Friday, July 21, 2017

The Shawshank Redemption Trail

One of my favorite movies of all time was The Shawshank Redemption.  It was based on a Stephen King novel and was set in a prison.  I still remember the first time I saw it.  We were at the dollar theater in Naperville.  I didn't know what to expect at the time, but as it was a Morgan Freeman movie I definitely was interested when Doug mentioned going.  It was fantastic the first time I saw it and has been watched on the Heinisch television dozens of time since.  Cal and I even read the novela and enjoyed it just as much.

Thus, when I read that the Ohio State Reformatory was the setting for the movie and was open for tours I was highly interested.  The more I researched the sites from the movie the more I found to visit in central Ohio.  Doug was game for going and this morning we were the first ones in line for the 11 a.m. tour of the prison.  We were amazed at the enormity of the prison.  It was built at the turn of the century and was designed to look like a European castle.  It was impressive to say the least.

While there we were able to tour the rooms used during the movie including the warden's office and the staircase that was featured in several scenes.  One of the warden's personal rooms was transformed into the boarding house that Brooks and Red both stayed in when they were paroled.  Movie props were left for us to look through including the tunnel that Andy crawled to freedom through.  The only part missing was the courtyard and the back buildings which featured a lot of the outside scenes.  I have never visited a Hollywood set before and this was an amazing one to start with.

Along with the rooms used in the movie we were also able to visit the cells the prisoner lived in and several other parts of the reformatory.  It was pretty worn from years of use and lack of upkeep since it was closed in 1990.  Even though, it was extremely interesting to learn the history of the prison and walk its halls.  Later in the evening was to be a ghost tour and there were a lot of stories on the audio wand describing the sightings that had been claimed over the years.  Doug and I weren't as interested in the ghost stories, but we were impressed by all of the tourists that were already in attendance for the night festivities.

After our tour of the Ohio State Reformatory we headed for home.  Along the way we stopped at two more Shawshank movie sites.  Both were in the same town about 15 miles from the prison.  The first was the courthouse the Andy was convicted in and the second was the prisoners workshop.  We also found two different wineries along the way to stop at.  Doug enjoyed both of them and it was a nice break from driving.  Once we were backing Indiana we decided to stop at the Jefferson Pointe Mall.  We did some window shopping and I bought a few Yankee Candles.  Our last wine bar of the trips was Doug's favorite - Chop's.  It was fantastic way to end a fun few days.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Days in Ohio

Our first stop of the morning was the home of Rutherford B. Hayes.  We had been there before with The Heinisch children, and I've always wanted to go back.  The Hayes family had possession of the home until the 1960's and all of the items on display were from their families.  President Hayes' and his family had a lot of money for the 1870s and it showedin their home.  He was also the only Present to have a life-size painting completed while he was in office.  It was quite impressive.  A nephew of his had taken pictures of all of the rooms when President Hayes was still alive, so the restoration of the rooms to the 1880s was authentic and fascinating.  I loved hearing the story behind Lucy's White House china.  We had seen it at the Smithsonian on our last trip to D.C. and found it intriguing.  All of the pieces had a nature them and for lack of a better work they were gaudy.  I loved the dishes as did Meg, but it sounded as though others did not.  Thus, her's was seldom used at White House gatherings.

After the guided tour of the mansion Doug and I walked through the museum and library.  President Hayes' was the first President to have a Presidential Library.  It was built in 1917 and his grandson still lived at the home when it first opened.  We left the museum and walked to the tomb of both Rutherford and Lucy.  They owned a gorgeous piece of land and we had several squirrels visit us along the way.

We left Fremont for Mansfield close to 11:30 a.m.  When we decided to come to Ohio to see the Ohio State Reformatory and the Hayes home, I looked for information on the Ohio wine trials.  Doug really likes trying different wines and beers from other areas, so I knew he would enjoy this part of the trip quite a bit.  Our first stop was for lunch.  We had read wonderful reviews about The Vault.  It was an old state bank that was transformed into a wine bar.  We were impressed.  The wine was delicious and the food was excellent.  We truly enjoyed our first visit of the day.

Once lunch was over we drove to Mansfield to see The Ohio Bird Sanctuary.  They rescue and care for injured or abandoned birds.  I loved seeing all of the birds and walking through the aviary.  I found out that one of the favorite meals of the predatory birds was muskrat.  I also learned that having owls would probably solve my squirrel problem, but I am not ready to try that yet.  While there we also walked through the wooded trails and were met by many different animals.  My favorite was the deer who jumped through the meadow.  We spent about an hour there before checking into our hotel in Ontario.

The rest of the evening was filled with visits to different wine bars and breweries.  In-between eateries we also found three of The Shawshank Redemption stops along the way.  We visited the hotel where Brooks stayed after he was paroled.  We also saw the window that Red was looking through when he was searching for a compass.  The best of the evening was the bench that Brooks sat at feeding the pigeon's hoping that his beloved crow Jake would return.  Although not a conventional vacation, day one of our tour of Ohio was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On to Ohio

For the past ten days or more the weathermen had been predicting hot and humid weather for this week.  They definitely got it right.  It was well into the 90s without the heat index.  I decided that I would take a break from walking today and for the first time all summer I spent the majority of the day inside.  I didn't mind as I had a lot to do to get ready for our trip to Ohio.  

I did find time to stop by Aunt Vicky's today.  I had to take the guinea pigs to Mom's and thought that the boys would like seeing them.  Maddox was the most interested and held them for awhile.  When I got back home Cal and Hannah-Marie were at there.  Today was their two year anniversary and they were debating where to go for dinner to celebrate.  Cal was sure that the local restaurant at our bowling alley was appropriate.  HM agreed with me that there had to be a better place.  I left them money so that they could hopefully try somewhere else even though Cal told me as I left that there was "no better restaurant than Chubbie's."

Doug and I departed for Bowling Green close to 5 p.m.   We stayed at the same Hampton Inn that we were at with the Heinisch children years before.  We found a dinner place to try called The Sunset Bistro.  It was ranked the #1 restaurant in the area and we really liked it.  Doug had the salmon flatbread and I chose a club sandwich.  We ended the night at Buffalo Wild Wings as it was in the same parking lot as  our hotel.  There were more soccer games on their televisions than I had ever seen, which we both enjoyed.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Home Base

Doug asked me if I enjoy having Cam and Meg both gone as they are seldom out of the house at the same time.  Although I have been using the time to complete some projects and am looking forward to going to Ohio with Doug later in the week, I actually do not enjoy having them gone.  Mrs. Meek saw me in CVS yesterday and asked how Cam and Meg were doing.  She was glad that they were having a great time, but understood how I felt.  She loved having her own children at home even if it was just as their home base.  I would agree with that completely.  In saying that, however, I wouldn't wish them to miss out on fun activities in life like Camp Crosley.

The nice part of them being gone was that I got to spend the day with Cal.  He offered to dog sit for Winston since Hannah-Marie was in Chicago.  We both enjoyed that.  We were also able to clear out a couple of boxes from his room that he had wanted to go through.  We got our fill of Gameshow Network and even fixed his computer.  I have enjoyed having him home for the summer.  I realize that soon he may not make us his home base, so I will cherish the moments for now.

Monday, July 17, 2017

So Many Wonderful Memories

My Uncle Bob's children arrived in Nappanee last Thursday in order to attend the Guard Family reunion and bring some of his ashes to Union cemetery to spend eternity with their mother.  I hadn't been able to visit with them until yesterday at the reunion, but really enjoyed talking to them.  Mom said that she and Dad were going to see them again this afternoon, so I decided to tag along.  They had planned on staying at my Uncle Larry's bed and breakfast - The Old Buffalo Inn - but it had recently been sold and their reservations were cancelled.  They were disappointed, but found another quant place closer to town and rented out all of the rooms.  It was nice and had a great porch for visiting.  In true Amish fashion the women visited on one side and the men on the other.

