Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family and Hoopeston History

This is me, my mom, my grandma and my great grandma in an iconic picture of us taken 30 years ago.

This is us yesterday. I can still sit in my great-grandma's lap! Do not let that wheelchair fool you. She's hella buffed.

Ok back to the corn.


My grandma tells me around here it's actually a mother's worst nightmare for a child to get lost in a corn field (she was not pleased with Doug's joke). Kids actually get lost out there, they've got to helicopter them out. Playing in the corn is forbidden.

This is my Mom and  Mr. Hoopes' house (I'm assuming the founder or whatever of Hoopeston).



There's an old official looking sign in front that you can see, and I'm assuming it used to be a historical site that you could go tour or something. It's totally shut up (and sort of deteriorating) today. Mr. Hoopes' house is in downtown Hoopeston. You can see that some of the streets are still paved in brick.


There was a big fire last month. An old factory where they were currently storing tires and shredding them for repurposing caught on fire. You can check out a video here: http://www.foxillinois.com/news/local/Hoopeston-Tire-Facility-Fire-212331591.html. There was a black cloud over the area, and the smell was intolerable. My great great grandfather worked at this factory.




This is a farming community. Like, in case the billion miles of farms didn't make that obvious. Back in the day, they grew vegetables and canned them, mostly sweet corn, tomatoes and asparagus,  at the factory. Hoopeston no longer grows a variety of vegetables, it is all corn and soy. The corn grown here is not eaten by humans anymore. Of course there are smaller batches of sweet corn grown locally, but all of these large corn fields are corn varieties for animals. I learned from my Uncle that the majority of corn grown in Illinois is used for chicken feed. Other regions of the United States grow corn for high fructose corn syrup, for cattle feed, for cereals, etc.

As the community changed so did it's population. Pillsbury came in here in the 80s, bought up some of the production companies and promptly closed them. Good way to eliminate the competition I guess. Jobs were lost and people left. There aren't a TON of abandoned houses, but this was one on the side of the country road we decided to snap some pictures of. This house was surrounded by corn fields (surprised?)



Hoopeston Cemetary has a lot of rules. Winter decorations only permitted through March 8th. Spring and Summer through Sept 21. Even after death the man is still in our ass about tacky decor!


Checked out some of my family history. This is my great grandma, who is still living and cradling me in her lap thus no end date, and my great grandpa's headstone. Behind them is my great grandfather's parents.



Back of great grandpa. Always looking out at a cornfield, even now :)

Corn field on both ends of the cemetary.

My great aunt sue at her husbands grave, my great uncle richard. Me striking a fab pose to honor him.


What about you? Did you ever meet your great grandparents, or set a big ass tire factory on fire?

8 comments:

  1. I love the new family photo AND that you kept the same clothing color scheme. To answer your questions, I don't remember meeting my great grandparents but I did use my great grandfather's down pillow for awhile (pausing so you can think about how disgusting that probably was). I finally realized it should be replaced when the feathers inside seemed to be clumping. I have never set fire to tires but my elementary school did have a surprising number of tire "attractions". The most exciting was the tire mountain, which I remember being HUGE but probably was not

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    1. We try to be fashionable. How nice that you had a hundred year old pillow bequeathed to you! That's love. Clumpy love, but love nonetheless. I was unaware that there was even such a thing as a tire "attraction", with the exception of a Firestone tire being attracted to blowing up on fire mid ride, but I look forward to swappin tire stories upon return.

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    2. We try to be fashionable. How nice that you had a hundred year old pillow bequeathed to you! That's love. Clumpy love, but love nonetheless. I was unaware that there was even such a thing as a tire "attraction", with the exception of a Firestone tire being attracted to blowing up on fire mid ride, but I look forward to swappin tire stories upon return.

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    3. We try to be fashionable. How nice that you had a hundred year old pillow bequeathed to you! That's love. Clumpy love, but love nonetheless. I was unaware that there was even such a thing as a tire "attraction", with the exception of a Firestone tire being attracted to blowing up on fire mid ride, but I look forward to swappin tire stories upon return.

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  2. Sorry, my comment about the family photo obviously belongs here. I echo Tanya's sentiments, but am disappointed you didn't bring along the Latino Mural for a backdrop. People love that mural and it would add a bit of flava (yes, Stan, flava) to your photo.
    Due to significant issues with alcohol and genetic predisposition, I have never met a great grandparent. I had a grandmother on my mom's side until I was 21, so that's pretty good.
    Big ass tire fires are not familiar, either. Nothing about your trip is even remotely familiar to me. I'm learning a ton. I'm also curious how long it would take for me to go into some kind of hypoglycemic shock after ingesting only corn and white bread for a week. I feel like I'd be hungry in Hoopeston.
    Come home now, Big Head

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    1. Kierst don't worry, we also have soy beans out here.

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  3. Yes, met my great grandfather, who lived until 101 and only spoke Japanese. But he gave us a $1 every time we saw him! Sadly, I never met my great grandmother but I have 2 quilts she made and I treasure them still!

    No tire fires or anything that traumatic in my dad's hometown of Hilo, although they survived a huge tsunami that wiped out the whole downtown. But that's another story.

    Yes, we miss you but love the family stories.
    S

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    1. Wow! 101 - you have some good genes. How cute that he gave you a $1 bill each time, and that's nice that you have the quilts - a good memory to remember her buy and to pass down to later generations.

      Many things in life are unpredictable, but I think my family may always be predictably entertaining (to me, anyway). Miss you all too! :)

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