Part Four of our Taking Stock Blog gives you a peek at the weddings of our twins Krissi and Kenny, and a look at traveling across our country on a train. Welcome aboard!
WEDDINGS – When I retired in January of 2016, only our oldest son Bill was married. Now, six years later, we find ourselves with 3 married children. On October 13th, 2018, in Lake Tahoe, California, Kenny and Chris became one! It was a wonderful outdoor “do-it-yourself” wedding at the Tahoe Vistana Resort. A “destination” wedding in a beautiful spot, overlooking the waters of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by lots of friends and family…what could be better? We were also happy to be in Chris’ hometown of Reno for most of the week before, sharing wedding duties with Chris’ family, and getting to really know so many wonderful members of our Fox Family!! With everybody pitching in, there were multiple trips to Costco (we were those folks you always wonder about at Costco buying everything in sight), several party stores, and everything else you can think of (do it yourself). The week leading up to the grand event was a series of parties and get-togethers in Reno, and the time just got more special as more family and friends arrived in town. The actual three day wedding event on Lake Tahoe was perfect, and exactly what the boys wanted their wedding to be! It was the best!
On June 15th, 2019, Kenny’s twin sister Krissi and her fiancé Mike, joined the group and became Mr. and Mrs. Mickowicz! Our twins were born 2 minutes apart, married 8 months apart, and now our circle of married children was complete! Krissi and Mike lived in Astoria, New York (at one point, all 3 of our kids lived in Astoria) and decided that they wanted their wedding to be a local event. Towards that end, Mike’s Family traveled up from Maryland, and Susie and I (with brother Kenny in tow, on leave from a cruise contract) traveled to an interesting old school hotel called The Paper Factory in Long Island City (it was indeed a paper factory in a former life). On Friday night, we had a wonderful family dinner gathering at a close Mexican restaurant with Mike’s immediate family. Mom and Dad Paula and Jerry, sister Sara and her husband Gabe and their kids Maddy and Ethan, and Krissi’s family, including, besides us, older brother Bill, wife Lori and their kids Layla, Henry, and baby Annabelle, and twin brother Kenny! The only one missing was new brother-in-law Chris who could not join his husband Kenny because of their cruise contract. The next day, on the roof of their Astoria apartment building, surrounded by immediate family, and with the Manhattan skyline as the back drop, they exchanged vows and became a married couple. Then it was time to party, and it was off to a local Wine Bar that had been one of their first date spots, where they were joined by additional family and friends! It was an incredible celebration of their marriage, and exactly what Krissi and Mike wanted!
TRAIN TRAVEL – Back in the 1950s, the Metropolitan Opera’s yearly Spring Tour around the country went by train. When I was a little kid, there were a couple of years that I went with my folks on the tour. There were short trips (like New York to Boston) and longer trips (like Boston to Cleveland), so they traveled in both coach and sleeper accommodations. In addition, my Mom’s Mom and Dad lived in Chicago, and while today we’d just hop on a plane or in the car to get there, back in the day, we used the New York Central’s 20th Century Limited to make the trip. It had ben a long time, but I had done train travel, Susie had not. Because of the way the allure of rail travel has been portrayed in movies, like Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, or the movie Silver Streak, or even the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, Susie has always wanted to take an overnight train. She’s been jealous of the memories I have, and wanted her own, and to check off another Bucket List item, we made it happen.
We decided that in association with Kenny and Chris’ wedding in Lake Tahoe, we would go one direction by train. We did research and watched a ton of YouTube videos on AMTRAK train travel to prepare ourselves, bought two first class sleeper accommodation tickets, and on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018, we started our journey! We left Ocean City early that morning with our first destination being Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. There we boarded AMTRAK Train number 141, the Northeast Regional to Washington, DC’s Union Station. As we had first class tickets, we journeyed on this first leg in a Business Class luxury seating car. After spending some time in the Acela Club in Washington, we boarded Train #29, the Capital Limited overnight to Chicago. This was the first leg that we would be in a sleeper, and we got ourself set up in Bedroom E in Car #2900. The room contains a big couch, a comfortable chair, a huge picture window, and our own bathroom (think an RV kind of bathroom). Each car has an attendant, that at night will convert our sleeper from a day room to our bedroom. In addition, on this leg, our attendant will also take our dinner order as the Capital Limited had just had its Dining Car removed. After dinner, our room was turned into a sleeper, the big couch became the lower bunk and an upper bunk was lowered from the wall, complete with a ladder! My dear wife was gracious enough to take the upper bunk, and we fell asleep to the click clack lullaby from the rails!
At about noon the next day, we arrived in Chicago at AMTRAK’s Union Station, where we had to switch trains. Just after 3:00 PM, with us in Room C of Car 330, the Southwest Chief pulled out of Union Station. The Southwest Chief is the Amtrak successor to the famous Santa Fe Super Chief. It was dubbed the “Train of the Stars” because of the celebrities it carried between Chicago and Los Angeles in the days before air travel. The route took the train through some of the most beautiful scenery the United States has to offer, and it was right outside our bedroom window. The Southwest Chief had a real Dining Car, and three meals a day were served on china plates with white tablecloths and impecable service by true professionals, and were included in our ticket price.
Early on the morning of the third day, the train moved through the Los Angelos suburbs, and a little after 8 AM, the Southwest Chief pulled into LA’s Union Station. We’d left Ocean City on the morning of Wednesday, October 3rd, and now on Saturday morning we’d arrived in Los Angelos. It was an experience, and another check on the Bucket List of life! If you’d like more details about our trip, here’s a link to the starting blog post:
Well, tomorrow we wrap up our multi-part blog Taking Stock. Friday’s edition is loaded with looks at some very important things that have happened in our life over the last six years! Be sure to stay tuned!