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Friday, November 24, 2017

  • 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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  • This week's fellow received quite a diverse education
    Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:00 AM
    This fella’ was born at home in Jennings County near North Vernon, but has lived in Montgomery County much of his life. I happened into his store and got to talking to him about life in general and said, “Hold that thought! If you don’t mind, let me get my pen and paper and interview you for my ATC article.” He didn’t really know what that was, but agreed as he trusted me, and we had a great time and I learned many reasons to admire him even more than before.
    Quite a diverse education, he began in first grade at New Market, following the next year to Nicholson, then down to Clearwater, Florida for 3rd grade. Back to Crawfordsville he spent 4-6 at the old Willson school, then on to Tuttle for 7th, spending 8-10 at Waveland, finishing from North Vernon in their last graduating class (1968). Why all that moving around, you might ask? I did! Well, his father was a commercial fisherman part time in Florida and did plastering up here. He grew-up with two sisters and a brother.
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  •  Karen and guest wrote Archie comics together
    Thursday, October 26, 2017 4:00 AM
    This little lady and I grew-up together, right across the street. She’s been gone from Waveland for decades, but when I look across the road, I still think of the fun we had. She reminded me that we wrote and performed plays, complete with homestyle costumes. Evidentially, we also wrote Archie comic strips, too. Performing, writing and the arts continued to be important in both our lives and it was a writing group that brought us together again, probably 35 years later. Had a great deal of joy with that, as well. Although we communicate some over Facebook, it was writing (this column) that spurred me to talk her into allowing me to feature her in my ATC article, especially because I’m so excited about her new endeavor. 
    Extremely intellectual, she is an Oakland City University grad, with a major in English and minor in psychology. She was quite active with the yearbook, newspaper, theatre, drama, a travelling singing group, honor society, directing plays and a member of National organizations, including Photography, Journalism, Drama, Scholarship and the oh, so enjoyable Student Senate.
    At the end of college, she applied to the Peace Corps and a year’s grant with the Church of the Brethren, which was the first to come through. So, off she ventured to Baltimore where she developed a reading program for inner city youth, and did some counseling.
    Great story how she met her husband, Rick, which occurred when she was doing administrative work for the school systems in greater Lafayette. Deciding one evening to go to a Bible Study, when he opened the door to greet her, she immediately saw that the place was packed. Commenting on that, he nay-sayed her, pointing to the empty piano bench, “You can sit right there with me!”
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  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:00 AM
    These two are a hoot, and when you see their picture (no looking), you’ll understand why I chose to begin this tale with that statement. We laughed so hard. Just three-months of dating, then to the altar. Get this? They even broke up once but, obviously, it didn’t last long. Her cousin happened to be one of his best friends, and as the two buds were having a beer and pizza at PH, the cousin said, “Hey, my aunt wants me to bring someone nice to meet her daughter.” My fellow said, “Sure, why not?” So, off they went to meet the gal. After a ride with them in his Charger, they returned to the Pizza Hut, the cousin jumped out and left them alone. Boy, did that start something! They were married by Rev. John VanVactor in the United Methodist Church in Waveland. A senior at CHS, (he had attended Waveland) she wore a floppy hat that due to nerves was shaking up and down. Her dad laughed so hard at her, he was shakin’ about as hard. Then, when she got up with her fellow, he said, “She literally had a death grip on my hand!” 
    Unique personalities and a whole lot of silliness brought these two together! I’m pretty sure that’s kept the relationship alive and well. They told Hubs and me about their three years in their first home, an apartment on Main & Walnut in the Daskey Insurance Building. The old ladies in the downstairs rooms had control of the heat for the whole building and kept it very warm. Thus, one hot winter evening, my guests opened up their windows wide and let the snow in to cool off their apartment. While living there, a daughter was born to them, joined by a son on Valentine’s Day, three and a half years later. 
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  • Town Talkins - Browns Valley
    Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    Brown’svallley? Brown’s Valley? Brownsvalley? Browns Valley? Browns valley? Exactly! Whoda’ thunk that our town in this article would be so hard to spell? I still have not found why it was named Brownsvalley either. Can’t find a family named that, but guessing because it is in Brown Township. However, if that’s the case, it’s not in a valley. Hmmm!!
