Yesterday started way too early for us but it was worth it because we had a very long day filled with a lot of fun ahead of us. We left Elkhart Campground about 9 a.m. and didn’t get back until after 8:30 p.m., but boy, did we make some good memories in that time!
When Jan White was a little girl she lived in the small town of Peru, about 90 miles south of Elkhart, and she wanted to see if she could find her old house. She didn’t remember the address, but could describe the area, and Greg amazed all of us by driving right to the place like he had been there before!
Peru is a friendly little town with a lot of history to it and we spent most of the day exploring. Composer Cole Porter, who was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage in the 1930s, was born in Peru. Among his many hits were I Get a Kick Out of You, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Night and Day, My Heart Belongs to Daddy and You’re the Top. Today the house where he was born is an inn and has a small museum and gift shop.
For many years Peru was the winter home of as many as six traveling circuses, who spent the winter there resting from the show circuit, maintaining equipment, practicing their acts, and perfecting new ones for the upcoming season. Known as the Circus Capital of the World, Peru honors its Big Top heritage with a Circus Museum downtown that includes a Three Ring performing arena and museum, which is headquarters for the annual Circus City Festival held in July.
A couple of miles outside of town, the Circus Hall of Fame displays circus memorabilia related to some of the most famous circus performers of all time, along with circus wagons and an amazing miniature circus diorama.
Back downtown, we stumbled upon the Miami County Museum, which is one of the best small town museums we’ve found anywhere. Three floors of exhibits include everything from a stagecoach that once belonged to cowboy actor Tom Mix, to Cold Porter’s 1955 Cadillac, an excellent antique gun collection, mastodon bones, Native American artifacts, and a pair of oversized overalls that belonged to Robert Wadlow. Called the “Gentle Giant,” Wadlow was 8’11” tall, weighed 439 pounds, and wore size 37 shoes.
The greatest asset the museum has is Director Elise Kordis, a young woman who went out of her way to make us feel welcome, answered a lot of questions, and told us about the community and other points of interest we should visit. We were running out of time by then, but we knew that this wasn’t going to be our last trip to Peru. There is just too much to see there for one visit.
When we left Peru, our next stop was at Twelve Mile, where our friends Butch and Fonda Williams operate Service Motor Company, which specializes in parts and repairs for Crosley automobiles. Between 1939 and 1952, the Crosley Corporation produced a line of small, inexpensive cars and trucks that are highly prized by fans of the diminutive vehicles.
And if you have a Crosley, you have to know Butch and Fonda. In their shop, which was a Chevrolet dealership at one time, they can do anything from rebuilding an engine to fabricating fenders out of stainless steel. Here is a Crosley Super, and Butch joked that the tiny propeller in the front of the grill provided air cooling.
Can you believe that Greg and I both fit inside that tiny car? We did, but it brought us to a new level in our relationship that I’m not sure either of us is entirely comfortable with.
Getting in was one thing, at least we had gravity on our side, but getting back out again was a whole different ballgame!
On the way home we stopped for dinner at the Golden Corral in Mishawaka, and by the time we got back to the campground, we were all too tired to do much more than say goodnight and thanks for the memories.
Well, it’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another Free Drawing. I know that this week’s prize is going to get a lot of entries because it’s a personally autographed copy of Miss Terry’s Kitchen by my darling wife. Anyone who has ever read the Gypsy Journal knows about Terry’s reputation as a fantastic cook, and if you have ever sampled any of her goodies, you know that reputation is well deserved. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
And speaking of our drawing, Queenie Malcolm was last week’s winner of an autographed copy of So, You Want to be a Workamper? If you are reading this Queenie, I need you to e-mail your mailing address to me at email@example.com so John and Kathy Huggins can get your book in the mail to you.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.