by Laurel

The first time I ever saw Marion,  was in April 1969.
My husband had just gotten a job with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, and we made the trip from Lexington to Marion on a Friday
morning to look for a place to live.  He was to report to work in a
week at the now-defunct Dam , so the decision that would change our
lives forever was made in a very short time.  We had only been married
for four months and we were dirt-poor, to say the least.  Our trip was
made with mixed feelings -- both of us were from large cities (Los
Angeles and Chicago) -- and I really didn't know if I was up to living
in such a small community.  All I knew was that Marion was somewhere
in western Kentucky and that there were no really big towns nearby.
 As we sped down the Western Kentucky Parkway in our 1967 Mustang,
we were in awe as the scenery unfolded before our eyes.  Mile after
mile we noticed that the land looked different from that around
Lexington.  The hills were not as high, the trees looked a little
different, and the farms were not as neat as those back East.  The
closer we got to Princeton, the more uneasy I got.  There was NOTHING
in this part of the country, and I began to feel unhappy and very

 We finally exited the Parkway and made the turn onto Highway 91.
Our new home lay just ahead a short 25 miles.  The closer we got to
Marion the more upset I became.  Everything looked run-down and not
very hospitable.  I wanted to see nice homes with neat, manicured
lawns, but instead we saw small frame houses, some with yards full of
junk.  I was heartbroken and thought that I would never be able to
last out here amongst the "heathens."  At last we approached Marion,
and it was as if we had driven into a time warp.  The town looked as
if time had stood still for the past thirty years.  I was not

 Downtown consisted of about two blocks of stores -- most looked
as if the light of day had not entered their windows in a century --
and there were just two stoplights.  There was the courthouse in the
center of town, neat and surrounded by trees, and there was the
newspaper office, our first destination.  After a day of searching,
and with a little help from a few good souls, we finally found a house
for rent that we could afford.  It was a hundred-year-old monstrosity
with no heat, 12-foot ceilings, and a huge, over-grown yard.  We
didn't even have furniture let alone a lawnmower, but fools that we
were, we rented it anyway.

 The step back in time that we made all those years ago was not as
traumatic as we originally thought.  The community has grown up over
the years, and like most towns around the country, we can brag that
we, too, have a Pizza Hut.  In a sense, though, time has stood still
here and all you have to do is drive about fifteen miles north of here
to see The Land That Time Forgot.  The Amish remind us of a more
simple way of life, and that is really not so bad.  Does this city
slicker regret moving to such a backward hick place?  No way!  We have
raised our two children here, we both have good jobs, own our own
home, and are not afraid to leave our house and car unlocked.  Some of
the houses still look run down, and some of the yards are still
littered with junk, but that is not what makes a town home.