The Paper photo by Karen Zach
Marilyn Lewis learned to drink coffee at a very young age.
The Paper photo by Karen Zach Marilyn Lewis learned to drink coffee at a very young age.
Get the coffee pots going! At Zach’s, rare was the evening that Wayne, Joan, Velma, Dale, Lorie, Laura, Warner, Nina, Jim and his wife, my guest this week, weren’t in. Most were tired after a hard day’s work; but coffee and camaraderie always perked ‘em up! Well, some great food and wow waitress, too.
Funny, it was coffee, camaraderie and cards that directed me to my gal at Pizza Hut. I gave her a hug and told her I’d love to interview her and made plans for the next day before she changed her mind. Glad she didn’t as we brewed-up a good time. My Jim hadn’t seen her for a long while, so enjoyed our visit, too.
The Terre Haute area was home to my guest in her early years. She lived in Atherton and went to Otter Creek school where she played the clarinet and was prom attendant. An only child, she married an only child. Her best friend introduced them. He was from Rosedale.
Admitting that she was pretty spoiled, “I didn’t even make my bed,” but during strawberry season, she did have to help. The strawberry fund was for the family to fix the house, so she really had no choice, They had lots of strawberries. When she got married, the spoiling was over and it was time to get to work. Jumping a bit ahead, I had no clue that she knew my step-mother, Doris Simpson Jeffries Bazzani. Doris was a talented lady and my guest said that she taught her how to can green beans, fix drapes and that Doris was like her mom. In fact, where they lived almost everyone related to South in some way, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, and some big shots, too (can’t name them or you’ll guess already and I gotta’ keep the suspense grinding).
Her husband was a butcher for A&P. A transfer to Crawfordsville landed them here. When ours closed, this was home and so he worked for Bobbye Thompson doing maintenance for her 98 apartments. He enjoyed that immensely as he could make his own time. This was helpful when he wanted to play golf. She enjoyed the game, too. Mainly, they played at Turkey Run. She said he played with the Duffers (teachers from Southmont and hope it’s spelled right).
Lake Holiday was their first home area in Montgomery County (Bob Merrell’s house). Later, they moved to New Market. Having taken all the business courses possible in school, she worked in the accounting office at Sommer Metalcraft for 41 years. “I paid the bills.” Must be great at keeping books as she is secretary/treasurer for more than one organization, and is President of the Ladies’ Group at New Market Christian.
One bit of fun she does often is go out to eat with several other widows. She is also in Red Hats, Home Ec and spends lots of time with her dog, Taco. Husband Jim had wanted a lap dog so he found himself a little Chihuahua. “Jim spoiled him. He’d take him for a ride every day to New Market to see the kids after school. They all knew little Taco. In fact, the dog was even the grand marshal for a parade there.” So, when Jim passed away, she became the spoiler. Often, she goes to Tennessee to see a daughter and I suggested she might fly or take a bus, “Oh, no, the dog has his blanket and other supplies, and I take all kinds of things for me.”
Speaking of her children, there are three. Sherri is the one who lives in Tennessee (Chapel Hill), is married to Jim Byrd (who worked for General Motors many years). They have Michelle Haislip who was a basketball player at South and is a grad of the University of Southern Indiana and her two brothers, Michael and Matthew. They have played football and basketball in Tennessee.
Second daughter is Stephanie Hoffman who has Crystal and Cedric. She is three minutes older than her twin brother, Stephen (Steve) who lives in Crawfordsville, and works for Steel Technology. He raised his daughter after his wife passed away.
Along with the three children, six grands, there are seven great grandchildren.
When Jim Lewis passed away, he and Marilyn were just shy of 60 years together. Her preacher said they were counting it! More than sure one of the items that attracted Jim to Marilyn is that she is such a beautiful woman. In fact, right before our interview, I learned something I didn’t know about her. She was a model at the Heathcliff Fashion Shows. She had been a good customer of Heathcliff and Rhonda Mitchell just asked her one day if she’d like to do some modelling. “Oh, Rhonda I can’t do that!” But, she did and loved it for 16 years!
A bit of a frustration to her is that she is turned-off to the music of today. She doesn’t like the new Christian or Country. Hmm, may have to take that clarinet back up there, Marilyn.
Her parents took great care of her, then it was time for her to be her mother’s helper. “Let’s go to Zach’s and get some chicken breasts,” is what Mom would say every night. They did that for her last three years. It was at Zach’s the Lewis’ met some of their best friends, those mentioned at the front of the article, the Thompsons, Bullerdicks, Longs, and Davidsons. There were others but this group was our standbys and we loved ‘em like family. Every night, it was coffee and camaraderie. Since she was about five when her dad began her on coffee (her mom drank tea), she drank pots, three almost every day. In fact, she had already had two the day we met and it was only lunch. Straight black, too. She’s certainly one classy lady! Thanks for meeting up with us, kiddo and for being my guest in ATC this week!