I live on the outskirts of Muncie, Indiana. Born and raised here and with the exception of a decade spent chasing a few career aspirations this has always been home.
Muncie is roughly 60 miles north and east of Indianapolis and is the seat of Delaware County. Most call this East-Central Indiana, hams know it as grid square EN70. It’s completely flat farmland at 932 feet ASL. If I were to drive 35 minutes due east of here I would cross into the hinterlands of western Ohio. My annual pilgrimage to the Dayton Hamvention takes less than two hours (one-way) by automobile.
This is home to some 65,000 people according to the latest census. It’s also the home of Ball State University along with its 21,000 students. It was founded in 1917 by the Ball brothers, industrialists famed for creating the Ball canning jar and decades later, Ball Aerospace. Though Muncie is no longer the headquarters of Ball Corporation, the city continues to benefit from monies the company generously bestows upon it year after year.
The city has a long history of manufacturing and industry that has been contracting as long as I’ve been alive. My Dad tells me when he was a young man anyone here could quit a job at 10am and have another by noon. Though jobs are a little tougher to come by these days, the growth of the University along with new medical, financial, and even software development companies have helped transition Muncie from a factory town into a thriving service economy.
Muncie is also home to the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of model aviation as a recognized sport as well as a recreational activity. It is the largest organization of its kind with a current membership of approximately 195,000 members, with nearly 57,000 of these being youth members under 19 years of age.
With a thousand acres of clear skies on the east side of town (along with a Model Aviation Museum) its perfect for the many competitive flying events that take place there each year. The AMA attracts a large crowd of overnight visitors prompting the addition of several new hotels and restaurants to handle the business that generates.
I enjoy the four seasons of weather that visit this region each year though I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of longer, hotter summer weather, probably a result of climate change. There are no hurricanes here but the occasional tornado does visit the area. Each year we see some snow (22 inches) and sufficient rainfall (40 inches) to satisfy the many farmers that surround the region.
It’s particularly satisfying that a short drive in any direction from my home will put me smack into farming country, and depending on the direction, Amish country. I guess what I’m saying is that Muncie isn’t some small hick town in the middle of nowhere, but it’s close enough to be nearly perfect for me.