I find that people frequently ask Bruce and myself, “So how, do you like living in Mount Pleasant?” I don’t understand the question…
I suppose for many who know me and a bit about my past, it might be surprising to learn I live in a town with about 100 other people and no real stores. If you don’t know me, let me take a minute to provide some context. After graduating from college, I moved to Cleveland for 2 years where I lived right smack down town in the middle of high rises, and in walking distance to East 4th Street and West 6th. After finishing graduate school, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada for about 2 years, where I was a 15 minute cab ride from Las Vegas Boulevard. Then, when I went to doctoral school, I moved to State College, PA, full of all of the things I love about Pennsylvania: football, fall, Wegmans, and college towns. I kid you not when I say that less than 24 hours after moving to State College, I met Bruce.
He invited me to visit him the next weekend. I had never heard of the Northern Panhandle and had basically no concept of how I was traveling to Ohio by way of West Virginia. I didn’t imagine I’d live along the Ohio River, or how much I’d relish small town living. But, I do. I absolutely love living in Mount Pleasant, the place that has become our home and where we are growing our family. –Ok, really, I’m crying now, and I can’t continue. So, suffice to say that I love it here. I wanted to take a minute today to try to list some things that I love about my small town.
I find that I have a love/hate relationship with the Post Office. Mostly LOVE. Yes, we live in so small of a town that we don’t get local mail delivery. Talk about taking a step back into time! I like walking to the post office to get my mail. I like that our Postmaster is a sweet girl who always asks and cares how you’re doing. She even has signs up in the post office, offering to make you various K-cups of coffee and has a basket full of sweets to offer as well. I say love/hate because I can’t always get to the post office between the hours of 12:15-4:15 to pick up my mail and numerous packages (online shopping addict) and that’s really my only complaint.
I love that we can walk to church on Sundays. Since Cecelia’s arrival, we have been attending The First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant. Each Sunday, we place Cecelia in the stroller and walk up to church. We’ve actually only driven maybe 3 or times so far since March! I love our walks together as a family on Sunday mornings. I am looking forward to when Cecelia is older and will be walking on her own up the hill, without requiring the use of her stroller. I joke with her dad that he will be walking the kids up the hill to Sunday School (before church service), and I’ll stay home to get ready for service and have to walk up all by my lonesome.
The thing that I love the most about my small town is the people. From day one, when we first started working on this house, everyone has been encouraging, supportive, and positive about our taking over Mrs. Humphreyville’s house as our own. It’s funny, we are still deep in the throws of working on the house nearing 3 years this September and multiple times when one of us has been outside this past week we’ve received calls from people driving by “It’s looking good!!” “Keep up the good work!”
We live where a meeting with your pastor means a visit at your house with her daughter who wants to visit with your baby. Where, when you walk into church for the first time, you discover everyone there already knows who you are and where you live, even though you haven’t met any of them yet. I can remember coming home from church that first week, looking at Bruce and saying “everyone knew us, but we didn’t know them!” As well as, “we had a longer receiving line than the Pastor!” Everyone has been so nice and welcoming.
This weekend, we officially became members at church, and yet again I was struck by how welcoming and amazing everyone was. We are so lucky!
A few weeks ago, the former pastor of our church, and favorite unofficial town historian came to visit with us in the back pew. He told us about pictures he had of the Reid sisters, and how there was a plaque dedicated in their honor in the church entryway. We had discovered the plaque a few weeks earlier, and were so excited to hear more about that! He has promised to share the pictures and more soon…but how cool! Two of the women who lived in our house, one of which our kitten is named after, also went to our church! There are three churches in the town, but we could have guessed the Reid’s went to First Presbyterian, we just hadn’t put it together yet! Again, small town life. ❤️
We also spent this Sunday evening visiting with lots of church members at a local farm (overlooking maybe the best view in our area) learning about community service and the Lions Club. Cecelia is so loved by everyone in our town, she even spent time walking around and visiting with one of our neighbors this evening. She loved revert second of the attention and was SO good! Everyone here does so much for the community, and it’s truly special and exciting to be around people who care so much about others.
Here’s a picture of C giggling inside the house, during our visit. (Ok, maybe two, I couldn’t pick!)
A funny thing has happened, that really made me pause and say “WHERE do we live?!?” That was when after our first week at church, when a congregation member sent us a piece of mail, that was postmarked and delivered, with the following address:
Mount Pleasant, Ohio
No PO Box number, or street name, lol. I could not believe that made it into our box and to the right place!
One of the coolest things to happen to me so far happened a few weeks ago
I was on my way up to the Post Office, when I heard someone call “Melissa!” from across the street at the bank. I walked over to the corner, while she was leaned over, getting something out of another part of her car.
She came over and introduced herself. She and her husband own the pharmacy in the next town over, and she’s been reading our blog! It always blows my mind when I find people who I haven’t met before or don’t have a direct connection to us read our blog. I mean, I realize – it’s the Internet – but it still is crazy to me. I started this to keep track of what we’ve completed for us, and to show pictures in one place to my family and best friends out of town. I digress…
So, she goes on to tell me that she and her family used to make deliveries from their pharmacy to Agnes aka Mrs. Humphreyville for years. I nod my head, and say something about wishing we had met her or that she could have seen the house. She tells me, like many others, how beautiful the house was when Agnes lived here. I echo how I’ve heard this and that I wish we could have seen it. The house was pretty bad by the time we purchased it…well you know, you’ve seen the pictures here!
To my surprise she tells me, “I know. I read your blog…”
Internal dialogue… Duh-Melissa-she just told you she read your blog, why didn’t you think of that! You’ve written about it, probably ad nauseam
“I read your blog, and I told my husband, I think I have something of Agnes’ that I can give them”
She then hands me a pair of mittens and says she’s not sure if we’d want these…but Agnes made them. What!?!? Not sure if we’d want them!!! I think I stared, open mouthed in response. Are you sure? I asked. She tells me how she and her husband had two boys, and every winter at Christmas, Agnes would knit two pair of mittens for the boys and gift them to the family in part as thanks for delivering to her home. She’d like us to have them, so that we can have something from Agnes directly and so that something of Agnes’ can be back in the house. I was so touched.
This is just one little moment and time where I know we are in the right place. This town, these people…it’s all magical. There’s few places in America where someone goes out of their way to search for something in their home for another person. To give away a gift that was given to their own children to a stranger. We actually have something of Agnes’!!! And not just something she owned, like maybe a piece of furniture or something…but something she MADE!!! When Bruce came home that evening and I told him the story, he couldn’t believe it. We are so lucky!! I cannot echo that enough.
In summary, to the question, “How do you like living in Mount Pleasant…?”
I love it. We love it. There’s no better place to watch our children grow up. We plan to be here a LONG time, and maybe, if we are lucky, some day our house will be known by all those in town as “The Clark House.” We should only be so lucky. ❤️❤️❤️