One of the things that I feel like I’ve learned in the area of Genealogy is that no matter how far along you may be, there is always something or someone new, or challenging, or curious that is waiting around the corner. No matter how much information that I may have collected on one of my ancestors, I’m always still looking for just one more piece of information that will confirm things, or open up a new door for me to explore. It’s left me with the feeling that no matter how far I’ve come, or how far I still have left to go…each day is set up for me to explore and do it all again tomorrow.
My mom wakes me each morning of September 26 at 9am something with a message of “Hey Birthday Boy!” Through the last five or so years that’s transitioned into the phrase from my siblings “I’m glad you were born.” Kind of an inside family joke that has seen its share of birthdays across each other. Like clockwork, I would expect to receive a card with my age listed in circles on the outside just to make sure I remembered how old I’ve become. This year was no different.
As I’ve gotten older, birthdays aren’t what they used to be. In the past it would be a countdown filled with curiosity of what gifts may be coming my way. I could rely on a money filled card from my grandparents, one in person and one in the mail; gifts from my parents of which some I had asked for and others that I definitely had not. I was blessed to never have to worry about feeling special or loved. As I’ve gotten older, the gifts have been replaced with time spent with family…sometimes at a restaurant with embarrassing hats while I was sung to, and other times at home with a well cooked meal followed by a chocolate cake with cool whip icing. (if you haven’t tried it, I would recommend it)
I grew up in what I felt like was a small town. Greenfield, Indiana is the county seat of Hancock County which is directly east on I-70 from Indianapolis. Growing up, my knowledge of small and large was towns and cities. There really wasn’t an in-between, and since I didn’t live in Indianapolis, then I lived in a small town. My classmates from the Class of ’97 would agree.
My parents were Randall Richard Reed and Jeannine Ann Tidrow. They had married in 1973 in Greenfield, and first had my older brother (Ryan Richard Reed) a few years prior in the summer of ’76. My father was from Rossville, Indiana and had met my mother, who had split her growing up between Tipton and later Greenfield, Indiana, while attending Butler University in Indianapolis. Both of my sets of grandparents were still alive at the time of my birth and were a part of my life. Ernest Gaston Tidrow Jr. and Alice Adeline Spillman were living in my hometown, and Robert Joseph Reed and Norma Jean Hufford were living in Meridian, Mississippi.
The first house we had lived in was 1216 Melody Lane in Greenfield. A small 3 bedroom home that we lived in for the first 7 years of my life, it was filled with early memories. It was where I obviously achieved most milestones that infants and toddlers come across. It’s where we housed our first two puppies in Benji and Blackie that followed.
I was introduced to my older brother Ryan Richard Reed, and my younger brother Rhett Randall Reed. It’s where I learned to ride a bike, and later got in trouble with riding on the back of my first and only motorcycle with our “risky” neighbor Wesley. I still razz my older brother for ratting me out when I thought he was out of sight! It’s where I believe my mom strategically placed stick pins throughout our backyard where I still to this day think it became a game of how many I could step on walking barefoot outside. My swing-set was there, our elderly neighbors gave us fresh vegetables from their garden, and where I didn’t want to leave when we decided it was time for more space with three growing boys.
We picked up adventures at 200 Creek Wood Drive in Greenfield. It was a two-story house with a large backyard and sat across, what I thought, was a large woods full of adventure. This home served as our place of residence for over 15 years. My sister, Richelle Renae Reed, was born while we were here in 1986. As my brothers and I had grown very accustomed to being “the boys” it was an interesting twist that, at the time, were not ready to adjust to! However, I grew what I believed to be a tight bond with my sister in this house, and we were always there to give her a reason to cheer us on to try to take part in our video game adventures. We built an outdoor concrete slab that had a basketball goal and an above ground pool while we were here.
Our dog Blackie was still around at this time, but unfortunately decided that on one of his many adventures of getting out of our backyard that it was time to not come back. The woods that I mentioned earlier separated us from the Hancock County fairgrounds. Tractor Pulls, Demotion Derbies, and the Mosquito fog spraying truck would always send us on a mad spree around our home closing the windows during the summer after one of us would notice the happenings. I experienced quite a few life milestones in this home; a letter to Santa, neighborhood bonfires across the street, High School Graduation, first kiss, Prom, the near-death experience of my older brother Ryan from a careless ride on the back of a pickup truck, and the actual first experience of a death of a family member in my grandmother Alice Spillman. This will always be considered my home, and every now and then when I am passing through my hometown I’ll pass by to see how it’s holding up.
