Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cedar Lake, Indiana

On Friday we traveled the 100 miles over to Cedar Lake, Indiana, near to where Marcia grew up in Gary, Indiana.  We left the Fish Lake Beach Resort in Volo where we were staying, and were happy to move on.  Again, why we would ever stay in what they call a "Resort" is beyond my comprehension, and I hope in the future that we don't do it again.  This place was not as expensive as the one we stayed at last weekend, but in this case, the "resort" is all but a is a place for people to put in their RV's and stay during the spring, summer and fall, and then move down south to warmer climates for late fall, winter and early spring.  Some of the sites have the park units on them year round, so during the winter the "resort" becomes a dead resort since everyone has to leave except for the owners and permanent workers.  But for us who travel, this is the type of park we just don't want to be in.

The travel through the Chicago area went fine, but it did take nearly 3 hours to move the 100 miles into Indiana.  It cost us $7.50 for toll roads, and we did stop for 15 minutes about half way there at a toll road rest station, which they call an "Oasis".  

We found out about our destination, Cedar Lake Ministries RV Park through the RV park reviews, one of the main sites I use to try and find out about where to stay when we are going to be in an area.  Cedar Lake Ministries started out as Cedar Lake Conference Association back in the 1923, and the grounds has been church oriented, being associated with the Moody Church of Chicago, about 5 years prior to that.  The RV park was created back in 1995, and has 30 slots.  There is good distance between many of the sites, and this time of year, there are around a dozen RVs here, so everyone has plenty of room.  And with a price of $29 for full hookups, along with free Internet (which was just added within the past few months), it is a great deal for the Chicago area.
Above is a look to our left, and below a look to our right.
Below is across the road....and there are no spots behind we have shade, privacy, and it is very quiet.
Below is our slot, gravel pad, and the dogs give it "two paws up" because there is plenty of grass and a few squirrels running around.  But we have seen no other dogs here.
Today we took a quick day trip into South Gary, Indiana to visit the grave sites of her mother, step-father, grandmother (YiaYia) and her grandfather (Papou).  [note: Greek notations in parentheses]

Marcia was raised in Gary, which had a very large Greek population back in the early to mid 1900's.  She called the cemetery and the lady in the office said that the office would be open only until noon, and since it was 10 am, we had to get on the stick and out the door.  We pulled up at the cemetery at 11, and they lady had a map ready with the sites marked of where her family was laid.  I am glad she called...because there are hundreds and hundreds of Greek grave sites within this very large made it very easy to find.

Above is the grave's of her mother, Helen, and her step-father Hercules.  Below is the grave's of her YiaYia, Mary (far right), her step-father Constantine (second from the left) and two of her Uncles, Anthony "Tony" (far left) and Anthoulis (second from the right).
Marcia said that as they laid her YiaYia into the grave in 1974, she was standing right next to her Uncle Tony and Marcia said, "right there is where Tony will lay"....and a few months later he died from complications of surgery, and was laid right where she said he would lay.  Uncle Tony served in WW2, fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal, and at the foot of the grave is this additional military marker (below).
For about an hour after we got back into the car, we drove slowly around the four or five Greek areas within this large cemetery, and Marcia would say, "Oh, there's [some Greek last name], they were a doctor, or store owner, or "I went to school with their daughter", or "I remember YiaYia talking about them"....and the most frequent saying, "Oh, I did not know they had passed...."  It brought back many a good memory for her, and I sure enjoyed butchering just about every last name I said as I tried to pronounce the Greek names I saw.  She saw a few other more distant relatives too....and it was a somewhat "enjoyable" time as she remembered mostly good things about the people she use to know.  (Once she said a few choice Greek words and spit, later saying "They stole money from my Uncle!".....but most were very fond memories....)

As we left, I asked her if she wanted to go deeper into Gary....but she wisely said "No"....sometimes it is better to remember the good things about your past....and not see the decay and downfall of what is now Gary Indiana, compared to the more glorious days from the past.  We did drive by the Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Merrillville.  The old Greek Church she attended in Gary was sold and is now a Koinonia Missionary Baptist Church.

While in Merrillville, we drove through the Panera Bread window and got two soup bowls to go.  This is the first drive through we have seen at Panera, and it came in very handy because temperatures were in the low 50's with a pretty steady wind today.  It is going to be in the very low 40's tonight, and mid-50's again tomorrow.  Thank goodness we head south on Monday.  Tomorrow we are going to attend church in Crown Point, about 12 miles from the RV park, and then hope to have lunch with one of Marcia's Cousins.

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