Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The American Dream...

The ‘Home Alone’ house in Winnetka is up for sale. I have always loved this home and every home that looks like this center hall colonial for as long as I can remember. Even before I ever had the delightful pleasure of seeing a John Hughes film. It is the quintessential American Dream home.

John Hughes, (may he RIP) gave us a view of life on the North Shore of Chicago that was completely representative of most upper+ middle class suburbs across the nation. I am sure that many of us longed for the life and adventures the teens he portrayed in his films had. I know that I did. Even though I grew up in a Western Chicago suburb that was just as affluent as Winnetka and my friends and I had our own adventures (minus Jake Ryan). But it was just…different.

Blame ‘North Shore Magazine’ and John Hughes but there was something about Winnetka and Glencoe that just put me in a euphoric state. It was a feeling that life was beautiful and perfect. The possibilities were limitless. There are homes like that in my hometown, but Winnetka was so authentically American. It was a different American Dream than my parents had. It was old money, settled, preppy perfection wrapped up in a pink and green plaid bow. I know my parents’ American Dream was fulfilled when they built a brand new house in a brand new subdivision with skinny sticks for trees. The tall pillars in front of the  raised ranch (bi-level) house reminded my mommy of Tara in ‘Gone with the Wind”. My daddy had a great job and my mommy could stay home with me. (That staying home part? Not her idea of a dream.) The Palladian windows in North Shore colonials surrounded by ancient trees reminded me of what my future could hold. Mommy was completely contemporary in her decorating taste. She would have loved Ikea. My taste still is the polar opposite of hers. I love floral and plaid upholstered wing back chairs and sofas and cherry wood colonial furniture. Ralph Lauren is still my favorite designer and idol.

I longed for my own American Dream. I dreamed of meeting a handsome business man husband, buying a center hall colonial in Winnetka with Palladian windows and arched window over the front door, decorated in hunter green and burgundy plaid and floral. I wanted to have an in the ground pool and sail boat at the Winnetka Yacht Club. I always said in high school that the home would be behind gates and I would have a pool boy and a cleaning lady. More than anything in the world, I wanted to fill that house with at least four kids, two small dogs and love. Those homes represented large, happy families and huge festive holiday celebrations with family and friends. There were just the four of us and one mean little Pekingese in our immediate family. The remainder of our small family lived in Poland. Mommy’s mother came on a boat to visit us every couple years. I have one second cousin that lives in California and I didn’t meet my first cousins until I was in my late 20’s when mommy and I went to Poland for my grandmother’s funeral. I longed for a large family to be a part of. That was the essence of my American Dream—the family. The house just represented it.

Now, many (I refuse to do the math) years later, I am married to a handsome and wonderful man. We were blessed with gorgeous healthy children and two adorable small dogs. I do in fact live on the North Shore of Chicago on Lake Michigan – albeit the FAR North Shore! I live in a lovely neighborhood, in a ranch house that I have grown to love. I have plaid and floral furniture and I have a pool too! (The Prince and Big Daddy are the pool boys. I am the cleaning lady.)  And above all -- we are incredibly happy and blessed with wonderful family and friends that are family too.  I have achieved my American Dream.
What is your dream? 
This is the link to the realestate listing. Only $2.4 mil! Such a bargain!


JoAnne Kenrick said...

gorgeous house, isn't it?
And did you say pool? Is it anywhere near the RT 2012 site? If so...wanna house guest? hehe

Monika Michalak said...

Where is RT 2012? And of course! But I think we would laugh all night! LOL I loooove that house.

D.D. Scott said...

What a supercool fantabulous tidbit, Monika!

Thanks for sharing!!!

I'm a huge, huge John Hughes fan!

I grew-up watching his films!!! And thought that was the life for me...

Sonja said...

This is an excellent writing piece. A neat narrative launched from nostalgia (that's some consonance right there). I am not sure any of us are where we thought we would be, but may we all be blessed on where we are. ;-)