I was born in Indiana. I am a Hoosier.
I grew up in a suburb of Gary called Miller. My house was just two blocks from Lake Michigan. During summers, as a youngster, my mom would pack a bag of beach necessities, and walk my brother and me to the beach. I recall I spent many days playing in the sand, surf and sun. I am amazed when people do not realize that there are sand dunes in Indiana. It was my world.
How I wish my parents were alive today so they could fill in the fragmented memories that fill my brain. I recall the mahogany hull of a Chris-Craft boat sitting in our garage. I always thought it was ours from my parent's pre-me days. Maybe it was. Or maybe it was my uncle's, and was just stored in our garage. Fragmented memories.
|Main entrance to The Indiana Dunes State Park|
As I grew up, my parents moved from Miller to a subdivision that was well outside of their financial means. Both of my parents had to work in order for me to have a better life. I didn't grow up privileged, but I did grow up in a place where others might assume I was: gated community, lakes, private pool, tennis courts, club house, 18 hole golf course.
The beach still called to me.
|panoramic...click on to see details|
Freedom came my way when I received my driver's license. My friends and I would head to the beach, which I found was less than 25 miles away from my "new" home! My school science club camped, and studied the bogs, the flora and fauna there. Ditch days, I mean days meeting friends from school, were spent lounging in the sun and sand. Hiking the dunes was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon date. Mount Baldy found me on its top watching stars many a night.
I am an Indiana Hoosier girl.
|Beautiful Porter County, Indiana|
I watched some of my friends struggle as they ended high school and did not dream of following in their father's footsteps.
My own parents groomed me from very early on, "when you go to college..." Never was there a, "What do you want to do after high school?"
|Graeber Family Farm|
I'm sure my parents influenced at least one of my friends to further his own educational dreams. I have commented before, I was the first in my family to graduate from college. Getting an education, as a way of bettering myself, was very important in my household. It wasn't that my parents thought less of our neighbors. It was that I was the daughter of a mill worker. My parents had dreams they hoped I could live.
When I returned home a few weeks ago, I did reconnect to my roots. I went to the cemetery to see my parents. I spoke my accomplishments and disappointments out loud to the ghosts who would listen. I went to the dunes and stretched my toes in her sands. I went to the farm lands and laughed with longtime friends. Thankfully, my car broke down and stranded me for an extra day in the land of my youth.
|Sunset in Porter County, Indiana|
I was invited to a bonfire. Again, long ago friends were present. I was reminded of the ease old connections offer. I was also reminded of the illusions others may have of us based on where we grew up. Where it's true that I didn't have tractors scoop tree limbs into the center of the fires I sat around, I did grow up enjoying the simple life of campfires and the outdoors.
|At the old Tison Family Farm|
|Dale Graeber stokes the fire|
I feel I have been given a second chance at happiness in life. A second chance to remember all the good with which I have been blessed. And a second chance to refresh my long ago friendships (insert cute emoji!).
This Indiana Hoosier girl is happy, and ready for the next adventure life has to offer her.
|Life is Short! |
Love. Live. Enjoy!