A VISIT TO THE HEARTLAND

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Here is a complete listing of all the states where I have lived in order from birth to the present: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, California, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota.

So, where is home for me? I’ve certainly lived in Minnesota for the greatest duration. Plus, my children were born here. But it’s not necessarily the place that evokes the greatest or deepest sentiment when the word “home” comes to my mind. I lived in Haubstadt, Indiana for a very short while in the grand scheme of my life, and yet, it’s still the place I consider “home.”

Maybe it has something to do with the age I was when we moved there, or maybe it’s the friends I made, or perhaps it’s just the place itself. More than likely it’s a combination of all three. While driving along the rural Indiana roads during my visit “home” last week, it all came back. There’s just something so deeply peaceful about looking out over the green and gold, gently rolling landscape. Winter wheat and cornfields create a warm patchwork quilt covering the land—land that has been farmed for generations stretching back as far as anyone can remember, and in many cases, by the same families. I visited with two such families, and even today, their homes are within shouting distance of each other. They’ve staked out small plots on the family farm to create their own communities. They surround themselves with family, support, continuity and the deep roots of connectedness to the land, to the family farm.

Typical landscape in southwestern Indiana

Typical landscape in southwestern Indiana

I’m jealous. I don’t have roots that go very deep anywhere, so I’m claiming the place where I lived for such a short time as my own. My grandmother’s people all settled in South Bend, Indiana, so I kind of figure I have the right. Even if I don’t, I’m going to pretend I do.

This is where we lived a long, long time ago.

This is where we lived a long, long time ago.

Anyway, I’d like to share some photos of our recent trip to Haubstadt & Evansville, Indiana. Lots of the places are settings I used in the “Love From the Heartland” trilogy, FAR FROM PERFECT, THE DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES and A CHANGE OF HEART.

Located in the historic town of New Harmony, The Red Geranium is where Noah took Ceejay on their first real date.

Located in the historic town of New Harmony, The Red Geranium is where Noah took Ceejay on their first real date.

That’s me in front of the red door. Next, is a photo of the park where Ryan and Paige had their picnic by the Ohio River.

This is where Paige and Ryan had their picnic by the Ohio River.

This is where Paige and Ryan had their picnic by the Ohio River.

This is the park where Ryan and Paige had their picnic by the Ohio River.

Nisbet Inn

Bonnie, Me, Diane

Now for some Haubstadt friends. This is Bonnie Schmitt-Wagner, Diane Wassner (Elpers) and me at the Nisbet Inn, which is a wonderful place located right in the middle of nowhere, and surrounded by farm fields. We had lunch there and then Bonnie was gracious enough to drive me and my sister around to visit our old stomping grounds.

Jalane, me & fishbowl

Hornville Inn

My best friend from way back when, Jalane Weber and I met for dinner at the Hornville Inn. We caught up, and plan to stay caught up!

I’ll post more later. Don’t want to overwhelm all of you!

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