Written by cycleguy on December 6th, 2015

We didn’t grow up in Spencer, Indiana. I grew up in a suburb of the big city of Pittsburgh (Pop: gazillion). Jo grew up in several places, but calls Sandusky, OH home. (Pop: 35,000+)

So…how did we end up in a little town called Spencer (Pop: 3000 on a good day); Owen County (pop: about 22,000+ on a good day); Indiana?

It is a long story that may be told here some day, but not this time. We moved here in November of 2005 (just celebrated 10  years…along with Diana, the church secretary…errr, office manager…who started the same week I did). I had pastored a church in Terre Haute for 13 years (1987-2000) and Sandusky (2000-2005). We used to drive through Spencer on the way to Bloomington or Salem or Nashville (IN). I always saw it as a quaint town without much to attract a person to.

My view has changed. From the moment we came, the church has welcomed us with open arms. As I/we became more entrenched in the community, and as I became more involved, the community has also opened their arms to me. Jo working for the BMV didn’t hurt any since she was a good, solid worker who showed a lot of patience.

I consider Spencer my hometown. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce board and the New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center board, a volunteer at the Tivoli theater, and general all-around Sanguine (much to Jo’s rolling of her eyes), I am excited to call Spencer my home town. This past Saturday, our “downtown” was showcased. There is a lot of revitalization being done and many new shops, small businesses and store fronts are being opened and remodeled. An excellent coffee shop (Main Street Coffee) run by the Hogan family (Josh & Brianne and their 7 children) also sells my favorite tamales (Bivi’s Tamales…a lady from the church who knows how to make real tamales). A new Thai restaurant. The Dragonfly Gallery, a quaint but cool little store. Diamond K Sweets (some of the best, mouth-watering chocolate you will ever taste). And more are coming. It is fun watching “my” hometown perk up.

Jo & I also spent Saturday afternoon watching kids “mall” sugar cookies, icing and sprinkles as part of a big indoor carnival. The ladies from the church provided the cookies for Linda, one of our ladies who helps with the fishing team. You would be proud of me…no sugar cookies for me. 🙂  I’m not fond of them. However, if they had been chocolate chip…LOOK OUT!

Small towns will make a comeback, I predict. At least I think Spencer will. I’m proud to be a part of helping and watching Spencer be one of them. I anticipate even more in the future.

Just a little small town nostalgia for you… What do you remember about your hometown?


21 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I can see where your heart is … no need to wonder or guess.

  2. Linda Stoll says:

    What a cool place to hang your hat, Bill! I’m enjoying getting to know my new home town … just about everything I need is about a 5 minute drive away. So much more convenient than the 30 minute jaunt back in NY.


  3. Still live in my hometown of Hyde Park(around 21,000), NY. Best know for being the hometown of FDR. I used to hate this place but God has planted a deep love for it, longing for the day when it turns its collective heart towards Him.

  4. Pam says:

    My memories of my hometown center mostly around family–the everyday visits and connections. It is one of the things I miss living so far away from them all.

    • cycleguy says:

      I live a long way from my family and Jo’s is mostly gone, except for a brother who lives in Alabama and a sister who still lives in Sandusky.

  5. Jacci says:

    My hometown is Spencer, and I am glad you and Jo are part of it ;). I moved here when I was 7, and I was quick to leave after high school. I can only imagine the teens from Nazareth felt the same way. But, coming back to raise my kids, I hope they are proud of what the town has turned into. Maybe one of them will make their home here :).

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m glad we are a part of it also jacci. If not we would never have met you, Andy and the kids. Who knows? maybe one of yours will decide to make this their home.

  6. Betty Draper says:

    To me a “small town” meant there was spaces of empty land between the next town, usually farm land. When we first moved to Simi Valley, Ca. I remarked to a friend that it seemed like she lived in the middle of town and I lived at one end of it. She just laughed and said, really Betty, it’s a small town. It’s been a little over 3 years and I can say, it’s getting smaller, and the why is people. We have come to know lots of people. Now when I go to a store I run into people I know, some from church, bible studies and businesses we use over and over. Due to our vocation we have lived in so many place here and overseas. We have been a part of a “small community” in some unique places. All that to say, a small town feel comes from joining a group of people for a common cause, whether it be in a village tucked in the jungle, to a huge city, or a small farm town. I have friends who have never lived anywhere but our hometown and I love connecting with them. Also love to connect with those we lived around in Bolivia, SA or Papua New Guinea. Yep, for me, it’s the people that give the “small town feel” to where ever we have lived. Thanks Bill for this post, it reminded me to be thankful for where ever God’s plants me and be a light for Him.

    • cycleguy says:

      I found that people make all the difference in the world Betty. A town is only as friendly as the people. You are right also: spread the light where we are.

  7. Kari Scare says:

    My and my husband’s childhood hometown is Colon, Michigan, the Magic Capitol of the World. Should be obvious what makes it unique. Come to think of it, our hometown for the past 22 years has a name that also makes its uniqueness obvious – Three Rivers, Michigan. Great place to raise a family.

  8. Diane says:

    Sounds like a wonderful place!

  9. Sadly, I didn’t grow up in a small town and, outside of school, really never had a sense of community when I was young. Danny and I live in Kennesaw, GA, which has a small-town feel even though we have a sprawling university nearby, and I’m excited, too, to see how the downtown area is being revitalized. Amazing thing in this shaky economy!
    Glad you are happy to be living where you are.
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Tami Grandi says:

      I have friends who live in Acworth so have been that way often (before I moved north from Knoxville). You are right- Kennesaw is a small town feel- all of those little towns are (they used to live in Roswell which I loved)

  10. I consider Townsend, where I live, my hometown. We have 300 in the city limits, maybe 3000 in our zip code. I love it except for the no good internet at my house.

  11. Ed says:

    I still live in my hometown of Las Vegas. I remember the street we used to live on, as we had our own little community. All the fathers worked at the same casino. Sometime during the 80s the city of Henderson, which was considered quite a drive from Las Vegas, merged with Las Vegas. So we basically ended up moving from central Las Vegas, to what was the the outskirts of Henderson. About 2 years after we moved here, that is no longer the case.
    We moved to Miami briefly in the 1970s, for about two years, but it didn’t work out and we moved back here. I don’t know if I would be willing to move away again, but then again…only the Lord knows.