, one of the highlights of the Air & Water Show.  Because we lived so close to the Lake Michigan, we got to witness essentially four days’ worth of mid-air maneuvers by these skilled pilots.  (Four days = two days of practice + two days of actual Air & Water Show.)  Without fail, Mimi pulled out her rickety, metal sunbathing chair and set up in our backyard to watch the Blue Angels fly, twist, dive, and roar overhead.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was the highlight of her summer.  And, our backyard – if you want to call it that – was no more than an 8×8 patch of grass behind our 6-flat apartment building on West Lexington Street.  But when I was sitting out there with Mimi watching those planes, and watching her face glow ever so slightly with delight, I could have been anywhere in the world and it would not have mattered.  My Mimi pretty much was my best friend until she passed away in 1988, when I was 14 years old.  I miss her like you can’t imagine, even more than twenty years later, but getting to see those Blue Angels every summer makes me remember those days in our little backyard, and a whole host of other happy memories from those brief fourteen years I had with her.  I hope the Blue Angels keep on flying forever.

Posted by Francesca