That plane falling from the sky briefly interrupted a stretch of quiet in Chesterton that started with the Potawatomie—-described as “relatively sedentary” by the French-—and largely continues to this day. I suspect that this is how many of Valpo’s attic neighbors like things.
Valparaiso’s history is slightly more colorful, thanks to characters like Orville and Valpo Joe, but as long as Valpo was run by a grandfatherly mayor, not much would happen. Chesterton was happy. Indeed, Chesterton's best-known, best-educated, and most esteemed resident seemed quite enamored with Valparaiso.
Something has changed, and folks from Chesterton have begun complaining about Valparaiso. They even coined a word, “Valpocentricity,” which either relates to “eccentricity” or possibly “Afrocentricity”. Valparaiso, they say, has become the Marcia Brady of the county, and isn’t afraid to point it out. I appreciate the backhanded compliment: mature, attractive, intelligent, popular—-why not? Meanwhile Jan’s again having trouble with that inferiority complex.
Antivalpoism reached a boiling point in the South Shore debate. Such chutzpah, Valparaiso trying to bring a billion dollar rail line to their town, paid for entirely by State, Federal, and RDA money. For many years (from 1852 to 1872), Chesterton had the only rail station in Porter County, and the town’s history devotes four of its ten paragraphs to talking about railroads. A South Shore station in Valparaiso was like the sky—-or at least a Boeing 247 in the sky--falling all over again.
Yet my favorite comment was this: “We've had the Valpo bluebloods telling everyone that we should all bow down to Valpo because we hicks drive on your streets to go to your first class restaurants (the only good restaurants in the county don't ya know) and then drive back to our backwards, hick towns.” Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Thus, and in the spirit of bluebloodism, I propose the following:
The enlightened citizens of the Grand Duchy of Valparaiso propose to annex the barbarian-occupied hinterlands immediately beyond the northern borders of the Grand Duchy. The Duchy would thus extend to Indian Boundary Road, beyond which civilized people have not yet explored.
Approximately 10,000 barbarians, yeomen, peasants, and tribesmen occupy an area loosely called Chesterton, though they have not officially elected a chief. Chesterton is already under the de facto suzerainty and vassalage of the Grand Duchy. HRH the Grand Duke of Valparaiso, as well as HRH King Bob, make practically all of the important decisions for the County of Porter, such as whether the County museum should be open until 4pm or 5pm. The northern barbarians have contributed very little except small tax payments in tribute to the King.
In the present state of affairs, Chesterton plays the Svalbard to Valparaiso’s Norway—-all alone in the ice with nothing but polar bears. While some such suzerainties remain in today’s world, such as San Marino (dependent on Italy) and the Federated States of Micronesia (dependent on the USA), most were long-since eliminated by forceful merger of the barbarian state into the stronger state.
The city of Nice, annexed by the French in 1860, thrives as a part of the Fifth Republic. Had Cornwall, the poorest and least developed part of England, not been taken-over around 1066 and turned into a Duchy of its own, its inhabitants would still be speaking a Corny language, worshiping rocks, and not basking in the glow of the rule of Queen Elizabeth II. The city of Venice, independent for over a millennium, voted to join Italy in 1866. Of 642,000 votes cast, only 69 objected. Had Venice not prostrated itself to Rome, who knows if one of their citizens could have developed Venice’s greatest export, the bellini?
Closer to home, annexation of the hinterlands would provide the unwashed occupants such services as education (at a school renamed “Valparaiso North” with a mascot who would no longer inspire prophylactic jokes), white table-cloth restaurants, free participation in the Grand Duke’s fun runs, and visa-free crossing of County Road 600N. Members of the royal court will have access to the services of the Jester, Mr. Michael Essany. Of course, as the tribes of Chesterton presently lack a chief, this proposal obviates the need to choose one of their own.
This modest proposal is made despite the barbarians’ recent unruly behavior, most notably raising a small bandit army to maraud into the Grand Duchy’s sovereign territory in order to disrupt a plan to construct a modern passenger rail facility. The bandit army’s actions were taken based on the preposterous belief that the Grand Duchy intended to finance construction by raiding the northern tribes of gold, spices, and slaves.
Failing the prompt acceptance of this proposal, The Grand Duke of Valparaiso shall appeal to the Holy Hoosier Emporer, Mitch von und zu Indiana, to force annexation.