Sunday, January 31, 2016

The MacDonalds stop by en route to France

The MacDonald family stopped in Grand Rapids for a couple of days last month. They left Hawaii and are making their way to Lille, France where they'll spend the next couple of years or so. And, after a couple of nights here the four of them headed off for stops in Virginia, Connecticut and Maine to see more family and friends before flying to Paris and then a train to Lille where they expect to arrive, well, right about now I suppose.

The kids were all in fine form and it was grand to see them all. It's been far too long since we've all been together let along spending quality time hanging out. And given this was Michigan with winter and all, hanging out is pretty much what we did. But it was really important for those kids to see gram and great-gram -- and for her to spend time with them, too, of course. Mission accomplished.

Oh, and no need to ask -- we are planning on a stop in Lille later this fall when the two of us head back to France. More about that later.

Christina holding Liam, Kiera,  Great-Gram and Glen

Susie joins in the fun

Christina and her gram

Friday, January 29, 2016

Donald Wade Soper Sr born January 29, 1910

Happy birthday, Pop! Love from your two sons. . . scenes from a life well-lived and a man well-loved:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Christmas in West Michigan

Time flies when you're having fun. Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. Life is good here and even though it's snowing right now, we're in Michigan and things have worked out surprisingly well.

We had a pleasant holiday season --  I trust you can say the same --- with a stop at Meijer Gardens to check out their holiday decorations, a nice quiet Christmas morning with Susan's mom and a Christmas dinner  in Rockford at the home of Laurie and Garret Ten Have-Chapman, one of Susie's cousins. Lots of good food, warm conversation and incredibly happy people.

Susie's caramel-nut tart, one of Christmas treats

Susie's Christmas present to me


Susie and cousin Jen

nephew Matt and friend


Claire, Scott and Garrett

niece Lisa


Friday, January 01, 2016

A trip to Graceland Cemetery in Chicago with Susie, Marie and Philippe

To remind you of what summer looks like, here's my trip note from a visit to Graceland Cemetery in Chicago back in August of 2015 with our Parisan friends Marie and Philippe. 

Located on the north side of Chicago between Clark Street and Irving Park Road, Graceland Cemetery is one of America's finest garden cemeteries.

Created in 1860 on 80 acres of land in what was then Lake View, Illinois, two miles outside the city of Chicago, it now encompasses 119 acres of winding streets, lush gardens and incredible monuments to some of the city's most illustrious individuals: Cyrus McCormick, Martin Ryerson, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, Alan Pinkerton, architects Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham (the latter entombed on his own island in the cemetery), William Kimball (of piano fame), and Philip Armour (meatpacker extraordinaire) are just a few of the fantastic stories that quietly bide their time waiting for you to visit.

The one entrance is right at the corner of Clark Street and Irving Park Road. Signage in the cemetery is virtually non-existent and what "street" signs do exist are confusingly laid out. I suggest stopping at the office for a guide map or downloading a copy of the handy map and brochure that at least identifies the location of the major monuments.
Dexter Graves
Azarian Palmer

Allan Pinkerton

Timothy Webster

Kate Warne, first female detective in the United States

Pinkerton Employee Memorial



Peter Schoenhofen

Martin Ryerson

George Pullman

William Kimball

Louis Sullivan

Goodman family

Potter Palmer

Edith Rockefeller McCormick


bridge to Burnham Island

Philippe, Susan and Marie



Potter Palmer from across the lake

Burnham Island


Potter Palmer

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Bruce Goff

Goodman family from across the lake

Ruth Page

Cyrus McCormick family

Marshall Field family


Gloor family


Inez Clarke

Wheeler family

Jones family

Brainerd famly

Emily Sleight Brainerd

Daniel Brainerd

Sanger family

John B. Dickey

Mary Avery



Victor Lawson


Mosset family