Lives That Are Totally Alien

“The use of the car, I think, has dramatically changed the way people live.”

Transcript for Lives That Are Totally Alien

It used to be that people could either walk to downtown Gary or take a bus and the car was not as prevalent as it became later on, but now it’s a car to the doctor’s, a car to the shopping mall, it’s a car to an auto repair shop. And the use of the car, I think, has dramatically changed the way people live. A lot of residents, then and even now, are living lives that are totally alien to what they once were.

I was raised in the house right across the street from St. John’s Church, and then my parents moved to a few blocks from there to another place in the Tolleston area, and from there they moved to a place in the Horace Mann District. But the Horace Mann District seemed to be changing more rapidly than Tolleston and they were hearing all kinds of news about fights, and violence, and they just got a little scared and then moved to Merrillville.

I know for the half—better part of the years in Merrillville, there was a black family living next door. My parents were fine with that. They didn’t have any problem, but they didn’t really communicate or really socialize with that family. We’d say, ‘Hi,’ over the fence and ask how things are going, but we would not invite each other to a social event, you know, a marriage or a birthday party. That was just not something we would do. Some of these same people from St. John’s would move into that subdivision and they would celebrate events with those families, but in terms of actually visiting the neighbor next door, that wasn’t done. The community was more outside of Merrillville. It was at the church—still at the church. It was still at the school for the kids.

And I see that still today. A lot of people just don’t have the neighborhood relationship that was once there forty, fifty years ago.

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