Eastward, Ho!

Farmhouse at Sunset
Ranch House with flower garden
We’ve loved our time in Sunnyvale, but it’s time to move to Cullom, Illinois. 

We’ve loved our time in Sunnyvale, but it’s time to leave “Crow City” and move to Cullom, Illinois. 

There is more of a connection between the two places than you may have thought. The first ever investor in semiconductors and I are from that same village – his name: Arnold Beckman. That first semiconductor company, the Beckman Instruments subsidiary, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, was based in what is now known as Silicon Valley. 

Cullom is one of the windiest and flattest places in the world. Clean energy producers find great interest in adding giant windmills to the local landscape. The windmills dominate the wide-open horizon – and are welcomed by local farm communities, thanks to incentives that help fund local schools.  

Nancy and Wade Smith
The Smith’s photo in the Bloomington Pantagraph, March 2023

Every year, about the time of the Perseid meteor shower, my hometown has a “homecoming’ where the people gather for three days of celebration and festivities, kicked off by a balloon ascension where a hot air balloon goes up and a parachutist jumps out into the clear blue summer air. This has been a tradition since 1896. Yes, we have gone back most years since 1986.

We also went back regularly for the Illinois Mennonite Relief Sale, a fundraiser with amazing food and a quilt auction. We were recently featured in the Bloomington Pantograph newspaper for buying one of the more modern, geometric quilts at auction in March 2023. 

Over the years, Wade fell in love with that area, too, so we decided to move there. We inherited a farmhouse from my father and also now own a mixed-use property in downtown Cullom. When I was a kid, I used to terrorize the other denizens on either my skateboard or roller skates while my parents minded our family’s hardware store in that same building. I’d get coins from the bank (to make change) or fetch mail from our post office box (297) down the street.  

Some things have changed over the years. Both the Arnold Beckman Memorial Library and a new bank building were built – my dad snagged both the vault from the former bank and Post Office Box 1, which we also inherited. 

Our region has become the place where “locally grown” organic foods come from for restaurants in Chicago. My great grandfather dug up the prairie to transform the ground where our new home now sits, and I think of adding back some prairie plants. The University of Illinois offers Master Gardener and Master Naturalist classes on alternating years. I think our place needs a food forest or permaculture plot.

Like Sunnyvale, we have crows too. There are also red-tail hawks, goldfinches, barn swallows, owls, dickcissels, killdeer, redwing blackbirds and bald eagles. 

Illinois farmhouse at sunset
Our “new” place at sunset

7 thoughts on “Eastward, Ho!”

    1. That would be wonderful, cousin. We’d meet you there. I heard a lot about the Lebanon relatives over the years!

  1. We look forward to seeing you on your overland journey to Cullom. We hope to provide you with rest and nourishment after climbing the Continental Divide, before rolling through the plains.

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