    I do know it was laid-out in 1836, 181 years ago; thus, one of the oldest towns in Montgomery County. Rev. Matthias Mount Vancleave who had just turned 26, the oldest of nine children who came with his parents, Benjamin and Mary Mount Vancleave at age 14 to the area. He had been married to Nancy Nicholson six years earlier, so it was quite an adventure to lay-out a new town upon land he had purchased from his father. John Milligan had recently created Waveland so the towns grew-up together. Oddly, MMV almost immediately took his family to Delphi, later returning to Crawfordsville where it has often been remarked that he married the most couples in this county. 
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  •    Karen asked, "Was he good looking?" Read for her answer
    Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s certainly not every day that I get to interview a 100-year-old and this one could probably keep up with many my age. Such energy, I loved spending time with her, the son and daughter-in-law, and thank them all for letting me write about this sweetie’s life! My gal was born and raised in Montgomery County where her family was in the grocery business for many decades and she and her husband had a ceramics company for that long. 
    A 1935 graduate of CHS, she went on to Central Business College in Indianapolis, receiving a degree from there. Her son grinned and said, “Yeah, I had a lot of the same teachers mom did!” Both of their children graduated from C’ville. 
    A popular young people hang-out in the mid-late 1930s was a sweet shop next to where many of us remember the Strand Theater on Green Street was. Long gone is the shop, but her memories still are fresh. There she met the love of her life, a Wabash football player. “Was he good looking?” I queried. “Well, I thought so, and that’s all that mattered!” I love this lady! She told me there wasn’t much money, that while dating, she worked all the time, he had games and so they just hung-out. “Buy a coke for a nickel and spend the rest of the evening there.” They did go to his college dances but, “He wasn’t very good swinging!” 
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  • Although second times around, they are proud of their 36 years together
    Thursday, October 5, 2017 4:00 AM
    Usually, I begin couples’ stories with how they met, but this time, I’m wavering on that. Instead, I want to tell you about my favorite thing I learned about these two. Didn’t have quite enough goodies, so we got to talking about Christmas and I absolutely loved one of their traditions. That’s her Godmother Story. It’s a tale of what they did throughout the year that she writes and reads to them every Christmas Eve. Kind of like the Christmas Story only their yarn. Makes for lots of laughs, and everyone is on pins and needles wondering what she’s going to throw their way. They used to host the Christmas but in their condo, it is wall-to-wall people, so now they go to one of their grandson’s in Lafayette, but the traditions still continue!
    He also explained the Dirty Bingo they play at Christmas, where everyone brings a $25 gift and they put them all in a pile, then draw a number. First person up chooses one, opens it, then keeps it. Next person has a choice to take it or open a new one. When you get a present three times then you have to keep it, sometimes that’s grand, and sometimes not so. This couple lived in Waveland in the same house for 31 years and she for about 50. He did have an interesting encounter with the home when he was a youngster, going to Waveland school. The big door hit him and busted his head. He was taken to that home and the doctor (whom he thought was drunk) said the only way to fix it up was to clamp it together. He wasn’t having that and gave him in no uncertain terms a, “No, you’re not,” so he went out of there with bandages instead, then landed back in the home for three decades plus. 
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  • Town Talkins - New Richmond
    Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    After visiting the town of Linden earlier the day I went to New Richmond, I surely enjoyed the drive from one to the other. The road I went west on had such beautiful farms and homes, so well taken care of, that reminded me of a peaceful, pleasant movie. Speaking of movies, when I got to New Richmond, I decided I was hungry and headed to the Hickory Café. Such a fun place! Lots of memorabilia from the movie, Hoosiers.
    Although the restaurant wasn’t the café in the movie, the building was in the film. Half of it was the Barber Shop and the west side was the feed store, yet with balls, nets, pompoms, signs, shirts for sale and the movies around, it pleasantly substituted as the real Hickory Café for me!
    While I waited on my Texas BBQ sandwich (incidentally, it was amazing), I picked up Phyllis Waye Boone’s book (edited and produced by her granddaughter, Stephanie Cain) and enjoyed perusing it with gusto. Phyllis and Al were such wonderful people and historians through and through. Loved taking kids to the museum they had in New Richmond for a few years, and always had fun going to genealogy meetings with them. 
    The title is: New Richmond: A History of the Greatest Little Town on Earth!” There was a biography on the man who Phyllis dubbed the “Father of New Richmond,” Samuel Kincaid. He was an early blacksmith in Crawfordsville but purchased a couple of land grants in Coal Creek Township, then ten acres where New Richmond is now. New Richmond began at the end of July in 1836. His cabin was where (Northeast corner) Washington and Wabash is now and the Kincaids raised eight children there. 
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  • She raised 7 of her own and her sister, as well
    Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    Laughed so much this week when my guest and I met at PH. The funniest thing I heard had to be that her daughter gave her practice questions. Believe me, kiddos, if I ask you for an interview, you don’t need to practice, but sure thought it was cute. One thing I was curious about in regards to my guest this week was just how a gal from the north side of Indy ended up here. Loved the story so now you’ll know. 
    She has two brothers, Ed who grew-up on Keystone and is a farmer in Franklin. Steve, the younger brother is a retired marketing analyst and lives in Zionsville. You’ll hear more later about her sister.
    Oddly, her father, Bonnie (B. Lee) Fisher was born near Alamo but kept running away to Indianapolis. There is a picture of him at age 10 with, “ready to hit the road again,” on the back side. He graduated from Tech high school where he met his wife. Quite successful in the city, he was a personnel manager, owned a golf course, was a Real Estate agent, owned several businesses and had a home at Lake Wawasee. Pretty odd he wanted to get away from the earth and son Ed is back to his roots, the family specializing in flowers. So, you see, it’s not odd at all that my guest landed back in Montgomery County and as far as I know, hasn’t wanted to run away yet.
    It was IU bound after graduating from Broad Ripple HS where her roommate ended-up being Myra Coleman, whose father was principal here. She was a very good friend to our guest’s soon to be hubs. Myra didn’t like my guest’s boyfriend at all nor did she like her good friend’s girlfriend, so she introduced them via letter. He was in Vietnam and had actually asked Myra if she knew of anyone for him to write to. The first letter began, “Oh, Golden-tressed Goddess of beauty, thou art known and renowned in the Quang Tree Province!” Being an English Lit. Major, this made her laugh and feel good. So, she wrote him back. Since he was dating another girl when he came home, he didn’t call our guest until almost the end of his 30-day-leave; but since she and her boyfriend had had a fight, she thought why not go out with him? They went to the Pizza King catty-cornered from the present-day CVS. Oddly, they would later live almost above that on Green Street in an apartment. 
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  • Southmonters, they have learned to love the Blue & Gold
    Thursday, September 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    These two agreed that after 20 years of marriage, “We’re pretty content.” They attribute that fact to doing simple things, such as eating together as a family, having mutual respect, being easy-going and getting along, realizing there will be good times and bad, but keeping the commitment uppermost!
    Dating began attending their senior prom. Not long afterwards, it was graduation party time. He left his to go to hers. As he got out of his car, he noticed her father smoking in the yard. He waved at the dad and headed to the door, but pop beat him to it, and slammed it in our young man’s face. Hmm, what to do? Romeo knocked on the door and when it opened, was relieved to see her smiling mom. One signal to dad that this boy was a-okay was that Joe, their dog, hated everybody but greeted our fine fella’ with adored enthusiasm. Certainly, my guests agreed that the two men came to love each other even with the unusual start!
    At Southmont, he was involved in a lot of what he still loves, golf, football and basketball. She was queen candidate and organizer. They found it more than difficult to bleed blue and gold vs. red and gray but came to love CHS as much as their children do. They went on to Purdue, he in teaching, especially so he could coach. “He’s a coach by nature!” He added, “It is rewarding and kids are fun!” Football, baseball, softball and volleyball tally his coaching career. As an extra moneymaker for more than a couple of decades, he has refereed football all over the state, including three championships.
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  • Friday, September 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Two, two, two towns in one. Well, that’s what I did when I went to visit Linden. Decided I’d head through the country to New Richmond, too. Sorry, you don’t get them both in this article, but now, you know which one to look forward to, huh?
    Absolutely loved going in to town and being informed right off that Linden dates back to 1850 and has 718 people. Like Waveland’s 510, they come and go, but a close approximation, nonetheless. Was hoping to finally get to visit the Train Museum. This is one of the hub’s hobbies of long-ago, and I’ve been hoping to get him up there, but he works all the time they’re open. I just missed it by about an hour but decided instead of waiting I’d head on to NR.
