On June 30 we made it to our 1st Anniversary – much to our own great surprise. Despite being extremely busy with school stuff, Jeremy found a way to sneak around and craft an incredible surprise treasure hunt. I came home from work on July 3 to find an empty house and a poem about zombies. Tres romantique! The poem led me to a glass head sculpture where Jeremy had hidden the next clue – a list of “inside references” that we’d cultivated over the last year about locations in our neighborhood. So I got on my bike and criss-crossed the neighborhood collecting sealed envelopes from under mailboxes, behind street signs, and from local shopkeepers.
Each envelope held a line from one of our favorite songs – “This Will Be Our Year” by the Zombies – which, when I put them in order, provided latitude and longitude coordinates. So I used the GPS to follow them downtown to where Jeremy had managed to get us an executive suite at the Hyatt, overlooking Lake Michigan, the river, and Navy Pier. After getting our free happy hour and dessert buffet, we walked 5 minutes to the Independence Day fireworks over the lake. What a clever clever boy!
The next day, the 4th of July, we wandered downtown for a while, watched the kids playing in the fountains in Millenium Park and finally headed to a friend’s BBQ. And then, the REAL fun began… as the sun started to set in Pilsen, the cars disappeared from the streets as families emerged with literally armloads of fireworks. From about 8 pm to 2 am, our neighborhood was about as close to a war zone as I ever hope to get – smoke billowing through the streets, explosions everywhere, sparks and shrapnel flying, booms, cracks, hisses, and ratatats echoing off of buildings. At one point we had to ride our bikes through it, and we can attest to the fact that fearing for your life is a great adrenaline rush.
From the roof our building, we could see probably thousands of fireworks being set off all across the city. It was the best 4th of July ever – a 360 degree panoramic show. Here's a video of a little bit of what it looked (and sounded) like: