Thursday, February 11, 2010

Illini Girl Behind the Cheddar Curtain

Last Friday was non-uniform day at our parochial school. The kids were all supposed to wear a Packer shirt (or Bears or Vikings or Cowboys or whatever). It was a choir day, so Maggie would be there, and she decided to wear her Illini shirt from Aunt Karen. Not NFL, but the closest match she had for the theme.

After chapel, as we stood around gabbing, Kara commented on the Illini shirt. Kara is a Wisconsin girl. I don't know what I am any more. I was raised a flatlander. But as of last Thanksgiving, I'd lived more of my life in Wisconsin than in Illinois. (Four more years, and half my life will have been in Wisconsin. Wow.)

Wisconsin is beautiful. My grandpa would go up to the northwoods to fish every year for vacation. He took his family. My mom grew up, and our family went up north. I grew up, and sometimes my mom & dad would take my family up north too. I love it up there (even if the water is too cold for swimming).

Wisconsin is beautiful. The Kettle-Moraine area is lovely to behold. The southwest corner of the state, too, is beautiful in its terrain and fields and woods.

And yet, Illinois is beautiful too. Besides that, I think there's something of a natural love for the place you knew as home. Immigrants talk with fondness of the fatherland. I mean, really, now, how many of you will think this

music is more beautiful than anything by Mozart or Beethoven? Well, I do. The Three-in-One gives me goosebumps just as much as Bach's Largo or Vivaldi's Seasons.

I don't have a clue as to what my own college's song was. I don't know the Badger songs at all. But Oskee-Wow-Wow is a different story. And it doesn't even bother me if my loved ones laugh at me for clapping my hands, thumping my foot in a Chief-like way, and singing Illini songs.
"Keep us marching and singing,
in true Illini spirit,
for our dear old Illinois."


  1. And you even has a sisteer who does "the chief" at her wedding! Yea. You're still our loyal Illini girl!

  2. That sure brought back a lot of memories......seeing Block I, and the Chief (sniff!) I graduated from there 30 years ago this May. Loved Urbana.....cried when we moved back to the suburbs.

    Where did you go to college in Chicago....Concordia?

  3. Gary and I both went to RF.