Guess what other famous love of mine is from Indiana?
At the Fairmount Historical Musuem I browsed a mind blowing display of James Dean's personal belongings, which included school report cards, clothing, letters, and art work, along with awards, contracts and other memorabilia.
I talked to people who knew his family. They told me great stories about Dean's high school past times, interests and personality. He was never really a rebel, like Hollywood made him out to be. In fact, Dean was an only child who lost his mother to breast cancer when he was nine. He was raised for the most part by relatives. He grew up a sensitive, artistic soul, who would visit Fairmount from Hollywood and act no different toward friends and family than before.
He was killed in a car crash at the age of 24.
Here's a letter Dean wrote to cousin Marcus Winslow, who is 12 years his junior. Dean was in his early twenties at the time and was working in New York. The letter was regarding some drawings Winslow had sent him and reflects Dean's Quaker beliefs.
Clicking on the photo will open it in a separate window, where it should be large enough to read.
It's interesting there is so much more left of James Dean's life in Fairmount than there is in Lafayette of either Shannon Hoon or Axl Rose, though they were born much later.
Fairmont, population 3,000, is still a small town.
"'Happy days' are gone, but it is still very Americana," fellow volunteer and Army veteran Mike Davis (left), 67, who attended high school with Marcus Winslow, concurs. "People are still happy and friendly."