Who says you can’t go home again? Certainly not Gini Tolley. Gini, 84, of Larkspur, Colorado spent most of her life in the Midwest. She has wonderful memories of growing up in Arlington, Wisconsin and fun filled memories of becoming an adult in Chicago, Illinois. Raising a family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin rounded out her Midwest experience, and the fond memories provide Gini with feelings of joy.

Gini often yearns to return to her Midwestern roots and revisit the farms she grew up on, the lake her children swam in, and the graves where many of her loved ones rest. While she has not been back to the Midwest in almost a decade, her thoughts often wander there. Her heart and mind feel a strong desire to reconnect with the places that have defined her, and it is her Wish to finally return home.

Gini has spent her entire life devoted to the service of others. Despite great financial setbacks during the 2007 recession, Gini continues to give whatever she can to her children and grandchildren. While her retirement has not gone as planned, Gini never gives up. Her positive attitude and caring heart are an inspiration to others.

Wish of a Lifetime is honored to have been able to send Gini and her daughter in law, Mary, on a trip through the Midwest. Gini was able to show Mary her favorite restaurants, cheese shops, old school buildings, and most importantly, the places she raised her children. Mary and Gini spent two days in Arlington, Chicago, and Milwaukee enjoying the fall weather and creating new memories. Gini’s Wish surpassed all of her hopes and dreams, and upon returning to Colorado, Gini reflected that it was truly “a pilgrimage that she would never forget.”

Photos courtesy of Rachel Waldner

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October 6, 2015