That Toddlin’/Tottlin’ Town…

We’re back home. My good friend Jeff, who is a member of Club 52, and last year Club 51, and the year before Club 50, was nice enough to make the trip to Chicago with me and attend the closing. It was great to travel with him as there is never a lack of good conversation and because we don’t get together as frequently as we would like, we always have a lot to catch up on. We covered the gamut of topics on our 5 hour drive up and 5 hour drive back. Among those topics was this whole thing about what the lyrics of that song meant when it referred to Chicago as “that toddlin’ town”. Neither of us really knew and after a short online search, the only thing that seems to make any sense is that “toddlin'” was an allusion to teetotaling (meaning consuming non-alcoholic beverages), which would have been a purposely ironic phrase that was directed at the fact that Chicago was anything but teetotaling during prohibition because of the abundance of speakeasies there run by none other than Al Capone. Not sure if that’s correct but toddling is what toddlers do when they’re learning to walk and Chicago was definitely not learning to walk although toddle has a subordinate meaning that means walking unsteadily after drinking so maybe it’s similarly an allusion to the whole town consuming alcohol during prohibition. Anyway, here’s a pic of Jeff from a previous post to put a face with the name…

So I thought that if I could get the bug to the grandparents house by 8:30 that we could make the drive while stopping for a quick lunch and still get there in time to catch the end of Jeff’s workshop. We were making good time until we unwittingly stumbled onto I-290 in Chicago and sat in bumper to bumper for the next hour or so. Needless to say we arrived at the gallery only about 10 minutes before the closing was gonna start. We parked the car and as I was walking up to the gallery, I looked through the front windows and was shocked and elated to see my good friends Thad and Natasha from Southern Illinois who had driven up for a concert. Thad teaches sculpture at SIU-Edwardsville and we had gone to graduate school together back in the day. I hadn’t seen them in a couple years and wished we could’ve gotten there as soon as we intended because they didn’t get to stay long because they had a concert to get to that was downtown and the gallery was over in Oak Park which I guess was about a half hour away. Anyway, it was a great surprise and so good to see them. I also met David, the owner of Terra Incognito, and he was very nice and gracious. The closing was fine and although it was far from a sellout, there were some sales and I was pleased that it wasn’t a bust. I met a few very nice people from Jeff’s workshop and chatted away with them for quite some time. I was dreading the 3 hour affair from a plantar fasciitis point of view because I was not sure that standing for that long was gonna hurt so much that I would be too distracted to hang. After about 2 hours I was really needing to sit down because my feet hurt so much. Then after it was over me, Jeff, Jeff Campana and Jeff C.’s parents, Chuck and Barbara, went out to a nearby Thai restaurant and had dinner. Jeff’s dad reminded me of a movie star but I couldn’t place who it was. Afterward, the other Jeff and I went back to the hotel and tried to meet up with Natasha and Thad again but I guess the concert ran late and our phones weren’t working for some reasons. It was getting late so we made our way to a local pub/restaurant and had some good beer. I ended up getting a couple Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ales and they were very good. The next morning we stopped by the gallery early to load up some pots and make our way out of town early but there was no one there. While we waited for a while, we wandered over to one of the tourist attractions in the neighborhood, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a beautiful house with a regal ginkgo biloba in the yard. Here’s a shot from the street…

I guess Wright’s Robie House is in Chicago also but in a different neighborhood. Anyway, we decided to drop in on Jeff’s cousin instead of waiting and drove out to Naperville and got lost. Her name was Lenore and she was very nice and prepared a big breakfast for us. We visited for an hour or so and made our way back to the gallery, packed up some pots and headed home. Here’s a shot of the gallery that afternoon, it’s a little picked over but you can kinda get a feel for the size and how Jeff and my pots were arranged…

Overall it was a great trip, I’m glad I went and I hope that both Jeffs had a good time. It was fun to meet the people I met and establish another gallery to sell my work through. Of course, I really missed the bug. After thinking about all the arrangements to make it so I could travel while Mom was working, I half decided that Sofia’s gotten old enough that maybe she should be my traveling companion on future trips. Aside from the 3 hour event at the gallery, I think she would’ve had a great time in that toddlin’ town.


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12 Responses to “That Toddlin’/Tottlin’ Town…”

  1. Michael Kline Says:

    I love taking road-trips with my girls. Unfortunately those trips are all too few. The gallery is really nicely done.

  2. elizabethBurtt Says:

    Jim, my kids have been going to gallery openings and road trips since day one, I am sure Sofia would be fine, and enjoy the occasional jaunt. She reminds me of my India at that age.

  3. cindy shake Says:

    Cool house and nice layout in the Gallery. Gus has went to many openings with us -at 12 he’s a veteran now! He always looks forward to judging the opening by what type of food and beverages they serve and will recall who served what years ago!

  4. ron Says:

    That’s a nice gallery space. Glad you had a good trip. We got trapped in Chicago traffic once, it was a nightmare.

  5. gary rith Says:

    Me and the wife lived in Chicago forever and never had a car, the public trans is excellent 🙂
    ANYWAY, nice………

  6. ang Says:

    dont you just love a jam! not..anyhoo glad the show was a mover, your posts are always so eventful jim, …here’s to the next one then and look after those foots they prob need a big rest…:P

  7. meredith Says:

    what a great space for a show- and road trips are such fun!
    Now- back to work with you!

  8. kyle Says:

    sounds like a good road trip…I think everybody needs that once in a while…good show, good friends, good eats and drink…the makings of a great trip!…

  9. judi tavill Says:

    The exhibit looks phenomenal!!!
    You are the greatest…

  10. Jeff Says:


    It was nice to talk with you at the Gallery! Your work is tremendous, I had a truly inspiring weekend visiting the Gallery, the Robie House, and the Wright Home.

    Hopefully we meet again!

    Best to you!


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