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Growing up in the Tanzilo household was perfect practice for being in a working band.
We never flew â€“ always drove â€“ when weâ€™d visit family in North Carolina or Milwaukee. And we never stayed in hotels. Once in a while, weâ€™d stay in a motel, but even that was pretty rare. More often we pitched a tent or slept anywhere there was space at the home of the folks we visited.
That was fine. I know that despite working hard, my parents had to be careful with money. We were a working class family and Iâ€™m proud of that. And, like I said, it was perfect practice for the years Iâ€™d spend riding around the Midwest in a van on the way to gigs, crashing on floors along the way.
Picking up my grandparents at the airport was an amazing adventure ... as if I was growing up in the 1930s, not the '70s.
I can remember my first flight. I was going back to New York City to visit for the first time since Iâ€™d moved here a couple years before. I was probably 18 or 19. It was winter and the slippery touch-down set me on track to forever dislike the landing process.
What I canâ€™t really remember is the first time I stayed in a hotel, but I suspect it was at a Hyatt, either in New York City or Chicago, and I can assure you I was already an adult.
Even now that Iâ€™ve stayed in hotels in America, Canada, England, France and Italy, I still feel a bit like an outsider â€“ like the kind of person who doesnâ€™t stay in hotels.
When I stay at a place like The Peninsula Chicago or The American Club in Kohler, I half expect a knock on the door and an eviction notice for being an imposter.
My kids are getting a much different experience. Sure, we sleep in a spare bedroom or whatever when we visit family, but we also stay in hotels of all shapes and sizes and star-ratings, from former Italian castles to luxury Chicago digs to waterpark properties around the state.
They enjoy them all, and I can relate. Like them, Iâ€™m excited to be there â€“ a kid in a candy store â€“ spending a day or two or three away from the pressures, just lounging around and enjoying life and the amenities that seem better than home.
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Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published May 26, 2016
You've heard about the Fred Goll Mansion on Prospect Avenue in the news in recent months, but what of Henry G. Goll and his mansion on Kilbourn Avenue in Concordia? We went inside the house for a look at it and the story of its ill-fated namesake.
Published May 25, 2016
Today is National Wine Day - though I admit I celebrate this event considerably more than once a year - and it seems like the perfect time to share some of the wines I've been tasting lately.
Published May 24, 2016
Last year, we took you inside the Milwaukee Theater (formerly the Auditorium) and the Arena to get a look behind the scenes at these local landmarks. This time, we dig into the archives to find treasures from events held in those venues.
Published May 23, 2016
Pabst's return to the former brewery site - via a micro-brewery and tasting room in the former First German Methodist Church/Forst Keller restaurant - was projected to open by summer. But a fall 2016 opening is now more likely.
Published May 19, 2016
Nearby Chicago is the perfect place for a quick weekend getaway filled with, well, whatever you want, even if what you want is not a whole lot of planning, but just time to relax.
Published May 17, 2016
We got a peek inside the new Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, slated to open in the Third Ward this summer, including looks at the spaces that will host the Tre Rivali restaurant and the rooftop Outsider bar.
Published May 17, 2016
Typically, Milwaukee's oldest buildings reveal themselves readily. But sometimes, behind facades of glass and steel, you can find a portal into Brew City history. One such place is the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St., a facility that glows like a new building.
Published May 16, 2016
To you, Julius La Rosa was the guy who was famously fired on the air by Arthur Godfrey. To me, he's that guy singing "Eh, Cumpari" and "Mama Rosa" on 45s I inherited from my grandmother. La Rosa died last week at age 86 ... in Crivitz.
Published May 12, 2016
While in the past, Milwaukee's Nineteen Thirteen drew on other talents, by the time it set out to record its new CD, Janet Schiff and Victor DeLorenzo were going it alone. "Music for Time Travel" is released Friday, May 13 at The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.
Published May 12, 2016
A reddish brick building at the intersection of two alleys north of the Bradley Center has most recently been used as storage for the arena. Its days are numbered as it is slated to come down soon to make way for the new arena. So, of course, I went inside to learn more.