Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hoosiers All Around

An op-ed in today’s New York Times about daylight savings time in Indiana (and the fact that it was only recently instituted in the state) reminded me of Chelsea I-Can’t-Remember-Her-Last-Name, who was born and raised in the Hoosier State and moved from New Paris, Indiana to suburban New Jersey in the late 1980s. Shortly thereafter, she came to work for the same company as I did. A few weeks later, along came a particular Friday in April – the one right before “spring ahead” Saturday – and we all reminded each other not to forget to change the clocks. She looked at us as though we each had two heads and purple and yellow striped antennae growing from our scalps.

And once my memory was jogged about Chelsea, for some reason I was on Hoosier overload and had these random thoughts throughout the day:
  1. There are a lot of Mennonites in Indiana. In the winter of 1997 (during Christmas week specifically), in a driving trek from Hanover, NH to Los Angeles, CA, I saw lots of them, mostly stretching their legs and using the facilities (as was I) at the rest areas along the interstate. For the most part, they were dressed like Ma and Pa Ingalls, Mary, Laura and Carrie. And, although they didn’t ride around in horse drawn wagons, their cars were the most basic of black sedans -- Chrysler K cars and Ford Tauruses.

  2. Unlike me, I’m sure they weren’t listening to whatever Top 40 pop station came in most clearly on the radio dial. And, whatever station that was, the DJs played more music of native son John Mellencamp (I knew him originally as John Cougar Mellencamp) than DJs in other states. On that particular day, I must have heard “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane” nearly a hundred times.

  3. When I was a sophomore in college, Sharon Basso lived down the hall. She was from Zionsville, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. I don’t know why I’ve been wasting neurons all these years remembering her name or her hometown. If I wasn’t, maybe I could remember what I had for lunch yesterday or what Chelsea I-Can’t-Remember-Her-Last-Name’s last name really is.

  4. Twenty years after I knew Sharon Basso, I went to work for the Union for Reform Judaism. It owns and operates 12 summer camps throughout North America. One of them, Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI, pronounced Gucci, like the handbags), is in Zionsville, Indiana. How weird is that?

  5. Wait, it gets even weirder. When I lived in New Hampshire I worked with Mary, a woman who became a good friend. She’s married now with four daughters (a unique blessing, she always says) and guess where she lives? Yup…Zionsville, Indiana.

  6. But wait, there’s more. A while back, I corresponded with a guy who answered one of my Craigslist posts. He told me he’s originally from Michigan City, Indiana. Not so bizarre, right? Right, but wait: longtime family friends spent a few years in Indiana when the husband took a job there. Where, you ask? Yup…Michigan City, Indiana.

  7. Remember Jane Pauley? She’s from Indiana. So are Florence Henderson, Red Skelton, David Letterman, Dan Quayle (oh yeah…remember him?), Cole Porter, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Larry Bird, and Orville Redenbacher. Oh, and don’t forget those quarry-swimming, bike-riding guys in “Breaking Away,” the town vs. gown, Academy Award winning classic film from the late seventies.

OK, enough with Indiana already. It’s late and I’m off to bed… Go Hoosiers!