I had a wonderful time visiting with them.  They all were such an important part of my Grandma and Grandpa's lives when they lived in Florida.  I loved listening to their stories and recollections of their time with them and from our frequent visits to Arcadia.  They brought back so many memories that I could have listened to them talk all day.  The talk of the river, the animals, the bonfires, the people were all so real.  I felt like I had stepped back into my childhood.

Just like yesterday I cried when we parted.  I miss my Grandparents and all of the fun that I had with them, especially CrapPa.  There hasn't been a day go by since they left this Earth that I did not wish they were still here, but I don't dwell on it.  For so many years after they died my mind just thought that they were back in Florida, enjoying fishing and visiting and feeding oranges to the cows.  I hadn't actually thought of them being dead in quite some time until I saw my Mom's cousins.  The more I listened to Bud talk about Grandpa and my annual Purdue/IU football bet (a whopping 50 cents) and Bobbie's memories of her Aunt Ceil, the more I wanted to see my grandparents.  They would have loved listening to the stories as well and seeing everyone together.  It'll take me a little while, but soon I'll go back to thinking of them in Florida - helping with commodities, drinking Grandma's special tea, and bickering over who lived where when they lived in Nappanee.

Thank you to those who made the journey from Florida for the Guard reunion.  The trip down memory lane was fantastic.  It was appreciated more than words could say.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

And Off They Go!

Today we took both Meg and Cam to camp.  It was their seventh summer of going together.  Both were excited, but they didn't have long to be together.  As soon as Meg got there her counselor told her to change into her LIT shirt, so that she could help with registration.  She was excited to help and glad to see her friends again, but I did stop her to get a quick picture with Cam before she left.  We also got to see her again after we checked Cameron in as she was stationed on the porch directing campers where to go to find their cabins.  We didn't need her help as Cam was in the same cabin as last year - Munsee, but we were glad to say goodbye one more time.

We headed back to the van to get all of Cam's luggage.  He packs pretty light, so we were easily able to get everything to his home for the week in one trip.  He was the first camper to arrive at Munsee.  We met his counselors and found that one was from Brazil.  We helped him make his bed and get his items set up. By the time we left another camper had arrived.  Cam said that Sunday can be kind of boring at times as they wait for the others to arrive and then have a swim test.  I saw him later in the opening campfire ceremony and he looked like he was having a lot of fun.  Can't wait to hear his stories when he returns.  

After camp drop off we stopped by Brian Guard's to see everyone at the Guard family reunion.  There were a lot of family members there and many that I hadn't seen in years.  It was fun catching up with everyone, even thought it was pretty hot.  We left there by 4 to go to South Bend.  Doug's boss had given him a gift certificate to Ruth Chris Steak House that we wanted to use and we wanted to do some shopping as well.  The dinner was delicious and we topped it off with a fabulous dessert.  Cal had just gotten home when we pulled in.  We brought him leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast.  Glad that he will be home this week, otherwise it would be really quiet in the Heinisch Home.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Quick Night at Home

We picked Meg and Gabby up this morning from their first week at camp.  They had had a great time and had many stories to share.  Meg had lost her voice again and they were both exhausted, but they wouldn't trade their time with their new friends for anything.  They both had to help with the day campers this week and seemed to like that.  Meg felt that it was exhausting entertaining children.  I was pretty sure that I knew that before she left.

Meg spent the afternoon resting and catching up with her friends.  She also texted the LIT's that stayed at camp several times.  Part of her wished she would have stayed, but the rest of her was glad for a shower and rest.  I got all of her laundry done and she started the process of repacking.  Once Cam got home from the golf course, we headed to Goshen.  We needed to buy Meg more snacks for school and Cam had a few items that he needed as well.  Doug ran to J.C. Penney's for me while we were at Target.  I ordered the boys Nike socks and they had just come in.  It has been great using them for online ordering.  After shopping we stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Meg wasn't overly hungry, but she wanted to go out.  Aaron was in our driveway when we got home so that they could catch up on all of the week's activities.  Doug, Cam and I had a bonfire and enjoyed the outside as the weather has just been wonderful and our flowers are beautiful.