In our Elmhurst ranch house basement, Dad housed his outboard motor in the way-back part of the space where few of his three children ever ventured. This may have been deliberate in the sense that his outboard motor was one of the few things he owned that had nothing whatsoever to do with us.

Raising a family in the Chicago suburbs after World War II was pretty communal, going by my experience as one of those raised. I don’t recall Dad using our car for solo road trips. I don’t recall Dad having any space known as a man cave. I don’t recall Dad using the kitchen at all.

But he fished, sometimes alone. Rarely alone, but sometimes. On these occasions he woke up in the middle of the night. He fetched his motor from its subterranean storage. He packed it and himself in the car. He sallied forth to the north suburban chain-of-lakes where there was bait and rowboats and men with beards, not known in Elmhurst.

Such days were rare, evidenced by Mom’s stunned look in his absence; but I think they were important to him. I think he loved that outboard motor.

About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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