So long, Indiana...


In Search of Vinyl

Traveling about has given us the best opportunity for record hunting. We both dig the sound of a record on a turntable.  The hunt is fun although I must admit it can be disappointing finding the album of your dreams in a VG+ cover only to find the record itself completely wrecked.

The new and used record stores are neatly organized but don't always deliver.

We rarely pass up a flea market if we can help it and lately they have been just like the ends of a rainbows. Antique stores have surprised us with rare finds in mint condition. Even sealed vinyl has been found among Eastlake and atomic age kitchen decor.

But a scene like the one below makes you want to pull your hair out! How do you begin to sort through a mess like this when your mind is jumbled up with lists of what you think you might find if you dig hard enough and you are drooling over the amount of vinyl in front of you. Where to begin?

Farewell, Indiana

We are on our last few days in Indiana and I find myself ready to bid farewell to the corn and soybean fields. Imagine, billions and billions of corn stalks and soybean plants all standing side by side for miles and miles and all striving to live and every single one of them sucking all they can from the air and the ground to succeed. Believe me, you can feel the energy and you feel outnumbered.

It rains in Indiana in the summer, unlike Texas, and August can actually be a pleasant month. This is the first time in my life that I experience August mornings in the 60's and afternoons in the low 80's. I do feel guilty hearing of the extreme heat in Texas from my friends. They tell me how drained and lethargic they feel. I haven't forgotten. I feel quite grateful having experienced storms, down pours and mild temperatures since we have been here.

Under these warm, golden sunsets I found closed and xenophobic minds that I have tried to understand. The stories. Nothing terribly scarring, already laughable, only peculiar. 

However, maybe years and years from now I will want to return to this exact spot in Indiana. Perhaps even make it a destination. You never know, the seemingly most insignificant places you visit become destinations you feel you must re-visit in the future. This tiny, one street town on our road atlas, that we spent one month of our lives in, may actually be fondly remembered. 


Childhood experiences...

There are many Amish and Mennonite's here in Indiana and I run into them at the Wal-Mart.  I have a sort of fear of the Amish and Mennonite's. It goes back to a bad childhood experience.

As a kid we lived next door to this airforce pilot who was married to a Mennonite. She dressed plainly, her hair in a very long braid, her face was always serious and drawn. The kids were fun when we played outside but forget talk of Happy Days, The Fonz, Leather Tuscadero or American Bandstand. These were my favorite topics of conversation at the time. Their toys were all handmade and we weren't allowed to bring our toys over. These kids were always eating maple sugar candy and licorice. We liked the licorice and would take it when offered but they never took anything we offered them.  We always felt slighted that that never wanted our Kool-Aid or Cracker Jacks when offered.

One day we were all playing in their bathroom and I emphasize all. They started throwing those colored bath oil balls at each other and several hit the wall and oozed out red and blue bath oil.  My brother and I laughed at the way they would hit and splatter. The kids went and told their mother about the stained white wall and she came in and gave my brother and I the scariest, dirtiest look like she wanted to tear us apart. She then picked up my brother from the waist and took my hand in a tight squeeze and said we were not allowed to play with her children again and basically threw us out of her house. Standing on their front lawn in a state of shock, feeling terribly wronged and with my little brother in tears I got fired up and threw a rock aiming it at their window. It was really the first time I can recall being seriously angry.  It bounced off the corner of the frame but still made a loud noise. She came out angry and we ran home. We told our parents about it with the idea that maybe they'd march next door and take care of things. They calmly said to stay out of trouble, don't go over so often and leave them alone.

For several weeks we played in our own backyard not missing our neighbors at all. Then one day both the girl and boy showed up with shaved heads at our door. They were always getting lice and finally had to resort to extreme measures. To this day my mother is proud we never had a bout with it.  I remember hearing them say that their mother said it was okay for us to all play together agin. We told our mother we'd be next door playing. She came to the door and took one look at them and said sorry but we were unavailable and would not be able to play with them for awhile. I watched them walk away looking sort of unhappy and that pleased me.

Even Mr Gage has been to Indiana...

I phoned my friend Mr. Gage the other day to check in on him. I had heard Austin had temperatures ranging from 105 to 112. I worry about him although his 175 year old house stays remarkably cool. It's those really thick walls. He said he was doing fine and had not felt the heat too much since he is up at 5am, does a few things around the yard and is done for the day by 9am. I remembered his schedule after he said that.

He asked where I was and I told him Indiana. "My goodness, was Austin that terrible to you?", he said and we both laughed. He then asked where I was and said he had lived in Franklin while working construction. This was new information to me. I had no idea he had worked construction and asked him for more details. He said it was with the WPA back in the 1930's and he was in a group that built schools and a courthouse. I recalled our conversation about the WPA but always assumed he did work in Texas. All of a sudden I wanted to make a trip to Franklin to see what Mr. Gage had built. It is north of Indianapolis and there is a chance we will be passing through. He then gave me his impressions of Indiana and I  enjoyed hearing his voice again.

When I told him I missed him and our visits, talking about old Hollywood stars, movies and photographing his house, He told me he missed me as well and asked when I will be in town. I hated telling him I didn't know but felt so much better when he told me he'd be waiting and it would be a nice surprise to find me at his doorstep one morning.  I have actually been at his doorstep in spirit several times since I left.