2 Vests (for breathing treatments)
grocery bag of picnic/snack items
media bag (computer & camera)
So why the whirlwind trip?
We were on our way to the famed Michigan Avenue, home of the Magnificent Mile and (drum roll) the Spanish Consulate. This trip has been more than eight years in the making, even longer once you know the Full Monty.
You see, long before Charlie was even a thought we decided to reclaim Joe’s Spanish citizenship. Born Joaquin Jose Hidalgo to a single Spanish mother in Córdoba during the Franco years he not only came out with a mighty Olé but with all the rights and privileges of any other Fulanito. He was by every account Spanish. By the time little Joaquin was just three years old his mom had landed herself a handsome American pilot and the family of three played house quite nicely in Alicante, then a sleepy little beach town on the Mediterranean coast. Life rambled along those first newlywed years relatively uncomplicated until the family of three moved Stateside and formal adoption papers were filed. It was official: the Pilot was now Daddy.
And this is the part of the story where a giant ball gets dropped, then lost, and eventually buried over a span of ohhhhhhhh...about 30 years. For whatever reason, the U.S. adoption of Joaquin Jose Hidalgo by Donald Geist was never communicated to the Spanish government. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal had his parents' marriage ended in a bitter divorce and his mom gone back to Spain to lick her wounds and raise her brood. But that never happened. Donald Geist and Mercedes Hidalgo Polo were the quintessencial match. She with her dark Spanish eyes, that carefree gypsy spirit and he with his polished good looks and rigid Pennsylvania Dutch sense of right and wrong. They would go on to have two more children, both girls and they hopscotched back and forth between the U.S. and Spain. Joaquin Jose Hidalgo grew into his American self: Joey Geist and the Spanish passport with his former self lay safely in his mother's lingerie drawer lonely, untouched and very nearly forgotten.