Friendship, Indiana

The Family Project summer vacations were de rigueur.

When we lived out East, we travelled to Maine in the summer, and Virginia and North Carolina in the spring. The long-distance road trip to the Colorado Rockies was another historic family vacation moment for The Project. Dad loved the road.

So after returning from Camp Shamineau at the end of July 1977, we were off to visit relatives in Missouri and Indiana. Again, Dad rented the Winnebago. We’d be gone for 10 days. Now that my parents are dead, you’d think I’d look back more fondly on those trips.

Not on your life.

This really hit home to me in the wake of the recent April trip to inter our parents’ remains, and reading over what happened Aug. 15–25, 1977.

Driving from Minnesota in the pouring rain, through Iowa and Missouri, we reached our great uncle’s farm in Bellflower, Missouri, on Aug. 16. The diary notes, “we passed by Hannibal, Missouri, home of one of my heroes, Mark Twain,” and that we stayed overnight at the farm. I mention a local girl, “Darla, with whom Brian and I used to play with during earlier visits” who “passed by, but Brian and I were unable to see or talk to her.”

The next morning we were off again, Dad gunning it toward Indiana. Five hellish days in Indianapolis ensued. We camped the Winnebago at Grandma and Grandpa Maupin’s new house, then rode with them to a barbeque at our aunt and uncle’s. Nieces and nephews all played outside on skateboards and bikes. I was counting the minutes when I could get back home to a girl I’d corresponded with after camp, Deeann, and we could see each other again.

I also found time to take a poke at my Hoosier heritage: “I’m really sick and tired of being where I am. I want to go home. To my own, quiet, comfortable, Yes-colored room, to my crazy out ‘n’ out friends…free from Indiana industrial centers, fat people with red hair, southern accents driving pickup trucks. God Praise the Ford Foundation! Let me out of here!”

Obviously it wasn’t going well.

Friday, Aug. 19, 1977, intersected with Wednesday, April 4, 2012: On both days, baby brother and I visited our birthplace on East 64th Street in Broad Ripple, just north of downtown Indianapolis.

The recent visit was more placid than the former. We arrived before noon, planned for lunch in Broad Ripple, but hit the old neighborhood first. I got out of the rental car with my camera and walked on my own. Brian and his wife Stacey stayed in the car. I had to see Broad Ripple Park, where in 1977, when I was 17 and Brian was 15, an edgier event occurred. The diary tells it in full:

“Mom, Dad, Brian and I went to see our old house on 64th Street. That really sent a rush of subconsciously old memories. We went over to see [a neighbor family] and Brian and I played a game (short) of baseball out in the field of the park until Brian and I got in a real hell of a fight because he hit me. I was sent back to the car and I really WANT TO GO HOME. I need the people who care for me. I’m so tired.”

I doubt Brian recalls this softball game and fight, but he, his wife and I eventually wandered over to the park, which now has a couple of tennis courts. In 1977 the folks treated us to a cooling-off period at a McDonald’s, then we took in The Spy Who Loved Me. My capsule review: “It was a fantastic adventure movie with all the beautiful girls and faraway places.”

Emphasis on faraway places.

Things improved when we left Dad’s family and stopped off to see our second cousins, the Weidekamps, with whom we attended the Indiana State Fair. That same evening we were in Greensburg, staying with Mom’s parents in their camper—a change-up from our Winnebago lodgings.

Three more days left to go.

And yet another day from the 1977 trip converges with 2012—Monday, Aug. 22, Brian and I walked to downtown Greensburg, just like we did on Thursday, April 5, after the memorial service for our parents. In 1977, I bought a legal pad for my notebook and reported, “It was a very hot and overcast day.” In 2012, we looked in the Minears department store that grandma (photo at left) used to take us, and walked the town square.

Our last day was “a fine, warm and picturesque summer day” spent in Friendship, Indiana: “A quaint little town nestled in a deep green valley with a small river running through it.” Apparently there was a flea market and gun-shooting festival going on, complete with “makeshift shops and trailers.” Contestants at the festival “shot clay pigeons and targets” all day.

On the way back to Greensburg we stopped off for pizza. Later grandpa set up the slide projector and treated us to a show—worthy of a blog post in itself.

~ by completelyinthedark on May 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “Friendship, Indiana”

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