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Saturday, February 24, 2018

  •   It was second grade that clinched their 70 year love connection
    Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:00 AM
    It all started in second grade (or thereabouts) when these two began their love connection. Of course, it was a few years later when they tied the nuptial knot, and that was over 70 years ago!
    “Yep, we’ve been together all these years and we’re still speaking,” she said. In fact, they both agreed that they’ve had very few disagreements. Definitely, nice folks. I had made the remark that I don’t really know many people from the north so I was thrilled when Mary Lou Weliever gave me their names and they agreed to an interview.
    We were so happy to meet them. Such a big, warm smile from her when we went in their front door, and a handshake with, “Hi, I’m Jim,” from him. The welcome stage was set when hubs pumped his hand saying back, “Hi, I’m Jim!” Funny!
    Naturally, his first date in his first car, a 1928 Model A, was with his beloved that he bought in 1943. It was passed along to him from a boy going into the service, and he did the same. “You couldn’t buy a new car back in those days.” She added, “Well, you couldn’t even buy a pair of shoes.” 
    They graduated from Darlington HS on a Saturday in May of 1945 after being classmates for their dozen years, then he left for the Army on Monday. He was one of the lucky ones, turning 18 on January 2nd (91 this year) so since that was his last semester, he was allowed to finish. Although the war was winding down, they were still drafting, and off he went. Trained as an infantryman, his officer called out five men of 3,000 to be medics. He was one. After a short course, he was wrapping arms and giving plasma with the best of ‘em. 
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  •    No bucket lists - they've already gotten their dreams
    Thursday, February 15, 2018 4:00 AM
    Fairly new business owners, we see her a lot and him when he’s in helping. They’re both so jolly and fun and we love being around them!
    She is a graduate of my beloved Turkey Run; he from South. Not real active in school, he instead loves the great outdoors, especially fishing. Now, different story with her. She was extremely involved with the yearbook, as sales manager one year and editor the next. One major accomplishment, she was president of FHA when they had the largest chapter in the state. Perhaps this is where she achieved her love of cooking, although it certainly has been a trait in her family for a number of generations. I know as she’s my 5th cousin, sharing common ancestor, Valentine Sowers, whose father was our Revolutionary Soldier. We both love cooking. Actually, our hubs do, too! 
    She had a full-ride scholarship to Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, R.I., but was too scared to go so far from home alone! Thinking she’s pretty doggone good without all that. This gal is crafty, too and said one of her favorite classes was with Chuck Schlotman in ceramics. She has all the pieces created in high school and would love to have a kiln someday. However, she says that the kitchen is really what is always on her mind. 
    Particularly, she loves to bake (oh, goodness, me, too, and in my case, with diabetes, it’s not a good thing). Recently, she and her sister Sally, ventured on the first of several planned field trips to Wisconsin where they learned how to make a German dessert, Kringles. By the way, rank them up to amazing! They also had watched some YouTube videos but noted that seeing the delicacy made one on one by experts clinched the perfection and she’s now old hat at it. Sally and my guest are going in a few days on another trip to the humongous grocery outlet, Trader Joe’s in Cincinnati. More than one goal is in mind. Of course, to see the place and check it out in all its glory. Second, to purchase quality food for excellent prices, and the third is to peruse their health food choices, as she wants to please those with special eating needs, too. Personally, wish I could bum a ride, just for the “tastin’ station!”
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  • Discipline and church are two important keys to raising six children
    Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:00 AM
    Hubs and I met at my favorite spot, PH, with this couple. Bonus: we also enjoyed lunching with their youngest two of six children. Got that? Six wonderful young ones! Read on to learn more about this amazing family!
    Their story ranks high in my how they met category. He was a Southmont senior, off to Oklahoma to the National Soil Judging Contest. Don’t think he won the contest, but he sure won a young lady’s heart! At a sponsored party, she danced with AJ Bennett so she could ask the name of the cutest boy there. Today, a long-distance romance isn’t so odd, nor impossible, but this was pre-cell phones or video chats, mind ya’!
    So, my couple talked on their home phones and wrote lots of letters. They also did many half-way trips when they would spend a day together, having lunch, going bowling and what have you. For awhile her friend dated his, so that worked well.
    Certainly, both stayed active at school, he in track, FFA and Panache which he really enjoyed because of the competitions. As many in his family, he tallied the 10-year 4-H coveted award. Atop all this, he played, “lots of basketball, not on a team, just for fun!” Add farm work in there, and he was a busy boy!
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  •  As Elvis sang, they have a "boy for me, a girl for you!"
    Thursday, February 1, 2018 4:00 AM
    Our fellow this week worked for us at the restaurant in the early 80s with the best group of teenagers we probably ever employed. Now, his wife I’d have to say that I’m just getting to know as I frequent the place where she works (no, not Pizza Hut). Not too involved in high school sports and such, he worked on his uncle’s farm for a couple of years, then blessed us, and I do mean blessed as he was a good, trustworthy employee. While at CHS, he was active heavily in band and went on to play trumpet in the PU Marching Band. She was quite involved in the high school scene at North Putnam in soccer, softball, band (where she played the sax) and theater. So, are you wondering how an Athenian and a Cougar got together? Well, so was I.
    Her first job was at the Ladoga Nursing Home in the kitchen, then while attending college, she went to work at Pace Dairy for a summer job that her father (Jim R) helped her achieve. After Purdue he had gone to work at Pace (and still works there). The gals she worked with kept telling her about the cute fella’ there. 
    Lo and behold, these two began to date. He was transferred to Murray, Kentucky in July of 1990 where they laughed stating, “There’s absolutely nothing to do!” Obviously, it didn’t deter her as they were married on the 15th of September at the Russellville Church and she joined him in our neighboring state, where she worked as a dental assistant. He worked on the floor as a Manager Training Production Planner for Kenlake Foods where they specialized in puddings, oatmeals and salted nuts. “Nice people, nice place, but nothing to do - not even a big city to go and enjoy!” 
    Our fellows’ father, Bob, had passed away when our boy was in high school. His mother, Phyllis, died in a car wreck in July of 1993, so in January of ’94, our young couple came back to his home town where they’ve been living in his home place since. 
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  • This young couple rank up among the best
    Thursday, January 25, 2018 4:00 AM
    Although these two went to New Market Elementary together, and their brothers were friends growing-up together, my guests really weren’t buds in grade school, at all. School seemed to be something they both enjoyed, though, even admiring the same teachers, Mrs. McVay because she was so much fun, but liked Mr. Airey and Mrs. Ginger, as well, even though they were much more structured. 
    Of course, it was on to South for both and they enjoyed Mr. Long’s projects in history, Mrs. Huckstep, Mr. Sparks and Mr. Fry. Then, when she was a sophomore and he a freshman (yes, she’s the older woman), they were in a math class together. Later that semester, she contacted teens to go to a CIY Church Camp and talked to him regarding the trip. They were together after that, only on their dates, she explained, “I had to drive us around.” That was said between giggles!
    I mentioned her brother above (who was a good friend of our grandson so I got to hang out some with the great kid, Reid) and a sister she worked with for a couple of years at Pizza Hut. Yep, we met there for supper and these two were the ones I mentioned in our 50th anniversary party article a couple of weeks ago, who insisted we hold off on their article so I could share our story. This impressed the ‘ol Zach couple immensely!
    Her sister, Morgan and husband, Kody, have a son and daughter so for the present, these two get their kid fix with them, as well as snuggling with their Great Dane, Rev. My male guest has two sisters and a brother. Athletics are a major part of his family. Both parents played ball of some sort with them constantly. Plus, “Around our neighborhood, Meahme Falls, we were constantly active. Something was always going on – basketball, wiffleball … something!”
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  • Actor, playwright, odd jobber and more
    Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:00 AM
    I’ve known this fellow probably since he was born (a grandson of one of the fellows I graduated with from WHS), and talked to him briefly on occasion, seen him in several plays and musicals, but only recently have really gotten to know him. Certainly seems like a great kiddo!
    A few months ago, he contacted me to ask if I had any ideas of something Montgomery County Historyish that he could make into a play. A bit obscure, perhaps, something like the Crawfordsville Monster, yet he felt (and I agreed) that had been written about too much already and would be rather hard to portray on a stage. We discussed a couple of other ideas and he chose the one I liked, too. The Poor Farm, dating back to 1840ish, has many tales of woe, wielding and wile. Gave him some information and off he went. In fact, this boy is good, he got me involved, too. Now, who’d have thunk I’d become a playwright? What fun, but mainly due to this great mentor. Hope you all will come and watch Down on the Farm when it gets casted and performed! 
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  • She's a workaholic and he's workified too
    Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:00 AM
    Know this week’s couple pretty well. In fact, known her since we were tiny tots and he for more than five decades. Guess ya’ could say we go back quite a ways.
    The gal and I went through our years together at Waveland, in band, choir, worked on the yearbook and most of the time, were pretty good friends.
    He was in all of the intellectual clubs, ran track and was a basketball player at Crawfordsville. One of his fondest memories of that sport reflected back to 6th grade when his St. Bernard’s team won the city tourney. Also, one high school game, when he guarded Rick Mount who remained scoreless . . . for the 37 seconds he guarded Rick!
    My lady this week has one fault that can be a plus, or minus. She’s a workaholic! Her first job was mowing her gpa’s yard for a quarter. Add grading papers for two teachers at a penny apiece, delivering newspapers, typing for several in town, babysitting, waiting tables at Shades State Park and helping her dad at his side job, you can see that statement is true as these began and continued from about 5th grade on, and tallying multiple jobs continued throughout her life (librarying, volunteering, teaching) as it does today. 
    Scouts were important for both for several years, as was church. Oddly, they both went to the same church but never really got to know each other until their senior year when they had a “going out into the world,” type class together. She had noticed his brown and white checked hat though and he thought her smile was contagious.
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  • 67 years on his local fire department, 35 as Chief
    Thursday, January 4, 2018 4:00 AM
    Born a block away from where he’s lived for 82 ½ years, our guest this week first appreciated the world at his gma’ and gpa’ Hayes’ house. A brief liaison with his parents in an abode on the south hill of his hometown and then to that current home which is only about eight years older than our man. Truly a pillar of the community, I’ve been chasing him for about four years to get him to say yes to an interview. It was time to call in the help. So, thanks Jeff and Suzi! 
    He was extremely active in high school, managing the basketball and baseball team; directing the high school band (he played tuba and sousaphone) and served as president of his class three years. Noting that there were 12 guys and 10 girls in his class, “We fellas always got what we wanted.” 
    I so enjoyed visiting with him at his home. He explained to me that right where he was sitting, there had been an old stove and he once burned his back side pretty severely, but still had to go to school, complete with a comfy pillow. 
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  • These two love each other but have fierce competitions
    Thursday, December 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    Surprise! It’s brothers today. Just recently, I met one of these interesting fellas, and the other I got to know better on our interview day. Both great guys, so read on for a double treat!
    Someone told me to talk to these two because of their athletic prowess. I hadn’t told them such, but that’s how the interview began. The older brother said, “Well, the age difference shows off at the T.” He used to whomp his brother all the time, but doesn’t win often anymore.
    Born in Crawfordsville, the brothers, mom and dad moved to Darlington where they graduated. Every sport was under their belt, but basketball their passion. In reflection of Hoosiers, the boys played under a bright moon, shooting at a hoop attached to a plywood backboard that rested on a telephone pole.
    Evidently, it paid-off as they had some great seasons: 15-6; 18-4; 24-1; 22-1 for the younger one; the first two numbers being the junior and senior years for the older. Although competition sometimes has gotten in the way, there was really no problem on the gym floor. They worked well together, reading each other, but they also knew if one or the other wasn’t basket available, to give it to someone else. The younger one said that his brother was an amazing rebounder and averaged 17-points/game, most from those rebounds. The county rivalry was immense. Highlight for the younger one was they beat Speedway in the Championship sectional game 56-54. 
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  • SInging, reading and anything fun for this week's guest
    Thursday, December 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    At my favorite place to eat, my guest and I laughed about her being a River Rat. “I swam in the muddy Mississippi.” In fact, grew-up in Illinois, just one mile, the width of the river, from Iowa. Her family consisted of an older sister, younger brother, a farmer father and mother who was an elementary school teacher. Groups would build bond fires, ice skate in the winter and water ski and boat in the summmer. Guess there’s no surprise to discover that a bucket list option is to go on a River Cruise in Italy. 
    She began her education in a one-room school, being the only student in the first grade. With just one boy in second, she’d do work for them both so they could go out and play. Many spelling matches were won by this young lady. At Hamilton, Illinois High School, she was quite active, especially in music-oriented organizations. A clarinetist, add twirling, cheerleading and FHA. Regarding voice, she was involved in “every singing thing imaginable!” She still loves to sing with the oh so-popular Crescendos!
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  •  Karen and her guest have papers in their closets
    Thursday, December 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    Probably the comment I would say about this week’s guest is that she is an amazing worker. She grew up that way. Her parents ran two businesses. The two brothers helped dad in the cycle business and she and sister were up at 4 a.m. to make donuts before school at their Pastry Kitchen. Along with that, during the blizzard of ’78, the boys used those cycles to deliver milk and groceries to those folks who could not get out. Another fun item is that these four have names that all begin with K’s, Kathy, Kevin, Kenneth and . . . well, later! 
    Lebanon High School is the alma mater of my gal this week, one of their children graduating from there and two from CHS. Because of working so much with her parents, she wasn’t involved in much but did say that she loved PE, always wanted (and still does) to be active. In fact, one of her favorite extra curriculars is stomping old cemeteries. She was instrumental in restoring the O’Neall cemetery via the Montgomery County Genealogy Club (that sent her to several classes to learn to fix and clean properly), and by a request of Floyd Ball, redid the whole of the Ball (Harlow) cemetery. The old cemetery stone of Dennis Ball, Floyd’s direct ancestor was awful and she got a new one ordered. You can see here the difference of the old one that would have deteriorated to nothing in just a few years and the fabulous new one https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13590478/dennis-ball
    Along this line, when I asked her what she loved doing the most (besides spending time with the grandkids), she got this huge smile, and stated, “Getting tombstones for my veterans.” Indeed she loves working on cemeteries, and although I’ve known her for years, this is how we got reacquainted, you’d say. As many of you know, I’ve been working on the County Poor Farm cemetery for several months. Began with nine graves and now up to almost 90. These are then linked to their relatives (well, except a couple of them we can’t find) and my gal is my “linker!” Oh, man can she find those people. I consider myself a decent researcher, but she’s my equal and probably beyond. At any rate, we have a great deal of fun working on them and it’s like the veterans, it gives us cold chills when we can aid those gone to live again, so to speak. 
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  • This week's guest lives by adages
    Thursday, December 7, 2017 4:00 AM
    At the tender age of five, our fellow this week, lost his mother. He was then raised by various aunts and uncles. Thus, he was as close or even more so, to his cousins than his own siblings. Particularly, he was buddies with one first cousin and shared service letters from Robert with the Crawfordsville District Public Library for their collection, as well as me for the Montgomery County INGenWeb page.
    Because of this sad happening, he attended several schools: Ladoga, for the first two years; Waynetown for grades 3-4; Roachdale, 5-6; with the 7th and 8th in Crawfordsville, then on to Pike Township in the Indianapolis area for his freshman year, and finally the last three years here where he received his high school diploma at CHS and joined the Navy immediately afterward. He spent most of his time in the Pacific and earned the rank of 2nd Class Petty Officer.
    During high school, he was a paper boy, worked on a farm (Manford Pitts, where he stayed some of the time), for Francis & Mounts, Dreyer’s Drug Store and Cunningham’s Groceries. Also, he (along with his aunt) worked for Prof. Clarence Leavenworth and his wife, Annie. Their son, Billy, had been killed during WWI and the Leavenworth’s let our guest borrow Billy’s clarinet. Thus, he played in the dance band in the USO -- clarinet and sax. Loves music. 
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  • Karen felt blessed with her royal wish granted this week
    Thursday, November 30, 2017 4:00 AM
    My gal this week was suggested by my granddaughter, Reilley Baldwin, seconded by her brother, Dane and I got a third from the oldest, AJ. They all three agreed on what a fabulous person and teacher this lady is, so read on and I think you will agree!
