As I drove up to this weeks' subjects' home, I noticed what I thought was an old, beautiful Ford Fairlane in the driveway. When I got out of my little putterer, I checked it and for sure it was a 1963 fine ride. It was even more exciting when my couple told me it was a close duplicate (interior of the original being red vs. a beige) to the car they used to date in! How sweet is that? I love it! John Charles (better known as Charlie or Chops) and Ethel Sayler had pizza and homemade delicious chocolate chip cookies ready for me. I also received a grand tour of their beautiful home and grounds. Certainly, I felt like a queen and I had a wonderful time visiting with this sweet and fun couple.

Both have way back Montgomery County roots with names such as Saidla, Peterson, Loveless, Bowers, Harshbarger and Clodfelter. In fact, I just discovered John Charles and I are 5th cousins on our Bowers' side. Ethel and Chops' relationship goes way back, as well to him being age six and she age five when they met in first grade at New Market. I asked, "Oh, it was love at an early age?" They looked at each other with a grin and answered, "No, we didn't like each other much back then." Too much competition on spelling bees and class work. Add about ten years and they were dating, then married at age 20 and 21 in the old Baptist Church on Walnut Street. Rev. Don Phillips, ex-preacher at New Market Baptist drove-up after giving his Lawrenceburg service, making it just in time to marry Charlie and Ethel. They are looking forward to their 50th Anniversary. A picture revealed an absolutely gorgeous bride in an amazing wedding dress. I found it precious that their daughter, Gretchen, remade her Mom's gown and she, too, was a gorgeous bride.

Another interesting piece of history is that Charlie's brother, David Eugene Sayler, was flying a B-24 Liberator plane (36 missions) from England to Germany when he received a letter from his mother telling him that she was pregnant. He fired off a telegram simply saying, "You're what?" Charlie was quite proud of his brother who returned from the war to become Division Manager over 10 Ford Plants. "It's pretty odd that we never lived under the same roof," but they were buds, nonetheless.

After graduating from Purdue, Charlie went to work for Firestone in Cincinnati, then transferred to Akron where their son, Tim was born (in Barberton). They lived in Chesapeake, Ohio when he worked in Cabell County, West Virginia, Gretchen being born in Huntington during the community's 100th anniversary year.

After Charlie was recruited by Sears, he jumped at the chance to come back to Indiana (Castleton's new store). All this time he noted, "My bride never complained once!" For a few years, both he and Ethel worked with her dad and brother at Dye Feed & Farm Store until 1980 when the business burned. That was a really tough time with three families' livelihood gone. These two are tough, though and so he worked several jobs after that including subbing, school bus driving, Whitey's Restaurant, construction, Farmer's Home Administration work for a farmer in Parke County, for Town and Country and as the Safety Director for Montgomery County Farm Bureau Co-Op for ten years, ending up at National Agribusiness and Ceres Solutions doing government paperwork. One of Charlie's bosses asked him why he had had so many jobs. The honest answer, "I had to feed my family."

During much of the time, Ethel was a stay-at-home mom which she dearly loved, but was never idle. She was a Girl Scout Leader, Pinache helper, Beta Sigma Phi sorority worker, did foster parenting (having had 15 children). Her working career began by skipping the senior class trip to start work in the loan department at 1st National Bank. When Charlie was going to PU, she drove to Brookston every day for three years to work at Standard Oil. She also spent 21 years as the office manager for the 4-H Extension. Currently, she is a board member and both are involved in the Montgomery County Pioneer Tractor club and members of Whitesville Church. They definitely keep busy!

Auctioneering is somewhat synonymous with the Sayler name, and Charlie had his auctioneer's license and did a bit of that but noted it was hard to feed a family not knowing how many and when auctions would be. He was one of the first EMTs on the S&W service and did that for eleven years. The grandkids (Tim and Jenny have two, Abby and Eric and Gretchen and husband, BJ Dupps have three, Alexandra; Christian and Adrianne) are now their entertainment. It's pretty exciting seeing grandchildren's 4-H projects; piano recitals; dance competitions; basketball games and the like. I know!

One of the most exciting items I'd like to share with you about Ethel, especially although many years it was a family affair, is that she was so instrumental in the Jr. Miss program for 17 years. Gretchen won the JM competition in November 1988 but the program was about to subside, thus Ethel got busy to develop the Montgomery County Jr. Miss committee in order to continue JM. I so admire such hard work and dedication. The best part about it equaled life-long friends.

The Sayler's are fun folks. We laughed a lot during our couple of hours together. I particularly giggled when we were having the wedding discussion and Charlie told me Tim and Jenny's wedding cake was made out of Krispy Kream donuts. What a hoot! Had such a grand time with Chops and Ethel and so thank them for the great visit and for consenting to be this week's ATC subjects.

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, a monthly magazine published by Sagamore News Media and The Paper of Montgomery County. Her column is published each Thursday in The Paper.