I grew up in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Funny, when you grow up in a place, you think it’s all sunshine & lollypops. Then you drive through as an adult and your memories get ground into a fine powder.
I’m still in touch with many of the families I knew from my old neighborhood and elementary school. They are wonderful people who live interesting and fulfilling lives, and taught me the meaning of the words, “Oh, Yah,” and “Holy Cripes.”
Am I ashamed of my roots? Not really. ‘Stallis has a lot to boast about, including the State Fair, an historic VA hospital, Liberace, and a famed serial killer.
What warms my heart most, year after year, is a sweet tradition called Candy Cane Lane. Homes between 96th and 92nd Street, Oklahoma Ave to Montana Ave decorate with lights, cut-outs, inflatables, and holiday magic for 30 days: November 27 through December 27. It’s jolly and warm (if you stay in your car, although some people walk), and kills an evening that otherwise starts and 4 PM and ends with you yelling and sending your crying kids to bed.
When we reach Shining-level cabin fever, we head to CCL for a good strong dose of Christmas spirit. They don’t call December 21 the shortest day of the year for nothing!
Since volunteers for the MACC Fund are on hand collecting donations, it is a noble and worthwhile trip. Here’s a tip for the kiddos: sometimes Santa makes an appearance, and nothing greases those “nice” wheels like a generous donation for childhood cancer and blood donation research. (Wink!)
Whether you have children or not, I hope you’ll visit West Allis & Candy Cane Lane this season. It’s a wonderful Wisconsin wintertime tradition that beats looking out the windows for suicidal deer.