Monday, February 12, 2007

Why I Love Where I Live or "People Who Live in..."

Laura Gray Thompson, my mother, liked to twist famous sayings. She would add this finish to the proverbial quote, "People who live in glass houses." with merely the one word, "shouldn't." I will leave what she meant exactly to your imagination. The quote however allows me to fulfill the theme of our team blog and to play the game proposed by Marnie of I Didn’t Say It Was Your Fault… for Fun Monday, Why I Love Where I Live.

I love where I live notwithstanding a few drawbacks such as this scenic view of my neighbor's back porch and this nifty sign posted in the same neighbor's stoop window. Yes, that is my reflection in the picture. I think that it is humorous that my image is right above the word, b*tch. I find it somewhat less humorous to see that sign day after day.

There are many reasons to love where I live, but my primary reason "for lovin' it" involves the people that live here. Sadly, loving our community, a sleepy bedroom town next the city of Gary, took some personal growth for me and for my community. I moved to Lake County, Indiana from Fort Wayne forty years ago. When I arrived this was a town without many of the amenities of Fort Wayne, there were no streetlights, no sidewalks, no bookstores, and only a few restaurants. Furthermore, this town, just south of Gary, Indiana was becoming a bastion of white flight. Thus, some citizens of our community were either timid homeowners fearing possible falling property values or outright haters.

However, as time past, many positive economic and social changes took place right here in Merrillville, Indiana. There was vast economic expansion that included a hospital, shopping centers, restaurants, theaters, and yes, even bookstores. Additionally, slowly the diversity of our population changed. For a number of years, our community has been a gathering place for people from Eastern Europe including Macedonians, Greeks, Croatians. Polish people, Serbians, Romanians and others. In recent years, the diversity of our population has expanded even more. In fact, our town may have the most diverse population in Indiana or perhaps anywhere. Our community population now includes a variety of ethnic backgrounds. This is a town where African-Americans, Hispanics, Indian-Americans and those with Eastern European heritage join people of other backgrounds to play, to work, to attend school, to shop, and to eat the town's many restaurants. Wonderfully, the religious institutions reflect this vast diversity. In addition to a number of Catholic and Protestant churches, we have a number of orthodox churches and cathedrals, an Islamic center, a Hindu place of worship, and a Sikh place of worship. Proudly, our community has evolved into a community that fosters tolerance and acceptance.

Besides the great folks in our community, there are some other reasons why I love living here. First, this is my home, and I have many fond memories. Second, we live a few miles from this beautiful lake shore. Third, my church is a growing family of faith, and we are working on reaching out to others.

As a final thought about my mother's version of the old saying, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", may suggest insight to appreciate where we live. Marnie has given us this chance to voice this appreciation in this Fun Monday exercise. Sometimes by not judging others, I can learn to appreciate my own circumstances or "house." Although honestly, I think that mom meant something else.

24 Comments:

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Frema said...

I have faith that one day that colorful sign will disappear from sight!

I really like Merrillville, too, and used to pester Luke about moving to Lake County. Now, though, I've grown to really like Indianapolis. I think we'll be here for a while.

 
At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Patsy said...

You know that this post should be sent to the chamber of commerce in Merrillville. It reads like the information that a person would like to get when looking for a new city to move to. You have done a wonderful job with this post. I love it.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger ChrisB said...

Great post. Building a supportive community is really important where ever you live. You make it sound like it would be a great place to visit and the picture of the lake is beautiful. Thank you for dropping by I have now published my FM post. see you again

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous susan said...

OK, having only seen it once, that sign cracks me up! Seeing it day after day though, I might be inclined to very carefully tape something I'd like to see right on top of it. Your neighbor probably wouldn't have a clue!

It sounds as though your little town has really grown up into a great place to be.

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Karmyn said...

I like your insights on the diversity of your town. Very nice.

and yes - something should accidentally happen to that sign.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

All I can think about is all the different kinds of food that would be cookin.. oh I love to eat (:

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger peppypilotgirl said...

It sounds like a lovely, lovely place to live. So many of us ignore that we, ourselves, are responsible for building the community around us in so many ways.

And, I should be ashamed to admit this, but I really kind of like that sign. Probably a sign of rampant immaturity or something...

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger Sally Lomax said...

Beautiful place! I love the lake picture!!!!!

Sally

 
At 12:43 AM, Blogger The very nice man said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Looks beautiful where you live!

 
At 4:52 AM, Anonymous John said...

There are many places in today's 'multicultural' Britain that could learn a lot from your community. Sounds like a good place to live.

 
At 6:34 AM, Blogger Molly said...

I agree with patsy! I've always had the impression that Indiana, esp. around Gary, was a very depressed area [based only on passing through without stopping a few times]. good to hear all this positive stuff....

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Tink said...

You should put up a counter sign...

"The lady next door is a bitch!"

Or you could ask them to take it down. *Shrug* That way's not quite as much fun though.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

Glad to hear bookshops came to the fore, I would be so lost without a bookshop :( Love my reading, love the smell of books :)

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger Yara said...

Great post, and very nice picture, thank you for sharing.

Hapy Valentinve's Day BTW!

-Yara

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger willowtree said...

My father used to say "People in glass houses shouldn't take baths". He was deep like that.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Lorna said...

mjd,
Thanks for stopping to see me.........I love your blog! I lived in a small WI town for 19 years and then moved. I really miss the small town life. Maybe someday I will experience it again. :-)

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger gawilli said...

I love Merrillville, too; enough to have moved back after several years. Having been raised here, I have also seen many changes. Willi has taken this town as his own and I think we will probably live out our lives here. Your church is our church and there we have found friends, both old and new. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just different. Did I say that?!!!

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger goldennib said...

That lake is lovely. It is always good to consciously appreciate what we have.

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger The Samstress said...

What a nice description of your area! I have only lived on the East Coast in southern NH or on the West Coast (Calif) for most of my life. Sometimes we don't see the beauty in what lies around us, and we take for granted the day to day surroundings, until someone non-native comes to visit, but you write beautifully, and I would consider visiting your place in a heartbeat! ~Sam/Gollywobbles

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger debi said...

Another thought provoking post. I, like Pamela have been thinking what great restaurants you must have. We have no East Indian places here and I would love it. I must confess.the sign cracked me up,but I too would grow tired of it. I can be such a big Bitch. Blogger will not let me post until I cave in to the new thing. I don't wanna,but I will. I hate being forced into things.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

My community hasn't evolved as nicely has yours has. I love the diversity of background and faith in your town. Mine is 95% (at least) fundamentalist Christian. I don't fit in very well.

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Tonya said...

That lake picture took my breath away! I don't know that I've ever seen a lake shore look so much like a seashore!

There's a bit of a controversy in a local eclectic bedroom community of Seattle because a woman who just opened up a dog grooming shop there recently hung her store sign: HIGH MAINTENANCE BI*TCH. It is, after all, the correct use of the word!

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Keetha said...

Thanks for your comment at the Write Kudzu blog. You know, it's funny - when I first began that music meme, I wondered if I should answer it according to what my musical tastes are now or what they were then.
I went with what they were then, in an attempt to immerse myself in the whole 90s thing. Didn't really work, but...
Thanks for visiting! I will be visiting your blog from now one --

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger riseoutofme said...

This blog gives me itchy feet! I want to SEE the sign.... want to paddle in the cool water ...want to meet the people .... want to bask in non-judgemental acceptance. I guess I might as well dream here as in bed?

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home