Sunday, December 20, 2009

Goodbye Sheraton Chicago Northwest (nee Arlington Park Hilton)

One more piece of my childhood is disappearing.

The Sheraton Chicago Northwest (formerly the Arlington Park Hilton) is closing on in a week. At least according to the Daily Herald.

To most people, this may not mean much, except for the loss of jobs and tax revenue in Arlington Heights, which to be sure are not insignificant and by no means am I minimizing.

But I've got a personal connection to the hotel. I used to live there.

When our house burned down in April 1982, we lived at the Hilton for much of the six months we were out of our home.

I remember having sleepovers in our suite with my girlfriends, taking a taxi to school in the morning, and having orange sherbet delivered from room service. I remember riding the elevator up and down each floor trying to sneak onto the penthouse level and spending hours upon hours in what I grew to refer to as "our pool." I remember sitting on the steps of the Cinderella Rockafella (the nightclub attached to the Hilton, more recently the training center for Allstate employees) with my friend Amy watching the high school kids arrive for their proms in their 1982 finest. I remember the night I was at the hotel alone while my parents were at a church meeting (I don't remember where Dave was) and I became sick, calling down to the front desk and a very nice woman helping me until my parents got back.

My favorite memory though is of the day I called the Apple Farm to order lunches, as I did ever day to place my order for "one turkey and cheese with mayo, lettuce and tomato and a peanut butter and jelly on wheat" and got it all between just two pieces of bread. One sandwich with turkey, cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, peanut butter and jelly. We still laugh about that.

Even after we moved out and moved back into our home, we often went back for Sunday brunch after church or for significant milestones. We even enjoyed Christmas dinner there in 1996.

Most people probably drive past the Sheraton and just see a large brick building. I drive by and see my former home; the place that kept my family together during one of the most challenging times of our lives and also gave us many happy memories. And I'm sad to see it go.

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