Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Gentle Residents of Casey County circa 1980
Earlier this week I was contacted by a fellow, Elam Oberholtzer, inquiring about the images he saw of the Mennonite community in Casey County, KY. He was thrilled to find the gallery because many of the pictures were of his family. He says the family left the order in 2006 and he is now teaching English in Indonesia.
A little perspective: 1980 was a rather crazy time. Joel Brinkley and I had won the Pulitzer in April and my youngest son Josh survived a near-fatal bout with bacterial meningitis. So, diving headfirst into the Mennonite project was cathartic.
He asked if he could get the digital files to make prints as his family doesn't have
internet. I told him I'd get prints made
Byron has caller-id and when he answered he says, "Hey, I know why you're calling."
"You do?" I asked.
""You're calling about the Oberholtzers. I was just there today, been home about
Next day, I get a second inquiry from another fellow, Alvin Shirk, wondering if I have any photos of his grandfather. The list of id's Elam gave me included the possibility that has grandfather was included; Alvin now says the man I photographed is someone else.
Today, another inquiry from a woman, Katrina Martin, saying she's from the community. Yep. Two of Jacob
I've spent most of this week going back through every frame on the film and scanning everything that might be of interest to the extended Mennonite community now spread out over the state Kentucky and halfway around the world.