Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roger's ride to another time - a nostalgic trip

Roger here...   From time to time in the full-time RV lifestyle,  it is good for the "loved ones" to be apart for  short periods of time.  Sometimes the separations are planned.  Sometimes not.  Today was a planned separation, and for me, it was a very good day.

Dianne left late in the morning for a wedding shower for a cousin near Lafayette, IN.  Roger was at loose ends. He replaced the broken handle at the RV door.  The previous acrylic handle had cracked and broke in the hands of a friend.  Doesn't it look nice!  It was actually replaced earlier in the week, but it seemed like today was a good day to post it; otherwise it would look like Roger did nothing productive today.

After a quick shower to rinse off the sweat from the hot and humid Indiana day, Dianne dropped me (Roger) off at the Pendleton Historial Museum on her way to the wedding shower.  I intended to drop off (donate) my Class of '68 Jacket that I obviously no longer needed.  (Dianne here:  Last winter, the museum had put out a request for vintage school items.  Since we were in Texas at the time, our "donation" had to wait until now.  Also, in my spare time I'm digitizing old Norris family slides from the '50s and '60s so we can dispose of the bulky, heavy originals.  There are literally hundreds of them!  Since I'm the editor of this blog, keep an eye out for some "unauthorized" photos inserted into Roger's nostalgia blog!!)

(I [Roger] only wore the jacket during my Sophomore year of high school ..... followed by various leather jackets until I graduated.   My mom had carefully preserved it for half a century, and it seemed wrong to not have others at least glance at it.  With some trepidation, I tried the jacket on one last time.  It still fit (somewhat)!  Just like it did when I was 16!   Well, it was a bit tight, but I WAS ABLE TO SNAP ALL THE SNAPS.

Unfortunately, the museum did not open for another hour, so I left the jacket by the door and walked to the motor home to eat lunch.  At the noontime hour, I rode my new (and loved) bicycle back to the museum to finish the donation.  After filling out a form that stressed that I was DONATING the jacket to the museum and talking with one of the volunteer docents, I headed back into the Indiana heat and humidity to ride my bike back to the motor home.

I then realized that, with Dianne away,  this would be a great time to ride for a few miles on my new bicycle.  Before leaving, I took some pics of the museum and the historical plaque.  (Growing up, my teachers insisted that we know our heritage - particularly the part about the hangings of white folks for killing Indians and the fact that Pendleton was one of the earliest Indiana towns.)  (Dianne here:  There was actually a book published in the 1970s by Jessamyn West entitled "The Massacre at Fall Creek" which told the tale of the three white men hung for killing Indians.)

I cycled by the library and next to the public swimming pool.  Looks inviting, doesn't it?  I never swam in that pool, but don 't feel sorry for me, as my experience was far better (soon to come).  I soon passed the "Conservation Building" where our senior party was held in 1968, just before we graduated.  Some thugs from nearby Anderson invaded the festivities and started a fight ---- some things never change... luckily (for me), I wasn't the recipient of a random punch.

Across from the Conservation Buiding, I crossed into the town hiking/biking pathway.  This part of the park did not formally exist when I was a kid, but it did exist, and it was sooooo cool.  Still is. Lots of bridges across the various streams and benches for resting.

I crossed the road on my bike and entered an area that, in my youth, was only accessible by foot.  I passed the classic arches of the railroad track.  I soon emerged next to the frenetic baseball diamonds where hundreds of parents cheered the exploits of their children.  After a while I crossed under the elevated railroad to ride along the heavily wooded pathway.   At one point, I was able to view the "1910" tunnel under the railroad.  Soon, I arrived at the north end of the hiking trails where a pond and picnic area emerged.  The red barn portrays a strong image and memory of the bucolic Indiana landscape.

Turning back toward town, I pedaled up to the old "interurban" trackway - now wooded.  It led next to the old Pendleton cemetery (some great shots through the trees).  As you can see from the one of the gravestones, Pendleton is one of Indiana's older towns, dating from the early 1800's.

I soon passed the "tarzan" grapevine area over the ravine.  It is now a series of steps that lead to a small stream.  Back in the day,  a WONDERFUL grapevine allowed many young people to swing with abandon over the ravine.  I was one of those.  My friends and I would often go there after school in the spring and fall to swing across the abyss.  It is one of those memories that is entrenched in my mind.  My friends would yell, "Give 'er Hell." as each of us leaped into the abyss - relishing and laughing that this was a forbidden thing to say.  Such rebels.  One day (I was not there at the time) the vine broke and our star basketball player fell and broke his arm.  The high school coach was not pleased.  Not a good thing in Indiana.

(Dianne again:  Guess who's on the diving board??)

The bike path eventually wound back to Falls Park and the waterfall that the park was named for.  Across the falls you can see MY swimming pool - not the turquoise one with the curly slides.  In my  youth, Fall Creek was dammed creating an amazing swimming area.  The one-meter diving board was in front of the falls.  The three-meter diving board was OVER the falls. You could even dive from the rocky cliff into the turbulant water below.   In the shallower area a tall "water-filled" slide allowed us to skim and bounce over the water.  What a place it was.  We could actually swim under the falls and stand on a ledge.  So sad it is gone.   I took a few pics of the falls, the museum from the other side, and a couple of kids playing in the creek above the falls  where I once played with friends, before finding my way back to the bike and the pedal back to the motor home.

No nostalgic trip would be complete without a picture of the home place.  The stone house is across the street from the house where I grew up.  At one time it was the site of a glass factory.  The red-brick house was the home where I spent the first eighteen years of my life.  My parents bought the house just before I was born.  My bedroom was at the front of the house, just right of the arched bathroom windows.  (Dianne again:  I'm sure Roger will protest the photo of his bedroom because his first reaction to seeing it was "Look how high my pants are hiked up!"  My first reaction to the photo was:  "No wonder he grew up to be so smart; look at those posters and models!"  Anyway, I like the photo, so I'm putting it in and there's nothing he can do about it - it's too late!!)

When I returned home, it was time for another shower (two in one day).  94 degrees with high humidity is pretty intense for Indiana (see self portrait).  Upon entering the motor home, Chaplin insisted on going outside.  Look at those plaintive eyes!  Sorry, Boy.  Too hot for whippets!

I took a couple of shots of the atlas (planning for our next venture) so Dianne wouldn't think I wasted the day.  Honestly, it wasn't wasted, it was a good day.


Nancy and Bill said...

Great post!! It is fun to look back and remember. Sounds like you had a great time growing up...

Margie and Roger said...

Loved reading about your memories and your "time alone" day. I think you put the day to good use. I think we all grew up in a great time period.

It looks to me like the little boy on the diving board is just wearing his tightie whities????