topographically speaking

September 25, 2010

I was in Indiana before coming to New York. RU and I spent 5 days racing around Hoosier land visiting friends, family, certain country roads and various old haunts that seem forever lodged in my brain because they always show up in my dreams, or at least that’s what I realized driving down 10th street in Bloomington. Even when place is not central to my dreams, some block in Indianapolis or some corner in Bloomington figures into the scene.

While in we were Indianapolis RU and I drove by my great aunt’s old apartment building, which is across from Crown Hill┬áCemetery, where my dad and a number of his cousins are buried, which we also visited. I don’t have a lot of sentimental attachments to graveside visits. We didn’t do a lot of it growing up, as most of our close relatives weren’t buried in Indiana, so this was more of a matter of fact checking that my dad’s grave marker looked like the one we ordered. And it did.

We visited the sites of some of Dad’s cousins too and we drove up to the James Whitcomb Riley tomb, which at 842 feet was assumed to be the highest point in Indianapolis. And although it does seem you are perched above the miles and miles of flat terrain that make up Indy, the highest point is actually southwest of there on bluff called Mann Hill, which rises to almost 900 feet.

RU has remarked a number of times how the Indy seemed kind of vacant, which is strange considering its the 14th most populated city in the country. I don’t think its just that she’s not used to the big parking lots or the empty fields in the suburbs. Everything seems stretched out and everyone’s in a car. The first ring of suburbs on the near north side is becoming a ghost town, and while the neighborhoods close in are getting revitalized, there’s still lots of empty lots between the big old houses that line College and Central Avenues. Even driving I-70 from the airport to downtown was strange as it was almost empty and it was 6:30pm a weeknight.

I never see all the people I want to see in Indianapolis or spend as much time with them as I wish I could. And that always leaves me feeling a little sad. I wish it wasn’t such a trek to fly home or that I could at least fly directly to Indy, instead of spending an extra couple hours flying through Denver or Minneapolis or Chicago.

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