Union City News: Volunteer and love your neighbor


Fifty-five years ago, a young couple moved to Union City. My husband Phil had a new teaching job at Randolph Eastern School Corporation. Just graduating from Ball State Teachers College (yes it was not yet a University), Superintendent of Schools Dee Hand interviewed and hired him. We drove to Union City one evening for me to see the town, and as we turned north on S.R. 32, we could see the lights of this little town on the state line of Indiana and Ohio, I fell in love with the town that would be our home for all these years.

Husband Phil taught for 37 years in the same building, always mentoring, encouraging and teaching young people. Those junior high years are difficult, but he made it fun to learn. He served this wonderful town as city judge for 12 years, and finally almost four years as mayor. I, in turn worked in Randolph County off and on for all these years too.

Becoming involved in the community was encouraged by everyone. Jaycees, Boy Scout leaders, sororities, church, forming new volunteer groups and more was just a part making lifelong friends and helping the community. That is what we did. We loved it.

Raising our two children in this community has been a great experience, one I would not trade for anything. Our grandchildren visited here and fell in love with the small-town atmosphere as well. They loved walking uptown for a coke, candy bar or visiting the Rotary stand for sausage sandwiches during State Line Heritage Days, our grandchildren learned about us and how we loved this community.

Moving into a house built in 1903, it became our home became our refuge, a place to raise of our family, share time with friends, sit on the front porch, pray in, laugh in and be sad at times. But now it is time to sell it to a new family, who will build their own memories and love this town as much as we do. Our daughter, wrote this recently and I thought I would share it with you also.

“Now I lay me down to sleep,

In the household of my youth,

So many memories, still strong and still so true.

From 1973 through 2017,

my family has lived here and

What a great house it has been.

School days, hot summers and driveways full of snow,

Sleepovers, parties, a fun place to go.

My kids came as well, to the little town in two states,

Fast time, and slow time, and family time was great.

My retired parents are moving back to where it began,

to the county next door;

their new life, their new plans.

Now I lay me down to sleep for a few more winks,

in my childhood bedroom, that used to be full of pink.

Now the room is nearly empty,

the goods are all packed.

I’ll leave this house tomorrow,

and I’ll never be back.

Now I lay me down to sleep in this house that was my home,

a place where I played, the place where I have grown.

The sight and scent of this home are my best memories;

I’ll place them in my heart,

where they’ll always be close to me.

#617northcolumbiastreetunioncityindiana47390”

As you can see I am so very proud of our two beautiful and talented children we raised in this town. Adding four grandchildren and three bonus grandchildren for a total of seven, just puts us over the top with joy. But life moves along and we get a little older, needing a one-story home that required little maintenance, prompted us to look at condos. After looking at a few, we fell in love with one, but it takes us back to our home roots in Delaware County, Indiana.

It will be there that we spend our quiet years. Sure, we will be back, but it won’t be every day and I will miss that too, so my challenge to you to is to find an organization, step up and volunteer. Many are busy with raising a family, but find a way to sneak in a few hours a month. Join the Lions Club, Rotary, a sorority, Preservation Society of Union City, IN-OH. Take cookies to the police department, or the city building (we do have two Indiana and/or Ohio. Maybe the schools could use a volunteer, assisted living, find a church home, or Brianna’s Hope can always use assistance. I could go on and on with the possibilities, but you get the idea.

Get involved in the Arts, so much happens in Union City with the arts. The Arts Depot director Vicki Vardaman always has a plan in place and is busy working on the 2017 Union City Arts Festival. Carol Strock Wasson Gallery, is a very busy place, with lessons, guest artists, and professional art always on display. The recently opened Artisan Loop, offers a variety of arts and craft classes at the corner of Oak and Howard Streets. The Art Gallery was formed a few years ago showcasing the work of artists in the area. Many are professional, some just beginning. Including pottery, visual arts, fiber arts, soaps, locally harvested honey, jams, jellies, granola and so much more.

Antiques, you name it Union City has it now with five antique shops. A fun way to browse through town. Most are open on the weekends. And one of the best Mexican restaurants in the state is Luz Taco’s, but we also have Neil’s A&W, Bousers Barn, D’s Restaurant, Woodcrest Lanes delicious pulled pork, Buckeye Beer & Wine makes a great pizza and Pizza King, Pizza Hut, and Subway and more…

A beautiful newly reopened full line grocery store Suttons Foods has just opened and is a delight to walk through and see the new items on the shelf. Just today I discovered “cotton candy” grapes and they are delicious. Barb Landess-Gentry took a leap of faith and opened an eclectic consignment store. Gary Elliott, a local graduate opened Whitestone Computers, Shelly King, also a local graduate purchased the Corner Cupboard, Sandie Birum and Jana Bruggaman both opened florists here and both are local girls. Melinda Stachler a local graduate returned to Union City to purchase Peterson Tax Service. Ryan Prinkey and his wife returned here where Ryan is an attorney and Cari is a pharmacist. Bryan Conklin returned to his roots to serve as Mayor and started a now national firm with two other partners also from Union City, David Zimmers and Nathan Conklin.

Didier Hardware is a great hardware store and rental store. Garden supplies, bolts, tools, you name it they have it. And the original Montano Lumber Store remains open and is worth a visit too, original hardwood floors and many of the old original fixtures remain, taking you down memory lane the moment you enter the store. Two drug stores, Kaup’s Pharmacy and Rite Aid, the continual expanding KBI, AAA Interstate, Applegate, just to name a few more. The list goes on and on, but this article must end.

Union City, Indiana is on track to being a Stellar Community, call Monte Poling or Mayor Bryan Conklin, and say, how can I help? Pick up trash, or ask your neighbor to cut the branch on a tree for them that blocks an intersection, help a neighbor plant flowers, please just pay it forward.

The world is tough out there, but many good people remain. Take it upon yourself, to find a way to help and do something positive. I know you will. With the recent announcement from the Randolph County Economic Development Foundation Board a report from County Economic Development Director Greg Beumer on a prospective United States Postal Service Contract to replace its mail delivery trucks, Union City will always be striving to achieve. How exciting is this?

You can do this Union City, we love you so much, and hopefully have left a legacy you will remember and perhaps share with your children and/or grandchildren.

So, as I sign off for the last time… volunteer and love your neighbor and neighborhood no matter where you are.

By Linda DeHaven

Union City News

Linda DeHaven is the new author of the weekly column Union City News for The Daily Advocate. She may be reached at ldehaven67@gmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.