Filmmaker deserves Hoosier hospitality

I just read the article about David Patterson of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau withdrawing support for the filming of the movie “Redefining Normal” in Terre Haute.

This screenplay by a local man, Tony Bruce, is basically his life story. The best an autobiography can be is honest, well written and interesting. If Mr. Bruce’s story meets those criteria then he has done well. From what I have read his desire to film part of the movie here is an effort to “give back” to his boyhood community.

I believe the reason this young man and his movie have received this premature rejection by the local government is not because the movie deals with substance abuse or rape. It is because Mr. Bruce is a self-confessed homosexual man. That means part of his story will include his difficulties growing up gay in a small Midwestern town in the 1970s and ’80s.

I’m sure the second some people in our community read that he is homosexual they got on their morally superior high horse and organized calls and letters to local leaders to reject this man and his movie. Now that those of you without sin have cast the first stone, I have little throwing of my own to do.

I am a Christian woman. I believe in the message of love and salvation that Christ brought to this world. However, I am fed up with those who define themselves as the “Christian Right” or the “Moral Majority” speaking on my behalf.

Even if you consider homosexuality a choice and a sin, it is downright un-Christian to devalue another human being and their life’s work because you disagree with their sexuality. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of very flawed people whom God used to do His work in this world.

A citizens committee should review the screenplay and Mr. Bruce should make a formal request to film here and comply with all safety and legal requirements. However, unless he specifically blames Terre Haute for all his problems we should not reject the making of this movie in our community.

Why not? You may be thinking, “We don’t want the country to see Terre Haute as a town that breeds druggies and gays!” Well, I’m from this town and I love this town and I refuse to allow a few, small-mined people to earn us the label of Bible-thumping bigots.

Right now, the rest of the country barley knows we exist. I’m sure some remember this is where they put McVeigh to death. (Now that’s a positive association!) Many think of us as, “That town we pass through on the way to the Indianapolis 500.” Aside from that we are basically invisible to the rest of the country and the world. That includes being unknown or marginalized by those in Washington, D.C.

Did you know that even with poor reviews, a president’s poll numbers always go up whenever they address the nation? That just goes to prove the old saying, “Any press, is good press.”

Think about the movie Fargo. How many people had heard of Fargo, N.D., before that movie? Even though it’s plot dealt with kidnapping and murder it also conveyed the charm of the local people, the integrity of a small town police force and showed the stark beauty of North Dakota in winter.

Allowing this movie to be filmed in Terre Haute could be our chance to show the world the charm of a college town, the natural beauty of Indiana and more importantly the warmth, kindness and humanity of our people. Don’t “slam the door” in the face of this man or this opportunity. Let’s show a little Hoosier hospitality.

— Rita M. (Blair) Johnson

Terre Haute

Life’s lessons also taught at Fuqua

The first day of school always makes our kids nervous. They feel they won’t make any friends, they won’t know anybody, and they feel they won’t fit in. As school goes on, our kids tend to build relationships that will last them a lifetime.

The goal at Fuqua Elementary School isn’t just to educate our kids, but to make them feel welcome and loved. Mission accomplished, as my kid never wants to miss a day of school or even go late, a two-hour delay makes him mad because that means he has less time to spend with his best friends. His best friends aren’t kids that are in his grade or even enrolled in the school. My son’s best friends are the custodians, the teachers, the principal, the nurse, and every single person employed at the school.

Our kids don’t know them as teachers or even as an educator. Our kids look at these men and women and view them as friends. From Mrs. McFarland, his first grade teacher to Mrs. Hughes, who my son had in second grade, they have made my child believe he can succeed and implanted the steps he needs to take to succeed into his mind.

Mrs. Jacobs, his third-grade teacher, and Mr. Mullins, his fourth-grade teacher, have done more than enough for my son and he will never forget the lessons they have taught him. He is currently in Mr. Glotzback’s fifth-grade class and loves every minute of it. He hates when he has to miss a day of school and almost makes himself even sicker by worrying about it.

These teachers don’t specialize in math lessons, science lessons, or history lessons; but they do specialize in teaching life lessons. Each one of these teachers makes an impact on their student’s lives and it changes them forever. Fuqua is viewed as a school for the bad or the poor, but some of the best kids come out of these classrooms and it is a direct reflection of the image the teachers set for them. Fuqua should be compared to some of the best schools, but because of the location of the school and the way people look at these kids, they don’t think it is comparable.

In my opinion, it is the other way around; the best schools can’t be compared to Fuqua because our kids get taught lessons not only in subjects pertaining to school, but in subjects of life. Thank you, Fuqua staff!

— Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Turner

Terre Haute

Get leagues back to previous form

I would like to see Little League get back to the way it used to be in the ’60s, where the kids played baseball at the parks in their neighborhoods. Instead, the parents are taking their kids to the bandit leagues at the opposite end of town. We would like the kids to get to play with their school mates.

We know there are problems in the Terre Haute Little League, but maybe if more of the parents would get involved we could solve some of the problems.

When the Chartered Little League has an All-Star Team it does not cost them any more and every kid plays in every game. The bandit leagues charge you $75 for All-Stars and they might not even get to play.

So parents, I’m asking you to let your kids play with their school mates.

— Roy Patterson

Terre Haute

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