My mother, Martha C. Jarrett Jobe, back row, far right, in 1948 with her parents and siblings. This is the only photo I have ever seen with all of them. The occasion was Mom's parents' 50th wedding anniversary. From left, front, sister Mary, their mother Edith, their father Jess, eldest sister Ruth (from whom I got my middle name). Back from left, Jesse, Grace, Howard, and Martha. I'm reasonably sure the photo was taken at the family home on South Second St., Richmond.
I've been thinking about Richmond, Indiana this week. It's interesting how some places come in and out of our lives for different reasons.
On Monday, Nov. 13, I'm speaking at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center at 1600 S. Second Street. My connection to that city, and to that street, began 104 years ago on Dec. 2 when my mother was born and raised on that street, and her sister, Mary, spent close to a century on that same block where the family lived.
It was Mary, in fact, who introduced Mom to my dad back in the early '30s. Something about a baseball game around Abington. Mom's father grew up on a farm in the red two-story house next to the old Abington School. She loved spending time out there with her grandparents until the property left the family in, I believe, the 1920s. Here she is in that rural Centerville lawn next to that house with a cousin who lived nearby.
After the introduction to Huburt Jobe of Brownsville, my "city-girl" mom went on to become a farmer's wife. But she never stopped loving her hometown of Richmond. She always thought that somehow she'd get Dad to Richmond ... but it never happened.
And even when they reached the age that they decided to move to town, and could have chosen Richmond, they chose to buy a house in Liberty. But when it came time to make the final move, they couldn't do it. They couldn't leave the farm. So they sold the Liberty house and stayed in the country.
While she never made it back to Richmond to live, I did! Brian and I began married life there in a trailer park where we lived for three years.
During my childhood, we took The Palladium-Item. My parents read it cover-to-cover and often clipped articles that interested them. I'm sure that newspaper made Mom feel connected with her hometown. Once she said that if for no other reason, they would always take the paper for the obituaries. It's a comment I still hear from subscribers at the paper where I work.
I connected with that paper, and with some idea that if anything significant happened to or in a community, the newspaper had it covered. At 16, watching a young reporter work a 4-H dog show, I knew, as in a bolt of lightning, that I wanted to be a reporter too. For 35 years it's been my career.
Richmond was where we went shopping, where we viewed the fireworks at Glen Miller Park. It's where we went on picnics with extended family. (I so loved that round kiddie pool.)
I attended IU East, worked my first "paid" job at Elder-Beerman my senior year, and my second at The Palladium-Item being a "go-fer girl" in advertising the summer after I graduated. I was born at Reid Hospital, and today there are relatives on both sides of my family who live in that city.
When I visit Second Street on Monday, I'll think of my mother. It's another full-circle moment.
Mom would be happy I'm there.