Christmas greetings from Converse, Indiana! I headed to the Midwest for a visit with my son Lukas’ in-laws this holiday season. Also took along Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and, with only about 150 pages to go, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of those books that sticks with you each time you put it down. It has been the “Once upon a time” for more than a few good dreams and one or two that were questionable.
Converse is a town of almost 2,000, with its own Carnegie Library (see featured imaged) and one streetlight, at the library’s corner, blinking red for traffic in all directions. Here are a few additional snaps of the library’s interior which, like Converse itself, has not changed too much since the library was built in 1918 (apologies to Converse if I got the date wrong).
In addition to its library, the town has an aging, but still visibly handsome, building erected in 1937, thanks to the Federal Public Works Administration. Digging even farther back into its history, Grant County (Converse’s county) has a proud association with its early Quaker roots and its involvement with the Underground Railroad.
Had the pleasure of visiting Hodson’s Market (open since 1934), old enough that the linoleum covering its wood plank floors is mostly worn away and what remains appears to have absorbed the floor’s wood grain. I can’t remember ever seeing Fels Naptha sold in bars and hands down, Hodson’s has the finest selection of soda drinks ever. Forget Coke, Diet or otherwise, how about Birch Beer, Root Beer, Creme, Black Berry and others I can’t remember, all from Boylan’s, a NJ company operating since 1891. They also had a huge selection of Fanta sodas, grape, strawberry, and did I mention that all of these sodas only come in bottles?
My favorite part of the city is their fairgrounds because it is there the trotters run. I certainly couldn’t leave Converse without taking a few pictures of trotters that will race come June 5th – 8th 2013. And that brings me to Marguerite Henry’s Born to Trot, her classic story of the great trotter, Hambletonian.
It’s almost time for Santa, but before that great event (I’m in a household with four kids) we will be sitting down for a spaghetti dinner then off to Christmas Eve service. In the meantime, the trees are bare, there’s still some snow on the ground with more expected, and warm holiday wishes all around.