A brief background from Part 1 and other posts: I recently took a trip to my hometown of Rolling Prairie (RP) to dig and cart away some ferns that a former neighbor of ours was trying to get out of her yard. On the trip I started thinking of things from past trips from my youth through adulthood that I had made on the route. Often the trip north started in Clinton, Indiana, where we had traveled to visit my mother’s relatives and sometimes bring my grandmother back to RP with us. OK, that’s the nickel recap.
I only covered 23 miles in the previous post. I hope to cover at least 80 miles in this post. That shouldn’t be too hard, there are fewer towns per mile in this leg of the trip.
After Reynolds comes Monon. Monon always seemed to be the most memorable part of the trip from Clinton to RP. For me, reaching Monon meant that we had made it half way home. I looked forward to seeing the water tower. When I was very young, as far as I was concerned Monon didn’t have a name. I knew it as “The Big Ball.” I don’t remember who came up with that moniker. It might have been Mom, it might have been Dad, it might even have been my sister (she who must not be named). I realized later that many towns have ball-shaped water towers, but back then I thought that it was unique. Part of me still thinks of this town as “The Big Ball.”
At Monon I turned east onto highway 16 and took it to highway 39. Going north on 39 takes you to LaPorte, avoiding most of the intervening towns. But it doesn’t avoid all of them. North Judson is there. The only real memory I have of North Judson is riding on the fan’s bus there for a high school basketball game. I guess I didn’t notice how long the trip was on the way there, we were all having a lot of fun. After our team lost the game, the trip back to RP seemed to take hours. Of course,we were in a school bus on a two-lane highway and it was winter, so perhaps the trip did take hours.
Thirty miles north on 39 brings you to LaPorte. LaPorte is only about seven miles from my old home, so I have many memories from there. One of my memories concerns a drug store where I would go to buy comic books. Those were the days when you bought your comic books from spinner racks; before comic shops came along. I went to that store because they seemed to get the comics out earlier than other stores. It was there one week, in the summer before I went to college, that I picked up my first copy of Playboy magazine. I don’t know where I got the nerve to take it to the cashier, on the bottom of a stack of comics. I also don’t know why she sold it to me. Playboy was sold only to adults, and I was certainly no adult. I took the magazine home, along with my comics, and read it. Everything I had heard about Playboy was true! The articles were good! I started my journey, that day, from post-pubescent boy to callow youth. What a memory!
Finally, from LaPorte to RP is just a matter of minutes. There are so many memories from RP, I could go on for hours, but I shan’t. I’ll leave you with this one: As I mentioned in the recap, we often brought my grandmother back with us for a visit. One thing I shall always remember about Grandma was that she couldn’t be in a room with my mother for more than half an hour without getting into an argument or something meaningless. They would butt heads over the most trivial things. I’m not sure it is much better between my sister and Mom…and they live in the same house.