Sunday, September 16, 2012

Indiana's Calling Me, Bringing Back Sweet Memories

The Hoosier State, The 19th State, Land of the Indians, The Crossroads of America, A Flyover State...whatever you know it by, Indiana is the birthplace of The Colonel and me.

We were back there in August for my dad's funeral and the day following the funeral we decided to do a bit of driving around the land of our childhoods.

The Colonel wanted to go back to the town where he grew up, visit the old neighborhood and drive by his old house. His old house was virtually the same; the trees were much larger and the yard seemed smaller than he remembered. As we drove around Bowman Drive, he pointed out the neighbor's house where he was bitten by a dog when he was 4-1/2. He had to have a series of rabies shots...five of his stomach. He got ice cream after each shot. I couldn't image, without shuddering, what it was like for him or his mother to have to go through all of that.

The town had changed too. It had more businesses and different fast food restaurants.

We visited the graves of some of The Colonel's relatives (on his mother's side) and placed flowers there. We wanted to place flowers on the graves of the relatives on his father's side too but they were not buried in the same town. We drove to two more towns to place the other flowers.

The Colonel has been gathering his family's genealogical information for over 25 years. Some of his past relatives lived in a small town on the White River located in east central Indiana. The Colonel and I visit that small is very small. Here is an old bridge that spans the river.

Not far from this little town is another small town where the Levi Coffin House (1839) is located.

Levi Coffin was a Quaker businessman who was an abolitionist. He was nicknamed the "President of the Underground Railroad" and his house, the "Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad" because of the over 2,000 escaped slaves that passed through his house on their way to Canada.

The Colonel and I were not able to go inside the house because it was closed by the time we arrived into town (too bad, maybe next time we are in Indiana).

We saw that the highest point in Indiana was not too far from the Coffin House as we looked on the map. We still had plenty of time before we lost daylight, so we decided to visit Hoosier Hill.

We began to see a few (very few) signs for Indiana's highest point. These signs were along pretty, country roads that were surrounded by corn fields; the kinds of roads that The Colonel and I rode our bikes on as children.

Driving along these peaceful roads helped to ease the frustration of having to backtrack now and then (remember the signage was minimal. At one point we finally had to pull over and ask a woman in her yard where Hoosier Hill was).

Finally, we found Hoosier Hill.

The marker for the highest point was nestled within the wooded area behind the sign.

There was a picnic table and a bricked mailbox on the site near the marker stone. The mailbox had a guestbook inside; we left our John Hancocks behind.

There was a cornfield across from the entrance to the highest point. It reminded The Colonel and me of the cornfields of our youth; the sight, the smell, the sound of the wind in the stalks. He de-tasseled corn one summer and I picked and shucked untold bushels of corn over the years that fed my family (there were ten of us).

Here are some of the other sights we enjoyed, as we leisurely made our way along the country roads, on our way back to my little sister's house in the capital city.

The Colonel and I had planned on doing a little more sightseeing the next day but Mother Nature had other plans for us. Hurricane Isaac was on a possible collision course with our part of Florida. We had to get home and make our house and yard hurricane proof.

Hurricane Isaac skirted our area (thank God) and all we got was some wind and rain.

It was good to be back in the 27th State, The Sunshine State, Florida, our home.

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