Center of the Universe aka Dowagiac, MI

When I told one of the Executives at my last Company what I was doing he was wildly supportive, in fact everyone has been supportive, what a lucky lady I am! Shortly after I went public with my idea he approached me to tell me that his parents were excited about my journey and wanted to host me in Dowagiac, Michigan. Where? I had never heard of this town which didn’t mean much because I had never even been to Michigan, it turns out it is a tiny town with a big personality.

Thelda and Fred Mathews welcomed me with open arms into their home. They had activities planned for the entirety of my trip beginning with a cook out at their son’s home down the road. The next day was followed by a tour of the local community college, Southwestern Michigan College which Fred played a major role in founding in 1964. The facilities were incredibly impressive complete with a huge well equipped gym and a climbing wall. I have never liked climbing. I don’t know which is more painful, gripping on to the side of an object with just my fingertips or wearing that unflattering harness. I hate that harness look so much that if I had to climb I might even consider risking my life to climb without those unflattering straps.

Back to the tour…after my morning at the College, Fred passed the baton off to Thelda who gave me a art tour around town. As the Chair of the local fine arts festival Thelda has been incredibly instrumental in getting sculptures placed throughout town. She has done such a good job that they dedicated the 14th sculpture in town, “Solitude” by artist Tuck Langland to her.

Due to her work with sculpture the Mathews have become good friends with sculptor Tuck Langland and his wife Janice. We were able to join them in their home for a tour of Tuck’s studio prior to heading to dinner at Notre Dame. The studio was amazing, to take a step into a working sculpting studio was incredibly inspiring. The talent was visible in every nook and cranny, finished and unfinished pieces alike showcasing Tuck’s skill. I have never truly tried to sculpt anything beyond my years in Play Doh but I wanted to dive my hands into that clay, however, I didn’t want to embarrass myself and our dinner bell aka reservations were calling.

I had little knowledge of my exact location and was surprised when they told me we were going to be dining at Notre Dame. Notre Dame? Like THE Notre Dame? Clueless. Any confusion was cleared up as we drove onto campus and I saw the infamous golden dome.

I had an amazing time being introduced to the “Center of the Universe” as the Mathews often referred to Dowagiac and am thankful to my hosts and my time spent there. It is always wonderful to meet new people doing cool things within their community. I also left with new friends and my heart swelled when Fred told me to call if I got into trouble, they would come to me if I needed them. Such wonderful people.

I sadly didn’t take pictures while I was visiting Dowagiac, not sure how I missed that important step. Below is an image taken from the dedication of the sculpture (from left to right Janice, Tuck and Thelda).

Langland Mathews

Janice & Tuck Langland and Thelda Mathews with “Solitude”

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