kari, a grace full life, breakfast club, donuts, breakfast club high school, john hughes
Chicago, Humor, John Hughes, Menopause, Nonsense

I Got Inside The Breakfast Club High School and Lived to Tell

Last week, I did something completely out of character for me, thanks to my husband, the risk taker that he is.

So, on the first day of my birthday week, last Monday, Mike and I took the day off to have a date day because he was departing the next day for a business trip for the rest of the week.

The plan was as follows:

Pay a visit to John Hughes’s grave. 

Go to Paradise Pup for lunch.

Guy Fieri
Try the 3 layer fries.

Get some ice cream at Graeter’s in Northbrook, which is around the corner from this:

Save Ferris Water Tower 2015

Basically, it’s the stuff that my wet dreams are made of.

Then, my husband tosses a curve ball my way after I wolfed down my 3 layer fries; why not pay a visit to Illinois State Police Headquarters, aka, Shermer High School.


My anxiety has recently been at DEFCON 5.

Birthday week couldn’t have come at a better time.

“OK, honey, I suppose so. “I mean, if you really need to see it again, I’m up for it.”

I mean, if we HAVE to.

My husband pointed out the above sign on the way to the high school.

It raised the question of whether Bender Rd. came before John Bender. Or did John Bender come before Bender Rd?

You can’t buy this kind of lunacy.

Shermer High School

Oh, look! The future home of the John Hughes Museum!

As we pulled into the parking lot, I made the fatal mistake of saying, “I wonder what it looks like on the inside now?”

To which Mike says “Let’s find out!”


See, I WRITE about nonsense like this, but I don’t DO nonsense like this.

Normally, I would have told him, “NO WAY!” Turn the car around. Let’s go get some ice cream and fantasize about going inside. We might even tell people on Facebook that we went. Shhhhh”.

But because it was my birthday week, my anxiety was already at an all-time high, and dammit, life is short.

“Ahh, what the hell?” I said.

That’s my trembling legs as I prepare to enter the building. This photo was taken in case we were ejected or arrested and I needed proof of our presence. I’m hoping for an arrest because WHAT A STORY THIS WILL BE.

Before I go any further, we noticed a sign in front of the parking lot stating that this was the location where Illinois lottery winners went to pick up their money.

Even if I tried, I couldn’t make this up.

I’m also excited to incorporate that into the screenplay.

When we entered the premises, a middle-aged man in a security guard uniform asked if we were there for the lottery.





Us- No, sir, we just want to take pictures and look around

Security guard- Blink, blink, blink.

Us- This building was used in a movie.

Security guard- Oh, yes, I’ve heard that before!

Us- Have you ever seen the film The Breakfast Club?

Security guard- No.

Us- Blink, blink, blink.

Security guard- Sorry.

Me- What about Ferris Bueller?

Security guard- Oh yes! Loved that movie.

Us- Well, it was also filmed here.

Security guard- No kidding! Well, sure! Go ahead and look around. I just need you to sign in. 

Us- Looking around to make sure he was talking to us. 

So there were several boxes of doughnuts next to him on the desk, and Mike (being Mike) said to our new friend, “oh, and we get doughnuts too??”



We signed our names, grabbed our doughnuts, and walked down the hallways of the friggin’ Breakfast Club high school.

Is this Heaven? No, it’s Des Plaines Illinois.

We came across the Illinois Lottery winners sitting in a rather depressing waiting area while roaming the halls between classrooms. They didn’t appear to have won anything; rather, they appeared to be waiting for a root canal.

I spotted my future friend, a female police or security guard (I couldn’t be bothered with details due to an anxiety attack), while attempting to avoid making eye contact with the lottery losers, er, winners. She was obviously used to dealing with lottery winners, because she looked suspicious when we asked her what the story was here.

Mike- So lottery winners get their winnings……here?

Female officer- Yep.

Mike and I- Huh. 

FO- Can I help you?

Me (evasively darting the question)- OOH, WHERE DOES THAT HALLWAY LEAD?

 FO- stares at me like I am one of the lottery losers

We scooted down a corridor into the bowels of the high school even further when a lottery loser approached her to ask a question.

This was one of the hallways the “club” ran down in the filming. Allegedly. I wonder if Carl the janitor drank from that water fountain?

See that person at the far end of the hall? We ran into him as we entered this hallway, and I swear to GOD he looked like a teacher. He was dressed in a plaid shirt, a wool vest, and a lanyard. He also looked at us suspiciously (DO THEY KEEP THE DAMN MONEY IN THIS BUILDING FOR THE LOTTERY WINNERS? ), which transported me back to high school.

 Suspicious “teacher”- Are you lost?

Us- Maybe?

Me- I actually need to find a restroom.

ST points to the sign right next to me.

Me (giggling nervously)- Aha! Directly in front of me!

ST looking at us like the suspicious deviants that we are, then begins to slowly walk down that hallway where he is pictured above.

I went to the restroom and left Mike to explore, but not too far because I’m afraid I’ll end up in detention.

And by afraid, I mean beyond excited.

I decided that I needed to commemorate the fact that I had just urinated in The Breakfast Club bathroom (after washing my hands, of course).

I noticed Mike nosing around the hallway as I exited the restroom. So I told him about the selfie, and he was all YOU’RE WASTING TIME WOMAN! We had to go around the other hallways because of the salty old teacher at the end of the hall.

First, there is no “library” in this building because the library they built for the movie was erected in the gym.

What we were really looking for was the classroom used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.


Which is never used, according to my new friend Cathy who works in this building.

Side note- Mike said over and over, “we need to find your friend, I’m sure she’s working!”

To be clear, we’re not real-life friends (yet), so I didn’t feel comfortable a) dropping in to see her, 2) she might not be working on this day, and C) she’s a 911 operator, so I’m sure she’s not just sitting around waiting for two social misfits to waltz through the halls of a former John Hughes production so she can give us the nickel tour.

As we walk down the hall directly across from the bathroom, we see doors leading to rooms that we are 45% sure were used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and this is when I begin to panic.


He’s all cool and collected, and I am literally vagina sweating, when suddenly we hear:



We turn around to see our female security/police friend from the lottery losers lobby, but she isn’t smiling.

Female officer- What are you two doing? 

Me- Um. Okay. We aren’t doing anything bad, I swear.

Female officer- Mmm hmmmm. 

Me- You know this building was used in a movie, right? 

Female officer- Mmmm hmmm. 

Me- Well, I wrote a screenplay and this is where I want the John Hughes museum to be. 

Female officer gives me the side eye

Me- Oh, don’t worry! You won’t lose your job, you’ll get a brand new office. 

Female officer starts softening and begins to smile.

It was kind of a blur after that. Mike and I remember chatting with her, her laughing at us, and her snorting while telling us YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TAKE PICTURES IN HERE. I also remember asking if we were going to be arrested, and her telling us that the people in the lottery loser lobby had won more than $600, so they weren’t losers at all.

Then she led us to an elevator, which I mistook for her gently escorting us out of the building so that the lottery winners wouldn’t be alarmed. We enter the elevator, and two employees join us after noticing our box of doughnuts. We told them there was a stack at the front desk and that they should get some. They then switched floors and exited to get free doughnuts!

I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. 

It’s as though John Hughes was directing this entire visit from Heaven.

We get off at the lowest level and our new friend leads us to this:


The exact poster that my friend Cathy shared with me.

Did you know that two Michael Jordan commercials were also filmed in the building? You do now.

I turned around and hugged my new friend, possibly telling her she’d be cast in the movie.

She laughed heartily and waved goodbye, pointing to the exit.

“Let’s take a selfie in front of the steps with the doughnuts!”

He most likely didn’t want to be in the photo because he didn’t want to be associated with all of the craziness.

 But it’s all good. I got in The Breakfast Club High School.
And it makes for an excellent story.

30 thoughts on “I Got Inside The Breakfast Club High School and Lived to Tell”

  1. YESSSSSSSSSSSS! What a thrill-with the added feature of there being kind people in the future museum…good vibes!! So happy you had this adventure and that you got to share it with Mike (despite there being photographic proof that he was there-I don’t recognize that arm!)


  2. This made me smile so big! I’m so glad you were able to poke around in there and there’s nothing like that adrenaline of getting caught just like the gang when they went to Bender’s locker for his doobage. We set up the tripod and took pics out front and the hubby was a nervous wreck. I told him to chill the heck out because I was pretty sure we weren’t the first and now you’ve given me new life goals. He’ll be thrilled… I’m blaming you.


  3. This!! I love that your husband took you on your dream day trip. He’s a keeper, for sure. And your writing…hilarious, engaging…I was right there with you.


  4. That was exciting and fun! You did much better than I when I actually paid $20 to walk on the porch of The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island where “Somewhere in Time” was filmed.


  5. Are you kidding me?! This is amazing! My heart rate literally jumped as I was reading this. And give your husband a high five for me, cause good for him getting you in there. Bummer that the guard didn’t give you a tour though, I was hoping you’d get to take a picture sitting in the classroom! And you’re totally right, Ally seems like the Sharpie on the bathroom wall kind of gal 🙂


  6. Ok, first I did a vicarious thrill full body geek out right here. Second, I laugh snorted at your assuring her she’d get her own office. THIS. WAS. GREAT. Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs!


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