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Thursday · January 29 2004

My dad worked days and my mom nights when I was small. My mom worked at the Conrad Hilton (now Hilton Towers or whatever) and made it home for dinner around 8. Her arrival was the final stop of a weeknight.

The school day ended at 2:15 when a bus picked me up for an after school program until 3:30 when my grandpa got off work and drove me to his house in the Pontiac Bonneville. Grandma and I would play 500 rummy, Sorry!, or build Legos until dad showed up at 5:30 or 6. We then went home to heat up the food mom made during the day.

If my mom was working a saturday afternoon, we'd hop on the Kennedy and drive downtown to pick her up at Michigan and Balbo so we could get church over with on saturday evening at St. Michael's in Old Town. Driving down the Kennedy in the passenger seat next to my dad, I remember three things.

The sign said "Express Lanes - Closed". I hoped the reversible lanes would be open this time, but the traffic always flowed the other way. I was sure a plot was set, because I wanted to know what those lanes were like. Would we really get there faster?

The lights of the Hubbard tunnel glowed gold overhead. Dad liked to point out which viaducts he installed lights and pipes on, but none impressed me like that curved tunnel. He drove fast and weaved in and out of traffic. I gripped the door handle, pressed the imaginary passenger brake and knew our exit was coming up.

In between the tunnel and the disappointing express lanes stood the Magikist lips. Many years later, I'd learn that Magikist was a carpet cleaning company advertising their "-kist" as a "-kiss". Six years old, the huge bright red lips stood on the left side of the ride in and meant one thing: we're headed downtown to pick up mom on the Kennedy. Magikist's neon flashing lips were the landmark that connected our house in Norridge with every ride to get mom on a weekend night.

And now they're gone.

(Trib login: kegz03/kegz03)

What you had to say:
January 29 2004

NOOOoooooooo

January 29 2004

What was your mom doing on the Kennedy? Did she pave roads? :-)

January 29 2004

Alright grammar cop...dangling modifier again.

Rephrased: "we're on the Kennedy headed downtown to pick up mom"

January 31 2004

Seeing those lips meant we were going "downtown" for dinner. When you live in the suburbs, even if your suburb had a downtown, you called chicago "downtown".

Heading down the Kennedy, getting excited about seeing the city and the lights and the lips. "are we there yet?"

and then on the return trip: falling asleep in the back seat and my head jerking after hitting a bump on the highway. "are we home yet?"

There's comfort in knowing that when I come back to visit (which is somewhat often), that there are certain things that just don't change. the lips were one of those things.

I always thought it was a lipstick company, by the way.

February 05 2004

Those lips were just HUGE, and now that they're gone, it's a blatant reminder of just how much time changes everything and how much we've changed since were were small. We used to drive into the city every Sunday to visit my grandfather's mother, and those lips were as much a part of my memories as the giant hot dog in the Fred Flinstone suit at the hot dog joint where we'd always stop. Now if only I could remember the name of that place...

Time marches on, and it has apparently taken memories with it.

March 09 2004

What was the phone number to Magikist?

March 24 2004

My great Uncle Owned Magikist. He changed his name from Guge to Gage because no one could pronounce Guge. (Goo-Gee) pretty simple. take alook at the blues brother movie you can see the lips on there when they are coming into chicago. anyways the number to magikist was 378-8600

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz