Off the Hook - Archive 2015
by Melanie Behrens

Off the Hook Archive melb@marysvillejt.com  Home Subscribe Photos

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2009

2010

2011

2012

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Publish Date

Title

10/2/15

The golf incident

9/25/15

Weird facts III

9/18/15

Weird facts II

9/11/15

Weird facts for your trivia

9/4/15

Where have they gone?

8/28/15

Truly man’s best friend

8/21/15

Take a penny, leave a penny

8/14/15

Conclusion of the World Race

8/7/15

Pocket watches gave them their start

7/31/15

Where the grass is always greener

7/24/15

Locked keys in car

7/17/15

Another random act of kindness (a big one)

7/10/15

Happy Birthday to You

7/3/15

Allie Spain on The World Race

6/26/15

An energetic and caring nurse

6/19/15

She’s 100 and counting

6/12/15

At age 100, she became an author!

6/5/15

More about Ginny Gunderman

5/29/15

She was Miss Marysville 1936

5/22/15

The challenge to hit ‘em straight

5/15/15

Allie Spain - Malaysia and the Philippines

5/8/15

Mother (muth’er), noun - Someone who will love you unconditionally, until her last breath.

5/1/15

Random acts of kindness

4/24/15

It was the year 1955

4/17/15

The rest of the story!

4/10/15

Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

4/3/15

Just for today

3/27/15

Would this fly today?

3/20/15

We must have passwords

3/13/15

Allie Spain on the World Race

3/6/15

The Villages

2/27/15

Scams are everywhere

2/20/15

His age is just a number, Former J-T paperboy is author

2/13/15

It’s all about love!

2/6/15

Leading the foundation forward

1/30/15

Allie Spain in Laos and Cambodia

1/23/15

Flying not driving

1/16/15

Kay Liggett - a bright light in our world

1/9/15

Volunteering at its best

1/2/15

Can you read it?

10/2/15
The golf incident
Many times I have talked about my experiences playing golf, a game I have a love-hate relationship with, and the treatment of women on the course. On Mondays, I play with a group of women and we travel around to central Ohio courses.
Recently we were just out for a nice day of golf. This day there were six of us. Over the years that we have played together, there have been lots of funny incidents of varied origins, which gave us much to talk about at lunch following golf. This time it was apparently my turn in the barrel, so to speak, but this wasn’t so funny.
We had just teed off at an area course. It’s a special course to me because I actually learned to play golf there many years ago. We started on the back nine so the first hole we played was a par three, up a hill and over water. The first two people in my group teed off, then I stepped up. I didn’t notice that there was a guy mowing the grass on the back of the green. Of the three of us, my drive landed closest to the green, but was six feet short of it. The other two women were behind me. Now, it’s important to note that none of us were on the green on our drive (sadly). Apparently he was mowing either behind the green or on the back of it, and we didn’t come close to hitting him.
I pulled my cart around to the side, got out with my club and headed toward the green. Just as I arrived to my ball, someone was screaming in a loud voice from over near my cart. I’m wondering what’s going on and it turns out the guy mowing was screaming at me. He jumped off his mower and wanted to know why we hit when he was mowing. He said we could have killed him. Then he started screaming at me pointing his finger and asking me if we were aiming at him (seriously like we could aim that well). I reminded him none of us were closer than six feet in front of the green and certainly nowhere near him. I also reminded him that it is his job as an employee of the golf course to look out for golfers teeing off and to be aware of them hitting the ball. We are an experienced group of golfers and we know how things work.
That really irritated him and he continued to scream at me and yelled, “Who do you think you are?” I replied that I was someone who paid to play today. He continued to scream at me and now I raised my voice telling him he was out of line. He then told us we were all ejected from the course - we needed to get off the course now! We are all strong-minded women and had no intention of going anywhere, plus we were pretty sure he had no authority to do such a thing. Once again, I said it’s his job to move out of our way when we hit to the hole, and that none of our shots came close to him.
When he jumped off the mower, it started rolling down toward the lake. I was secretly hoping it would roll in, but he got on and caught it in time. He got to my cart before I could, and took the key out so that we couldn’t go anywhere. Now I am semi-furious. I don’t know why he thought he could push us around, but I told him to immediately return the key to the cart.
The worker was close to me and a lot bigger than me, and I’ll admit I didn’t know what he was going to do. I thought he might grab me because he was so angry!
I continued to tell him to return the key. He then threw it under the cart so that I couldn’t get it. Fortunately, my golf partners came with the key to their cart which also worked in mine so we could move my cart and get its key. As this abusive person on the mower drove away, he said that he was going to call in and report us (right!).
He drove away and we didn’t see him on the course again. It was the most threatened I have felt by another human being. The three of us playing together also discussed the fact that had we been three men this never would’ve happened.
At the end of the round we went inside to discuss with the owner what occurred on the course. We felt that the guy mowing was way out of line. However, it really didn’t go anywhere.
There are lots of nice places to play golf and we have only a few weeks left so we certainly won’t waste them there.

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9/25/15
Weird facts III
I’ve been sharing some weird facts with you these last two weeks. You never know when you need this information to score big on a trivia contest. Here are the last three semi-useful facts and maybe the best ones!
Weird fact No. 1 - In 1921, a group of white people burned the wealthy black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street.” Firebombs were dropped from airplanes and more than 800 were killed. Others were admitted to white hospitals because the black hospitals were burned down (really!). An estimated 10,000 were left homeless. Apparently, just hate for another human being fueled the event. This massacre was not acknowledged in the state history records until 1996.
Those involved and their ancestors must have felt such shame over the event, so there was no talk of it. As the years went by, many blacks and whites grew up unaware of what had taken place. With the number of survivors declining, in 1996, the state legislature commissioned a report to establish the historical record of the events, and acknowledge the victims and damages to the black community. The state passed legislation to establish scholarships for descendants of survivors, economic development of the area, and a memorial park to the victims in Tulsa.
Thank heavens the world has changed!
Weird fact No. 2 - A tick bite can cause a lifelong allergy to red meat. The Lone Star tick (named after Texas where it was first found) injects a type of sugar (alpha-gel) the body doesn’t normally have, also found in red meat, into the blood and causes antibodies to be made that produce an allergic reaction when a person ingests red meat. Additionally, some poultry and dairy products contain this sugar.
I guess that bug could turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by that tick. This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest to Eastern parts of the United States. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.
As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York’s Long Island said, “Why would someone think they’re allergic to meat when they’ve been eating it their whole life?” Be aware, researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies.
Weird fact No. 3 - An officer of the California Highway Patrol, Sgt. Kevin Briggs, has stopped more than 200 people from committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Dropping from the bridge at an average height of 220 feet almost always ends in a painful death (although a few people have survived). During his career, Briggs estimates he dissuaded people from ending their life on the Golden Gate Bridge about twice a month, and had done so since 1994, the year he started patrolling the bridge. Responding to crisis calls, he intervened using compassion, a gentle voice, eye contact, respect for the person, and his innate ability of “listening to understand” to discourage jumping, with only two people deciding to jump after he interceded.
According to Briggs, when he first began working on the bridge he was not made aware of its dark side, nor did he have any training in suicide prevention or crisis management. After being trained, his success is undeniable! He has been honored many times by organizations in the state of California for his service.
It turns out, Briggs also suffers from depression, but has turned this into even better understanding and help for those on the bridge.
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9/18/15
Weird facts II
This is the second installment of weird facts. Last week we had Kent cigarettes adding the cancer causing micronite filter in the 1950s to its already cancer causing cigarette, the story of famous Vietnam War sniper Carlos Hathcock and President Andrew Jackson being the last president to balance the U.S. budget in 1835. The stories about these facts might come in handy at a trivia party. Now for our next group to enhance your knowledge!
Weird fact No. 1 - Adelir Antonio de Carli (1966–2008), also known in Brazil as Padre Baloeiro, was a Brazilian Catholic priest who died during an attempt at cluster ballooning on April 20, 2008. Carli, an experienced skydiver, undertook the exercise in order to raise money to fund a spiritual rest area for truck drivers in the Parana port city of Paranagua.
He strapped 1,000 balloons to a lawn chair that had a floatation device and sent himself up. He had a parachute, satellite phone, GPS and five days of food. His training for the stunt included jungle survival and mountain climbing courses, but apparently did not include instruction on use of his GPS. In a telephone call he made during the flight, he stated that if someone could just explain how to use his GPS he could relay his position to rescuers. When he was lost over the sea he phoned for help, but rescuers were unable to find his location. Weeks later he was found dead at sea.
I wondered what this type of ballooning was about. It seems cluster ballooning is a form of ballooning where a harness attaches a balloonist to a cluster of helium-inflated rubber balloons. Unlike traditional hot-air balloons, where a single large balloon is equipped with vents enabling altitude control, cluster balloons are multiple, small, readily available and individually sealed balloons. To control flight, stop a climb or initiate a descent, the pilot incrementally jettisons or deflates balloons. Ballast, like bottled water, can also be jettisoned to facilitate ascent. So it’s not an easy task and obviously risky, since the priest didn’t survive. His goal for the cluster ballooning exercise was to break the 19-hour flight record and claim a new world record.
Weird fact No. 2 - About 40 percent of genetic information found in your GI tract does not match anything ever classified before - not plant, animal, fungus, virus or bacteria. Not knowing what it is, biologists call it “biological dark matter.”
I have a science background, but had never heard of this, so after further investigation I learned biological dark matter is uncategorized genetic material found in humans and its presence suggests that a possible fourth domain of life may yet be discovered. Also I learned 20 percent of the genetic material in a typical human nasal swab is biological dark matter that cannot be attributed to any of the characterized living organisms on Earth. Nice, huh?
Some of these samples are so unusual they seem to have come from organisms that are only distantly related to cellular life as we know it. They may belong to an organism that sits in an entirely new domain.
Where are they from? It seems there are two possibilities. They could represent an unusual virus, or a totally new branch in the tree of life. This will give you something to think about!
Weird fact No. 3 - In January, 2014, Aitzaz Hasan, a 15-year-old boy from Pakistan, died when he bravely confronted a suicide bomber walking toward his school, which resulted in early detonation of the bomb. His action saved the lives of hundreds of students. He was last seen running after the suicide bomber moments before a huge explosion.
Apparently, Aitzaz had spoken out days before about the militants and their targets on schools. He is revered as a hero in his home town. Just think that these young students have to worry about suicide bombers every day in schools and homes. How sad!
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9/11/15
Weird facts for your trivia
When I came upon these weird facts recently I just knew they were things I had to pass along. I did some research and all appear to be valid. You never know when you’ll be playing a trivia game or will really want to stump someone or show your vast knowledge with this information. Now you’ll have the ammunition.
Weird fact No. 1. In 1952, claims that smoking causes cancer moved  Kent cigarettes to come out with an asbestos filter to protect smokers.
Seriously now, that seems insane! Of course, later we learned that asbestos was very bad for the lungs, too, and could cause mesothelioma. So the cigarette company had added a deadly carcinogen to a product that already caused cancer. By 1956, Kent had removed the asbestos, but it took four years to decide to do that. Kent widely touted its famous “micronite filter” (I remember the commercial jingle associated with it) and promised consumers the “greatest health protection in history.”
Sales of Kent skyrocketed, and it has been estimated that in the first four years Kent was on the market, the Lorillard company sold some 13 billion Kent cigarettes. It has been suspected that many cases of mesothelioma were directly related to smoking the original Kent cigarettes. Lorillard quietly changed the filter material from asbestos to the more common cellulose acetate in mid 1956.
Weird fact No. 2. During the Vietnam War, American sniper Carlos Hathcock volunteered to crawl for three days across 1,500 yards of open field containing an enemy headquarters. He had bedsores from staying motionless for so long. He could only move when the wind blew the grass around him. Enemy patrols came so close they actually stepped on his knuckles and stopped to smoke within feet of him.
He fired a single shot that killed a North Vietnam Army general and then had to backtrack the same way while enemy patrols were swarming, looking for him. He was only able to move inches at a time and made it back without being spotted. The assignment took four days and three nights with no sleep.
After learning of this interesting story, I looked for more on Carlos. It turns out he learned to hunt and shoot at a very young age, growing up in Arkansas and dreaming of becoming a Marine. He began his career as a sergeant and MP in Vietnam and was quickly moved to sniper status, so important in that war. He killed hundreds of the enemy with his skill at the rifle, including one cruel female interrogator (nicknamed Agatha by Americans) who tortured U.S. Marines, letting them bleed to death. Her kill was a major morale victory, because she was terrorizing the troops around Hill 55.
Hathcock’s career as a sniper came to a sudden end in September 1969 when the LVT-5 vehicle he was in struck a mine. He pulled seven Marines from the burning vehicle and was severely burned himself before jumping to safety. He received a Purple Heart for his injury and 30 years later the Silver Star. This American hero died of complications from multiple sclerosis at age 56 in 1999.
Weird fact No. 3. The year 1835 was the only time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. That was when President Andrew Jackson paid off what he called the “National Curse” or national debt. He ran for that office promising to do so. Being debt free lasted exactly one year. Of course, the debt began its long accumulation after that.
Ending the debt was a very unpopular move with the Whig-controlled Senate and Jackson was censured for assuming power not conferred upon him by the Constitution. That was the first and only time for such a censure by Congress. Jackson was also the first president to be a victim of an assassination attempt.
As of this writing, for the first time in history, the current U.S. debt is more than $18 trillion. It’s a staggering amount and as you may know, China is our biggest creditor. Simply said, the debt occurs because we spend more for services in the country than we take in from taxes. We  hear about the national debt rising all the time and generally we know it is not a good thing, but the public seems basically unconcerned about this fact. But economists really want Congress to pay attention!
Next week - more useful weird facts.
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9/4/15
Where have they gone?
Recently I saw an ad for a man’s necktie and thought how attractive it was. Then I realized that men hardly wear neckties anymore, except for special occasions (or like being on TV). Business casual has become the norm for many in the workplace and actually the rest of the world is also quite casual now.
That led me to think about other things that have nearly or literally disappeared from our world. Do you remember the eight-track tape and player? It was our first way (along with cassettes) to play music without a record, but you can’t find them anywhere. Also, the boom box is gone. That was about two feet wide and played cassettes and had a radio. In the 1980s, every self-respecting teenager had this portable device.
Then there was the video cassette. You could rent them at stores, which I guess you can still do now, but need a special player to play it through your TV. We still have a lot of those along with wrestling tapes that we videoed during our children’s high school days. Some of those I have actually put on a CD disc because the player for those cassettes doesn’t work anymore, so we can’t use any of them.
I mentioned records. Go back even a few more years to those staples of the ‘30s, ‘40s ‘50s and ‘60s. When I was growing up, the 45 record was what we collected. As soon as it came out, everyone went to the store to buy their favorite new song and play it on the small record player. We also took our collections to parties to share for the evening - no DJs then. Even before that, my parents enjoyed the 33 1/3 and 78 rpm records, which were three times the size of the 45.
When we were married in 1967 our wedding was recorded and pressed into a record. (Of course, there was no video.) I guess we still have it somewhere, but I’m not able to play it now because record players are mostly gone from this world.
Another mainstay when I was growing up was the drive-in burger joint. Frisch’s was one of the places we went at the end of a date or on a Sunday afternoon. Frost Top in Marysville was also a drive-in located where Benny’s is now. The carhop would come out, take our order and bring it to the car on a metal tray attached to the window. My family’s tradition was always go out to eat in the car right after purchasing it. That seems almost crazy now. One chocolate milkshake spilled on the fabric seats would be such a mess. I don’t recall that happening, though.
I love to take pictures of our family and friends and do it frequently now with my iPhone. Before that I had a digital camera with the removable disk from which we had pictures printed. Even before that was a camera with film. I haven’t seen film in a long time. The Journal-Tribune quit using film more than 15 years ago and is all digital now with much better quality.
Then there’s the home telephone or landline. I heard the story recently of a young child who saw a dial phone with a cord pictured in an old movie. He asked his grandparents what that was. When I grew up there was a dial phone and when I was a teenager the pushbuttons came in. We thought that was wonderful. Following that, cordless phones allowed you to walk all over the house making everything more mobile. Now many don’t even have a home phone line. I chose to have it just in case, but I’m not sure for what.
More than 20 years ago computers came into our lives in a big way for home use. They had been used in industry for many years. That was pretty much the end of the typewriter, but the typing skill is still important, apparently so important that our schools now think teaching cursive writing is not important. Along with the typewriter, carbon paper is a thing of the past. Now we just make as many copies as we want with our printer connected to the computer!
While some items are disappearing, others that have been around for eons are enduring, like bicycles, which have been around for more than 150 years (with some modifications). Fireworks existed 2,000 years ago in China and not only are they still here, but also are bigger and better. What about the hot-air balloon, still is so popular here in Union County? It was flown 150 years ago.
Now you will probably think of 20 more things no longer used in your life. It seems that with technology the world has changed more in the last 50 years than ever before in our history. So we’ve had to adapt quickly. All is good!
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8/28/15
Truly man’s best friend
Since Wednesday was National Dog Day, I thought I’d write about our furry pets.
If you’ve ever had a dog, you’ve known unconditional love, and you’ve had a best friend. They don’t care if you’ve been out too late or if you had garlic for dinner or if you’ve gained 20 pounds. They just love you.
As a child, I grew up with a cat in our house. We loved all of them very much and in their own way, they loved us. Then I married a man who was allergic to cats, so I guess that was out for me. We moved to Marysville and got a puppy. Oh my gosh, it was a lot of work - nothing like a cat that takes care of itself.
Puppies need help with everything and wetting on the carpet drove me crazy. Then we trained our puppy to wet on paper on the floor, because it was very cold outside when she was born. She was just a tiny poodle and we couldn’t send her outside.
But then one day I had a paper sewing pattern on the floor that I was pinning to some fabric. Our little puppy came over and started wetting all over the paper pattern. What could I say? That’s what we had trained her to do.
When she was about six months old we taught her to ring a cowbell, which we hung down low by the door, to indicate she wanted to go out. At first, when I took her paw to hit it, she would jump back from the noise, so afraid. Finally she got it because she was quite smart. Soon she was using it to tell us when she needed to go out.
That little black and white poodle, Cindy, lived for almost 17 years. Before she died, Daisy came into our lives. She was another little miniature poodle, I deemed smarter than my children at the time!
From the beginning she was a star. We taught her to bring the Journal-Tribune in. She would travel down our 150 foot driveway to grab that newspaper by the little plastic bag and bring it all the way up to the door. Sometimes it was almost as heavy as she was. Of course, she worked for treats that could be something to eat or just a scratch behind the ears.
One day the neighbor called and said, “Help, help a thief is in my driveway!” With a smile in her voice she explained that Daisy had come over to get her paper, too, and was now dragging it to our front door. Well, that had to stop. I guess Daisy thought if one is good, two is even better.
Daisy slept in our bed. That might make you say, ugh. Well that’s what I said too. In the beginning, one morning, I looked over and there was a little eight pound dog with her head on the pillow, laying sideways next to my husband. When it was cold she would burrow under the blankets down by our feet to stay warm. Seriously, all of this took some getting used to, but after awhile I just said, oh well.
She was a wonderful dog and we still talk about her 15 years later. Our dogs were family, for sure, and when they died it was terribly sad. That’s why we don’t have a pet now. It’s just too hard to say goodbye to them.
All of these thoughts came flooding back to me when I received some cute stories about dogs.
 Dog rules for humans:
Don’t come home smelling of other dogs
You must feed me every goody you eat.
Let me outside even though I just came in, there was an area I forgot to sniff.
I can sleep anywhere I choose, even if it means you trip over me.
Don’t shish me from barking while you are on the phone. I heard the wind blowing the trees.
Don’t move me while I’m sleeping sideways in the middle of the bed. You have enough room on the edge.
 If it lands on the floor, it’s mine!
 Human rules for dogs:
(They start out with good intentions but obviously get modified by the dog!)
The dog is not allowed in the house. OK, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.
The dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture. The dog can get on the old furniture only. Fine, the dog’s allowed on all furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with humans on the bed. OK the dog’s allowed in the bed but only by invitation. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever it wants, but not under the covers. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only. The dog can sleep under the covers any time. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.
And finally, these thoughts: “People who really love their dogs are the most kind and giving people. They are the ones who don’t freak out because the dog gives them a kiss or eats off their plate. When they lay down at night, the dogs are on the bed or at least snuggled close by to be safe from the dark and dangers that roam in the night. They love all dogs they had in the past, especially the ones they have now.”
So, give your dog a little scratch behind the ears from me.
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8/21/15
Take a penny, leave a penny
Copper pennies are the smallest increment in our money. And now, monetarily, they’re actually worth almost nothing.
Many times in stores and businesses you will see a little jar that says, “need a penny, take a penny.” It means, if you need a penny or two in paying your bill, take it. Sometimes others will just drop a penny in there from their change to help the next person. Most don’t really think much about it, because a penny won’t buy much anymore.
A penny has taken on the meaning of not very much money. Penny stocks for instance, refer to stocks that sell for very little and usually are outside the major market exchanges. They are often considered to be highly speculative.
When I was growing up there was a thing called penny candy. That meant things like jaw breakers or Bazooka bubblegum. You put out a penny and you got one thing.
Some people even think it’s crazy to pick up a penny when you see it on the ground.  It’s not worth the effort, they say. Then there’s the tradition of, if the penny isn’t face up, you shouldn’t pick it up. But I know somebody who picks it up and turns it over, polishes off the face side (heads) and then makes a wish. There’s also the thought that when you pick up a penny you’re supposed to look at the date. That date will almost always mean something very important in your life. Since then I’ve noticed this really does apply to me. You can always find something outstanding in your life that year. Plus, that thought process makes you think back over that year and all its events.
Then there’s the famous saying, a penny for your thoughts. It means, tell me what you’re thinking and I’ll offer you a little bit for it.
When I was in college, we all wore penny loafers called Bass Weejuns. A penny was inserted in the little spot across the vamp of the shoe. That was for good luck.
Finally we come to the saying, penny wise and pound foolish. It means to be thrifty with small amounts of money and avoid being wasteful with larger amounts. This, of course, began with the relationship between pennies or pence and the British pound. At one time the pound was worth about 240 pennies.
The most interesting thing I ever saw done with pennies was an entire basement recreation room floor. The pennies had been glued down, one by one, and then a heavy coat of some kind of shellac put on top to seal them so that when you walked on the pennies they were preserved. Obviously that took hundreds of dollars of pennies to complete and many hours of work by two people.
All this said, pennies mean something to some people and almost nothing to others. Have you ever heard that angels were involved with pennies? Recently a friend shared this with me:
“I found a penny today just laying on the ground, but it’s not just a penny this little coin I found.
“That’s what my grandma told me. She said angels toss them down. Oh how I love that story.
“She said when an angel misses you, they toss a penny down, sometimes just to cheer you up, to make a smile out of your frown.
“So don’t pass by that penny when you are feeling blue, maybe it’s a penny from heaven that your guardian angel tossed to you!”
Now maybe every time you pull those almost worthless pennies out of your pocket, you’ll think again about their value, or if you see one on the ground, you’ll pick it up.
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8/14/15
Conclusion of the World Race
Allie Spain joined the World Race as a missionary in the Far East almost 11 months ago. Now her journey has been completed, spending the last two months in China and South Korea. She is not able to share much about her time n China, but South Korea was just what she had been waiting for.
Allie related: “We had learned that we were going to be working at a girls home in Seoul, South Korea, and I was excited to be with kids again. Our ministry hadn’t said anything about there being babies, so I was expecting older children. When we pulled up at the home, one of the first questions they asked us was, ‘Who likes babies?’ My hand shot up.  I was expecting maybe two babies at the most. But when God answers prayers, sometimes He likes to throw a little bonus in there. We were met with six beautiful baby girls from the age of 3 weeks to 4 months old. We helped take care of them during the day, feeding them, changing their diapers, giving them baths, playing with them, and holding and putting them to sleep.
“Many of the babies arrived in a baby box. Those have been put into use in Korea because babies were just being left outside churches and orphanages, vulnerable to the elements. A pastor saw the need and came up with the idea of the baby box.  It protects them and sends an alarm when a baby is placed inside. The pastor then takes the baby and places it in a home or orphanage. About 600 babies have been rescued through the efforts of this pastor in Seoul.”
So, South Korea had a special meaning for Allie. Now she is home and reflecting on how her life has changed. The world she lived in for 11 months is so different from that in the U.S.
Her thoughts now -
“Wait, I can flush toilet paper now, right. There have been many times where I’ve forgotten this and thrown my toilet paper in the garbage can. I have to remind myself almost every time that I can flush now.
“Customer service is weird. You ask me questions I can understand. I don’t have to point to what I want. I don’t need to use hand motions anymore.
“Is tap water safe to drink here? I can just drink it. No worries. No filters. I don’t need a water budget anymore.
“Seatbelts are necessary? Really? I feel so constrained, and if I survived in Asia on some pretty sketchy roads, then I am fine here. I have to remind myself to put these on, too.
“Where is everybody? Traveling alone is weird. It’s so quiet and boring. I look around the plane and recognize no one. This is such a drastic change going from a group of 40 taking up an entire section of a plane to flying solo.
“I want to be alone, but like with somebody. Alone time on the race was never really alone time. There was usually someone still in the room with you. You just had the unspoken agreement that you wouldn’t talk to each other. Since being home, I’ve found myself wanting alone time but also having someone there doing their own thing, too.
“I don’t have my converter … oh wait. No converter needed. I could get used to this.
“I’ve got Korean Won or Japanese Yen … that’s it. Realizing the only currency I have on me is foreign currency. Not a penny or dime to be found. Also realizing that I prefer paying cash.
“Can I just wear my race clothes? I really don’t want to wear my race clothes, but I miss not having so many choices when it comes to picking out what I’m going to wear each day. I take a long time to get ready in the morning, not because I’m doing my hair all nice or putting on makeup, but because I just sit there staring at my closet trying to decide. I’ve found myself still leaning towards some combination of five different shirts and two pairs of shorts.
“Where are my chopsticks? Being on the all-Asia route, chopsticks were always an option. I find myself tempted to bring a pair with me wherever I go so that I have them to use. They are what’s comfortable now.
“I can understand everything! There is no other language. I understand everything the lady in front of me is saying. I feel like I’m eavesdropping on everyone’s conversations.”
Allie’s next undertaking will begin in January, 2016. She will be moving to Mijas, Spain to attend G42, which is a six-month program (in English) designed to build character and develop leadership skills.
Allie explained, “The G42 Leadership Academy is a program created for disciplining, inspiring and equipping young men and women to locate their passion, whether in business, the non-profit realm, church or the arts, and to develop a strategy to use that passion to bring Kingdom to the earth. One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this program is because I am passionate about shedding light on child sexual abuse and about women’s rights and the way that women are treated differently around the world. I believe that the Lord has called me to use my voice, and my hope is that G42 will not only prepare me for that, but also will help me practically live out my calling and passions.”
Allie is once again raising money for her next venture. You can contact her through email: aspain@ashland.edu.
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8/7/15
Pocket watches gave them their start
I recently came across some information of how a great retailer got its start and was surprised at the name disclosure at the end. I hope you too will enjoy this and be surprised.
If you were in the market for a watch in 1880, you might not have known where to get one. Of course, you could have gone to a store, right? Well you could have done that, but if you wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than most of the store watches, you went to the train station! That seems crazy doesn’t it? Well, for about 500 towns across the northern United States, that’s where the best watches were found. Why would this be?
The railroad company wasn’t selling the watches, but the telegraph operator was. Now this doesn’t seem to go together, but here’s how that went:
Most of the time, the telegraph operator was located in the railroad station because telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to town. It was usually the shortest distance and the right-of-ways had already been secured for the rail line.
Most of the station agents were also skilled telegraph operators and that was the primary way they communicated with the railroad. They would know when trains left the previous station and when they were due at their next station. And it was the telegraph operator who had the watches. What? As a matter of fact, they sold more of them than almost all the stores combined for a period of about nine years.
This was all arranged by “Richard,” who was a telegraph operator and station agent. He sold lumber and coal on the side to local residents to make extra money. So he had already been in the retail business of sorts. He was on duty in the North Redwood, Minnesota train station one day when a load of watches arrived from Chicago. It was a huge crate of pocket watches and no one ever came to claim them.
Richard sent a telegram to the manufacturer and asked what to do with the watches. The manufacturer didn’t want to pay the freight back, so they wired Richard to see if he could sell them. So he did.
He sent a wire to every agent in the system asking them if they wanted a cheap, but good, pocket watch. He sold the entire case in less than two days and at a handsome profit. That started it all.
Eventually he ordered more watches from the watch company and encouraged the telegraph operators to set up a display case in their station offering high quality watches for a cheap price to all the travelers. It worked! Soon the word spread, and before long people other than travelers came to the train station to buy watches.
Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional watchmaker to help him with the orders. That was Alvah. And the rest is history, as they say. The business took off for Richard Sears and Alvah Roebeck, and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods. At first it was a mail order business, thus the famous catalog (also known as a necessary staple in an outhouse). More than 100 years later there would be more than 800 stores.
Richard and Alvah, both still in their twenties, left the train station, moved their company, Sears, Roebuck & Co., to Chicago in 1893 and began their famous and prosperous business. It’s still there.
In 1895, Roebuck asked to be bought out for $20,000. It was done, but the company kept his name. That might not have been the best financial decision for him!
At first, the company sold wool coats for $4.98, men’s suits for $9.95 and patent medicine until 1911. Sometimes the catalog was given away free and other times there was a charge of 50 cents. The giant catalog is no longer printed, but is available online. Some small seasonal ones are, however, printed.
Now you know the rest of the story about the beginning of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
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7/31/15
Where the grass is always greener
Weather-wise, this has been a strange year for growing everything in our yard, including the grass.
First, the spring was so warm, in fact way too warm and dry, but it was good for planting. I have tomatoes and flowers, you know, the usual backyard stuff and everything was doing well until about the first week in June. That’s when the monsoon season came, as we call it at our house. Soon, our backyard was a swamp and now mosquitoes are thick. They own the backyard! It is very difficult to spend much time there at any time of the day.
Second, the grass maintenance has been a difficult situation, to say the least. It seems like it’s growing even as the mower is going over it. My husband cuts the grass, which is a two-hour event, and the next day it looks like it should be cut again. Now, I will say that it’s green and it’s thick and it’s spreading to all the places where I don’t want grass.
These thoughts about our grass came to light after I read a note my friend sent me recently. I’ll bet this will hit home with you, too.
GOD & LAWN CARE
God to St. Francis:
Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.
St. Francis:
It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord - the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
God:
Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
St. Francis:
Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
God:
The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
St. Francis:
Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it - sometimes twice a week.
God:
They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
St. Francis:
Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
God:
They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
St.. Francis:
No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
God:
Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
St. Francis:
Yes, Sir.
God:
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
St. Francis:
You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
God:
What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.
St. Francis:
You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
God:
No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
St. Francis:
After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
God:
And where do they get this mulch?
St. Francis:
They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
God:
Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
St. Catherine:
“Dumb and Dumber,” Lord. It’s a story about ...
God:
Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
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7/24/15
Locked keys in car
I have locked my keys in the car a couple of times, most recently at a gas station. I must have bumped the automatic door lock as I got out. When I finished pumping the gas and realized the problem, I went inside to use the phone to get help for an extra set of keys. The people in charge said no one was allowed to use their phone. What? That was their company policy. I then pointed out my car would be blocking their pump for many hours otherwise. It took the two small-thinking people running that place five more minutes to decide I could make a call. The keys arrived and I left a little wiser, I hope.
Apparently, other people do this, too. Recently country singing star Carrie Underwood had to deal with her infant son and dogs accidently locked in a hot car. Right after she shut the car door, her dogs stepped on the power door lock and with the click sound, her child, purse and dogs were locked inside. She called her brother-in-law and he broke the window to get in. All turned out OK.
In response to this news item, TV show host Kelly Ripa told this story: She had just put her six-month-old child in the car and gave him the car keys to play with while she put her groceries in the trunk. Then she heard the click! It meant he had touched the automatic lock and she was locked out. He was inside.
She called the police and they worked and worked, but couldn’t open the door with their break-in tool. It was getting hot inside, she was sure. A man pulled up in a car and asked if he could help. In about 15 seconds he popped the door open. Her thought was, he must be a professional, but whatever, the car was open and her child was safe.
These stories came at a time when a friend sent me this, all in the same vein:
When God sends you help, never ask questions! She had hurried to the pharmacy to get medication and when she got back to her car she found that she had locked her keys inside.
Looking around, the woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She picked it up, looked at it and said, “Oh no, I don’t even know how to do this!” Tears came to her eyes and she bowed her head and asked … “God please send me some help!”
Within five minutes, a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off the cycle walked over and asked her if he could help.
She said, “Oh, yes please! My daughter is very sick and I’ve locked my keys in my car. I must get home as soon as possible. Can you please use this old hanger and try to unlock my car?”
He smiled and said, “Why sure!”
He walked over to the car and in less than a minute he had the car door open.
She hugged the man, and through tears said, “Oh thank you God for sending such a very nice man to help me!”
The man heard her little prayer and replied, “Lady, I am not a nice man! I just got out of prison yesterday and I was sent to prison for car theft!”
The woman hugged the man again, sobbing. Now she turned her head to the sky and said, “Oh, thank you dear God! You even sent me a professional!”
Now is God great or what?
May you never need this kind of help!
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7/17/15
Another random act of kindness (a big one)
A couple of months ago I told you the story of losing my purse and having it returned with everything intact. I considered it a wonderful random act of kindness, that someone would help me in this way.
There are many other random acts of kindness, like buying food for the person behind you in the drive-thru and buying pizza. What do I mean by this pizza thing?
My story began at a local restaurant which serves pizza in a large outdoor setting. We arrived late on a Friday night, the band was playing and there were more than 100 people there. We were with other members of our family and ordered a large pizza. All of us were already hungry because it was at least 8 p.m. Because there was nowhere to sit, we stood around the bar and waited and waited. After an hour, we thought the order surely must’ve been lost. Just then it arrived and simultaneously a table became available.
One of the members of our family, who shall be nameless at this point, grabbed the pizza which was on a little stand and started toward the table. We were all hungry. The pizza smelled so good, even from several feet away.
Then it happened. For just one minute he wasn’t looking at the pizza or he tripped or something and two thirds of the long-awaited pizza slid on to the concrete floor. Yes, we were all upset and couldn’t even believe this happened. Some of us took the top off the pizza pieces which had been on the ground face up, and a few of us ate the pieces that were left on the stand on the table.
It’s one of those instances where you know the person didn’t do it on purpose, but you really wish they hadn’t dropped it. There were some groans and oh no’s as we ate what was left.
The two couples sitting at the table next to us and saw what had happened. They obviously were wonderful people and offered us the rest of their pizza, saying they were not going to eat it anyway.
We said, “Oh, no thank you, we can’t take your pizza.” I’m thinking it’s probably better for me personally, if I don’t eat any pizza. However, after eating the two pieces, I was still quite hungry.
The people next to us said they felt so sorry for what happened and we continued to say, “No thank you,” to them. A few minutes later a server arrived and asked us what exactly was on that pizza, since she hadn’t taken the order in the beginning. We had placed the order at the bar. We told her what was on it and she said, “I’ll be back, don’t leave.”
When she returned a few moments later, she told us another pizza was on the way. What do you mean? We couldn’t understand what was going on. She was unable to tell us who bought the pizza. So now we thought we were in for another hour wait. But quickly there was a new pizza in front of us, the same as we had originally ordered, delivered by the server, who obviously knew how to deliver without dropping!
We realized those next to us must have purchased this pizza. It was a large one with several toppings on it. It was quite a financial investment and we didn’t even know these people. We looked over and thanked them profusely but they continued to deny they had purchased it. But we knew in our hearts that’s where it came from.
There are small acts of random kindness and there are very big ones. We considered this one particularly kind and were quite grateful. We don’t know the people. We don’t know if they live in Marysville or anything about them, but we thank them.
Bring joy to someone with your own random act of kindness. Do something nice whenever you have the opportunity. I urge you to do just some small thing for someone who needs help in some way, maybe someone you don’t even know.
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7/10/15
Happy Birthday to You
The summer months of June and July are very big birthday months for our family and friends. In fact, I almost go crazy trying to keep all the dates straight - who is how old and do I have the proper gift? There’s always a cake or fancy dessert of some kind in the celebration and usually a candle that the birthday person can blow out, signifying their wish will come true. Of course, just like in all families, we sing “Happy Birthday.”
Many might say my voice is not so good, but I still continue to sing and my family sometimes groans. Maybe I should cut down on the volume. Anyway, I always want them to know that I wish them well and many more years of happiness and good health. Sometimes we end with the words, “and many more.” But in countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland, immediately after “Happy Birthday” has been sung, someone says, “Hip Hip,” and then everyone else says, “Hooray.”  It is repeated three times. We would probably look on that as a little stuffy.
All these recent birthdays made me think about the “Happy Birthday” song and I decided to find out how it began.
In 1893, two sisters, Patty Hill (a kindergarten teacher) and Mildred Hill (a pianist and composer) introduced the song, “Good Morning to All,” to a kindergarten class in Kentucky. They were looking for a song that was easy for the children to sing. Later it was sung at birthday parties, changing the first words to Happy Birthday and using the same tune.
The song was finally written down and published in 1913, but not copyrighted until 1935. Then in 1988, Warner Chappell Music acquired the rights to the song for $25 million, estimating the value of the song at $5 million. Can you believe that? Warner Chappell claims the copyright doesn’t expire until 2030, but others claim it may be at the end of 2016.
The company continues to insist that no one can sing the “Happy Birthday” lyrics if used for profit (on television, radio, or anywhere open to the public or any group that is not mainly family and friends) without paying royalties.
Now interestingly, there is a lawsuit against Warner Chappell filed by a movie production company that paid $1,500 for the rights to the song to be used in a documentary which was being made about the song and its history. The production company wants their money back, saying they shouldn’t owe it and that the copyright should have expired by now. The lawsuit has been in the courts for over two years.
The cost for public use of this song can be as much as $700 for each occurrence. Can you imagine trying to police the use of this song? Keep in mind it doesn’t apply to those of us just wishing our friends and family well on their big day.
So now we know the song is used all over the world and originated more than 100 years ago. I know we will all keep singing “Happy Birthday.” For my part, I’ll try to sing more softly.
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7/3/15
Allie Spain on The World Race
For many months, we have been following MHS grad Allie Spain as she serves as a missionary working with The World Race. It’s young Christians spreading the Word in a new country each month.
Since we heard from her last, she has been to the Philippines and Mongolia, and is now finishing her time in China. At this point she is unable to talk about China since it is a closed country to missionaries. Their work there has been very low key. I hope when she leaves, we can learn more about that.
While in the Philippines, she worked with a ministry based in Manila which goes into bars where girls are being prostituted and builds relationships with them, hoping that they will eventually decide to leave the bars and come to live in one of the homes the ministry operates. The ministry provides food, housing, schooling, and an allowance to the girls. If they have children, the children are allowed to come, too.
While there, Allie’s team went to the bars at night, bought girls drinks and just talked to them. Then they invited them to come visit the homes where they can get help.
Allie said: “Many people think they work in this industry because they want to or like it, but they hate it. All of the girls I talked to said that they were only doing it because they need money for their families. They all have dreams of being teachers or business owners, and want something more. It was so amazing to be able to offer them a way out and a way to follow their dreams. At the end of the week, 37 bar girls showed up to come back with us and see what we are about! Of the 37, five chose to immediately move in and leave the bars behind!”
Then Allie moved on to Mongolia. She reported: “It’s very cold here so we are bundled in our yak socks and mittens. We are evangelizing with the college community here this month and holding events in the evening where we invite people we meet during the day to play games, learn English, and worship with us. We are staying in the church sanctuary with two other teams - 17 girls all together in a tiny space. We cook our own meals this month, which is nice because we can buy and cook American meals like chicken noodle soup and pasta.
“Mongolia is a very poor country and the language is very difficult. Usually I can catch on to simple phrases in other countries like hello and thank you, but this one is more difficult. There is revival happening here though and they are very open to hearing about Jesus. Before going into Mongolia, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Now, after spending a month in that beautiful place, I am proud to say that I was able to experience their culture. So here are 11 things I saw, experienced, and believe you should know about Mongolia.
“1. First, you should know that Mongolian babies are the cutest. Their chubby cheeks brought a smile to my face every day.
“2. Now about the weather … it’s crazy. While in Mongolia you are likely to experience multiple seasons in one day. A day may start off overcast, freezing, and even snowing. But by the end of the day it will be sunny and 75. It’s unpredictable. We learned to bring layers wherever we went.
“3. The traditional homes in Mongolia are called Gers. The easiest way to explain it would be to equate it as their version of a tent. Gers are mostly seen in the Mongolian countryside or on the outskirts of the city. Also, Mongolia only has one major city, Ulaanbaatar.
“4. Mongolians eat lots of mutton. If you are served meat, you might as well just assume you’re being served mutton. This was hard to get over at first, but eventually you’ll come around to the idea. It was actually quite good.
“5. Despite popular belief, unmarked taxis are totally safe. Obviously use some discernment since you are getting into a random guy’s car and basically hitchhiking around town, but they are cheaper and pretty reliable. It’s a great way to meet people and have some pretty interesting conversations.
“6. Along the lines of transportation, in Mongolia you’ll face many options to get around including, but not limited to, taxis-marked and unmarked, bus, bike, horse, and camel. Take your pick. I’d suggest horse or camel though, it keeps life fun.
“7. Mongolians love to have fun. This is evidenced by the extraordinary amount of karaoke bars throughout the city. Everywhere you go, there is a sign for karaoke.
“8. Mongolian people also love to share. It’s a part of their culture to share everything. So if you make yourself some tea with a Mongolian friend around, you might as well go ahead and offer some to your friend.
“9. When greeting elders in Mongolia, it is customary to hold elbows and go in as if you were going to kiss both of each other’s cheeks, except instead of kissing, the elder will sniff you. It’s weird, but just go with it.
“10. Mongolia is completely underestimated. It’s beautiful. There’s life and advancement happening. Sure it’s cold most of the year, but their coffee is spot on, the hills are breathtaking, and the people are so kind. It’s definitely a place worth visiting.
“11. Mongolia wants to know Christ. The young generation is the key to revival in this country. The fire is being lit and the young people are desperate for hope.”
Allie has been on this trip since last September and I asked her to tell me the best and worst of the experience. Her are some of those.
Best/favorite food: Momos from Nepal. The easiest way to describe them would be like a fried, vegetable dumpling. I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else!
Worst/most disliked food: Fried chicken on a stick from the Thailand night market. I like fried chicken, but I’m choosing this as my least favorite because it gave me food poisoning and now I get really picky when it comes to eating fried foods.
Best/favorite living situation: Staying in a home with an American couple in Thailand back in November. It almost felt like we were back in America, with comfy beds, hot showers, a western toilet, and AC. It was a nice break from our normal living conditions.
Worst/least favorite living situation: Cambodia in month five. We were all in one small room and had only a squatty potty all month and bucket showers. It was hot and crowded, but it was a learning experience.
We’ll have more from Allie as she finishes her missionary work in South Korea later this month.
If you missed any of Allie’s previous stories, just go to marysvillejt.com and click on Off the Hook, then on archives.
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6/26/15
An energetic and caring nurse

Last week, Mary Jane Wilcox Crothers passed away. She was one of those people who just made me smile.
I first met her more than 40 years ago in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital. My son, Mike, had fallen off his bike and had a large cut on his forehead. He was bleeding and we were very concerned. Mary Jane was the nurse in charge. I remember the young doctor on call saying, “The mother will have to leave while I stitch him up.” The look on my face must have said it all. I wanted to stay and Mary Jane realized that. She turned to the doctor and said, “I believe his mother needs to be here,” and so I stayed with my young son. I loved her technique and she had my admiration after that.
I would run into her occasionally around town and she always had a smile on her face and lots to say. It was always an animated conversation and one where I walked away smiling. In 2002, I wrote about her and here are excerpts from that column to help you know her a little better:
She served nursing well (Off the Hook 2002)
She was born in 1925 to Lyda and Fred Wilcox. The family lived in a home on W. 3rd St. in Marysville. Mary Jane was very proud that her father was the son and grandson of Civil War veterans.
Her father was a mail carrier and also quite an enterprising gentlemen. He had a second job, which was his own business and consisted of two summer lunch stands, one at the corner of Raymond Road and West Fifth Street and the other at the present site of the Dairy Queen at Five Points. In the 1930s, that was on the edge of a large field where the town ended. Her dad was way ahead of his time in this business. He had an early version of carhops, which would take your order for hamburgers, homemade potato salad and pie, and when ready, it was delivered to your car.
Mary Jane also remembered the train station in Marysville. It was on North Maple Street across the street from the former Scott’s Taylor plant and was a very busy place in the 1930s. Passenger trains headed all over the country from there. One of the most popular destinations was Columbus, where Mary Jane and her mother often traveled. Imagine the convenience of riding the train, doing your shopping and coming home without ever having to drive your car.
Many regularly boarded the train in the early morning to work or shop in Columbus. Others went late in the afternoon to have dinner and see a movie. Then they would return on the last train about midnight. Wouldn’t that be nice today?
In 1938, Mary Jane’s father started another business which became known as Wilcox’s Restaurant (Its slogan was, “The biggest little restaurant in town”). It was located in the building, since demolished, beside what is now PNC Bank on East Fifth Street. Fred was a great cook and the restaurant became known for his home cooking.
Butler’s restaurant was, however, the teen hangout. Mary Jane said Tony Butler was a kind and apparently tolerant man known for breaded veal sandwiches and outstanding hot fudge sundaes. It was the place to go after school and the movies, located where Casa Fiesta used to be on West Fifth Street (now a vacant, grassy lot.)
The downtown was flourishing in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Mary Jane said it was a Saturday night town. That’s when the farmers came to town and their families would shop. All the stores including dress shops, department stores, shoe stores and hat shops were open.
The Oakland Hotel, located on the downtown square, (site of the Bicentennial Building today), had a formal dining room. The pool hall (Casa Fiesta now) served hot roasted peanuts from a window which opened onto Main Street. This was to accommodate the proper ladies who didn’t want to enter the pool hall.
During high school, Mary Jane played the saxophone in the Marysville High School marching band and that’s when she first met Bob Crothers, one year her senior. Speech and drama were her other loves and that involved speech contests and dramatic readings. Later, after her daughters were born, she returned to volunteer at MHS as an assistant director for school plays.
Her first job at age 15 was working for Bruce Gaumer at the Union County Journal helping print election ballots. After graduation from high school in 1943, she enrolled in the White Cross School of Nursing. The hospital was in downtown Columbus. It later moved and was renamed Riverside Methodist Hospital.
Nursing was different then. There were few antibiotics except sulfa, until after the war. Penicillin came into use then and made a big difference in saving lives. She said then most pneumonia and heart attack patients were in oxygen tents for weeks at a time and many pneumonia patients didn’t survive.
She graduated in three years, going nearly year-round. Joining the Cadet Nurse Corps helped pay for school and also obligated its members during their last six months of training to help treat the war wounded. Fortunately, World War II had ended, so in 1947 she returned to Marysville to work for Dr. Harold Stricker.
Now back in town, she and Bob Crothers renewed their relationship and married in 1948.
They had two daughters, Lynn and Mary Ann. They also had a granddaughter, Mackenzie.
As a registered nurse. Mary Jane always had a job. She served the Union County Health Department, Memorial Hospital and Crippled Children’s Association in Columbus. Bob retired from the Union County Engineers office in 1985 and he and Mary Jane moved to Savannah, Georgia. Two years later his health was failing, so they returned to Marysville. He passed away in 1994.
She later worked for Dr. Malcolm MacIvor and when time allowed, she liked to read, garden, shop and play bridge.
Nursing was the perfect profession for her. This kind, concerned, compassionate lady was a great conversationalist and a joy to be around.
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6/19/15
She’s 100 and counting
This is part two in the story about 100-year-old Mary Alice Patch Schacherbauer. She was born in 1914 and even wrote a book to be handed out to her guests at her 100th birthday party. The book, “Days I Remember,” was mainly meant to tell her daughters what life was like in her early years.
She grew up in the Jerome and the New California area and graduated from New California High School in 1933. The Patch family were farmers and Mary Alice’s father let her drive a car on the farm property. She would go across the pasture to the woods where all the kids played. She was about 12 years old and was driving back toward the house one day when it happened. She didn’t know how to stop the car, so she tried to hit the gate post on the fence. That did it. The car stopped, but there was damage. She ran to the house and to her room to hide. Surprisingly her father never said a word about it.
There were just 11 in her class at New California High School (they called it New Cally) when she graduated in 1933. Even though she always wanted to be a teacher, she was not able to go to college, so she went to work.
This was the Great Depression and jobs were scarce. Mary Alice became a nanny to several children earning $2 a week plus room and board. Her duties included some housework.
About this time she learned the art of embroidery from her mother and that would be her trademark. She made many comforters for members of her family, some taking two years to complete. Just recently she has given it up, since it’s too hard to make her fingers work.
Her love life was busy. She dated several guys at a time, which was the custom then. After all, attractive young ladies had to keep their options open. Then came Lee Schacherbauer.
Mary Alice was active in the Jerome United Methodist Church which she had joined in 1929. Sunday night was a big date night for church-going young adults. She was in the car with her brother, Bud, and his girl. They were to pick up Lee, who had moved to a Union County farm from Illinois. He jumped into the back seat with her and that was the beginning of a beautiful romance. She remembers kissing him that night. She always knew she wanted to marry a farmer. That’s what Lee was.
The year was 1933 and four years later they each said goodbyes to the others they dated and knew they were right for each other. Lee and Mary Alice married at the courthouse in downtown Columbus and made an interesting choice for a honeymoon. They got in the car and took another couple with them to Illinois to the place where Lee grew up. There were four people on the honeymoon.
When they returned, they moved for a short time to his family’s farm and then had their own place on Route 42 near the intersection at Industrial Parkway (Route 33 then). Lee borrowed a horse to plow and make a garden.
They still didn’t have electricity. That came soon after 1937, which changed their lives greatly. Now there was an iron, refrigerator and a Maytag washer. In 1929 her mother had a gasoline-powered washer before electricity. They still had the outhouse for a few more years.
 One day in early 1938 Mary Alice wasn’t feeling well, so Lee asked the doctor to stop by. Surprise, she was pregnant. Their first daughter, Judy, was born several months later. Several years later, a second daughter, Marylee, was born. The family lived on a 129-acre farm on Harriott Road. Their two daughters went on to graduate from Marysville High School.
Mary Alice and Lee had nearly 73 years of marriage together. It was a good one. They were able to travel all over the United States and Europe. He became a well-known farmer in the area and was active on several boards including that of the Farm Bureau and Memorial Hospital of Union County.
Then there was the tradition of the dandelion. For many years Lee would pick the first dandelion of the spring that he saw when walking to the barn. He would bring it to Mary Alice. Finally, in the fall, he would bring her the last blossom. Sometimes it was as late as Christmas. When she sees a dandelion now, all those memories come flooding back.
The home on their farm was almost 200 years old. All that property was sold about 10 years ago and they moved to Marysville, where Lee died at age 92.
Mary Alice quit driving at age 92. Now her life at 100 is still really good. She looks wonderful and her memory is fantastic. She lives alone and goes out once a week to have her hair done. I watched her move quickly around her home with her walker on wheels as she came to sit close to me and talk. She’s especially interested in and loves a good discussion about politics.
With so many years behind her, she thinks sometimes of what is next. She asks in her book, “How will the last years be?” She has a strong faith in God, so no problem.
Then she ends with, “I say my prayers, thank God for the life I’ve lived, for the love Lee and I had, for our family and for our friends. We have been so blessed. I thank God for it all.”
Now Goodies Galore in Marysville will be selling her book, so you can read the rest of the story!
I wish you well Mary Alice. You are a gift!
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6/12/15
At age 100, she became an author!
Mary Alice Patch Schacherbauer was born on Dec. 22, 1914, which makes her now more than 100 years old. She has lived in Union County all of her life. Born in Chuckery, she also lived for a while with her family in Essex, but her real heart lies in Jerome Township and New California, where she graduated from high school in 1933 in a class of 11 students.
Her book, “Days I Remember,” was written over a period of about two years and was mainly for her daughters, Judy and Marylee, because she wanted them to know about her life and the best way to convey this was for her to write it down.
Her earliest memories were from 1918 (near the end of World War I). She remembers home dances at the Gosnell farm. All the neighbors brought food and they would roll up the rug and dance. Everyone sang and her father played the harmonica and her mother the organ.
For a farm family it seemed unusual, but the Patches moved quite frequently. They went from a small farm outside of Plain City into town, then to Route 736, and then to Essex in Northern Union County. As Mary Alice said in her book, “Someone was always moving.”
There were four children in the Patch family and Mary Alice was the oldest. They rode a “kid wagon” to school. It was a horse drawn wagon with a roof and canvas pull-down sides for bad weather. It was so cold in the winter, she says her mother would heat a brick for her to carry to help keep warm.
They lived on a farm and the girls in the family were never required to do farm work. That was for the boys. Mary Alice helped in the kitchen where she watched her mother create wonderful food dishes. Pies were her specialty. Now Mary Alice still makes pies, maybe thousands in her lifetime, still including homemade crust.
There was no electricity, so laundry was a big deal in the 1920s. A fire was started in the morning to heat the wash water and also the rinse water. It was usually on Monday, that’s all day Monday! They made their own starch and soap (made from leftover lard or fat). The clothes were washed on a big board in a tub and run through a hand ringer to get the water out. The laundry was hung on a line outside to dry. If it was cold, that took all day long. Her mother also believed it was important to hang the clothes neatly, colors together and whites bleached brightly, plus no panties visible to the neighbors.
The wringer would sometimes pull the buttons off the clothes, so there were almost always repairs to be done after the wash. Then there was the ironing. Mary Alice says ironing was an art and a sense of pride for a job well done.
 After the laundry was done, nearly everything had to be ironed and they used a thing called a sad iron. It must’ve been named that way because it made the person using it sad (or it was a poor excuse for an iron). You see, it was heated on the stove and was often already cooled before they finished ironing a piece. They ironed everything - towels, sheets (that were often cotton muslin), and all the clothes they wore.
For most of her life, Mary Alice lived in the Jerome area, but in 1926 her father moved the family to Essex in Northern Union County. It was only for one year because her mother hated it. The house was one mile back from the road on a mud lane, which was terrible in rain or snow. There was no electricity, so no radio or telephone, and it was cold and drafty. Her father plowed with a horse.
Since there was no electricity, they lit the house with kerosene lamps. It was important to not spill any of the kerosene, but that, of course, was impossible. The wick had to be trimmed evenly or it wouldn’t glow well. Each day the soot had to be cleaned off of the chimney shade.
There was a lamp in the kitchen and as soon as the dishes were done, the lamp light was out. A device called a Rayo was a brighter version that was on the stand in the living room. Carrying a lamp up the stairs was a tough task and it didn’t shine very far.
Soon the family moved to Ostrander and then back to the New California area. Mary Alice was happiest there!
It was still the 1930s and the times of the Great Depression. She remembers it was worse in cities (no jobs and people starved). In the country, they were very poor and had no nice clothes, but there was food. The Patch family had a garden, chickens, hogs, and grain to trade for flour. Women canned everything they grew for the winter and her father hunted rabbits, pheasants, quail and squirrel. As she said, “We ate well even in this hard time.”
One very interesting thing Mary Alice remembers is the shortage of paper. Now, we have paper everywhere and throw many good pieces away. But in those days, a fresh tablet to start the school year was special. When that wasn’t available, they used anything to write on. The kids argued and begged for special pieces of paper between the layers of Shredded Wheat or in boxes of matches.
Letters to friends and family were a way of life and the letter tablet was special and used only for those messages to be sent through the mail. Bread was in a real waxed paper wrapper and that was reused as was leftover wallpaper, and her mother cut newspapers to make beautiful shelf paper.
Because there was still no electricity (it came in the mid-1930s), taking a bath was an interesting event. They used a large tub located in the kitchen. Water was heated on the stove and the girls went first. The oven door was open and the stove was hot to provide warmth for the room. The kids all used the same water and her mom and dad would go last. But she’s pretty sure her dad didn’t use that water. He wanted fresh water.
Next week: more about Mary Alice, her teenage years, and then her marriage to Lee Schacherbauer.
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6/5/15
More about Ginny Gunderman
Last week we began the story of Ginny Wilson Gunderman, who is now 95. She grew up in Marysville in a home on the southeast corner of East Fifth and Vine streets and just walked around the corner to the East School building (now the site of the Hope Center) for Elementary School, and came home each day for lunch.
She was a 1937 graduate of Marysville High School which was in the building on West Sixth Street, now the County Office Building. One of her favorite memories was of the dances held in the 1930s, in the downtown area on West Fifth Street which was closed off from Main to Court streets. Stu Hush and his orchestra played.
Some of that spirit has been revived now with the Uptown Friday Night events once a month.
In 1936, Ginny was crowned Miss Marysville and now we continue her story after her high school graduation.
After graduation, Ginny went to work and by 1938 she was working in the office at O. M. Scott & Sons. During that time she met the man, Ed Gunderman, who would be her husband. She would later describe him as the best husband who ever was. She said he put everyone else ahead of himself and was so kind. He had graduated from Marysville High School three years before her, but she did not know him then.
Ed told her a story about being a patient at the Kings Daughters Hospital, which was located on Court Street in a house right next to the Congregational Church. That house is still there today. It had several patient rooms and was actually a hospital during the 1930s used by our local doctors. (Memorial Hospital didn’t open until 1952).
Ed was a patient there because he had a broken leg. (It would be hard to imagine being admitted to a hospital for a broken leg now.) He told Ginny about his room in the front, which had a big window and he could watch people walking up and down Court Street. During the time he was there, he was invited by one of the nurses to come over to another room and watch a live birth. Can you imagine a young teenage boy doing that? He may have been totally traumatized. Ginny reports he did not want to watch the birth of either of his daughters!
Ed and Ginny married in November 1941 and World Was II began just three weeks later. It was a scary, uncertain time for all those young couples. Also, Ginny had to quit her job because Scotts would not allow two people from the same family to work for the company.
In 1942, Ed found out he was soon to be drafted, so he enlisted in the Air Force. For the next two years of service he was in Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina and Ginny was able to follow along with him most of the time. Eventually his unit was sent overseas and Ginny had to stay home. She went to work for the Union County Journal.
Ed began his journey through the Suez Canal where Japanese ships were spotted, so the American ships had to halt the journey for a month until it was safe passage. Their final destination was Bombay, and later Calcutta, India. Eventually his group would go on to Burma. Once they arrived in India his travel around the country was done on trains, where he slept on hard wood slats. While stationed in the U.S., Ed had done office work for the Air Force, but now he was out on patrol and his mission was to help return soldiers, who had been separated from their units, to their proper place.
Ginny did not see Ed for two years, but he did come back safely in January of 1946. He returned to work at Scotts and was sent to New Jersey, where Ginny could work for the company, too. They had a different policy when working in another state for family members. There were few accommodations in the town where they were located for long term, so they lived in a private home, where they only had bed and bath privileges. All their meals had to be eaten outside of the home. After a year of that, they were ready to return to Marysville and again Ginny was not able to work for Scotts, so only Ed had a job.
Ed and Ginny purchased the home next to her parents on East Fifth Street and later had two daughters, Sandy and Janet. Ed moved on to work for Scott Farm Seed Co. and Ginny was again able to go back in the main office at Scotts. Eventually she became transportation manager for the company handling all travel and lodging. She said that those were good years.
They had vacationed in Florida for many years, so when retirement came in 1980, they moved to Dunedin, Fla. Ed passed away there in 1994.
Ginny has lived with her daughter, Sandy, for the last 15 years and now they are in nearby Delaware. Ginny’s doing great. She’s always ready to go anywhere. She does newspaper puzzles plus keeps her body young by carefully going up and down the steep flight of stairs to her bedroom, even though Sandy objects. Ginny believes it keeps her active and that’s why she’s still going strong.
Hers has been a long and good life!
If you missed part one about Ginny, just go to marysvillejt.com and click on off the hook, then archives.
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5/29/15
She was Miss Marysville 1936
Even though she’s 95 years old now and graduated from Marysville High School in 1937 (the class had about 50 students so she may be one of the few survivors or the only one, for that matter), her memory is good and Ginny (Virginia) Wilson Gunderman is pleased to share those memories of early Marysville.
