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#RegionProud: Crystal Harrigan-Barry

#RegionProud: Crystal Harrigan-Barry

From the #RegionProud: Columns about Northwest Indiana by residents series

The Region.

There is so much to love. Growing up, I couldn't wait to escape "the Region." I wanted someplace exciting, someplace fresh, someplace else.

Northwest Indiana felt too small, too rough, too rural all at the same time. And it is everything that I once hated that I have grown to love and appreciate.

I've grown to love the small town feel that comes from "uptown," the square, and the circle. We have buildings with storefronts dating back to 1856, marking small shops that have hung on through hard times. There is a grittiness that comes from the mills and the men and women who have built their lives around them.

Summer is measured by the height of the corn in the fields and its culmination is marked by a fair.

And the winters. There is no explaining the phenomenon of lake effect snow. Only someone from the Region really knows. We grumble and complain and we keep right on shoveling. More snow than we can handle and before we know it, more humidity.

We are a Region of beautiful dichotomies.

It is these extremes that make Northwest Indiana what it is and thus, who we are. There is history in our towns and somehow we haven't lost that.

We are urban and small town and farmland and lake, all within an hour's drive. I can see now what I couldn't see then. I can have my city and my sand dunes, and there is really no place I'd rather be.

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Deputy Editor - Digital/Audience Engagement

Summer is Digital and Audience Engagement Editor at The Times. Her blog documents The Times’ and Gary Chamber of Commerce’s Community Civility Counts campaign. The idea is simple: Treat everyone with respect and dignity, even those you disagree with.

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