I grew up in Fort Wayne Indiana. My husband Dave and I both went to the schools on the south side, and played in Foster Park. We bought our first home on Fairfield, a big American Four Square Arts and Crafts Style monster. I loved that home, and still miss it. We had intended to raise our daughter Eden there, right where we had ridden our bikes and just blocks from the prettiest park in town, AND her grandparents. Unfortunately, the longer we were there, the more homeowners moved away, retiring to Florida, etc, and thus leaving their homes as rentals. Great for the homeowner, not so good for us, the homeowners still there trying to hang onto the value and quality of our beloved neighborhood.
Eleven years ago, after much searching, we moved our little daughter and all our furry kids to a farm-house outside Antwerp, Ohio – just the other side of the state line. The actual town of Antwerp is five miles away, and is a quiet little town with a k-12 school, and a couple of churches and traffic lights. In the 11 years I have lived in Ohio, I have worked as a photographer there exactly three times. I don’t know why. They have their own favorites (probably hometown people), and maybe they don’t know I’m here. I still work a lot in Fort Wayne, our nearest booming metropolis, and in Lima, also a much larger town.
Last year I saw on Facebook that a young local man had been in a terrible accident and the family needed help. A local church was throwing a fund-raiser and I contacted them and asked how I could help. I ended up donating a couple of portrait gift certificates to auction off. It made me feel good to do something for someone in the town where our girl went to school. Lindsay Lepper Clem called me and asked if we could save her gift certificate for the following fall, and just a few weeks ago she called to set up that appointment. I was pretty psyched to meet someone from my town, and to work right down the road instead of getting on the highway. It was cool!
When they met me at the park, and piled our of their van it reminded me of The Sound of Music. Little beautiful stairsteps of humanity bounced out and walked up to me in very polite way to say hello and introduce themselves. Regan and Lindsay have the nicest children, and they are so pretty to look at, but then look at their parents. We walked and watched for pretty light, and noticed the leaves and the water. Being with little ones, you tend to see things so differently. It’s such a gift! I love these photos.
Antwerp, call me! Anyone who lives in Paulding County gets 30% off any regularly priced service! That’s always true. I’d love to work close to home, in my own town more often. Hire a local girl, even if I am new in town.