She was born on Dec. 12, 1919, in Fayette County. Her father was a farmer and as a young girl her family moved from there to Springfield and then to Union County, where her father purchased a farm on the Watkins Road. She was the youngest of Wilbur (W.D.) Wilson’s three daughters. Martha and Susan were her two older sisters.
Wilbur loved to travel and he was a fisherman and hunter. Every year he would put his family in the car and they would drive out west, where he could hunt and fish and they could enjoy the scenery.
Soon after they came to the Marysville area, Wilbur built a filling station, which we now call gas stations, right on the site of the abandoned station on the corner of Vine and East Fifth streets. After that he began construction on the large family home right across Vine St. facing on Fifth, which is still there today. Later he built three small rental properties behind the gas station facing on Vine, which are also still there, and opened Wilson Motors at two locations, where he sold Chryslers and Plymouths. One location was on the corner of Walnut and East Fifth streets, site of the former NAPA store. The other one was behind his house.
To say the least, Ginny’s father was an entrepreneur and the Wilson girls had a really good life. They didn’t have to help on the farm or at the gas station or car dealership, but their mother, Faye, put them to work at their tourist home. Ginny tells me now you would call it a bed-and-breakfast, except it was just a room in their own home with no breakfast. There was a sign advertising it in front of the Wilson home facing on Fifth St. Those traveling through Marysville could stop and stay for a night or two. Sometimes traveling salesmen would even stay four or five nights.
When they had guests, the two older girls stayed in their own bedrooms upstairs where a full bath was located, and Ginny vacated her room upstairs and slept downstairs with her parents where there was just a half bath. Four bedrooms were available for rent.
In the 1930s when she was in high school, Ginny did the ironing for the family and the guest sheets. In those days everything was ironed, including underwear, socks and towels! And the beds were changed for guests every day. Susan helped in the kitchen.
Among their well-known guests during the Little Brown Jug event was sulky driver Curly Smart.
During their high school years, as do most teenagers, the Wilson girls began to drive. Few had their own cars, but the Wilson girls were an exception. Since their father had an auto dealership, they always had a car to drive and Ginny remembers it was 50 cents to fill up the tank.
Also, there was no such thing as a drivers license. When you were ready to drive you just did it. She began driving on the farm at about 14 years old and as soon as her parents thought she was ready, which was just a short time later, she was on the road driving the car still at 14.
Ginny was a tiny little thing, so she had to sit on a pillow which made it even more interesting to drive a stick shift. She is quick to point out that there weren’t that many cars on the road in those days and Marysville was a small community.
Between her junior and senior year in high school, Ginny entered the big contest - the competition for Miss Marysville. Her mother made her dress and she remembers it was pink with silver threading. She represented the A&P grocery store in the contest. She won and received a trophy and her picture in the newspaper, but explained there was no big celebration, dance or parade, as we would have today. But the honor was still hers.
Next week, more about Ginny Gunderman and her life with her husband, Ed.
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5/22/15
The challenge to hit ‘em straight
Summer has been defined as a time when hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, drinks get colder, music gets louder, nights get longer and life gets better! These are just some of the reasons we can’t wait for summer to get here.
Those who play golf (some crazy people do play year round, even in snow and all) are always anxious for the beautiful long days on the course, but actually golf has been defined as a beautiful walk spoiled by the stress of the game! Golf can also be called an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer. On the other hand, Robert Lynd said, “It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place the world is when one is playing golf.”
All that said, those of us who play that crazy game often feel the need to share our thoughts about golf, and my friends have done that recently. Even if you don’t play golf and wonder why people subject themselves to the difficulty of the game, you can feel our pain through these thoughts.
Here are some examples: Golf balls are like eggs, they’re white and sold by the dozen and a week later you have to buy more (after having left them in the water or woods.)
It’s amazing how a golfer who never helps out around the house will replace his divots, repair his ball marks, and rake his sand traps.
Golf is by far the ultimate love/hate relationship.
Sometimes it seems as though your cup runneth and moveth over (or was that poor aim).
A good golf partner is one who’s always slightly worse than you.
Honesty is important and the golfer is responsible for his own score so if your opponent has trouble remembering whether he shot a six or a seven, he probably shot an eight.
And on that same subject, golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.
Then, maybe my favorite - If profanity had any influence on the flight of a ball, most everyone would play better.
I also love this one - A ‘gimme’ (a putt counted in the hole without hitting it in) can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers neither of whom can putt very well.
This definition of the way a round of golf can be leads me to the reason we are here. I have received a wonderful suggestion of golf rule changes for seniors (that would be a lot of the people who play golf). See if you think these would work.
Rule 1 - A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.
Rule 2 - A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there.
Rule 3 - There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, making it a stolen ball. The player is not to compound the felony by charging himself or herself with a penalty.
Rule 5 - Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. No one wants to make a travesty of the game.
Rule 6 - There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. Senior golfers should not be penalized for manufacturers’ shortcomings.
Rule 7 - Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior golfers, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.
Please advise all your senior friends of these important rule changes. And they are written big enough that most should be able to read them!
I am now also reminded of the best saying ever, which I use frequently - “Long drive meaneth not if you screweth up the second shot!”
Our final thoughts on the game of golf from two famous men:
“The only time my prayers are never answered is playing golf.” - Billy Graham
“May thy ball lie in green pastures, and not in still waters.” - Ben Hogan
Remember this, if you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here’s a valuable tip - your life is in trouble!
Hit ‘em straight!
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5/15/15
Allie Spain - Malaysia and the Philippines
She’s a Marysville High School graduate and has been on The World Race serving in a new country each month spreading Christianity, and we have been following her adventures since last fall. While working as a missionary, Allie Spain has had varied experiences in many Far East countries. Since we have heard from her last, she has gone on to Malaysia and the Philippines.
Allie begins: “Malaysia was a busy month. My team spent three weeks in Kuala Lumpur and then moved to Kota Bharu for one week. In Kuala Lumpur we worked a lot with homeless ministries, feeding and praying for them, as well as helping paint and set up a church that was starting up. In Kota Bharu we met another amazing family that treated us like their children, making sure we were taken care of. They showed us their church community and we had many more meetings with other Christians in the area.
“Malaysia is an Islamic country, the first one I have been to. It was different hearing their calls to prayer and just noticing more of the caste system there. I met one man who allowed me to ask him questions about Islam and in exchange, he’d ask me questions about Christianity. It was a crazy conversation, but one I won’t forget.
“He asked a lot of questions about the Trinity. He didn’t understand how the father, son, and holy spirit could all be God. He also thought a lot of the Bible was contradictory. I asked him to explain more in depth things I already knew about Islam. His overall view of Christians seems to be that they contradict themselves. We exchanged emails and he has been asking me many more questions and sending me many articles on Islam.
“Malaysia was pretty crowded and dirty. A lot of the buildings and houses are old and rundown. We stayed in four hostels during our time there. In three of them we had AC, which was such a blessing since it was 90 degrees every day. Our first hostel was actually one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in the past eight months. Most of the food was Indian influenced, so our favorites were naan (Indian bread) and fried rice with iced milk tea. We didn’t have any problems being Christians there. Most people were open to receiving prayer or even asking us to pray for them. They spoke Malay.”
Then her group of seven moved on to the Puerto Galera, Philippines, where she said they eat a lot of fish and rice. Their host family also tried to give them more familiar dishes like tacos and hamburgers.
There the team is working with Threads of Hope, an organization that gives women a way to make money for their families with skills they already have, instead of resorting to prostitution. They make bracelets, lanyards, and bookmarks to sell. Bracelets from this organization can be ordered online and are sold at festivals in America.
Allie said: “We’ve been able to meet many of the women who make bracelets and their families. Through this program, Threads of Hope shares the gospel and teaches them about the Lord. So many have come to know God that they started a church that meets twice a week and has over 800 members.
“We do not have air conditioning this month, and we’ve just been using two fans in our room. However this past week the temps hit over 100, so it’s been extra hot. We have been allowed to sleep on the floor of the Threads of Hope store because it has air conditioning, so that has helped. This month we have faced giant spiders in the Philippines. Some we have seen are about the size of my hand or bigger. According to our hosts, they don’t bite and are scared of people. So far, we haven’t had any incidents with them other than finding them in our bathroom and asking the pastor to get them out.
“In the Philippines they speak Tegalo, but most everyone knows basic English. We are in a tourist part of the island, so they are used to seeing “white people” and since our ministry has hosted World Race teams before, they know why we are there and what we’re about. The people are very friendly and loving and like to talk to us and have us hold their children. The children here are some of the most beautiful kids I’ve seen.
“They usually ask us where we are from in America and then ask about the weather and are very curious about snow.”
We’ll have more from Allie next month.
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5/8/15
Mother (muth’er), noun - Someone who will love you unconditionally, until her last breath.
You probably know by now that Mother’s Day is Sunday. Whether your mother has died or is still living, this day brings tremendous memories of growing up and all that she did for you.
My friends have recently shared with me wonderful thoughts about mothers and say much that I remember about my mother. Now I want to share a few of those with you and I’m sure it will jog some of your memories, too. Here’s a tribute to our mothers.
Things my mother taught me:
My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”
My mother taught me religion. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
My mother taught me logic. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
My mother taught me about contortionism. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”
My mother taught me about stamina. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
My mother taught me about hypocrisy. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”
My mother taught me medical science. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”
My mother taught me about my roots. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”
Mom’s favorite sayings:
What part of no don’t you understand?
I don’t care who started it.
Wait until your father gets home.
No one said life was fair.
Beds are for sleeping, not jumping.
Eat your vegetables.
Because I said so, that’s why.
Then there’s the mom test. Here’s the mom’s story:
“I was walking with my four-year-old daughter. She picked something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and asked her not to do that. She asked why? I said, because it’s been on the ground and you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty and it probably has germs.”
At this point her daughter looked at her with total admiration and said, “Mom how do you know all this stuff, you are so smart.” The mom quickly replied, “All moms know this stuff, it’s on the mom test. You have to know it or they don’t let you be a mom.”
They walked along in silence for a few minutes and the little girl said, “Oh, I get it! If you don’t pass the test you have to be the dad. Exactly, the mom replied.”
More good thoughts:
“Your mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She is the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She is the cool hand on your brow when you were not feeling well. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep and the colors of the rainbow. She is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She is the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, and your first friend, even your first kiss.”
And finally, this:
“My mom made me laugh, made me cry, wiped my tears, hugged me tight, watched me succeed, saw me fail, cheered me on, kept me going strong, and drove me crazy. Moms are the promise from God that you will have a friend forever!”
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5/1/15
Random acts of kindness
In the past, I have written about crazy things my friends do. I’ve laughed about them and shared them with you. Now the story is about me. While in Florida I made a trip to the local flea market with my neighbors. It’s a tradition. We do it every year and always pick up something that we probably really don’t need. It’s a place usually filled with a lot of people from all walks of life. Its one place you would not like to lose your purse.
My friend and I separated briefly looking at different items and I made a trip to the restroom. The hook inside the stall for your purse was not on the door as usual, but on the side. I hung my purse there and when I left the restroom I accidently left it there. I apparently forgot to look sideways. I didn’t notice it missing because  it was the lightweight variety used for shopping purposes. So, here I am walking along from store to store for over a half hour not even noticing my purse wasn’t on my shoulder. Seriously, can you believe that?
I ran into my friend in the kitchen store. We were picking up little items and as I stepped up to the cash register and reached for the purse, there was nothing on my shoulder. Oh my gosh, where could my purse be? I must’ve set it down when I was looking at something in the store. I told the clerk next to me and she alerted people around me to look for my purse. The thought was nice, but, oh no, now I’ve got all kinds of strangers looking who might even walk away with it if they find it. Talk about being cynical!
I quickly asked the clerk to please call my cell phone, which I knew was inside the purse. When she did that, we heard nothing. Then I alerted my friend to open the app for “find my phone” on her iPhone and it should show where my phone is since I have the app, too. Just as she began to search for that I remembered the last time I saw my purse was in the restroom.
Fortunately, I had my tennis shoes on and I began a full out sprint back there to get my purse. After running for several minutes I heard my name on the loudspeaker - “Melanie Behrens please come to the information center.”
It was repeated again. Now all I had to do was find the information center. I got directions and began running to the center. I walked right up and identified myself. Before turning over the purse she asked my hometown and then there it was in my hand. The clerk said she had called me before, but I didn’t hear it. When the phone rang in my purse, from the other clerk’s call, it reminded her to call me again on the speaker system. It was a tragedy averted.
I actually was only missing the purse for about 10 minutes even though it had been 40 minutes since I left it. Some wonderful woman saved my day by turning it in. I don’t know who it was, but wish I could thank her. Now I am bound to the random acts of kindness return system, or maybe I paid it forward and didn’t think about then.
A random act of kindness is such a wonderful thing to do for someone else. For years, several people I know have been paying for the person behind them in a drive-through fast food lane. That’s a great surprise to have your food paid for by someone you don’t even know. I received the ultimate random act of kindness when someone returned my purse with everything in it.
So if you are so inclined, I urge you to do something nice today for a friend or someone you may not know and make their day a better one, too.
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4/24/15
It was the year 1955
 I remember 1955 pretty well, considering it was 60 years ago. How could it be that long ago? I was in the fifth grade and my teacher was Mrs. Barlow. Funny how you always remember your teachers’ names. Girls wore saddle shoes, you know the black and white variety that laced up, and white socks that came part way up the calf.
This was the year I had a mishap at the downtown Lazarus store, which was the only one in Columbus at the time. (About 10 years later several more Lazarus stores were added around Columbus and eventually it became Macys.) I was on the escalator with my mother on a Saturday afternoon wearing those saddle shoes and a dress, of course. At some point one shoe came untied and the end of the lace began to be pulled down into the moving stairway, my foot with it! I couldn’t pull free and my mother began to yank on the lace, but it wouldn’t pull out. Everyone on the escalator was concerned and just as we began to loosen the shoes from my foot, the lace broke off. For a 10-year-old child, it was traumatic with way too much attention. But fortunately a crazy thing was averted and the memory has stayed with me all this time, especially as I step on an escalator.
Girls only wore dresses or skirts to school in the 1950s. Pants were never a consideration and that continued until about 10-15 years later. In the fifth grade we elected class officers and learned parliamentary procedure with a meeting once a week. That knowledge has served me well and I have certainly used it often through my lifetime. I am surprised when I encounter someone who doesn’t even know a motion needs to be seconded, usually followed by discussion and vote.
It was also the year I met my first boyfriend, Bob. We had quite a romance for about two years. I then moved on to others at the age of 12.
In 1955, I went on my first spring break trip to Florida. Miami was the hot place in those days and my parents took my brother and me out of school for two weeks for the driving trip (three days in the car, few four lane highways, and car sickness!). You see, there was no spring break for everyone at that time. Now, I doubt anyone would take their children away for so long when school is in session.
Teenagers didn’t have their own cars then as many do today. If they were driving, it was probably the only car owned by the family and was just borrowed from Dad for a few hours. Gas stations had attendants who put in the gas and always checked the oil level.
My mother, and in fact many mothers, didn’t work and had dinner ready at about 6 p.m. every evening. Most families did not go out for dinner as we do today. I also remember just before my father came home she usually changed her clothes and checked her makeup and hair to look special.
Those are my thoughts about the 1950s. How different the world was just 10 years after World War II. The war had been a tough time for many young couples, as my parents told me, and this was a beginning of safety and prosperity.
These memories of those days, some 60 years ago, came after the following, which a friend sent me. It will also give you a glimpse into that time in our history.
Statements heard in 1955:
Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?
If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon? Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.
I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies anymore. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying damn in “Gone With The Wind,” it seems every new movie has either hell or damn in it.
I read the other day where some scientist thinks it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas.
Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President.
It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.
I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
And finally - The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.
In fact, I believe the fast food chains have changed much in our lives today.
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4/17/15
The rest of the story!
