13 Chapters
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Brown County

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Artists and hill people in Brown County, Indiana

BROWN COUNTY, Ind.—Brown County is to Indiana what Santa Fe is to the Southwest, or Carmel to California, or Provincetown to New England.

In other words, it is an art colony. But that is only a part of the picture.

It became an art colony in the first place, like the others, because the scenery is majestic and the native people are picturesque.

And, having become an art colony, it attracted non-artists and ordinary people, to its loveliness, and eventually it became a haven, and people came and fell in love with its placid ways, and built beautiful homes and stayed to become part of the spirit of the place. That is the way it has been with Brown County.

On the whole, I am ill at ease in the company of artists, for so much of the time I don’t know what they are talking about. And yet, invariably, I like the places that they have built into their “colonies.”

And so it is with Brown County, Indiana. I have fallen head over heels for the place, and the people, and the hills, and the whole general air of peacefulness. Good Lord, I even like the artists here!

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Hometown & Family

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Back to the Midwest and its long, sad wind—and to a story about a little boy and some wild roses, and a blue racer and a whipping.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Ia.—It was soon after crossing into Iowa, coming south, that I gradually became conscious of the wind.

I don’t know whether you know that long, sad wind that blows so steadily across the thousands of miles of Midwest flat lands in the summertime. If you don’t, it will be hard for you to understand the feeling I have about it. Even if you do know it, you may not understand. Because maybe the wind is only a symbol.

But to me the summer wind in the Midwest is one of the most melancholy things in all life. It comes from so far, and it blows so gently and yet so relentlessly; it rustles the leaves and the branches of the maple trees in a sort of symphony of sadness, and it doesn’t pass on and leave them still; no, it just keeps coming, like the infinite flow of Old Man River.

You could, and you do, wear out your lifetime on the dusty plains with that wind of futility blowing in your face. And when you are worn out and gone, the wind, still saying nothing, still so gentle and sad and timeless, is still blowing across the prairies, and will blow in the faces of the little men that follow you, forever. That is it, the endless of it; it is a symbol of eternity.

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Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Four bold men pass in review, one thrilling, one sad, one
puzzling and the other—was Doctor Brinkley

WASHINGTON—Four very bold men have been goose-stepping it across the pages in front of my leisurely eyes this past week. They are:

Peter DePaolo, the racing driver; John R. Brinkley, the goat gland doctor; Haw Tabor, the fantastic Colorado metal king; and William Randolph Hearst, the poor little rich boy.

About each of these men I have read a biography. It was a varied experience. These four had nothing in common—except boldness. But even that one bond knits a close society, for boldness is not squandered among us.

Peter DePaolo’s book is an autobiography. He wrote it himself. It is called “Wall Smacker.” It is not especially well written, but it is certainly not badly written.

DePaolo is an American-born Italian. He dreamed up following in the footsteps of his famous racing uncle, Ralph DePalma. And he did. DePaolo won at Indianapolis in 1925.

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Politics & Politicians

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Portrait of a politician in a smoke-filled room: Ernie encounters Jim Watson in a Pullman cubicle, and that grand old vote-getter shows his technique

WASHINGTON—I was sitting alone in the smoking compartment, reading a magazine. The train was bouncing through the night at 70 miles an hour, making an awful racket. I thought I’d go to bed pretty soon. But just then the curtain was pulled aside, and who should walk in but Jim Watson.

I had never seen him before, but I recognized him from his pictures. We stared at each other as if we were about to speak, and then I raised up sort of automatically, like a knee-reflex, and said: “Aren’t you Senator Watson?”

“Why, yes,” he said. And he came over with his hand out ready for a big shake. He sat right down and started talking.

Some rough things have been said about Jim Watson and his political philosophies, and they may all be true. But you’ll have a mighty tough time trying not to like him.

I asked him if it wasn’t likely that he knew more Hoosiers than anybody else in the state. He said yes, he expected he did. After all, he’s been campaigning Indiana for 50 years, and he likes people, and remembering them is his stock in trade.

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Indiana University Connections

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

What the country is worrying about—at least on the Doylestown
Road—seems to be neither Hitler nor Mussolini, but Julia

PHILADELPHIA—“Julia, come here! Julia, stop bothering the gentleman!”

Julia was a little puppy dog, who lives on the Doylestown road up north of Philadelphia, in one of those old farmhouses so frequently turned into “Ye Olde Oaken Bucket Inn for overnight guests.” . . .

The name of the imaginary inn refers to the prize that goes to the winner of the annual IU-Purdue football game. The trophy was not actually awarded to the winner until 1925 (which turned out to be a scoreless tie), so Pyle’s use of the name provides evidence that he was still very much aware of what was happening in Indiana.

Two sets of tires took Ernie through 38 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and half of Mexico; twice he ran out of gas and it was not an accident


In over 300 days of driving, there has been only one day when I had an appointment at a definite time at the other end. It was in southern Indiana, and an old school friend whom I hadn’t seen for 13 years was going to meet me at 12:30 for lunch in a town along the way.

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