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Posts Tagged ‘Combustion Engineering’

Just for the heck of it I did a search on “Da Region.”  For those of you not in the know, “Da Region” is where I grew up.  It is noted for steel mills, brown skies, people who literally spend their whole lives without leaving a few block area, and one of the most beautiful parks in the country; the Dunes State Park.

“Da Region” meaning The Region, is what it would be, and was, called on late night talk shows.  It depicts our supposed accent; which I obviously do not hear in myself but surprisingly can hear on my husband.  He grew up in Hessville/Hammond, and thus worked in the mills and breathed in much more brown air, than I did, who grew up in Calumet Township where I thought I lived in the country; because it was termed “semi-rural.”

Apparently we speak the Inland North Dialect, whereas the rest of Indiana speaks the Midland dialect.  All I know is that south of Indy, people speak a southern dialect that has been known to drive northern people to pull their hair out. 

 The Region is actually a huge area and you can find it on Wikipedia.  Northwest Indiana – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  Thus proving that almost everything is on Wikipedia.  Gary is the largest city in The Region.

We lived in Calumet Township.  I attended and graduated from Calumet High School.  My father build our house on Ross Road and our address was Gary but, when we traveled on vacation, my father would not allow me to tell people I came from Gary.  My father, sweet man that he was, was also an insecure bigot.   It was odd though having a city address, when we lived semi-rural.  There was farm land in back of us (much to my mother’s chagrin as farm land means plowing and plowing means dust).  The half acre lots on each side of us were vacant, so that was even less like being in a town type setting. 

Anyway, The Region is also called The Calumet Region and is Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper Counties in Indiana.  It neighbors Lake Michigan and is actually part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.  I am not sure how they consider Crown Point to be a Chicago suburb, but they do.  I believe, at this point, it is all city from Chicago out to Valparaiso.

The heavy industry of the area provided jobs, which brought relatives who could not get a job where they were, and populated the area.  Steel mills and oil refinerys fill the landscape with depressing steel buildings and nose holding smells all along Burns Harbor and East Chicago to Gary and Portage.  I rarely saw them.  My father worked in East Chicago, at Combustion Engineering but his philosophy about travel to Chicago was, “I never lost anything there, so whey should I go get it.” 

Okay, he was not real big on logic either.  Other than an occasional school trip, I did not spend any time in Chicago, only thirty miles from my home, until I was grown.  Then, I fell in love with the city and worked for approximately twelve years there, and went to five years of college there.  I’m a woodland girl, at heart, but really do love Chicago.

And, I really love the Dunes State Park.  But, that’s for another blog, as is the reason I started to write this one and got rather sidetracked.  That is:  going back or finding one’s youth again through high school friends, or not.  I have not written it so I have no idea where I am going.  What’s new?

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Where would you go, if you won a trip to anywhere in the world.

 

My list is almost too long to mention. Alaska to see the Northern Lights, anywhere to watch the whales, Holland/Norway, the Basque Country, to see what really made my ancestors who they were, and Japan to find a long lost friend, Junko Kanazawa.  India to photograph the women in their vibrant sari’s and learn more about Buddhism.  Africa for the music, culture and animals and for fun: New Zealand.  Send me a ticket, and with two seconds to pack my sketch pad and camera, I’m there.

 

I grew up in Indiana, thirty miles outside of Chicago. My father’s reason for never going to Chicago was stated succinctly.  “I never lost anything in Chicago. So, I don’t have to go back to get it.” The Dunes National Park was a short drive east. Couldn’t go there, He heard from someone, who knew someone, who was mugged there once.  He also told me once that anything he wanted to see, he could see on his television.  Dad was not adventurous.

 

Dad worked at Combustion Engineering and the family went to town once every other week, on payday.  They got groceries in Griffith, Indiana, where I would go to the library and carry out a load of books that stretched my arms down like an orangutan. Clothing was delivered by the Sears man.  In the summer, we would eat beer batter Fish and Chips at a drive-in restaurant on payday. I think it was at Broad and Main, in Griffith.

 

I however, wanted to move, since I remember being able to think.  I would look out an office window of a skyscraper and envy every one of those cars zooming by on the expressway, then I would go back to my typing.  I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, Canada and momentarily in Mexico.  So, the world is ahead of me yet..

 

Mom was there when we got home from school and cooked dinner, until the fateful day in history when TV Dinners blighted the earth.  She was having health problems, so it was quick fix, and, like Twinkies and White Castle, I thought they tasted better then, than they do now.

 

Dad’s big travel was his yearly two week vacation. The first I remember were the trips to cabins in Wisconsin. We spent two glorious weeks swimming, hiking and swatting mosquitoes. I loved it and the woods. Then, they bought a station wagon and camping equipment and my brother and I were in heaven.  I haven’t been camping in years and I really miss it.  I’m never so happy as when I am outdoors, anywhere.

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