If you missed yesterday’s installment please go here first.
Go ahead, I will wait!
Okay, all caught up? Good.
Our bus trip took 6 1/2 hours! I couldn’t understand why we didn’t just drive at the time since Grandma drove at home and had a car. I think she just didn’t like driving in the big city. I knew that she had an appointment but wasn’t sure what for. I thought it was just for a simple check up.
Once we arrived at the Minneapolis bus depot, we had to find a way to get to where we were staying. My Grandma’s mode of choice? City bus. Taxis were too expensive. Side note: why are the bus depots always in the shittiest areas of town? I mean really! So, city bus it was. I had never been so freaked out in my life. Grandma told me not to worry, just don’t look at anyone. Don’t worry!
We were let off in front of the University of Minnesota Hospital. It looked so big and I was sure we were going to get lost. We set out to this institutional looking building way at the back of the campus. She said it was called Powell Hall. It was a resident hall for nursing students that was built in the 1930’s. In the late 70’s it was also used for patient lodging at reduced pricing.
This is where we stayed. The room was simple. Two beds, a desk and a garbage can. What more did we need? Bathroom? Down the hall and to the left. I had never stayed in a hotel so I didn’t know what I was missing and I didn’t care.
It was an adventure!
Once we had settled, Grandma was excited to show me the tunnels.
Tunnels? In Minnesota, our winters can range from mild (this year ) or they can be biting and bitter cold, freezing your skin with the first wisp of the wind on your face. So what do Minnesotans do? We build tunnels or skyways so we can traverse city block upon city block without having to go outside. Smart.
We traipsed from building to building, her telling me about each one. I reveled in her knowledge. Even though in my heart, I just knew we were going to get lost. I JUST KNEW IT!
We rounded a corner and what did my eyes see? A vending machine that dispensed pop into CUPS! Just like those weird coffee machines. She pulls out her worn change purse and offers me a quarter.
Orange Fanta, Rootbeer Fanta, Strawberry Fanta and OMG….CHERRY FANTA! Although I had never had cherry flavor, I picked that. To this day, I can still taste the tartness of the flavoring, feel the bubbles bursting on my tongue. It was THE BEST POP EVER! All fizzy and tasty and nummy.
We kept exploring the tunnels until we reached the newest building where she needed to check in and make sure her appointments for the next day were set up and on schedule. Once she did this, she announced that we were going to go to dinner and then to the corner store to buy snacks and things for breakfast. I just couldn’t believe that she was so daring to go walk around the big city without a care in the world.
My Grandma was BRAVE!
I was excited to go out for dinner. She said she found this place the last time she was here and she loved it. Funny how the man behind the counter remembered her from a month ago and addressed her by name. It was a hole in the wall, corner restaurant where they served steak (omg, right?) with a side of cole slaw and Texas toast for $5! I bet you can guess what we ordered! While we ate, we sat by the windows, laughed and made fun of the students walking by in their Hash jeans, birkies and dreads. Maybe this is where I got my penchant for making fun of people? And we ate until we nearly burst.
Another thing I remember clearly were all the African-Americans in the area. You have to understand, I grew up in Whiteville, USA and we only had one African American in my home town. And they happened to be a trouble maker. So this different cultural stew was a wonder to me. Growing up with a man who I have always described as Archie Bunker on steroids, fueled my imagination. Can you imagine all the thoughts in my head during this time? I don’t claim that it was right, just that it was the way it was. Period. I am thankful everyday that I am the complete opposite of him.
On the way back to Powell Hall, we stopped off at the small grocery shop on the corner to stock up. She eyed the cherries and even though they were out of season and expensive, she bought a huge bag.
Grandma was cool! Buying fruit out of season…my mom would NEVER do that!
I hope you have enjoyed today’s installment.
Stay tuned for part 3!