Marshall County: My Hometown

Our family on closing day, 1996
Somewhere along in my life I started to realize that I never had that strong connection I heard peers or adults talk about in relationship to growing up in their hometowns.  I lived a ways outside of town and was transported some distance to attend a private school in Plymouth throughout my high school years.  I didn't have Friday nights at the grid iron, nor the hardwoods.  The community I knew revolved around my small high school, with kids from all parts of the county, and our family business which was a local hub of sorts for farmers, firemen, and the like.

Yet, as my wife can attest, I have this strong connection to Marshall County.  And as blogged earlier, I am running for county commissioner, so there probably is a bit of campaign stumping embedded in this post.  I think there are two reasons for this connection.....something that I think comes across when I talk with people.

Community at Garners Truck Stop
The first is related to my roots.  As my kids know all too well, we can't hardly drive down a country road before I'm pointing out where their forefathers lived.  Our roots go deep in the soil.  In North Township, my ancestors first settled in the 1840s.  In German Township, they settled in the 1830s.  In Walnut Township, they came in the 1840s.  In Green Township, they arrived in the 1860s.  And the family lived in Culver and the Tyner area during the 1930s-50s.  And then my mom, a Bremen girl, and my dad, a LaPaz boy, met at my grandparents' truck stop-Garners.  Then it was my turn to establish a family and I married a Plymouth girl and we began raising our family on Michigan Street.  Being a guy maybe a bit too consumed by history, I can't help but recognize that it wasn't one town that made this man-but I owe a great debt to this collective place I call home.  There's something that gets in the spirit of a person when they understand the blood, sweat and tears left on the soil by their ancestors.  To be surrounded by nearly 200 years of that humbles a guy and makes him want to do his part in building this place for future generations.

The second reason I think I feel this deep connection is maybe because of what I lamented at the beginning.  Thrown into a small school made up of kids from Culver, Argos, Tyner, LaPaz, Bourbon, and Plymouth made me realize the rivalries that far too often go beyond the basketball court, didn't translate within our friendships.  Which then led to hanging out at the Culver drive-in and going to their theater, grabbing supper at the Log House in Argos, or spending many a Friday nights in Plymouth.  Add to that, traversing country roads in and out of every little hamlet and burg, and soon it began to feel like all of Marshall County was my hometown.  Now, I have great memories of going to LaPaz School and the Church of God, and in many respects, Bremen felt like home since we did most of our shopping there, including getting my haircut at Don the barber's.  But the broader appreciation, and the ghosts if you will, from having spent my growing up time in each of our communities, spurs a greater devotion to make sure we all are succeeding.  We might not always agree or see things the same way, but we truly are stronger together.

If a guy can claim a whole county as his hometown, I'd like to stake that claim.  The memories, the history, and working with others over the last 20 years blurs the lines on the map.  In the words of Rodney Atkins, "These are my people, this is where I come from.  We're givin' this life everything we got and then some."


Jim said…
Great reflection, my man. You are fortunate to be in a place where your ancestors came so many years ago.

I'm not so fortunate, the son of an escaped West Virginian who has lived all over Indiana pursuing his career. I've been in Indianapolis now for 20 years and while I'm used to it and even kind of like it now, it still feels strange to call it home.
hoosier reborn said…
I can imagine there would be some advantages to not having ghosts follow you around...but 20 years in the same town is a long time these days.
Because my family moved away from Plymouth when I was 9 years old in 1959 and I did not return to live there until 1983, and have now moved away again to Illinois, some people cannot understand why I will always call Plymouth and Marshall County "home" and feel an intimacy with the area that persists in my heart.

My grandparents lived in Plymouth all of their married lives. My dad was raised there. My parents had 3 children, all born there, and we were taught to love our hometown. We came back often to visit grandma and grandpa and our friends who became life-long friends, no matter where to moved, which we did frequently.

I did not graduate from Plymouth High School but I feel close to many friends who did and I feel like a Plymouth High School alumnae, too. I brought my children back to graduate from Plymouth High School! Does that make me an honorary alum?

My roots go deep there. People cannot believe all the memories I hold dear from my childhood but it was because I loved my hometown and cherished it even more when we had to move away. When we moved back to Plymouth in 1983, my husband's entire family moved to the area, married and raised their children there, too. Now, some have passed on and are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery where my parents, my husband and I, will also be buried when our days on this earth are over.

I could almost be envious of your having lived there all of your life there, Kurt, but I also would not trade the life experiences I have had by living all over this beautiful country of ours.

I do hope that you get elected as commissioner, Kurt. I love your passion and your drive to keep Marshall County thriving for the generations to come so they can discover the treasures there, too.
Hi I was happy to run across your blog this morning. I too have family roots in Marshall County and am working on a family blog, I thought you might be interested it is

Maybe historically our families have crosses paths.

Shelley Filson Bechtold
hoosier reborn said…
Pleased to meet you Shelley. Oh, I know your family-Frank? And my wife is good friends with a cousin of yours. Nice blog too!
hoosier reborn said…
Pleased to meet you Shelley. Oh, I know your family-Frank? And my wife is good friends with a cousin of yours. Nice blog too!

Popular Posts