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Freedom House

June 20, 2013






















239Illinois – Friday, June

Since I stayed in Rockford, I headed down to the riverfront first, and found a river trail, and got my first 2 1/2 miles of walking done. From there I decided to take the scenic route southwest toward Dixon, and it was absolutely beautiful following the meandering Rock River. After a while I came to the town of Oregon and it looked like a great place for some walking. Tula and I set off along Batwing Boulevard through town and did a mile and a half together, and then she waited in the car while I walked another 3 miles around the wonderful old neighborhoods adjoining town. The neighborhoods seemed to have a timeless feel to them – generations of families being raised in big, white, wooden, 2-story homes with front porches, and they’ve been well taken care of for decades. Kids were out riding bikes on wide streets; pretty trees lined the streets; people were out mowing and gardening; and kids were running around. It could have been the 60s, the ’70s or any other generation. And then an old station wagon turned a corner and I almost wondered if I had time-traveled back to the ’60s! It’s just hard to put into words – all the walking gives me time to soak up a lot of atmosphere, and this was classic small-town America. And I’m really enjoying being back in the midwest in all the summer greenery!

Then we did the short drive to Dixon, which is a very presidential town – Abraham Lincoln, Zachary Taylor and Jefferson Davis were all involved in the Black Hawk War here in their younger days (I had never heard of that war – the conflict involved the pioneers digging up ancient Indian burial grounds for their farmland – yikes), plus this is where Ronald Reagan grew up. So Tula and I did a little walking around town, and we walked past Reagan’s boyhood home. Tula didn’t seem to want to walk much (her energy levels still aren’t back to normal, and I’m not pushing her) and I just wasn’t enjoying this town as much as Oregon. Then I drove across the river, and came upon a pretty riverside path. I was going to leave Tula in the car, but she really seemed to want to come along, and she was full of energy and chasing squirrels for a couple miles – I can’t quite figure it out! I did one other short walk in the opposite direction along the river, and watched a couple kids pull in a big carp – lots of people were out fishing. And pelicans were fishing in the river too – i passed one big rock in the rover that had about 20 pelocans huddled on it. Altogether I did over 9 1/2 miles, so I have a little extra for a day when I might need it.

With all my walking done for the day, I was happy to get in the car for a little driving. It was a pretty time of day to drive past the endless cornfields and big farms, and I also passed a wind farm with the big turbines. I took a detour to visit another covered bridge – this one stated there was a $5 fine for driving more than 12 horses, mules or cattle across at one time, or for leading any beast faster than a walk. i wonder how many fines were collected back in the day!

It was evening by now, but there was no rush to my donation place – they’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My donation was going to Freedom House, a sheltering home for women who have suffered some sort of abuse. Freedom House was located in Princeton, and they have been providing hope, comfort and a place for them to live for 30 years. I met the volunteer who was working, and she buzzed me into the shelter – it seemed strange to be doing a donation so late! Freedom House is located on church grounds, and it just seemed like a nice safe place. The numbers of people in the house fluctuate, and they’re often full, and even sometimes have to turn people away, which must be very difficult. Some of the other shelters I’ve made donations to keep the actual location of the shelter a secret, to help protect the women. But this shelter doesn’t operate like that – it’s a very secure building, and there are several buzzers spread around the building that can summon the police by a touch of a button if necessary, and they can be there in a matter of minutes. The volunteer told me that fortunately she’s never had to press a buzzer. Freedom House is well supported by the local community, and one of their more popular fundraisers is called Walk A Mile in Her Shoes – where local men (often police officers) put on red high heels to walk a mile, and the volunteer showed me a calendar that they had made with photos from the last fundraiser.

I had reservations down near Peoria, so I still had a little driving to do, and finished it off in the dark, before the expected rain arrived.

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One Comment
  1. Nancy permalink

    Hi Nancy! I like the new format with the pictures on the side! Kevin and I are leaving this morning for Traverse City for a few days. I examine 20 of Marge’s kids—-. Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive were highlights when we went to Virginia two weeks ago. You’re right—it’s a beautiful state! Continue safe travels— Oh—-Cecchetti classes and exams are over—–the kids did a really great job again this year! Nancy

    Sent from my iPad

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