Friday, December 21, 2007
Where in the world is Fort Wayne, Indiana?
This months GPP Street Team Crusade is "Where in the World?"
For more details on this crusade, please check Michelle's blog for the lowdown.
I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana right now. It is not a place I ever imagined I would have called home. Funny thing is, my grandmother (pictured below on the far left) was born and raised in Northern Indiana, leaving in 1925 with her husband to make their home in Southern California. Fast forward to 1996 when my son (third generation Californian) happened to follow a girl to Fort Wayne. I followed seven years later. So, here we are as a family back in Indiana - coincidence? I think not.
Family photo - Buena Park, CA sometime around 1967 0r 68. I'm in the shorts in the front.
I grew up in Orange County California - Buena Park to be exact. Not far from Knott's Berry Farm. Some of the 'old timers' remember when Knott's used to be a place for a great chicken dinner and wonderful jams. Somewhere you could take the kids to feed the ducks and check out the ghost town as well as look at a replica of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and it was all FREE. Now it's a rather sizable amusement park with many of the places of my memories paved over as parking lots.
I remember being surrounded by orange groves and dairy farms when growing up there... all gone now. We used to have a weekend 'cabin' in Lake Elsinore when I was growing up - that area is now a bustling community of it's own, not just for weekends!
I left Orange County in 1997 and headed north for a job in San Francisco.
View of downtown - Transamerica Building
Golden Gate Bridge
I lived in the East Bay - Concord to be exact on the border of a town called Clayton, not far from the foot of Mt. Diablo. There are spectacular views from the 3849 ft. summit. On a clear day, it is possible to view the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the southernmost mountain of the volcanic Cascade Range, Mount Lassen more than 180 miles away. Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, about 125 miles (201 km) to the east, can be viewed with a telescope on a clear day.
There is a flower that can only be found on Mt. Diablo, it's call the Fairy Lantern, isn't it pretty?
Fairy Lantern - Mt. Diablo
Now you might be saying - nice tour of California, but what about Indiana? I'm getting there - I wanted to take you on a shortened journey of how I got from there to here.
So, fast forward to 2003. I quit my big job in San Francisco and decided it was time to move closer to my son and grand kids, a couple months of planning and *poof* DONE!
Going from California (South or North) is a bit of a shock to the system in several ways. The most prominent is the weather. I experienced my first weather warnings shortly after moving here. It's always something - rain, floods, ice, fog, wind, snow, extreme cold, high heat index, tornadoes - we have lots of weather here. But with it is quite a bit of beauty and actually a lifestyle similar to what I experienced in Southern California growing up in the 60's and 70's. Lots of farmland, decent people that like, know and help their neighbors, friendly strangers, manners in abundance, reasonable housing prices and cost of living - just an all around great way of life. I love it here.
I have access to so many wonderful things, I will list only a few...
There is an awesome old theatre downtown that attracts talented entertainers. The Historic Embassy Theatre is a treat for the senses. One of the main attractions at the theatre is the Grand Page Pipe Organ. During Downtown Fright Night we made our way to the Embassy for a Halloween presentation of The Black Pirate silent movie. The 80 minute movie was accompanied by the pipe organ. It was so much more entertaining that I ever imagined, really a treat.
Another historical landmark is the Allen County Courthouse. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. The mural's inside the courtrooms, the gilded ceilings, as well as the stained glass are simply amazing.
There are the seasons...
With each season there are wonderful festivals and fairs. A couple of my favorites are..
Johnny Appleseed Festival
Hilgers Fall Festival
Wabash Herb Festival
There are many more - I could go on forever, but I won't - I'll spare you that!
And after all that - there is my backyard. It is peaceful and beautiful, a sanctuary to me. This is a photo I took not long ago - positively heavenly, don't you think?
I am so lucky!
Leaves of Grass
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body - Walt Whitman