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City of Ironton is aged but dignified lady

A favorite task I perform for Ironton In Bloom is interviewing and taking photos of our yard winners each month. This April has been no exception.

Dual winners, Karen Marshall and Wanda Spears, are two attractive and personable residents who have called Ironton home for close to 60 years or more.

Since neither are native Irontonians, theoretically, they could have retired anywhere they wanted.

Mrs. Marshall says she has a daughter who begs her to come live in Columbus and be close to her grandchildren. Mrs. Spears was born and spent her childhood on the coast. She admits she loves the water and misses being near the ocean at times. I wondered what held them both here.

All three of us agreed that it is mainly the people who make us love southeastern Ohio. Although Ohio is not officially a southern state, our neighbors have that easy drawl, the welcoming, open and friendly personalities that are typical of those who dwell in more southern regions.

But our conversation made me ponder if I had spoken the entire truth. A decade ago, I would have said without equivocation that the people, indeed, make the place.

I was raised on a dairy farm and went to school outside the city limits, so I acquired no great attachment to the city itself. But living here, along with my being a part of Ironton In Bloom, has given me reason to scrutinize her often, inside and out, front to back, high and low.

I say “her” because lately I have found myself thinking of our city as an aged, but very dignified lady.

To see her finery, just look up at the interesting and intricate architecture as you walk her main streets or drive among the grand and stately houses of her iron age.

For character, look at her historical churches and the many organizations she has spawned to do good; for her intelligence, see the new schools, the university, the library.

Her beauty is enhanced by the trees and flowers that grace her lawns and gardens.

For wisdom you need look no further than those citizens who have understood the importance and value of doing what is necessary, as she has aged, to allow her to keep her pride and dignity, who even find beauty and value in her wrinkles, and the wear of years.

So honestly, I would have to say it is not just the good and friendly people that make Ironton unique. I think I have grown to love the old lady herself.


Judy Sanders is an Ironton resident and a volunteer with the Ironton In Bloom organization.