Dinner with Bernie and Carol Jean
On Wednesday night, Liz and I were invited over to have dinner with our neighbors Bernie and Carol Jean. We were delighted to receive a written letter/invitation earlier in the week, and looked forward to the chance to visit, to see their house, and to spend a little time with them.
Bernie and Carol Jean are longtime Hyde Park residents. They moved here in the mid-80’s (and I think that Bernie is in his 80’s). We learned a great deal about the former owner of their house (a doctor who would receive patients), as well as the neighborhood.
We got there around 6PM, and were invited in to sit in the living room. They had a fire going in their small fireplace, which was really lovely and made me pine for that future day when our fireplaces will be working. We sat and drank wine, chatting over snacks.
Over dinner, we learned that Bernie was a clergyman and had worked for the University of Chicago (in fact, he had been in the process of going over and donating all his papers to the University).
Carol Jean had worked in the university’s dissertation office. A lot of the work done then was all pre-computers, but all the old rules about type formatting still existed. Eventually, she decided to freelance and would type up student dissertations at home – but lamented how a single change on a page could trigger a wave of re-typing all subsequent pages.
Later in the evening, we got a full tour of their house. We went all the way down to the basement, and all the way up to their third floor. For all our time working on our own home, this was our first chance to see another Hyde Park house in full – and it was great.
Liz is still better at visualizing things than me. But now that I’ve been working on my own house, I do notice things like ductwork, door frames, and room layout a little more.
Eventually, we returned to the living room where we had dessert and talked at length some more.
There were a few moments I was tempted to ask for a photo, but seeing as this was the first time we had really gotten together at length, it didn’t feel appropriate.
There was this great moment, when we first arrived, with the fire going in the living room… where Carol Jean was leaning against the fireplace while Bernie was sitting on the couch. It would have made a most excellent image, capturing both them and the room and the moment. But I’ll just have to content myself with the memory of it.
We had a really lovely time visiting with Bernie and Carol Jean, and look forward to the day when we can invite them over for a dinner at our place.
Note: In case you don’t explore the links below, I should take a moment to mention that Bernie and Carol Jean were the very first people to come over to our house with a lovely housewarming gift.