Until the last year I had little or none of this information and began tracking it down. My wife lovingly arranged a surprise trip to the heartland November 2016. I wanted and needed on-site visual reference about the land and circumstances of my father’s family. I knew there would be much to absorb and take in, but nothing prepared me for the night of November 8, 2016 as we watched Hillary lose. We had spent the night in Indianapolis and saw first hand signage repeatedly relating to the repressive LGBT threats by Governor Pence and then watched the election results in our hotel room. We were stunned along with much of the nation. Southern Illinois and Indiana were ripe with billboards raging against Women’s rights and protrump. Most discouraging were the rural towns near where my grandfather’s farm had been. They were abundant with confederate flags, obvious unemployment. Homes and farms were in disrepair and had been for decades. It suddenly occurred to me that I did not recognize my country and it seemed devoid of hope. Hard to believe the election of a spray-tanned, bottle bleached, frowning despot was going to bring the country back.
In the search for my ancestral homestead there was a big gulp for the future instead.