DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

February 8, 2008

                                                           

                                      

Easts on the West

I’ll give you my opinion as to what I think is the main theme for people living in Dublin. Perhaps I should amend that and say, here is the main theme for anyone living in the Dublin/Powell/Hilliard environs…”Change.”

Change.

The changes around here are so fast, so pervasive that long-timers (which I will define as anyone who has lived here over 15 years. I get to make the definitions here; these are my weekly writings.) are constantly surrounded by reminders of that which was. Recently someone was talking about how Sawmill Rd was only two lanes as recently as 10 years ago and that the only restaurants there were Pizza Hut and something else.

I am not really sure of that. I seem to remember Sawmill being 4 lanes as long ago as 15 years, but I am not certain and besides, the main idea is that the change has been so great in such a short time that people believe Sawmill was but 2 lanes in say, 1998.

I hear it here at Dublin Community Church… “at one time our church used to be the only church in Dublin.” While one would think you would get used to all the other churches around here, apparently some don’t. This area has boomed and what was once a sleepy town where folks drove through on 33/161 in order to get to or escape Columbus, has become a destination in itself. Speaking of us being the only church in town, I did a wedding this past year. One of the groomsmen (not a church member) informed me that this church was formed when a tornado in 1912 knocked down 10 other churches. (!) I told him I thought it was two. He said it was ten. I didn’t argue. His is a much more exciting story of epic proportions. Though one has to wonder at the size of those 10 churches in 1912…Dublin was so small that each would have had about 16 members. I suppose it proves that if we are then comfortable with the rapid change around here, then we make our history even more grand. (For the record, I am well aware that DCC was formed from three previous Dublin churches when a tornado knocked down 2 of them and left one standing – our building.)

Not long ago I was in a town where I used to live and minister. Naturally there were lots of changes to the landscape which had me marveling at this and that road which was not there when I lived in the area. I looked at the new stores, strip malls and big box stores. None of them were around when I lived there. How did this place, which I thought I knew so well, come to be a place which was alien to me?

I drove by one former farm in the area. I knew the owners of the farm. I ministered to their family. When one of the members of that family died, I drove out to their farm house and sat in their kitchen as we spoke of the deceased and made funeral plans. I drank coffee at their kitchen table and spoke of and prayed for “grandma” who had recently died.

The house is now gone. I sat in my car in the parking lot of the fast food diner now on the lot. What used to be the kitchen is now a smooth parking lot and about 100 feet away I could now order a hamburger and milk shake. The soybean fields in back are now a cost-cutting super store. I could go there and buy a plasma TV for $700 if I wanted. When grandma died, the only thing out the back window of the farmhouse were crops. I felt older for having lived through such a change.

 

I went to three schools in Lima. My elementary school was about 5 years old when I went to Kindergarten. My Junior High was about 45 years old when I arrived in 7th grade. My Senior High school was about 8 years old when I got to 10th grade. They are all gone now. Gone. Torn down and grass is growing over every single one of them. The good news is that the students of Lima have brand new schools. They passed a bond levy. The state of Ohio assisted with funds for economically depressed Lima. They built. They tore down.

That’s why I was so delighted when a friend gave me a set of three photos, each of the three schools where I attended. The buildings are all torn down. All I have are photos on my office wall and lots of memories. I keep asking myself how they could tear down my elementary school when “it was only a few years old when I started there!” But…I started there 50 years ago. I forgot. Time has passed. I imagine the hardwood floor of the gym had since warped. I imagine the windows were a bit drafty, even after retro-fitting. The heating plant was outdated. It wasn’t when I was there. But, when I was there Ike and Mamie were in the White House. That was quite awhile ago.

Back in the early 1970’s my Great Aunt Gladys mentioned to me that one of our relatives’ cemeteries around Lima was out off of Easttown Rd. On my mother’s side of the family were her mother’s distant family whose name was East. They settled on the west side of Lima which accounts for the incongruous East Road and Easttown Rd on the immediate west side of the city. So, old Aunt Gladys told me about the even older East Cemetery out there. I went with a couple friends and we found it. We asked the owners of the house if we could walk along their property to the very old decrepit cemetery out back. I explained that I was an “East relative.” They said, “certainly.” But their neighbor saw these four college kids back at the cemetery and promptly called the sheriff who came out and nearly arrested us.

The cemetery looked un-kept in 1972. I visited it again around 1990. It looked worse. A few years later my mom mentioned that she was contacted as one of the few living relatives of the East family. She said that Meijer’s wanted to buy the land and put up a store and needed approval for the County Commissioners to move the remains of the Easts. She said it was OK with her since the cemetery was quite sad and to have the remains and the names carved on a marble marker and placed in another township cemetery seemed more respectful than what had befallen the East Cemetery over the years. I agreed.

A few years ago I returned to the location of the East Cemetery there on the west side of town. Meijer’s store is there now. It looks nice. I trust it has given people jobs and a place to shop. Once again I found myself sitting in a smooth parking lot surveying the land and what it used to look like. I could get my bearings from where two roads made an intersection and had for probably 150 years. I calculated where the Easts first started to bury their deceased family members…my ancestors. After a few minutes I had it.      According to my calculations, my great-great-great grand daddy would have been buried just about where the parking lot cart return now was located. It was a touching moment.

And now I realize that just like every Dubliner,  “change” is a major theme in my life also.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing