The Paper photo by Karen Zach
Don White’s life comes in 5's - graduated in ‘55; 5 children; bowled for 55 Years.
The Paper photo by Karen Zach Don White’s life comes in 5's - graduated in ‘55; 5 children; bowled for 55 Years.
Alamo is where my fella today hails. Born at home in Ladoga, he began school in Alamo, attending 4th-9th at New Market, then graduating from AHS with the class of 1955. On Facebook not long ago, I saw the neatest picture of him working at Midstates in the 60s, and just had to track him down. Really enjoyed getting to know not only him, but his daughter and sister, as well as some of the AHS group of ’55. Fun time visiting with all of them at the Waveland restaurant on Saturday morning.
Although he wasn’t involved in any organized school athletics, he loved pole-vaulting and racing friends, just for fun. “Everybody is friendly and loving in a small town,” and the three family members couldn’t say enough about what a fabulous place Alamo was. “In my day, there were three groceries, a blacksmith, barber shop, and mother, Lottie Manners, was the post mistress (for more than a quarter of a century) which was in the same small building with the phone company.”
Living directly across from the Alamo cemetery, their father, Jesse, had a paint and body shop and part of the time was the school janitor. Besides that, he had been a cowboy in Nebraska and I saw the neatest picture to prove it. He and Lottie were married in Nebraska on the next to last day of the year in 1933, before coming our way. She also worked at the Wilson Brothers Shirt Factory, FW Woolworth, and was a 50-year-member of the Alamo Christian Church. As a curator at the Ben Hur Museum, she loved delving into the history of Lew Wallace. Lottie and Jesse are buried in the Ladoga Cemetery.
Our guest also reminisced about the town pump. “Few homes had water, so a few times a day, I’d walk down to get a couple of buckets, and always saw people down there.” He described the one-building, all-grade school at Alamo, saying that grades 1-4 (1-2 and 3-4) were in the basement and on the main floor, grade 5-6 and 7-8, then the high schoolers reigned upstairs. His younger sister, Carole confirmed and I’m sure older brother, David would as well, that AHS was the best.
From high school, he went directly into the Navy, along with two of his friends, Chet Fruits and Phil Sorrels. Chet was assigned to a different ship after training, but Phil and my guest spent the next three years together on a tanker, the USS Severn, that held about 80 seamen. He had a great job being over the deck force and he particularly loved taking the skipper in his gig to shore, because, “While we (our guest, along with a two-man crew) waited on the Skipper, we got food and beer on his tab.” Not all was fun, however, as carrying that much fuel, their little boat, if destroyed, would have blown-up everything within 25 miles. Stationed at Newport, Rhode Island, they made 4-5 trips to the Mediterranean area and were able to spend time in Spain, France, Italy, and Puerto Rico. Four years active duty, he also spent four years inactive.
One day while sitting in a grocery in Alamo, he saw a gal go by and told the grocer, “I’m marrying that girl.” It was Daisy Goins and late in 1955, they married and had five children together: Roxanna, Cindy, Donna, Larry and Kevin. In 1974, he wed Elgie (Sue) Jones and they were married for 41 years before she passed away about a year ago.
Upon completion of his tour, he started working the next day upon his return at MidStates Steel and Wire (1959-69). In 1969, he moved to Indianapolis working for a freezer manufacturer. His daughter said when she worked in restaurants, she always noticed and would think of her dad if they had freezers made by Elliott & Williams.
I know few people who have had a hobby more than 10 years, but this man has enjoyed bowling since 1962. Get that, this fun experience has lasted him double nickels in years, and at age 80, he still enjoys it. Often, he bowls with his brother (age 82). His best 3-game series was a 724, and top single game a 279. I told him mine was 285 and his eyes got wide, but then I flashed my phone at him and said, “On here!” Likely by now, many have guessed that my fella’ is Don White. Although he spent a couple of years back in Hillsboro (so far away from doctors and hospitals) while working at the C’ville Paper & Supply Company, he has lived most of his years in Indianapolis. Now, he is just happy to be back in Montgomery County, where his five children (all by the way, until April, in their 50s) live near, as do many other family members. An active Colts fan, he did have to give up going to the games, but hey, there’s still television.
Enjoyed his sister, Carole (Stout) reminiscing about when they were young, which reminded me so much of growing-up with my own two brothers. “They’d get a gun and holster, and I’d get a doll. I really wanted a holster.” She implied that it had been easy to torment Don, but stay away from David, as it just ticked him off. A funny story was that they often raced to the outhouse when coming home and one day, Don beat her. She was glad for once, as there were two huge dogs that came tearing out at him. Quite happy when four girls moved in next door, Don grinned and said, “Me, too!”
Besides the loss of his beloved wife, Don lost his grandson, Shawn White in 2003, sad, sad events; however, I am happy to have Don White back home again, as well, and glad I got to meet his ‘ol friends (class of ’55) and family members (Donna and Carole). Thanks so much for being this week’s ATC guest!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.