NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- There's a group of people standing inside a popular local establishment in New Albany, Indiana. Huddled together at the front counter, this unlikely combination of men and women have found that they unknowingly share a common interest. So, what could spark such a lively conversation among strangers?
Well, a book.
It's a humble text, like its author. Yet, this handmade, spiral bound notebook, created and funded by one woman, is spurring discussions and conjuring up long held memories of earlier times. It's a pet project lovingly filled with the conversations and memories of New Albany locals. And it's just in time too, for New Albany's bicentennial celebration is drawing near.
Dailene Bobbitt never set out to be an author. She grew up in Southern Indiana listening to her father tell funny stories, some of which she shares in her book.
For instance, New Albany had a population of 19,000 and a Million and 15 policemen. How you might ask? Chief Carl Million had 15 guys working under him.
And even at the age of 92, he still has plenty of stories to share as they ride around town and reminisce about the way things used to be.
Following three local books and years of selling her pencil drawings at craft fairs, Bobbitt began talking to residents of Lincoln Hills Nursing Home while visiting her mother, and found that the stories she was capturing were being lost as the elderly patients passed on. She began speaking with people around town and verifying the information through local historians, and as the information grew, her book began to take shape.
She modeled the text after a scrapbook, and filled it with bits of information on subjects of all kinds, including transportation, noteworthy people, notable businesses, society and old traditions. After learning of the bicentennial, Bobbitt went before the bicentennial committee, and her personally funded book became one of five to bear the official logo.
So, what's so different about the "Bicentennial Scrapbook of New Albany, Indiana: 1813-2013?"
According to Bobbitt, she doesn't claim to be the greatest artist or writer, but what she has created is down to earth and different from anything out there. And as she flips through the book and points out stories of interest, such as the fact that New Albany used to manufacture cars, it's clearly evident that her passion isn't just about the history, but the extraordinary memories shared by ordinary people.
Two-years of off-and-on research and more than 300 sold, and the only real question is whether Bobbitt will make another book. Sifting through her notes and scraps of information, she says she could easily create a book three or four feet tall. Yet, for now, Bobbitt isn't making any solid plans.
The "Bicentennial Scrapbook of New Albany, Indiana: 1813-2013" was written, photographed, illustrated and funded by Dailene Martin Bobbitt. Copies are available for purchase at any of the following New Albany retailers: the Culbertson Mansion, Ben Franklin Crafts, Endris Jewelers, Liz at Home, Big Value, Artisan Market, Mariposa Consignment Shop, Aebersold's Florist, Third Market, Aunt Artie's Antique Mall, Mulberry House Antiques, Floyd Memorial Gift Shop and the Arts Council.