Everything’s Up To Date in Indiana

One of the first things I noticed was that all the security people in the Indianapolis airport were on Segway scooters. Excuse me, "personal transporters." We Friends stood and gawked for a while. Very modern equipment, I must say.

In the Waycross retreat center, an Episcopal summer camp, there is Wi-fi access everywhere, but no cell phone service. Only in America. A Friend who has traveled widely in Africa and Asia said that, in his experience, even in remote areas there is always cell phone service. I didn't take my computer, but there were plenty of laptops in the lobby.

As we were driving away from the Waycross center, it occurred to me that this is the Friendly Persuasion country – the area where Jessamyn West’s famous book and the movie were set. Actually, that’s a little further south east and not so mountainous, Brent told me, but basically I was right. (Mountains? I’m sorry, I didn’t notice any mountains. But then, I grew up in the Sierras. I have high standards for mountains. :-)

Brent also told me that in Mt. Vernon county, where the books are set, the fourth graders still all read Friendly Persuasion as part of their Indiana history classes. However, there are no Quakers left in that area. He said they all moved en masse, the Nixon, Milhous, and West families included, to Whittier, California as part of the founding of the Quaker community in that area.

The Western Yearly Meeting building.

For all I complain sometimes about the Religious Society of Antiquarians, I love old buildings like that. And for an old building, it seems in very good repair. We tried to go to the Plainfield Friends Meeting Homecoming Celebration, celebrating 150 years of their yearly meeting, but we were late. We did get a lovely tour by two long time (elderly) members of the meeting, one of whose grandfather also went to that meeting.

I heard some discussion of this sign, even before I saw it. Apparently this is not an uncommon phrasing in the area: "Plainfield Friends Meeting, A Quaker Church." I kind of like it.

The discussion of the signs of renewal will just have to wait until next week. I’m going to be away from my computer, with my family, all weekend.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gaahh Segways are everywhere! I saw a whole bunch of tourists on them on Fisherman's Wharf, and one guy in the Richmond district.

Can you believe they have to wear helmets?

4/11/2008 3:48 PM  
Blogger Liz in the Mist said...

Hmm I plan to go to IN to visit my grandmother this summer so will have to see one of these...oh wait I'm not flying--bummer! Hope you are well and looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

(on a side note I will not be at FGC this summer)

4/11/2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Brent Bill said...

Well, we are pretty backward here in Hoosierland at times, (we just got Daylight Savings Time recently) but we do have some of the modern conveniences. ;-)

A slight correction, it's not Mt Vernon county -- it's North Vernon in Jennings County. I don't want you getting nasty letters from southeast Indiana types. They are justly proud that they're from Jennings County -- the only Jennings County in the United States.

4/11/2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger cubbie said...

god is in the house.

4/12/2008 12:41 AM  
Blogger Paul L said...

Brent's comment reminded me of my favorite Indiana joke, first told to me by a Mennonite from Elkhart.

Indiana is a funny state. South Bend is way up in the north. North Vernon is in the South. And French Lick isn't at all like you hoped it would be.

I look forward to more reports, Robin. Thanks.

4/12/2008 9:22 PM  

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