I transferred to Goshen College in 1981 and graduated in ’84. As it happened, in ’81 my parents, who were living in South Texas, decided to move to Goshen for my dad to go back to college in Hispanic ministries. My dad and I were students; for one year, we overlapped. People kept asking if he was my husband because he was, like, early 40s, jet-black hair. He got his degree, and then my mom – who had been a teacher’s aide for many, many years – decided to go back to school. So my last year there, my mom and I were students at the same time. And then people kept asking if she was my sister.
Sixteen years after I graduated, I was recruited to Goshen College to the library director position. I was there until 2014 and then recruited to be the Elkhart Public Library director.
When my husband and I moved here, it wasn’t the same Goshen as it had been 16 years previously. During those 16 years, whenever I would come visit my parents, I would see more and more Mexican restaurants and markets springing up. I would see Latino people on the streets and I would say, ‘Wow, this place is diversifying,’ at least in a way that felt familiar to me.
Most of my social life and a lot of my cultural life is in Goshen. Our circle of friends is here. We love coming to First Fridays. The little local businesses like The Gift of G.A.B. Goshen’s Alternative Boutique, Soapy Gnome, and The Imagination Spot that have cropped up are great. The variety of events here is sort of eclectic, especially for Goshen being as small as it is.
Goshen has a lot of good folks who care about community, both in its micro sense – different neighborhoods and connections between them – and its macro sense, the overall community of Goshen. There are so many people here who care about other people feeling like they belong here, and are willing to work together to make sure that people know they are welcome. And people feel a sense of belonging, a sense of pride. People are always working at, ‘OK, what’s the next thing we can do to bring people together, to celebrate together, maybe even to address thorny issues together?
Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King
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