I graduated from Greenfield-Central High School in the Class of 1997. At the time, we were the largest graduating classes at the school. My last three years of attending we spent going through various stages of construction that transformed the place that my mother had graduated from in 1972, and where my grandfather, Ernest Gaston Tidrow Jr., had been the principal of since it’s inception in the late ’60s. I wasn’t the popular one of my brothers. Both of them were much more socially active than I. I preferred exploring our home computer or video games as I attempted to teach myself BASIC coding. I was in various clubs like German Club, National Honor Society, and Key Club. In my Freshman year I sang in Choir, played tennis, and was on the Freshman and Junior Varsity Basketball teams. My High School coach approached me prior to my Sophomore year that I could choose to continue to play Tennis and sing in Choir but if I did that I shouldn’t bother trying out for Basketball that year. Since my family was deeply rooted into this sport, I chose to sacrifice my interest in other things to focus on being a better player for our team and spent the last three years on the Varsity squad. I had the benefit of really not being bullied or picked on as a Freshman thanks to my older brother Ryan being a Senior at the time. I must say that it was extremely cool to go to school during that same period as he was successful as an athlete who later signed a full-ride athletic scholarship to play basketball for Ball State University.
I myself never developed a high enough skill to receive significant offers to play athletics for a Division I school. I had interest from smaller universities that I did explore, like the University of Chicago, but later decided that I would focus my time on school and working towards a career where I knew I would be successful in. Being 6’6″, considered the runt of my brothers in height, my brains are what carried me through school. During my summer of my Senior year, I went with some other kids from my school to Europe. We visited Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, France, and England. It was during the same week as the TWA crash out of JFK airport and it led to a very somber and terrified flight home. I wish that I would have been more aware of my ancestry at the time as I would have considered the stops in a few countries as a pilgrimage home.
I chose Butler University as my college of choice out of High School. I decided to attend the same University where my parents had first met, and where my grandfather had played basketball for Indiana legend Tony Hinkle. I went after an accounting degree, and found that I missed playing the sport that I grew up surrounded by in Basketball. I followed my older brother Ryan through his Senior year at Ball State with my dad as we attended many home and away games together. I spent many weekends at Indiana University visiting my friends Amanda and Jenny and their boyfriends. I later decided after my Freshman year that due to my more frequent visits to IU and my disinterest in Greek Life at Butler that I would attempt to transfer.
I spent the next few years in Bloomington finding myself and developing into the person that I am today. I say that I was born in Greenfield but made in Bloomington. So many positive memories and connections that I made while I was there, have me coming back as often as I can still today. After catching wind that my family was struggling to find the finances to continue to have me attend school, I took up an offer from my employer at the time, Old Navy, to leave school and pursue a career in retail.
Since I left IU in that Spring of 2001, I have been spending the rest of my years working in a variety of different retail locations; Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fossil, and currently at Apple. I moved around quite often with Fossil that took me to West Des Moines, Iowa; Denver, Colorado; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Dallas, Texas; and Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
I was able to return to school, thanks to a generous benefit of tuition reimbursement from Apple, via online at Indiana University-East. I completed by Bachelor’s in Business Administration in December of 2015. I can’t say that I’ve needed the degree to be successful in my career, but it was a promise I made to my grandfather, Ernest Gaston Tidrow, that I needed to fulfill in order to feel some sort of deeper connection.
In the Fall of 2012 I left Fossil to work for Apple so that I could be closer to home and minimize the amount of travel that I had experienced over the past four years. As I write today, I’m currently a first-time homeowner in a home that I built in November of 2016. It’s just me and my beautiful cat Stella that now call Westfield, Indiana home.
So where do I go from here? This blog entry obviously took some time to write. I never imagined it would be so difficult to touch on aspects of my life. What’s enough? What’s too much? These were all questions I had to leverage over the past month to determine how to approach this entry. I believe I’m going to focus on my maternal grandmother Alice Adeline Spillman next. I’ll share what I currently have from my Spillman line, and my MtFull Sequence from familytreedna.com. Here’s to a much more timely entry!