    Visited the library, which I’d sign as the happening place of town and met a precious assistant librarian, Julie. She has worked there about six months but hung-out in there a lot previous to employment. Having grown-up in Minnesota, she and her husband went to Chicago for ten years. One day, she said, “That’s enough!” She wanted her children to grow-up where they could ride bikes, be safe and attend a small school. Currently, two are in college and one at Northridge. 
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  • She got her engagement ring on senior prom night
    Thursday, September 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    It seems like I’ve known my guest for-ever, as I can’t remember where I met her. Have just always liked and admired her, so here ya’ go with her story. I will say that it’s funny that when we got together at Steak & Shake, I asked her if she remembered how we met, and she said, ‘I don’t know, I’ve just known ya’ 4-ever!
    She grew-up in Crawfordsville, graduated from CHS and met her fella’ in high school. In fact, he had purchased her ring about Valentine’s, paid it off and gave it to her Senior Prom night after one of the dances. He was a year older, and they both worked at the Strand Theatre for several years during HS. He was an usher; she took the money. During high school, she was in band, one of 36 clarinetists out of a 100-piece band. 
    Her parents both grew-up in Montgomery County, as well, she a school teacher and her dad a bookkeeper for the Aluminum plant, Shirt Factory, and worked for Goodrich. In fact, her very first job was folding and stuffing the Indianapolis Star for her dad who was manager of routes. She was about 14 and several boys slightly older than her came each Sunday morning to get their papers and she got to enjoy the view. Great job, huh, girls?
    After my guest’s fiancé graduated, he went on to Purdue, where she joined him after her graduation. At age 20 and 21, they were married and remained so for 59 ½ years until his death last year. While going to PU, she worked as cashier at the Union, then was a college secretary for an office that sat-up for the North and South units to consolidate. She worked about 30 hours/week and took a full-load of classes. She graduated in El Ed while the hubs was an Industrial Arts Education major.
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  • These two have passion for life
    Thursday, September 7, 2017 4:00 AM
    So, how does a Connecticut Altar boy meet a CHS, NHS student? Raybestos that’s how! He grew-up attending Notre Dame HS that had a waiting list of 2,000 kids lined-up to go there. He played base-ball, football and said, “With that type of list, my goal was to pass!” He also had to hitchhike to and from school since it was 30 miles from his home. That wasn’t so bad since he met a lot of nice peo-ple, many who would stop because he had his ND jacket on. Even going home at night after a game, he never worried as, “We were safe in those days!”
    That actually led the three of us into a discussion about how things are indeed different from when we grew-up, but that there are still so many nice people around and lots of good is still being done!
    Although I just met him, our gal this week I’ve known for years. Her mother and my mother-in-law were close friends, loving so many of the same things. She’s a distant cousin to my son-in-law and our daughter was in her first wedding, registering people and gifts. I’ve always adored her folks and my little lady is absolutely precious.
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  •  Mom taught 'em basic chords, they flew from there
    Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:00 AM
    This column is a lot different from my norm, but don’t worry, you still get to guess. So, let me give some hints. Think music. Singing. Add three handsome men, all Southmont grads. One has moved away to a more Southern Indiana clime, while one lives in Crawfordsville and the other one still dwells right in the little town in the southwest corner of Montgomery County where they all grew-up.
    When I asked the “boys” (hey, they’re all younger than me) how long they’ve been singing together they asked the youngest one how old he was, then figured he started singing with ‘em when he was a couple of years old, so consequently, they came up with “close to 50 years.” 
    Mainly, they get their musical talent from their mom, who is one of 12 children and every one sings and/or plays the guitar. She said that she taught them the basic chords on the guitar and helped them with their pitches, then they flew from there. They get talent from dad, Ernie, too, as he sings and his father was in a quartet in the Waveland area that sang at many funerals and other happenings. When the mom’s side of the family come to her house every year at reunion time, there are about 100 people there and our trio entertains for a couple of hours. Ron Keedy (who was doing some preliminary work on their upcoming concert) asked them what their genre would be. They weren’t real sure themselves, but finally decided perhaps country-gospel. That’s what I had been thinking as I listened to them and enjoyed myself immensely. Mom, Iris, told me that they are wide ranged as they know a variety of songs by famous folks, but have written so many wonderful ones themselves. Although the boys said, hodge-podge, she used one of my all-time favorite words to describe ‘em perfectly ... eclectic. 
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