Indiana is middle-Midwest. The term middle-Midwest, must conjure in one’s mind the picture of averageness, middle of the road, level headedness. There is ONE subject, in Indiana that creates MORE discussion, arguments and positioning than a good old Hatfield and McCoy feud. Time. Particularly time “zones” have been the hottest topic in 100 years, (give or take).
Currently, at least since 2006, Indiana has been in the Eastern Time Zone, moving from permanently standard to day-light-savings with the eastern portion of the country. The exception is five counties in Northwest Indiana that have opted to be on Central Time, since they rely heavily upon Chicago. That does make sense because, since many of the residents of those counties are focused upon the “Chicago Land” economy. Additionally, 6 counties in southwest Indiana around Evansville also observe Central Time. Here’s a condensed summary.
In 1918 Congress passes the Time Zone and Daylight Savings Act. In 1919, Congress repeals the Daylight Savings Portion. Congress reinstated the Daylight Savings for 1942-1945, and repealed it after the WWII.
In 1957, Indiana passed a law placing the ENTIRE state in the central time zone, but outlawing daylight savings. In 1961, Indiana repealed the 1957 law, but the Interstate Commerce Commission divided Indiana’s time zones down the middle of the state. HOWEVER, most counties ignore it, and did whatever they wanted. As an example, in one year, the city of Lafayette was on one time zone, while the county (Tippecanoe) was on the other.
Everything was “fixed” in 1967, when the legislature placed the bulk of the state on Eastern Standard Time (without daylight savings-never moving their clocks), the six counties northwest and the six counties southwest went to Central Time (with daylight savings-that meant that in the winter they were one hour behind Indianapolis, but by moving their clocks ahead one hour were on the same time in the summer), and five counties in the southeast went on Eastern Time (with daylight savings-that meant that in the winter months they were on the same time as Indianapolis, but in the summer when they moved their clocks ahead one hour, they were one hour ahead). Effectively, Indiana had three-time zones.
My focus here, really is about food. My family likes to eat. A couple of our generations not only likes to eat, but to eat “out”. Eating out is great fun but importantly, it’s the eating out at the non-standard restaurant. Oh, yes, we have had friends and acquaintances that will affirm that while traveling, the only safe place to eat is the chain restaurant where every piece of food is purchased from the same standardized producer. But not I. My wife and I LOVE to “stumbled” into a quaint and unique eating establishment. (We fondly remember that great homemade soup and bread bar we found in Maine) I guess I got this from my parents.
So it was in 1961, my father “ran across” this place north and east of Buffalo, Indiana, out in the middle of nowhere. The three old-maid Turnipseed Sisters. Our first visit was with a few select members of the Company where my father worked.
Let me tell you about the Turnipseed sisters place. They lived in an old, old farmhouse, we ate in the farmhouse formal Victorian dinning room, around a big old black dining table, with rickety chairs that squeaked when you sat in them, a single window was draped with crochet type curtains. Around the room were bureaus with side boards holding kerosene lanterns. That’s right, there was no electricity in the house, hence no “running” water, an out-house for a bathroom, all the food was cooked on a wood stove, served family style. While you ate, the three sisters would sit in various corners of the room listening, answering questions, talking about living on the farm and jumping at the ready, to refill any empty bowl. Oh, yes, and to a teenager, these sisters seems 90 years old.
Like I said, our first visit was in 1961, we returned for a second visit, as a family event. Visits were arranged by mail, because the sisters didn’t have a telephone. The reason this sticks in my mind, is that father who was usually pretty sharp in his planning, failed to remember the time zone situation. The Turnipseed sisters, without benefit of electricity, TV, or radio, had the fore-thought to be prepared to serve us, no matter which time-zone we arrived on.. 🙂 They had the BEST FRIED CHICKEN and thick-stiff mashed potatoes with milk gravy. How I wish I was young again and NOT concerned about what I can eat!!!!
We were saddened to learn, during this second trip, that the County Health Dept, had decided, that this eating establishment didn’t meet standards. After this country had raised generations on open-fire cooking, the Turnipseed Sisters eating establishment must be closed down.
Once in a great while, the subject of unique eating places comes up and I run across someone who remembers the Turnipseed Sisters. A smile of remembrance comes to our faces…we shared a moment in time, a moment of the past, we are like brothers. The Turnipseed sisters are long gone and sadly there are fewer of us that remember this simpler time.