News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

November 16, 2010

MS. TAKES: In search of serenity in a life of change

TERRE HAUTE — I once asked my friend Frances Hughes her secret for a long and serene life. Her answer? “You’ve got to adapt and adjust!”

Ain’t it the truth? Things change and sometimes about all you have left from the “good old days” are the memories stored in your mind.

Much as I enjoy going back to Yorkville, it is not the Yorkville I knew and loved. The houses where we lived are still there — most of them — but the cornfield where the Yorkville Foxes played home football games is now buried under a mall. What was once open country is filled with homes and those homes are filled with people. It wouldn’t take many of them to house the 1,000 residents of my day.

And, a lot has changed in Terre Haute in the more than 50 years we have lived here. Meadows Center was opened the year we came and it began to lure shops from downtown. The memorable cinnamon smells of the downtown Bon Ton Bakery migrated east and built on the northwest corner of the Meadows parking lot.

I’m a letter writer, not an e-mail correspondent, and I did a lot of business at Viquesney’s down on Wabash Avenue. I continued as a customer when they moved to larger quarters on Ohio, but now I drive past an exercise studio which is in THAT location.

I asked my Best Friend if he remembered our first visit to England when we hunted out a bed and breakfast a few miles from Stratford-on-Avon. Our sons were enchanted with a Jack Russell puppy who fetched apples which had fallen from the tree. We were fed breakfast in the farm kitchen, but had to go into town for supper because “we don’t do an evening meal.”

A few years later my BF and I returned to the farm to find “Sally” was now an old dog lounging in a sun patch in the doorway of the barn. Breakfast was served in a newly developed cafe in one of the out buildings and there was a full menu available for the evening meal.

Terre Haute’s downtown is largely banks and offices and Meadows Center is merely a closer convenience than Honey Creek. We have to go almost to Farmersburg to find open country.

There are losses, but there are gains as well. Maybe that’s what Frances meant by “adapt and adjust.” But, I am thankful for the old memory bank all the same.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

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