A Project for Students and Citizens

Living Democracy in Marion: Week Ten

In Marion on August 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Marion Week 10 1Marion Deserves Big Thank You

By Catherine Tabor

There are many things I can say about the last ten weeks I’ve spent in Marion. I learned a lot about Marion, the rural South, the Black Belt, and myself.  I also learned a grand life lesson: Nothing ever works out as planned.

marion week 10 pic 4I came into Marion thinking that I would change it, in some way, for the better. I was going to bring the community together. I was going to educate the youth. I was going to do things to help Marion. What I didn’t expect was that Marion would change and help me.

None of what I had planned ever came to fruition. The documentary, the festival, the mock trial and chess teams, or anything else I had envisioned when I was in a classroom at Auburn University. But none of it had to because that’s not what Marion wanted or needed this summer. And it wasn’t what I needed either.

I could list and state all of the things that I did end up accomplishing this summer, but instead of touting my success, I want to praise and thank Marion for their utter successes.

First, I would like to thank Katrina Easley, my community partner and county extension coordinator for Perry County’s branch of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Without her, I would not have had the contacts I needed to do or attempt to do any of my projects. Nor would I have been able to get around town. Katrina was an invaluable asset, and I am so grateful I had her as I was working my way through Marion.  As I’m thanking Katrina, I would also like to thank Melanie Hogue, the administrative support associate, who helped me get into contact with Katrina, took down countless messages, and answered any inquiries I had.

Second, I would like to thank Judson College for allowing me to stay at Elmcrest, the oldest building on campus, and for being so helpful when I had anyMarion week 10 pic 5 questions. Even if the question was as simple as, “Where’s the dumpster?” the staff at Judson was always more than happy to answer. The campus was beautiful, and the food in the dining hall was fantastic.

Third, I would like to thank the Marion Presbyterian “Women in the Community” Book Club for welcoming me with open arms. The ladies in that group were some of my first contacts in Marion and the first I made on my own. Thank you for being there with me, ladies. I hope you have lots of good books to read in the future.

Fourth, I’d like to thank Mr. Charles Flaherty, owner of As Time Goes By, for always sharing his cool stories and for running a really nice bookstore that I will miss. I probably bought at least 30 books when I was in Marion and I think I spent maybe $15 on them all.

There are so many more people I need to thank and absolutely no way I’ll remember them all.  In no particular order, here are some more of the spectacular people I met on my journey in the Black Belt. Thank you to Zion United Methodist Church and Mrs. Childs in particular. Thank you for welcoming me at that first service and for allowing my family and me to volunteer at your Vacation Bible School. We had a blast. Thank you, Marion Presbyterian, for also allowing me to partake in a service and to the generous person who bought my mom’s and my lunch at Kalico Kitchen following the service.

week 10 pic 3Thank you to Frances Ford and everyone at Sowing Seeds of Hope. Thank you for helping out whenever I needed it. Thank you to Carli Ludlow and Chelbie Greenhaw for being there to drive me around and bounce ideas off of. The sports camp, although short-lived, was an experience.  Mr. Don Coley, thank you for sharing your wonderful folk are with me. I hope you get better soon.

Thank you to the Marion-Perry County Library and Searria Easley for helping me with the book giveaway. Thank you to Jean Dean Reading Is Fundamental in Auburn for donating books. Thanks again to Sowing Seeds of Hope for the Frisbees. Thanks to Golden Flake for donating the bags of chips. And a big thank you to everyone who came.

Nursing Home Art show pic1Thanks to both Southland and Perry County nursing homes. Spending time with the residents was really a lot of fun. Seeing their artwork on display was such a joy, but seeing how happy they were was just amazing. And I’ll definitely visit in the future.  Finally, thank you to my mom and my family for helping me in this endeavor. I couldn’t do it without you. Thank you so much.

Marion, Ala., was a town I knew almost nothing about a year ago. I learned a little in the months leading up to the start of my Living Democracy Fellowship, but I learned the most when I was in the town. Thank you. Like Carrie Underwood sings, “I will see you again. This is not where it ends.” So, Marion, until next time.

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