Last week we entered the world of sayings and their sources. It seems many of the expressions we use come from the days of our ancestors. We discussed the phrases, whole nine yards, a shot of whiskey and buying the farm. Now we have some more. Those of you who speak French will already know the source of mayday, but maybe not why we score tennis with love or where we got the golf term caddie.
 Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?
When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put buttons on the maid’s right and that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.
Why do ships and aircraft use “mayday” as their call for help?
It comes from the French word m’aidez, meaning “help me” and is pronounced, approximately, “mayday.”
Why are zero scores in tennis called “love”?
In France where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called “l’oeuf,” which is French for egg. When tennis was introduced in the U.S., Americans mispronounced it “love.”
Why do Xs at the end of a letter signify kisses?
In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.
Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. (What a world that must have been!) To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.
Why are people in the public eye said to be “in the limelight?”
Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer “in the limelight” was the centre of attention.
Why is someone who is feeling great “on cloud nine?”
Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.
In golf, where did the term “caddie” come from?
When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game of golf. So he had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced “ca-day” and the Scots changed it to caddie.
Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches (milling), while pennies and nickels do not?
The U.S. Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren’t notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.
Pennies sadly have almost no value now. I see people pass them up when they are laying on the ground, except maybe when they are heads up!
Now you know the rest of the story.
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4/10/15
Don’t let the bedbugs bite!
You surely know the expressions, shot of whiskey, passing the buck, over a barrel and many others. Then also, my grandmother used to say to me, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Egad, that used to scare me! When you hear these expressions, the immediate meanings come into your head, but where did they come from? Now we know the rest of the story!
A shot of whiskey
In the old West, a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents. So did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.
The whole nine yards
American fighter planes in WWII had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (nine yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.
Buying the farm
This is synonymous with dying. During WWI, soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you were killed, you “bought the farm” for your survivors.
Iron clad contract
This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.
Passing the buck/the buck stops here
Most men in the early West carried a jack knife made by the Buck Knife Company. When playing poker, it was common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer, the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal, he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted, then “the buck stopped there.”
Riff raff
Years ago, the Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from North to South. Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so many people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a “riff” and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.
Cobweb
The Old English word for “spider” was “cob.”
Ship staterooms
Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day, cabins on ships are called staterooms.
Sleep tight
Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep.
Showboat
These were floating theaters built on a barge that were pushed by a steamboat. They played at small towns along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie
“Showboat”, these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is “showboating.”
Over a barrel
In the days before CPR, a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in an effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.
Barge in
 Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers or other boats. People would say they “barged in.”
Hogwash
Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off was considered useless “hog wash.”
Curfew
The word “curfew” comes from the French phrase “couvre-feu,” which means “cover the fire.” It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and candles. It was later adopted into Middle English as “curfeu,” which later became the modern “curfew.” In the early American colonies, homes had no real fireplaces so a fire was built in the center of the room. In order to make sure a fire did not get out of control during the night, it was required that by an agreed upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called a “curfew.”
Barrels of oil
When the first oil wells were drilled, there were no provision for storing the liquid so water barrels were used. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of oil rather than gallons.
Now the most important expression -
Hot off the press
As the newspaper goes through the rotary printing press, friction causes it to heat up. Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it’s hot. The expression means to get immediate information.
My mother always said that we learn something new and helpful every day, so I hope this qualifies in your world. Think of all the conversation starters you have here. More next week.
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4/3/15
Just for today
It’s the beginning of April and the year 2015 is already slipping away. With one quarter of the year gone, many of us have probably already faltered when trying to keep any New Year’s resolutions we made at the beginning of January.
So, putting that possible feeling of failure aside, we can now just try to improve ourselves in a more realistic way, as you will see. In other words, it could mean working on self improvement just one day at a time and not necessarily for the rest of our life. I guess the understanding would be, if it works for one day, maybe it would work for two days and pretty soon we have a lifestyle change. Who doesn’t need that in some way?
All that said, I have recently come across a list of suggestions in case any of them would pertain to your life. I found I needed to think about all of them. The newspaper columnist Dear Abby adapted this list from the original credo of Al-Anon. This will really make you think, I believe.
Just for today: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
Just for today: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and except those I cannot.
Just for today: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
Just for today: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I will not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly and not interrupt when someone else is talking. (I find I do this because I know that thought is going to flit out of my mind soon and I’m sure it’s important to get it out.)
Just for today: I will refrain from improving anybody but myself!
Just for today: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I’m a smoker, I’ll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it’s only around the block.
Just for today: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
Wow, this is a powerful list! I think I really need to work on some of them more than others. I am sure it might be hard to do all at once, so I decided to try them one at a time. After all, a total reworking of me will take time.
So just for today, think on these things.
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3/27/15
Would this fly today?
In these current times, employers have to be aware that their employees have rights. They should be treated fairly and respectfully. They are in charge of their own lives. But way back in 1862, life was different and you will get a feel of that when you read the office rules coming up.
We don’t know what kind of office this was, but it appears the boss was strong minded and authoritarian. Jeanne Haynes shared the following list of rules which came from a newspaper in Berkeley Springs and all we can see is Mor gan County. I believe it is now West Virginia (created in 1863), but at that time it may have been Virginia. The town was originally called Bath and is located in the eastern panhandle of the state.
After the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington purchased 50 acres there and during the Civil War, Gen. Stonewall Jackson stationed his troops near there. These rules will give you a glimpse into the lives of people living in this town during the Civil War.
1. Office employees will daily sweep the floors, and dust the furniture, shelves and showcases.
2. Each day fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks. Wash windows once a week.
3. Each clerk will bring in a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.
4. This office will be open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. daily, except on the Sabbath. Each employee is expected to spend the Sabbath by attending church and contributing liberally to the cause of the Lord.
5. Men employees will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they regularly go to church.
6. After an employee has spent over 13 hours of labor in the office, he should spend time reading the Bible and other good books.
7. Every employee should lay aside from each day a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years, so that he will not become a burden upon the charity of his betters.
8. Any employee who smokes Spanish cigars, uses liquor in any form, gets shaved at a barber shop or frequents pool and public halls, will give me good reason to suspect his worth, intentions, integrity and honesty.
9. The employee who has performed his labors faithfully and without fault for a period of five years in my service, who has been thrifty and attentive in his religious duties, and is looked upon by his fellow man as a substantial and law-abiding citizen, will be given an increase of five cents per day in his pay, providing a just return in profits from the business permits it.
Life was obviously so different in 1862. It appears that a job was a person’s life, too. Is it that way now? Can you imagine this employer paying for health care (the second biggest expense in most businesses)?
So, what do you think about this employer from so many years ago? Would you work there?
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3/20/15
We must have passwords
Recently I had to change an email account and experienced some of what you will see below.
I went to the website and then to the line where I was to create an account. It asked me to type in what I had chosen for my new username. I chose a short one and then a password and submitted it. That username was taken. It asked me to try again. My next choice was also taken and the site said my password was too short. Didn’t I have the required six characters they had asked for?
Already impatient with this process, I typed another choice for username and it was also taken. I ignored the request to change the password. After all, I had complied with the right number of characters, but now it wanted me to add numbers! Both username and password were again refused and now came some suggestions of some that weren’t taken. By this I time I am really out of the mood to take this on. The problem was, I needed a new, alternate email address, so I had to stay with it.
I decided to go with one of their suggestions, even though it was really long and I dislike it to this day every time I have to type it out. At this point I am also forced to change the password I wanted to use. I thought it was easy to remember and apparently they thought it was too easy. Maybe it was too easy to copy, but I liked it. Who cares at this time!
OK, I changed the password and eventually we were in business. Then I was encouraged to get the app for Google so the mail could go there and they thought my life would then be easier! Right! Now I have to go to all those people who would use that particular email and let them know. What a pain!
Shortly after this time of frustration with the system, a friend shared the following with me. (I actually think this just happened to me with my bank.)
Haven’t we all been here?
User: My usual password is not working suddenly. Why?
Web chat guy: Your password has expired - you must register a new one.
User: Why do I need a new one as that one was working fine?
Website: You must get a new one as they automatically expire every 30 days.
User: Can I use the old one and just re-register it?
Website: No, you must get a new one.
User: I don’t want a new one as that is one more thing for me to remember.
Website: Sorry, you must get a new one.
User: OK, roses.
Website: Sorry you must use more letters.
User: pretty roses.
Website: You must use at least one number.
User: 1 pretty rose.
Website: You cannot use blank spaces.
User: 1prettyrose.
Website: You must use additional letters.
User: 1damnprettyrose.
Website: You must use at least one capital letter.
User: 1DAMNprettyrose.
Website: You cannot use more than one capital letter in a row.
User: 1Damnprettyrose.
Website: You must use additional letters.
User: 1DamnprettyrosethatI’llmakeyoueatifyoudon’tgivemeaccessrightnow.
Website: Sorry, that password is already being used.
So I’m not the only one feeling the frustration and ridiculousness of setting up new email use and passwords! Hope your next time at this process goes smoother.
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3/13/15
Allie Spain on the World Race
Marysville High School grad Allie Spain has been on The World Race since last September, working as a Christian missionary in the Far East. She is in a new country every month and has had a variety of experiences, which will change her life. This is the seventh month, and she has recently been in Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Cambodia, which Allie says is a very poor, but quite beautiful country, she and her team taught in a school. None had training in education, but were there to briefly replace teachers who were let go because of budget cuts.
Allie relates: “There were seven classrooms and seven of us. We rotated between the classes based on the grade level and subject. There were a few upper level teachers to teach the subjects we couldn’t, but many classes were without teachers. We taught English, The Bible, computer and exercise. Even though being in the classroom was stressful at times, it was one of my favorite ministries thus far on The Race. I basically had to just adjust the way I was thinking. Instead of going into it actually trying to teach a concept, I just decided to show them that they’re loved and to have fun.”
“All the children were Cambodian, and they spoke very basic English. We were still going over the sounds of the alphabet in grade three if that gives you an idea. The hardest grade for me was grade one. They didn’t understand English except the alphabet, so getting them to listen was difficult. Patience was tough that month!” Her group moved on to Hanoi, Vietnam, where the temperature was chilly compared to the rest of Asia where she has been. They lived in a small house behind the bakery (which employs the deaf and blind), where the team worked and shared it with three of the employees. There, they helped make American pastries like doughnuts and banana bread, and did odd jobs such as painting.
She said the house was more like a storage space with metal walls and roof. They all slept in the same room and had bunk beds.
Allie added: “It was so cold at night that the three of us girls pushed two bunks together and all slept on the bottom two beds for the month. We had a western toilet, but no sink or kitchen. So we went out every night for dinner to a local stand, where we usually got pho (beef and noodle soup). If we wanted to shower, we could have a cold bucket shower. Since it was so cold, I only showered there once and washed my hair once the entire month. That’s pretty much how the Vietnamese people live as well.”
“The people are Buddhist and since we were there for the Tet celebration (New Years) there was a lot of worshipping going on. When people asked where we were from, we had to judge their demeanor and determine if we should say America or not. One of my teammates is Canadian, so most of the time we’d just go with that. We never met anyone who outright hated us, but they definitely showed more love for Canada. We had the opportunity to visit the Vietnam War museum when we were in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh, and it was definitely very biased, but now I have such an interesting perspective on the war.”
The best part of this time in Vietnam was meeting American missionaries, who took them under their wing and treated them to a warm shower and American-style dinner.
Allie and her team have recently arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More about that next time.
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3/6/15
The Villages
 It’s a town located in north central Florida near Ocala and has about 55,000 residents living in 28,000 homes. This interesting community is only for people who are age 55 and over. It started about 50 years ago when Harold Swartz bought a trailer park in the middle of nowhere. Now it’s busy, north central Florida.
 When his son joined the business in the 1970s, he started to expand and upgrade the property, building hundreds of homes. Today the prices range from $150,000 to $1 million. The descendants of Swartz still own all the common grounds, the newspaper and printing plant, the hospital, plus the radio and TV station and home construction company.
There are activities lined up every day (more than 50) and when listed alphabetically it goes from aquatics to Zumba. The Villages has been called Disneyland for adults and it is said each week consists of six Saturdays and a Sunday.
I recently visited this unique community where my friend, Sandie, now a full-time resident, plays golf almost daily. So, I made the four-hour trip from southwest Florida with my friend, Helen. We had our golf clubs in tow and were ready for a nice three-day visit.
We were only on the road for about two hours and Helen was driving. I’m really glad she was, because when the car came veering over at me from the right lane into our lane to cut in front of us, she reacted in the best way possible. There was nowhere for us to go to get out of the way and she suddenly slowed to a safe speed without hitting the brakes too much, and the car behind us didn’t hit us at 70 miles per hour. We were so lucky. It all happened so quickly on my side of the car and missed us by about a quarter of an inch, from my point of view.
OK, what a start! That was over and we headed on down the road, not a scratch on us, but shaken up for just a minute. A collision at 70 miles an hour would’ve been terrible. It was just three miles later when a gas can fell off a truck in front of us. We just missed it. It became lodged under a car driving in a nearby lane. We weren’t sure if there was any gas in it, but some sparks were coming from it as it was dragged along the highway at a very high speed. I could imagine the gasoline exploding into a huge fireball. We quickly distanced ourselves from that car and later saw the gas can fly loose off the road. That was way too much drama for our trip, already.
When we arrived, my first impression was that everything seemed so new and beautifully manicured and quite lovely. I remember when Sandie was purchasing her second residence at The Villages. The deal was, they had to get in line for the property. Their realtor had to draw numbers and they were number seven to be able to bid on this particular lot and the house that was planned to be built on it. As a former realtor, I could not believe the drawing for bid process. It is every realtor’s dream to have too many people for the number of homes being built.
Sandie thought she would never get the property because they were so far down on the list, but due to various circumstances and bidding more than the asking price, they became the owners of a lovely three-bedroom home. What a crazy situation to be in.
In The Villages, there is everything from a few hotels, to condos, to medium priced homes, and also million-dollar homes. There are over 30 golf courses and if you are a resident of The Villages, you can play the par three courses free. The championship courses are about $50 a round.
Then there’s the golf cart situation. It seems everyone owns a golf cart in The Villages, which is about six miles wide and about 16 miles long. Sandie and her husband, John, have two gas carts and a car. They use the car rarely. All along the roads are special lanes for the golf carts. They fill up their carts about once a week and it costs five dollars each - pretty cheap transportation. Each cart has a plastic enclosure, which can be rolled up and put out of the way when you don’t need it for warmth. And there is a horn for use on the road, probably not on the course. That brings me to my next story.
Sandie and I were in one golf cart headed to the course and Helen was driving the second one behind us. We went through a metal lined tunnel underneath the road and suddenly a siren went off around us. It was deafening! Is that siren signaling the end of the world, I wondered. Should we take cover from an attack of some kind? It went on for about five minutes and was so unbelievably loud.
Sandie wasn’t sure what it was. We pulled out of the tunnel and the noise was still loud and getting louder as Helen drove up beside us on the road. Others around us seemed to wonder what the noise was also. Sandie jumped out of the cart and went over to Helen and there it was - her foot was on the horn button on the floor of the cart! She couldn’t feel it and Sandie didn’t really recognize the horrible blaring noise. It was so wonderful when it stopped, as Helen removed her foot! That problem averted, we moved on to play golf.
