Looking from Herron-Morton Place to Old Northside

I arrived from California 10 years ago with a list of attributes my dream house would have, scribbled in a small moleskin notebook. I left my native state for two reasons: one- a break-up with the love of my life at the time and two: LA housing prices were never going to permit me to edge my way into the housing market, despite a well-paying job.

First thing I learned: dreams come true in Indianapolis. I always wanted a historic home, since falling in love with the Hotel Del Coronado at age 15. With one exception (central air conditioning) my new Indy home had everything on my wish list.

Baker House from new house

View from newer home to one of the oldest on Alabama Street during a home tour

Second thing I learned: houses come with neighbors. And neighbors can be your friends. After years of apartment dwelling in the concrete jungle of LA, I can’t say there is even one person I’ve kept in touch with from apartment days there. Sure I have fond memories of the quirky cast of characters in every building I ever lived in, but here in Indy, there are people I send post cards to on vacation and who I believe will always be friends. I still get a Xmas letter every year from an awesome couple that lived in the next block for all of 3 years!

graydon sharpe lot

The stories that look like they aren’t there…

Third: I found my inner-writer again. As some of you may know, I first moved to LA because I was doing the actress thing.  Acting was something I had discovered my senior year of high school, after the OCD I demonstrated in my years of journalism class started getting to me. You know how a dog will sometimes chase its tail incessantly? That was me, and I could never accept that my writing or editing was good enough. It drove me bonkers. But after a myriad of cliche LA stories I will spare you, I realized that as much as I loved the art and craft of theatre, I just couldn’t accept the trade-offs of that world. After moving to my neighborhood here, I found so many sources of inspiration, I started writing again. And despite the old demons of ‘not good enough,’ I continued to write–bad, good or anywhere in-between. This website would not exist without that experience and without my neighborhood.


On the street where my mom lived…

Fourth: I realized how connected ‘it’ all is. My mother was born and raised here, and I’d only ever known of my grandparents ‘crooked house on the hill with the rusty well water,’ on the west side, but it turned out, from the time my mom was born until she was about 8, she lived not 2 blocks from my home. I had no prior knowledge of this (yes, cue the ‘Twilight Zone’ theme) and I still marvel, almost daily, when I pass the place where she and my grandparents lived.

Fifth: The value of growth and contribution. Somedays more, some less, but as I am a couple of weeks from celebrating the 10th anniversary in my home, I am absolutely awed by what the experience of living in Indy and what this neighborhood has done for my development as a person. I have learned so many lessons through my experiences here. The Hoosier hospitality has been substantial, rewarding, and life changing. I look forward to finding more ways to contribute to here. My favorite, of course, has been the creating of this website, 4+ years ago, after losing a series of jobs. It has not been easy, but it seems that most things that make you grow don’t tend to be.

One of many awesome experiences my time here has lead me to: being one of five lucky finalists for the final 5 x 5 competition of 2013, this Friday, September 6, 2013 at the Harrison Center for the Arts. It’s free, but you’ll want to register here. The theme is “Connect your City, Connect your neighborhood,” which really speaks to my passions! If you want to help decide which idea gets implemented, please be there!

If not, I hope HI can continue contributing to the betterment and conversations about where Indianapolis has been and inspire where it can go. If you’d just like to make sure THAT happens, please consider becoming a member of the HI Booster Club! Your support is vital to the continuation of this site.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support and please feel free to share your passion for your neighborhood here!

2 responses to “5 Fave Things My Neighborhood Taught Me About Life”

  1. Sherry Gormley Crane says:

    Thank You for that and for this site!

  2. basil berchekas jr says:

    All I can say is, “you are very welcome!”

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