    First of all, I just met her as when I taught a semester (after retiring from Turkey Run) at CHS, I knew several and met others, but really didn’t meet everyone unless they were in the English Department or I had lunch with them. I did have the same prep hour as this gal, though, but every time I took my little walk around for exercise, and thought I’d talk to her, she’d be helping a student. Each morning and every evening after school, she was working with someone. “I love working with the students. It’s so exciting when they finally get it. Working one on one is so wonderful!” She does indeed love the kids.
    In fact, when she first went to CHS in 1996, she began as a TA, working in the resource room, helping students with studying, remediation and when an opening was available, she became one fabulous Math teacher, guaranteed by the Baldwin trio above!
    Not a native Montgomery Countian, neither is her husband, Wes. She was from Farmersburg, Indiana and graduated from ISU in Special Education. She landed in his hometown, Washington, where he was a photographer on the local newspaper. He was a good friend of one of the other instructors. A group (four single gals, four single guys) went out one evening and my guest and Wes ended-up together. What a whirlwind match it was, started dating in March, proposed in May and married in October on her grandparents’ 55th wedding anniversary. Her father was killed in Vietnam when she was just four-months old. A bunk buddy returned, met her mother and they wed. Although she’s the only child of her parents, she has three half-brothers from that marriage. Her husband is the only child and so marrying on her grandparents’ special day was touching.
    Wes has had some fascinating experiences and enjoyed almost all of them, except his one year of teaching. The second day one of the teachers at the high school quit so Wes was recruited. One year was enough! 
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  • This week's guest dodged death three times and is now 99
    Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    My gal this week is 99 and sharp as can be, attributing a good night’s sleep, keeping busy and pure dumb luck for that amazing tally. Speaking of amazing, her life has been just that, including dodging death three times over: whooping cough as a baby, diphtheria at age 11 and a ruptured appendix at age 52. We’re lucky she’s here to tell us her intriguing story.
    A world traveler, she was all smiles when I queried which of the 118 countries she’d visited was her favorite? “It depends on the topic!” For culture, it was all-hands down France. Friendliness was certainly enjoyed in both Australia and New Zealand. Scenery was extremely special in South America, Maderia Island and Switzerland. African animals, of course, cannot be duplicated while she loved England for history. She’s seen most of the U.S. as well, she and her husband taking their four sons to 44 of the states before the boys graduated from high school even. Purpose? To photo biomes around the globe, as well as just plain fun!
    What an unusual childhood! Her parents were divorced when she was quite young and her mother raised my little lady, her sister and brother. Mother taught school, sold eggs and gave piano lessons, while the children pitched-in by selling cookies door to door, as well as mowing yards. All three were valedictorians and received scholarships. In fact, she tallied seven. 
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  • Her mom told her, “You’re out of your mind!” about babysitting
    Thursday, November 9, 2017 4:00 AM
    My guest this week attended her 50th high school reunion a couple of years ago and amazingly had 35 out of their graduating 42 there. Larry Steele, a professional ball player and Jeff Blue of the Boston Celtics who now professionally sings are among her classmates, along with a lady lawyer in Las Vegas and one in Chicago, a doctor in Indy, farmers, an auctioneer and a lot of everyday Joes and Janes, my kind of folks. She sees some of them occasionally but says she’d love to get together once a month.
    Speaking of high school, a good friend, Gary Rossick, was a buddy of a big-city (Greencastle) basketball and record-setting cross-country star. Gary fixed my gal up on a blind date with the 17-year-old young stud. She was a mere sweet 16, in high school choir, in Job’s Daughters and served as their soloist (although she said she really couldn’t sing). Since her maiden name was O’Hair, it was quite appropriate for she and Mr. Greencastle to go to the St. Patrick’s Day Dance and Patty Boy worked some awesome magic as they were married 46 years. Their wedding was in January 1966 in a major blizzard. They were married in the Brick Chapel Methodist Church where her father was treasurer and mother a Sunday School teacher. Both were church active in several other ways. Living just three miles from there, she enjoyed Methodist Youth Fellowship, 4-H (sewing and dress review) and loved having fun, especially with her dad on is 90-mile paper route. Her two brothers and sister wouldn’t go, but her Dad could count on her, saying, “She’ll go anywhere!” Truthfully, she still loves going . . . anywhere, anytime. 
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