John Griffin was already excited to move into the neighborhood where his parents grew up.
But, when he recently received a family keepsake that dates back two generations from a neighbor, he received not only a nice housewarming gift, but a prized possession for the rest of his life.
Griffin, who moved to the 10500 block of South Seeley Avenue last August, received a small sign from a neighbor listing his grandfather’s medical office in Beverly.
His grandfather lived in a nearby home on the 10500 block of South Longwood Drive, and the current resident, Alan Van Dyke, gave the sign to Griffin on Feb. 2.
“I just got chills,” Griffin said. “It was awesome.”
Griffin’s grandfather, Dr. James Patrick Griffin, had an office at 87th Street and Damen Avenue.
He lived in the Longwood home several decades ago before selling to the Homan Family. Van Dyke said he bought the home from that family in 1998, and through three families moving in and out, the sign remained.
Van Dyke knew he had to keep it around.
“The sign from his medical practice had been lying around the house and later garage, but it didn’t seem right to throw it away,” Van Dyke said. “When I learned that Dr. Griffin’s grandson moved into the house on Seeley around the corner from us, my wife and I decided that we should get the sign back to the family, so I brought it over last week. We are happy that the sign is now back in the possession of someone to whom it has a lot of value.”
Griffin, 31, was preparing for a Super Bowl Sunday celebration when Van Dyke came over with the sign that morning. Van Dyke had previously stopped by to welcome him to the neighborhood, but this visit was special.
“It was an absolutely amazing moment,” Griffin said. “Even though I am the first Griffin of this lineage to return to the neighborhood in nearly 40 years, we immediately felt reconnected.”
Griffin grew up in south suburban Frankfort and then lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the North Side. His parents, Pam and Greg Griffin, grew up in Beverly, with Greg living in the home on Longwood. When Griffin and his wife, Christy, a Dallas, Texas, native, were looking to buy a home and start a family, Beverly caught their attention.
Griffin said his parents “spoke so highly” of living in the neighborhood.
Griffin offered to give the sign to his father, he said, but his father had another idea: “It should stay in Beverly.”
Griffin said he plans to hang the sign in a home office that he is rehabbing.
His grandfather died unexpectedly in 1971, so he only knows him through family stories.
But now, every day, above his desk, he will see a sign that reminds him of all those years Dr. Griffin lived in Beverly, serving the community.
“It’s a nice little reminder of him.”