Last fall, my parents started to have the conversation with my brother and me about their interest in selling our childhood home in Tinley Park. Selling their home, and downsizing to something smaller, is a step toward the next chapter in their lives – retirement. This smaller home would be less work for them to maintain, while still allowing them time to travel with their camper or go to their home away from home in Indiana. Of course everyone wants their parents to slow down and retire with less stress on their minds, but selfishly, I was really sad to know I’d have to say goodbye to this house!
For 30 years, my parents created an amazing home and a safe place to raise their family. We moved from Chicago (Bridgeport) to Tinley Park in 1986 when my brother and I were in elementary school. It was a rude awakening for this city kid when I arrived at Kirby Elementary in Miss Garretson’s first grade class only to participate in a tornado drill on my first day, which was a completely foreign concept to me at the time.
Most kids in our neighborhood knew our house as the “Irish house” on the block. My Mom made our home on Shoshone Trail her own little Irish cottage with green siding, shamrocks shutters, a shamrock stained glass window and even a shamrock in the shingles of the roof, visible even on Google Maps.
My parent’s house has always been a safe haven for me. As a kid, no matter what troubles we may have gotten into, home was always a safe place. After I graduated college in December of 2001 and had no job prospects, there was no question that I would be moving back home with my parents until I was ready to move out. Even after I divorced my first husband in 2011, there was no question that I would move home for a while until I figured out what I wanted in my life. My parents have always welcomed me back to Shoshone Trail without reservation and with open arms.
As a kid, we had the BEST neighbors anyone could ask for. Many nights in the summer I remember playing flashlight tag around the neighborhood or “running bases” in the front yard with the Cohens, Cusacks and Zamzow kids. As children of the 90’s, everyone had a basketball net in the driveway and a Nintendo in the basement. I was one of the older girls in the neighborhood so I did my fair share of babysitting many of the younger kids in the neighborhood who, these days, are having kids of their own. Our little neighborhood did expand over the years, but the bond we created as neighbors, even today, is still very strong.
When my parents decided they were ready to start telling our extended family they were moving, many of my cousins had the same reaction of shock and sadness. For years my parents hosted Christmas Day for our McMahon cousins and the family parties my parents threw “way out in Tinley” were legendary! From the super fun pool parties with my cousins, to watching Big Jim and Uncle PJ “Pogo-Balling” down the driveway on Easter Sunday, family gatherings on Shoshone Trail were always a blast. One party at my parent’s home that stood out was in January 2004 when my brother was being deployed to Iraq. From receiving his orders on a Monday to being deployed on Thursday of the same week, our neighborhood, community, parish, family and friends came together to send my brother off to war with so much love and appreciation for his service to our country. Even Fr. Jay, our pastor from St. Stephen’s, had a toast with our family and said a lovely prayer for my brother. The outpouring of support and community I felt that day is one I’ll never forget.
As my parents prepare to move from our childhood home, I am reminiscing of not just the house I grew up in, but all the childhood memories I made in Tinely Park. Memories like going to the park district’s day camp as a kid (and eventually becoming a counselor myself), playing for the BYAC softball teams, taking piano and dance lessons, participating in arts & crafts at the park district, and enjoying all the friends we’ve met over the years at St. Julie’s, St. Elizabeth & St. Stephen’s.
I have so many stories and memories that I know I need to write them down to remember what Shoshone Trail meant to me, and to one day share these stories with my kids too. As I feel this is a new chapter in my parents lives, it is also the closing of the door to my childhood. For now, I leave this note to the next family of 8055 Shoshone Trail:
Dear New Family:
My name is Colleen and I was the youngest member of this home’s previous and first family. I moved into this house when I was 7 years old and for 30 years it has been my home sweet home. Since 1986, this home has been a wonderful place for my parents to raise their children and grandchildren. I hope you make and have as many memories on Shoshone Trail as we have. Here are a couple of fun facts about this home:
- The basement crawl space has a secret little room with a light which makes it a great “clubhouse” for a young child.
- The kitchen has a hidden cutting board next to the stove under the counter top. I was about 10 years old before I knew it was there.
- There was not a single bad memory in this home as it was always filled with love, a few Irish cocktails, good food, amazing neighbors, family and friends.
- Our family’s hand and food prints are worn away on the back patio but know that those hands built an amazing home for you and your family to love.
Please take care of 8055 Shoshone Trail. It has been good to us and we know it will be a wonderful home for you.
With love: Colleen Fashing Reaney
PS – In a few years, if a woman named Colleen shows up with her family and claims to have lived here as a kid, please invite her in for a cup of tea so she can take in all the new memories you’ve created in her old home. 🙂