Touring with Terry

My Motivo Summer

Terry Heffron |
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I haven’t traveled to distant shores this summer…but I’ve gotten around.

 Since the Tour arrived, I’m walking farther and longer.  I don’t cringe at the prospect of parking at the far end of a lot, can shop a favorite mall, and roll over grass to summer concert picnics.  I jumped right in with a charity walk for Multiple Sclerosis; about two miles round trip along the lovely bricked and shaded Riverwalk, in Naperville, IL.

I walked for my cousin who developed symptoms as she approached middle-aged, but has kept working and caring for her family while remaining positive.  It was years since I had walked this long distance. The crowd looked lively and fit. I saw wheelchairs in the ranks, but no rollators. Would Motivo and I stay the distance? We did. Fresh air and a friendly crowd were embracing, and my gratitude for no longer being relegated to the sidelines was immeasurable. 

Wow seemed to be the operative word regarding my Motivo:  "WOW! It looks like a Cadillac!" "WOW! Is that walker motorized?" "Wow, it has a seat and still folds down so compactly. How much does it cost?” Not as much as a good mattress, I said, and you spend a lot more time with your walker.  A big hit was the foldout food tray with double cup holder and the private storage compartment. We women worry a lot about our purses!

MS affects balance & stability, as des Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy and neuromuscular ataxias, along with arthritis and stenosis, so the ability to walk inside and upright with the Tour was most important. I met a gaggle of Gen X’ers who travel the state for MS Walkathons and took brochures, for grandmas, dads, a best friend and even a teacher with mobility issues. The Motivo Tour was not only a great aid, they said, it was, like, sooo hot!

In June, my enormous Italian-American family celebrated the 20th anniversary of our very own pocket park in Chicago’s famed Little Italy.  It sits on the corner of Polk & DeKalb (now Bowler), where my grandfather, his four brothers and a cousin settled with their wives after crossing the sea from Southern Italy over 100 years ago. Family members have lived in the neighborhood continuously ever since. Over 400 of us are scattered throughout the greater Chicagoland area, more across this country, more still throughout the world. The saying goes: if your people come from Calabria, you’re family. Add the town of Gasparina and the name Catrambone and you’re cousins.

A bronze plaque tells our story: “The first generation were truckers, tailors, grocers, contractors and homemakers...Today…descendants excel in the arts, business, computer science, education, law and medicine.”  The Park is dedicated to our servicemen and women, to the country that embraced us, the city that welcomed us, the neighborhood that nurtured us, the family that sustains us.  

Our day began with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, speeches, memories, a few tears and a lot of laughs. Followed by a trek past the row of family homes to the church basement for pizza, pasta and, of course, music and dancing. The day was hot, the kids frisky, the parking lot a block away. Typical, wonderful, family reunion. I kept right up, thanks to my Motivo.