Austin shares thoughts on favorite stories from 2020

| December 22, 2020

The fabulous 50s drive in at the senior center was a fun day for everyone who attended last summer. (Marianne Austin)

I have always had a love of writing, keeping a diary, journaling, but freelancing for a local newspaper is the most fun thing I have ever experienced. I like being out in the community meeting people, hearing their stories, covering events. This year in particular with everything that has happened, all the restrictions, it is amazing that people still find innovative ways to celebrate, support each other and carry on.

Looking over this past year, one of my favorite stories was Mike Pepping the mushroom hunter. I grew up hunting mushrooms. It’s a tradition every spring for my family and friends like Mike and so as soon as it starts getting a little green in the woods and the mayapples are up it’s time to hunt. I appreciate Mike for sharing some of his stories and tips and even his recipe for fried mushrooms to anyone who would like to try it.
Another favorite was Mark Hersman sharing information about the ancient village dig site in the county. Learning about the earliest inhabitants of this area and the way they lived as well as seeing the actual remnants like pottery, jewelry, the firepits, bones of animals that were here for example elk and beaver used for food, clothing and tools. Going back to our first civilizations is an awesome adventure.
The fabulous 50s drive in at the senior center was a fun day for everyone who attended last summer. Root beer floats and hot dogs, old rock and roll thanks to DJ Rick Williamsons and R&D Promotions. Eighty-two cars and trucks attended – a lot of them vintage from the 1950s and 60s.The staff dressed up in 50s attire with their saddle shoes, bobby socks and pony-tails. One of the attendees said they really missed the car shows being canceled this year and the fabulous 50s event was the closest thing to it. Even following the guidelines, everyone was having a great time.
Fifty years of volleyball, the Cathy Ames story, was heartwarming. It reminded me how women’s sports has evolved since I was in school in the 60s. Cathy was my daughters Phys Ed teacher at Warsaw which made the story more personal for me. Doing something you love your whole life and seeing the events that determined her journey was encouraging and a great story about Cathy’s success.
Finally, the Veterans Day ceremony on the court square is always a reminder that freedom isn’t free, and these men represent a living history of the sacrifices that were made to keep us free. Now more than ever we need to honor these brave soldiers that were and are still willing to put their lives on the front lines to keep us free. I was proud to attend the ceremony honoring these men and women.
It was hard to pick out just a few stories because this is a very caring community. The city leaders, foster parents, small businesses, teachers, churches, young people stepping up and just friends and neighbors supporting each other in every way this year. It’s been a tough year but the human spirit; compassion, awareness, insight and understanding has really come through.
Editor’s note: This column was written by freelance writer Marianne Austin.

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