We were in Charleston only a few days and another bike accident (minor scrapes and stove thumb) before heading to Birmingham, via Kennesaw, on Friday. Gordon was back with a rental car and we were on the road before noon. The drive was uneventful, although Gordon has more trouble driving than steering without his chart plotter (GPS.) We were almost to Spartanburg before we realized he missed the turn-off back in Columbia…it only added about an hour to the drive, as we drove back south into Atlanta on I-85 and back north on I-75. Once there, Havyn greeted us happily, with “Nana & Poppa are here”!! We took everyone to dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant, Ippolito’s, a must try if ever in the area. They have 5 or 6 locations in the Atlanta area (www.ippolitos.net).
On Saturday morning, it was hard to leave …Havyn has become such a sweetie, so talkative and fun to be around, but we needed to get to Birmingham to meet up with Erika. After two hours on the road getting there, we were moving all of Erika’s belongings out of her in-laws home. She and Jeremy have been living there the past 9 months and Jeremy took a job back in Mobile about 3 months ago and left Erika there!! Well, his parents kicked her out and Jeremy asked for a divorce all in the same week she was scheduled for surgery! So mom and dad to the rescue… we moved almost all of her belongings to storage on Saturday and Sunday and we rearranged it!
Monday morning, we were at UAB Medical Center at 5:15 am. Erika had surgery to remove 2 tumors and lymph nodes located under her thyroid. She is doing very well and the outlook is very good and we hope that there is no cancer involved. She can’t talk very well, but I’m sure that will come back strong as ever!! She is resting comfortably in our motel room. Meanwhile, Gordon and I took advantage of being in Birmingham and checked out the sights of the area.
Birmingham is loaded with tons of history. There is the Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park, commemorating the spirit and drama of individuals who confronted racial discrimination. Both are beside the Historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where 4 girls were killed by a bomb. I was in 3rd or 4th grade when this happened (in Ohio) and really didn’t remember this event until high school American History and even then it was brushed over so this was a great learning experience for me. I just hope this park isn’t or won’t be used to perpetrate a sense of guilt on a generation who had nothing to do with segregation.
From there, we went to Vulcan Park. This is a park with a big (56’) statue of a Vulcan made for the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1904. It is the world’s largest cast iron statue and sits atop Red Mountain and has spectacular views of Birmingham. It is a symbol of Birmingham’s iron and steel industry, the first in the South, and we liken it to climbing a lighthouse. Birmingham also has a great kids museum, the McWane Science Center, the Alabama Theatre, one of the last movie palaces, the Peanut Depot, where you can stop by for hot peanuts. They even have the Quinlan Castle, not a real castle, of course, but a former apartment building built to look like one. So enjoy our tour of Birmingham