Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things I Miss about Wisconsin. . .

I grew up in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee area, to be exact. I love that I'm from there, but I always knew I wouldn't be a Wisconsinite my whole life. I knew Wisconsin and I would someday go our separate ways. I left the land of beer and cheese to begin my adult life at age eighteen, and only returned for the occasional visit. Every once in a while, between my visits, I get a little homesick for Wisconsin. She's like an old flame that will never completely burn out. Try as I might to move on, to love my current local, a moment/object/scene/person will remind me of my home state, and the flame reignites a slew of memories that set my heart ablaze with homesickness. There are a lot of things I miss about Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The first one being the people. I miss my family and friends that still live there. My brothers have only met Tralee a handful of times. Hunter has yet to meet his Grandpa, Nana, cousins, Aunts, and Uncles on my side of the family. Hopefully this will soon be remedied.

I miss using the word bubbler and having people know exactly what I'm talking about.

I miss biking to The Witches House down by Lake Michigan. I used to love to bike there and sit and stare at all of the art. I grew up with the legend that Mary Nohl's husband and son went out fishing on the lake, and never returned. She made the sculptures to help guide them home. The story is completely bogus, Mary was just an eccentric artist. I LOVE love love the fact that all the richies in her very affluent neighborhood thought her house was an eye-sore and wanted her art removed, but she completely ignored their ridicule and continued with her creations.

I miss Lake Michigan. I remember the closer you biked to the lake the colder it got. The bike ride from my house to the lake was about ten to fifteen minutes. There was a point on the bike ride that you instantly felt the cool lake's air seep into your skin. Sometimes I would bike by, or when I was older, drive by to see how big the waves were on windy days.

I miss the bike/walking/jogging path along Lake Drive. I used to bike to school with friends on it. We used to go on family bike rides on nice Sunday afternoons after church. I remember following behind my dad on the black path, occasionally shouting, "Look at me!" when I dared to bike with no hands. When I was older I would drive down Lake Drive to get to the Milwuakee Art Museum. I wish I lived there when the architectural masterpiece that is the MAM was completed.

I miss going to Milwuakee Brewers games. It's been far too long. So long, that I haven't even been to one in the fancy new stadium with the retractable roof. I remember tail-gating with friends and family before each game. There was always beer and brats. REAL brats too, with sauerkraut and stadium sauce. I also enjoyed the sausage races between innings. The first Brewers game I can remember going to was when I was five. We sat in the bleachers, and I got beer spilled all over my head by some men that had had a few too many. I remember my mom bathing me later and telling me beer was good for my hair. She said it would make it shiny. I'm still not sure if that's true.

I remember the smell of hops when you hit a certain part of the freeway. The brewery is close to that certain stretch of the freeway. To this day, I know I'm close to home when that yeasty smell permeates the car while driving along 43 or 45.

I miss seeing Beasties everywhere. I wish I owned one. I would put it in my front yard. The elementary school I went to had three of them I believe. I would climb on them as a child.

I miss seeing barns when you drove out of the city. REAL red or white barns. I always thought it would be cool to convert a barn into a house. In fact, after Jim and I were first married we watched a This Old House episode one rainy Saturday afternoon while snuggling on the couch. The host guy converted a barn into a house. I remember telling Jim, "You need to do that for me one day." The problem with living out west is. . . there's a real sucky selection of old barns. No offence western barns, but in a fight, Wisconsin barns would kick your trash!!

I miss Summerfest. Every summer my friends and I would plan which concerts to go to. Some of my first concerts were seen at summerfest.

I miss the Wisconsin State Fair. My family would usually go. We would eat corn on the cob, play games, ride a few rides, and we would listen to music. One year my parents made us sit and listen to a band play for a bit. My brother, Jimmy, didn't want to. He sat pouting, waiting to move on to the next activity. Karma must have seen an opportunity, because a rather large lady, with a rather large rump, stood up on the bench and started shaking her junk to the beat of the music right in front of Jimmy's face. He was less than thrilled, and the rest of us couldn't stop snickering. To end our day of fun, my dad would buy our family one (or two) creme puffs to share. These creme puffs are so famous they've been debuted on The Today Show. Getting whipped cream all over your face was always a sweet end to a fun day.

I miss trees/forests. I mean, there are trees in the west, but nothing like in Wisconsin.

I miss how green everything is in the summer time. The first time I took Jim back home, he said it reminded him of Ireland. Everything was so green.

I miss fireflies. Jim was equally amazed at fireflies the first time he "summered" in the Midwest.

I miss the colors of Autumn. Ever since I moved out west I've never seen a fall that could even compete with the falls of Wisconsin.

I miss Kopps custard. One of the best cold treats you'll ever eat! The custard is made fresh everyday, so you're not eating stuff that's been sitting in a bucket for who knows how long. It's super fresh, and super yummy. They always make chocolate and vanilla, and then there's usually one or two flavors of the day. The flavor of the day is on a billboard along the freeway, so that as you commute home from work, you can decide whether or not you have to stop. Flavors worth stopping for were/are Caramel Cashew, Burgundy Cherry, and Cookies and Creme. If you ever find yourself in the Milwaukee area you HAVE to stop and eat some Kopps frozen custard. Nothing compares.

I miss a lot more (the domes, the MPM, certain restaurants, each ethnic festival that takes place in the summer, taking boat rides along Lake Michigan) but I think I listed enough for the time being. Wisconsin is no longer home, but she will always hold a piece of my heart.


Amberly said...

oh, you made me nostalgic! we spent a summer there and enjoyed the green, the retractable roof of the brewers, tours of the miller factory, custard and the art museum. it was a great city, can easily see why you miss it!

Joni said...

Wisconsin sounds wonderful. And p.s. The beer in the hair thing is true!

amy said...

that Kopps billboard is not there anymore!!