30 May 2009
28 May 2009
California. Not a likely place for a Hoosier to end up, but some do. And some do very well. Aunt Goldie was one of those. She and her husband owned a hospital in Oceanside and from my understanding, whenever they drove back to Indiana...along Route 66 I'm sure....as it's been relayed to me, they always drove the best cars and wore the latest styles. Imagine that showing up on the family farm.
Her last trip "home", funny saying that since she lived in Oceanside for 60 years of her life, we had one last great reunion of all the extended family in Rochester. Imagine meeting your eighty year old grandfather's extended family. It was a houseful. They had one son, who retired to a ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming. Shoot, there goes the inheritance.
And then, a few blocks from old highway 33, was Hitler Street. Hitler Street? You have to be kidding me. German churches across Indiana gave up sermons in their native tongue because of the evil guy and the folks in Kimmell didn't consider dropping "Hitler Street"?
I love auto-related nostalgia. Not so much the cars, but the roadside kinda stuff. I know of two remarkable, super-early auto garages and they are both in Elkhart County and both constructed in 1917. The first is in Goshen's downtown, along the old Lincoln Highway. Although someone screwed up the left bay, the building is still no less remarkable and designed in the Art Neuvo style. Can you find the date in the photo above?
The other is in Wakarusa, not too far down the road. Stylistically it is more reserved, but maintains more architectural integrity than Goshen's garage. I speculate they were constructed by the same builder. 1917....so, what, would maybe one out of every thirty families have a car?
23 May 2009
Of greatest generations who, without hesitation, perished
In order that we might be free,
To preserve the union,
And uphold our way of life
We remember from time to time, including this day.
Their sacrifices we honor.
But what will be said of us?
Our generation who, without thought, live
With no concern for future generations,
Waste our resources, indulge our greed
And create a hollow way of life.
We refuse reality, even this day.
Their way of life we reject.
I believe this,
We measure our resolve against our forefathers,
And reflect on their sacrifice as something uncommon.
But their lives were already given to selflessness,
Long before they laid them down.
What are we given to,
And for what shall we be remembered?
21 May 2009
20 May 2009
Rensselaer has a charming little downtown with an impressive courthouse and a handful of brick streets surrounding the square. It is also home to St. Joseph's College, the Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall), and one of 36 WPA era post offices in Indiana remaining with a Public Works of Art Project mural in its lobby. More on each of these in future posts. For now, toe-tap along....."through the sycamores for me".
19 May 2009
15 May 2009
Acknowledging this and thinking, yes, eventually all will become disillusioned with the Mitch phenomena, I inquired why. The newly frustrated said that he directed the republican legislature to pass the new unemployment tax on large industry. The very industry that needs to lead us out of the economic free-fall. This new legislation that was signed into law provides for extension to unemployment compensation. No doubt this is needed. But the rub on republicans and big industry is that now is NOT the time to add significant additional tax in Indiana. This friend called downstate to an inside source who commented that business doesn't vote, the unemployed do.
I told him he was missing the bigger story. We've seen how the governor's budget team woefully underestimated revenue, creating shortfalls to his sacred and well publicized miracle budget. My understanding is that the stimulus dollars coming from the federal government to states was to undergird funds such as the unemployment fund. At least this is what we were told the state would do. The real story? I think this recent tax increase on industry by republicans no less just goes to show you how in dire straights our state economy is. Remember when Daniels said we were the envy of our neighbors?
I believe that history will not be kind to Mitch Daniels. At least for those who can read history from an unbiased perspective. I believe that as his true colors continue to bleed through his well-funded publicity machine folks like my buddy will begin to understand that Daniels has been, and unfortunately will continue to be, bad for Indiana.
Speaking of true colors, while Daniels was basking in some good economic publicity in the devastated Elkhart job market he was questioned by a reporter about a veto he recently made regarding judge appointments vs. elections. Evidently this originated from Northern Indiana. Daniels made this comment "it all has to do with politics....I don't know how you people do things up here, er, uh, I mean some people do things, but that's not the way we do things. We're not political".
Nice slip there, Mitch. I think it's evident what he's always thought of Northern Indiana so I guess it should be no surprise that he said it. But I couldn't believe my ears, then thought, man, what a jack.... Just making a statement like that is political maneuvering. And if anyone has proven their political-speak abilities, it's Mitch.
14 May 2009
It too, rests in our small "pet" cemetery.
12 May 2009
When the genealogy bug bit I was just coming out of highschool and going into college. My grandmother gave me a book entitled "The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler". The book, now almost 100 years old, was enormous and meticulously traced family after family to our single ancestral source, Jacob. Jacob emigrated to the American colonies with his family in 1736 from Switzerland, arriving in Pennsylvania aboard the ship "Harle". Jacob and a few other Amish settlers formed the first Amish settlement in the colonies in Berks County, PA. His family's story would go down in Pennsylvania history under the "Northkill Amish/Hochstetler Massacre" when in 1757 his wife, daughter and son were killed by a raiding band of Indians with another son taken captive. Their beliefs in non-violence prevented them from fighting back. The ancestral farm still exists and I visited it on a trip to Pennsylvania in 1993.
Old Samuel Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers
Just shy of 100 years later, Jacob's great grandson, Samuel, was part of a group of families to form the first Amish settlement in Indiana. Samuel came with his family about 1850 to the northeast corner of Marshall County, establishing a farm on Beech Road. This farm still exists as well. Samuel's son, Martin, left the Amish Church very late in life and his son, Stephen, was the first to marry outside of the church. Stephen was my great grandfather.
Martin Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers
A one room schoolhouse and cemetery were located just north of the farm which is where the family attended school and "Old" Samuel, as he was called, is buried. The Amish constructed a new school at this site and the old one, which was the longest continually used schoolhouse in Indiana, was moved to a nearby farm. The school was constructed in the late 1850's. If you've never seen an Amish cemetery, you should. The "plain people" apply their standards even in burial. Other branches of the family include Millers, Livengoods, Yoders and most recently, Mullet-the name of my Amish ancestors buried near Nappanee.
Borkholder Amish School & Cemetery, before it was moved
Amish Cemetery: Mullet ancestors buried here
Fortunately for me there was this break in the Amish faith. I guess. Although there are times when I long for a simpler life and suggest converting to my wife. I know many like to point out the inconsistencies with Amish folk, but I have to hand it to them, to continue any since of their culture in the face of everything modern is really quite remarkable.
My life, on the other hand, would be a never-ending rumspringer.
07 May 2009
05 May 2009
My folks offered to keep the kids Friday night because of a meeting I had the next day. We went mushroom hunting.....and had awesome luck compared to years past. And we inspected dad's newest addition to the field...a large waterfall at his enlarged pond. Actually pretty cool.
meeting of the Michigan Road Northern Alliance