Long Beach is on the very edge of the Chicago sprawl, the beachfront community is on the border of Indiana and Michigan. I've been there once, it's a great little town.
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. grew up a stone's throw from Lake Michigan in an exclusive community popular among executives from Bethlehem Steel, attending Catholic schools and enjoying summers along the waterfront about 30 miles outside Chicago.
Yet he also did ``nitty gritty'' work during the summers at a nearby steel mill, part of a summer work force made up largely of mill executives' children.
The two experiences helped shape the Harvard-educated lawyer into an unassuming jurist with commonsense values, friends and colleagues said Wednesday.
``To say he came up by the bootstraps, no he didn't,'' said longtime friend Bob MacLaverty, a boarding school roommate who was in Roberts' wedding. ``But he's clearly not an elitist prep school, Ivy League-educated blue blood. He's just a regular Midwest guy.''
Roberts' family settled in Long Beach in the 1960s when his father was transferred to the Bethlehem Steel mill in nearby Burns Harbor from Buffalo, N.Y.
Long Beach was established in the 1920s as a summer getaway for Chicagoans. Today, it has about 1,500 residents, and houses along its prestigious Lakeshore Drive fetch prices of more than $1 million.
The community of lakefront homes and winding, tree-lined streets remains a stark contrast to the steel mills that dotted Indiana's northernmost border and drove the region's economy for decades.