Archive for July, 2014

If I was a travel writer…

by on Monday, July 28th, 2014

If I was a travel writer, I would have lots to tell you about Indiana today. After the conference last weekend, I’ve been on my own and bombing around Indiana.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie Indiana. I museum of sorts, it is a tribute to the Ball family legacy. Ball, as you know first started as a glass company over one hundred years ago. The Minnetrista Center is located near the homes of the original 5 brothers. Three of those homes are open on weekdays for tours, one is under renovation and the 5th has been sold to a glass company that now occupies the building.

The museum itself has a room for children to explore, a room full of paintings and a room of touring art works, this weekend it was glass works. (Glass seemed to be the theme for the day.) The glass artwork in particular was very interesting, though there were few artists represented (about 12) and then only one work from each artist was on display. Honestly, I found it to be a major disappointment as far as representing any ‘legacy’ and a major waste of unused space. Yes that’s my honest opinion. Honestly.

What is the point of the center if not to represent the history and the families who have founded so much? Mini dioramas were placed along the walls along with a small collection of china, a few antique tea sets, and some odds and ends photos. Representation could hardly be the point.  Along with Ball jars, the company has divided into an aerospace division, and a bottling company now called Jarden. Not to mention the University which has been growing leaps and bounds due primarily to donations from the Ball family heirs.

But I digress…If you are interested in their history, go on line. You’ll find more stuff to look at there.

Next on my agenda has been Culver Indiana. A summer vacation place that my family has traveled to many times in the past, a small town in central Indiana that is famous only for its Academy, Culver Academy, and it’s nice sized lake, Lake Maxinkuckee. Funny, I’m not sure of the spelling. Though I’ve spent dozens of summers here water skiing, inner tubing as a child and later with my own children, I haven’t spent that much time in town. I spent summers at sailing camp at the academy, and so have both my children, in Horse back riding and Hockey respectively, though we never ate out or had to stay in a local hotel.

And so my adventure begins. I arrived yesterday to the Inn at the Lake. A sweet bed and breakfast near the beach downtown and close to restaurants and coffee shops. It is a recently remodeled motel with only 12 rooms, each a different theme I am told, and cozy and super clean. Breakfast was a stunning array of eggs, bacon, fruit and berries, coffee flavors to choose from and other baked delights. The owner was friendly and conversational.

Last night I went to a brew pub…Who knew there was such a thing in this small town? Food was fabulous. If I was a foodie writer, I’d tell you about the juicy hamburger smothered in goat cheese and herbs, topped with fried Guacamole. The fries were amazingly thick and crispy. The beer was delicious and refreshing. I had a  light amber Menage a trois that paired well to wash down the meal. I would have left happy and gone back to my hotel with a happy food coma if I hadn’t spoiled it by backing into the bartender’s car…bad enough that I did damage to both our cars. Ouch. And then it became one expensive meal.

Today I sit happily sipping my mint tea in front of a window (it happens to be in the 60’s outside though it is July) at a wonderful little coffee shop. I had a breakfast burrito for lunch and I plan on going back for some delicious baked something or other.

So if you are looking for a nice quiet vacation, lake and small town included, I highly recommend Culver.


Road trip, to my future life.

by on Friday, July 25th, 2014

Yet another Writer’s Conference weekend. Today I’m at Ball State Univ. at the Writer’s Workshop. It seems funny to me that I have come all this way, all the way back to my roots for new beginnings. Let me explain.

Ball State is not my Alma Mater (help me spell this!), and this isn’t where I grew up. Muncie is where my family is from. It’s where my gene pool began to make history with containers for eggs and glass jars for canning.  They were a creative bunch of kids who had ideas to change the world. Back then, the world needed changing too.

Creativity runs in my family, like brown eyes and music also run through us.  It is what we do. We draw and paint. We make things new. We design and we play instruments. And, we write.

My grandmother wrote three books, an autobiography, a book called The Love of Music and a bio about my grandfather. My mom wrote a couple little books about her life and things she went through. And my aunt is a poet.

For the past two weeks I’ve been working on a project for my grandmother’s 96th birthday. I’ve renewed an old scrapbook of hers and reprinted pictures. In the process, I got to know her as a young woman in her college days. It was sweet to see the cards from numerous suitors, and all the playbills from shows she saw in New York at Carnegie Hall and on Broadway. It made me feel more connected to her as a person and helped me get to know her better, dismissing the overbearing critical teacher that I remember. I got a chance to see what her dreams were, and pictures of her as a young creative woman with hopes and dreams.

Back to my roots. I traveled here alone for some much needed away time and from here I go to Culver for a day or two alone there then a reunion with my family. I get days of writing and time for me (for a change), and re-connection with the past. This is a perfect place for me to be. I hope to visit some of the family homes on Sunday and see the house my Grandmother grew up in. It’s a museum now and inspiration for many people. For me it is my heritage, connecting the past to the future.