Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kitchen stories: Thanks for the move

The first settlers to the area was the Miami nation and village became their traditional capital. The settlement, at the Maumee, St Joseph and St Marys Rivers, was called Kekionga and the Miami lived there peacefully until around 1676 when the French missionaries found them.

In 1790 President George Washington ordered that Indiana be "secured", which meant the native population better skedaddle or die. After two losses to the Miami tribes General "Mad" Anthony Wayne routed the tribe, established a fort at the three rivers, and named the fort after himself. Fort Wayne was established and was a moderately successful venture.

By the mid-20th century it was a strong manufacturing center with the likes of GE, Westinghouse, Magnavox, and a variety of auto manufacturing support industries. At the end of the century Ft Wayne went the way of the other mid-west cities and became part of the country know as the Rust Belt. General Electric was the death knell for Ft Wayne and it has struggled ever since.

My family left in 1957 and not because they were visionaries but only because my father was stationed in Port Hueneme for a portion of 1944. He'd never gotten over California and they finally made the move more than ten years later.

In 1995 and divorced for many years, my mother found the need to be with her brothers and sisters and moved back to the town where she grew up. While visiting her I found the area beautiful but stifling. It felt as if the town was stuck in a fifties era mentality of segregation and ignorance. All my relatives, plain and simple, were bigots. Because of that President Obama carrying the state of Indiana, great though it maybe, was a shock. Growing up in California was the best education our parents could have given us. Thanks Mom and Dad.

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