In The Villages, there are several town centers with a large green space in the middle and shops all around. Every night, there’s a band playing from the bandstand and people are out dancing. Beer and wine costs only $2. And in fact, every restaurant we ate in was quite reasonably priced.
Also dotted around The Villages are several giant “rec” centers, which look like large country clubs, and in each one are varied activities. In one room there are people working out on machines, in another room some have personal trainers and in a third room there is bridge or mah-jongg. There is also an extensive adult education center.
It’s a planned community to the extreme degree in a part of Florida, which is warm most of the year. There are doctors, dentists and a large hospital. The people who live in The Villages say they never have to leave. And why should they?
Oh yes, our trip home was thankfully, uneventful.
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2/27/15
Scams are everywhere
In the past, I’ve done stories about scams, you know, illegal ways to separate you from your money. Most recently was the grandparent scam, where a person impersonating your grandchild calls and says he or she is in trouble and could you please wire money.
Now a friend has sent me a note about her most recent encounter in a grocery store parking lot.
She said: “A lady came up to me with her cart in the parking lot as I was unloading a few bags of grocerys in my car. She wanted to know if she could ask me a question. Of course, I said yes. She stated she was a little confused. I assumed she would ask about directions.
She said that someone gave her some money to use in the grocery and she didn’t know what to buy since that was all the money she had for a Christmas meal. At that point, a red flag went up, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, do I help her or not? She seemed a little nervous and I had made my mind up not to help, when she asked if she should buy dessert or what? I told her to buy ingredients to make some soup and it would last longer, finished shutting my car door and went on with life. I still felt bad that I did not help her. After all, she was a woman alone. But it seemed fishy.”
My friend then went home thinking how odd the whole event was. After telling her usually very generous husband about the events, he immediately said that is the oldest Vegas scam there is. He would tell her to get lost. Then he asked if she had her purse and she did, since a lot of times he knew she put it on front seat and would finish loading groceries. He said that an accomplice could have reached in and grabbed her purse while the woman kept her talking. He knew it was an old scam he had heard about.
Shortly after the incident, where my friend was feeling guilty for not helping but relieved that something bad didn’t happen, there was the story in the newspaper where she lived. It described the way this scam works and told of others who had experienced a loss. So beware of the parking lot ladies who may not be working alone.
The Goodbye Mom scam is much more creative. Here’s how this goes:
A young man shopping in a supermarket noticed a little old lady following him around. If he stopped, she stopped. Furthermore, she kept staring at him. She finally overtook him at the checkout, and she turned to him and said, “I hope I haven’t made you feel ill at ease; it’s just that you look so much like my late son.” He answered, “That’s OK.”
She then said, “I know it’s silly, but if you’d call out ‘Good bye, Mom!’ as I leave the store, it would make me feel so happy.” She then went through the checkout, and as she was on her way out of the store, the man called out, “Goodbye, Mom!” The little old lady waved and smiled back at him.
Pleased that he had brought a little sunshine into someone’s day, he went to pay for his groceries.
“That comes to $221.85,” said the clerk. “How come so much? I only bought 5 items.”
The clerk replied, “Yeah, but your Mother said you’d be paying for her things, too.”
OK, so now you know the rest of the story! Be alert and be safe!
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2/20/15
His age is just a number
He’s 93 and has a little hearing problem, but overall he’s doing fine. Pearl Drumm still works with his son, Steve, at his farm located on Industrial Pkwy. He has lived in this farmhouse with his wife, Betty, for 57 years. It was built in 1868. They married in 1945 and have two other children, Peggy, who now lives in Utah, and David, who is in Afghanistan working to tear down military bases.
Pearl is the oldest of 14 children who grew up on a farm in the Blues Creek area, near Marysville. He attended Marysville High School, but didn’t graduate and here’s the reason. It seems that during his senior year, he had to give an oral book report in front of the class and that was just too much for him. So, Pearl quit school and went home to tell his father, who replied, “That’s OK, you are a farmer now.”
Apparently, Pearl’s dad taught him many lessons. Spencer Schalip, who is Pearl’s friend, said he told him this story: When Pearl was about 14 years old his dad wasn’t feeling well one day. Pearl and his brother were fighting outside his dad’s bedroom window. His dad yelled at them to go to the barn and get four pieces of wire. When they brought the wires back to him, he tied them together making a small switch. After they both received several swats with the switch, he told them to start fighting again. They looked at him perplexed and later decided that maybe fighting wasn’t such a good idea.
After Pearl left high school, his father sent him to Kansas to a metal working school. He later returned to Columbus to work at Curtiss Wright Aircraft, building airplanes. Then he was drafted into the U.S. Navy during World War II.
While serving on a tug boat near Staten Island, N.Y., he met and married, very quickly, his wife, Betty. She had only been to Marysville once before they married and came home to live on a farm, a life that a New Jersey girl knew nothing about. She learned to drive a tractor, but told me she never mastered milking cows. Maybe that was on purpose!
When Pearl was 90 years old, he finally got that diploma. For all the good years he’s lived as a good citizen of Ohio and for his community service, Pearl was awarded a high school diploma by order of the Ohio State Senate.
Betty reports he’s still even tempered and always a joker. He eats Raisin Bran cereal every day and takes no medicine!
So, as the weather warms (which it eventually will) you will be able to see Pearl working on his farm on Industrial Pkwy or meeting with the breakfast group at McDonalds every day. What a good life it has been for him.
___
Former J-T paperboy is author
William Tooker was a paperboy for the Journal-Tribune when he was 12 and 13 years old, graduating from Marysville High School in 1986. After high school, he attended The Ohio State University and also did some acting, but all the time wanted to be an author.
He moved to the West Coast and now is back in Columbus. His stories were turned into comics with the help of his art partner, Kevin Gentilcore. They are called “Creephouse Comics.”
Also, he released his first novel last May, which debuted at the Denver Comic Convention 2014. It is called “Echoes of the Fall” and is available from Barnes and Nobles and Amazon in both digital and Kindle format.
William offers this advice: “If I had one thing to say to anyone established in his job but with quiet ambition, it would be this - whatever thing you are entertaining in the back of your mind right now, do it. Make real friends in your industry, not just useful friends, and when someone asks you about what your ideas are, show them completed work. If you have talent and a finished product, then you will have your foot upon the path.”
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2/13/15
It’s all about love!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but I’ll bet you knew that.
Since we were young children we have celebrated this unique day. I remember even in third grade, making a valentine box. That was an old shoe box which we could decorate and take to school for the Valentine party. Everyone wanted to make theirs the prettiest (I often used tin foil or paper lace doilies for the outside décor). Well maybe the boys didn’t care so much about how it looked. I do remember they all had one for the card exchange.
Then came the party. How many cards professing love would you receive in the box? It was a big day!
There have been many Valentine’s Day celebrations since then and some have been better than others. There are all kinds of love, that for your parents, spouse, children, siblings and friends. Apparently as we get older we may become more cynical about love and that brings me to the following story that a friend shared with me recently.
A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husband. The women were asked, “How many of you love your husband?” All the women raised their hands.
Then they were asked, “When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?” Some women answered today, a few said yesterday, and some couldn’t remember.
The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text to their husband, “I love you sweetheart.” The women were then instructed to exchange phones with another person, and to read aloud the text message they received, in response.
Now for the 12 replies, some of which are hilarious. If you have been married for quite a while - a sign of true love - who else would reply in such a succinct and honest way?
1. Who the hell is this?
2. Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?
3. Yeah, and I love you too. What’s up with you?
4. What now? Did you crash the car again?
5. I don’t understand what you mean?
6. What the heck did you do now?
7. Did you get another speeding ticket?
8. Don’t beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?
9. Am I dreaming?
10. If you don’t tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.
11. I thought we agreed you wouldn’t drink during the day.
12. Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn’t she?
Hope these made you laugh! I wish you all much love in your life and happiness, especially on Valentine’s Day.
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2/6/15
Leading the foundation forward
He’s a 1975 graduate of Marysville High School and now many years later is executive director of the Union County Foundation, a 20-year-old, not-for-profit organization, which distributes charitable funds for the betterment of the community.
Dave Vollrath started dating his future wife, Jane Griffin, when they were in high school and both went on to Miami University. They graduated with degrees in marketing and business management, then married in 1979.
Dave is the youngest of three boys and planned to return to Marysville, eventually, to work in his family’s General Motors dealership (H. I. Huffman). First, he wanted to see how it is done in Columbus, so he went to work for Len Immke Buick for a year to gain experience. He got some alright. Dave was actually the victim of a carjacking when he went out on a demo ride with a customer. The guy pulled a butcher knife and held it to his throat. Dave was robbed, including his topcoat, shoes and socks, and was left in the snow after the car was taken. Dave was grateful, however, they didn’t take his wedding ring.
Needless to say, that was enough of that for him. He came back to Marysville to work with his father, Gene Vollrath, in the family dealership, representing the third generation of his family. Dave and Jane then had two sons, Ben and Matt.
Soon he found himself working 70 to 80 hours a week and when there was a chance to sell the dealership in 2001, he and his father accepted it. Gene passed away in 2004.
After a few months, Dave was rested and ready to go again at a new opportunity. He took on the challenge of heading up the Union County Foundation in 2001. At that time there were 15 named funds. Now, 14 years later, there are over 80 such funds disbursing money every year to specific charitable causes, including scholarships.
I’m familiar with the organization, but I wanted to know more about how it functions and where the money comes from. Dave explained that when someone decides to set up a fund to distribute money to a cause they want to support, they start with $5,000 and agree to pay 1% to the foundation for management. The foundation invests the money with the guidance from experts (an investment committee which diversifies the holdings at low risk) so that the funds will grow and money can be distributed to their chosen charitable cause.
However, with just $500, someone can take part in this community effort. That money can be dispersed to one or more already existing causes, or just be a general contribution to the foundation.
In a separate operation, the foundation quarterly distributes grant money to worthwhile causes, which have applied for it. You’ll see pictures from time to time in the Journal-Tribune depicting the donation of money to these outside groups. This is from money donated when the foundation first came into being, from donations by the local Eagles and Moose organizations, and finally, funds bequeathed to the general grant fund from various named funds.
You may ask, “What’s the catch?” It turns out, there is none. About the foundation, Vollrath says, “We care about the present and future of Union County and think we can help make it a better place to live, work and raise families. We offer this as a community service.”
Volunteers are always needed for office work or special projects. If you are interested, contact the office at (937) 642-9618.
To date, the foundation has distributed more than $8 million to benefit Union County. Obviously, Dave and the foundation have been a good fit. He said, “It has been enjoyable to meet so many people who want to do good things in our community.”
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1/30/15
Allie Spain in Laos and Cambodia
Marysville High School grad Allie Spain has been on The World Race since last September, working as a Christian missionary in the Far East. She is in a new country every month and has had a variety of experiences, which will change her life.
Her travels with her team of seven started in India, then Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Allie begins: “In Laos, my team was in Pakse (a modern city with reliable electricity, western toilets, hot showers and wifi). We were ‘Unsung Heroes,’ which means that we didn’t have an official ministry that we worked with, but were to go out and find ministries to partner with throughout the month. It was a slow month. It was really hard to find ministries and since Laos is a closed country you have to watch what you say.”
This is the first country where the team experienced the “closed country.” If group members had been identified as Christian missionaries, they would have been ejected from Laos. Christianity may not be taught there.
Allie continues: “We played soccer with some street kids a few nights, taught them about Christmas for a few days at an English school, and helped throw a Christmas party for slum children with an organization we met.”
“Many native homes in Laos, and most of the countries I am visiting, have squatting potties, electricity access for a limited amount of time, and no access to clean water.”
“In any country we go to, we sometimes have to face huge language barriers. Most of the time we have someone with us who can translate or we have a contact who knows some English. I have had to learn to speak slower and more simply, but also making sure not to do it obviously so that I do not offend the person I am speaking to. Sometimes I have to get really creative with my word choices to try and get my point across.”
Now she is in a rural village just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she is working and living with a new team of seven at a Christian school teaching English, computer, and Bible to grades 1-9.
Allie continues: “Between the seven of us, we teach over 20 classes a day! There is no teacher in there with us so we can teach whatever we want. Neither myself or any of my teammates are teachers or have teaching experience, and the days are very long, hot, and exhausting. We are also leading devotions for the kids before school starts and for the adults in the evenings.”
Cambodia is a poor country which uses both the U.S. dollar and the Riel, so Allie says the monetary system is confusing. She adds: “I love it here. The skies are always clear and blue with big clouds all day long and there’s a lot of greenery here, too. It’s really hot. Today was in the mid-90s and there are lots of bugs (mainly spiders and crickets) that are constantly roaming around our stuff.”
When I asked her about medical care for this group of missionaries she said: “ I have been sick once so far. Last week actually we were in Thailand again for a week of debriefing and I ate something bad and had food poisoning. It only lasted about 12 hours, but it was a long 12 hours! It’s not too hard to find good medical care. It’s not as great as back in America, but depending on what country you are in, you can find safe and reliable care pretty much anywhere.”
“The best part of this experience is what God’s been showing me about myself and my identity. I love the work that we’re doing and meeting some really awesome people. The community I have in my squad mates and teammates has also been really great.”
More from Allie as she moves on to Vietnam.
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1/23/15
Flying not driving
He’s 17 years old and a junior at Marysville High School. Cameron Ward doesn’t have his driver’s license yet, because right now he only has time to work on one license. That would be his airplane pilot’s license.
He’s learning to fly now at the flight school at Union County Airport. His female instructor, Kelsey, is only 20 years old and a certified flight instructor with 250 hours of experience.
Cameron flies with her several days a week in the family’s Cessna 150 airplane that they own with one other person. It became cost-effective to buy this plane because of the price of plane rental.
There are two Ward brothers flying now. Cameron’s older brother, Chris, is 19 and a freshman at The Ohio State University. He has been a pilot for two years and that’s how Cameron got started. Watching his older brother gave him the experience to see what fun flying can be.
So this summer, after flying just 10 hours during lessons, Cameron did his solo flight. That consisted of 15 minutes with three takeoffs and three landing and flying alone in the traffic pattern of the Union County Airport. He describes that day as also the scariest of his flying time to that point.
Cameron said that he was nervous (of course, who wouldn’t be) but very focused. Then the winds came up. They were light when he took off, but doubled in strength while in the air. Wind can be the pilots biggest nemesis. When he began to come down for landing, the plane started to rise. The wind just wouldn’t let it come down. He had to go around and stall the plane a little bit in order to get down. (Stall the plane a little bit?)
While he was up there in the air in the first solo flight, everything was videoed. His family had set up a recorder to see how he reacted to everything. Talk about Big Brother watching you! Of course, his mother and father, Pam and Jim Ward, were concerned for his safe return to earth.
Now Cameron has twice the experience with 20 hours to his credit, needing 40 hours to get his license, which will hopefully be this summer.
He tells me every good pilot has an inspection list, which includes checking for chips and cracks in propellers, making sure no birds are in the air intake, looking for the tires to be full of air, ensuring there are no cracks in the window and the landing light works, and certainly important, checking the gas.
Since he flies at about 2,000 feet, Cameron says many times he can actually look at the ground to get his bearings, often using the Honda plant and the reservoir in the area as landmarks. When he’s in the air, he feels detached and free. It’s enjoyable! Unlike me, he doesn’t even mind experiencing turbulence, a perfect response for a pilot, I’d say.
Oh yes, then there’s the flight tradition that Cameron experienced, the cutting of the shirt tail. After a student solos the first time, the shirt tail is cut off.
It’s an old tradition. Here’s how it goes. Back in the WWI era when flight training first started, pilot and instructor flew tandem in bi-planes before closed cockpits. The pilot was in front and the instructor was in back. To get the pilot’s attention, the instructor would tug on the pilot’s shirt tail. The cutting of the shirt tail signifies that he can fly solo with no help from an instructor.
Cameron’s parents are really grateful for the availability of the flight school at the Union County Airport and the good training available there. They also wanted to point out that anyone can fly. It’s not for the elite and is so convenient here in Union County.
For Cameron, this whole thing about flying just brings a smile to his face. The entire time he was talking to me, he was so happy to be describing life at 2,000 feet above the ground. So, look for him in the air this summer, and shortly afterward, I believe you can probably see him in the car, on the road.
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1/16/15
Kay Liggett - a bright light in our world
 When I think of her, I just smile. She was a smart woman with so much energy! She had lots to do, and taught her children to get up early and get their work done.
Kay Liggett was orphaned at a young age and had a full life traveling with an opera company in Germany, before she came to Marysville. She served as a make-up artist and a claque. Her job was to sit in the audience and clap at the appropriate times during the opera.
Kay was living in Delaware and an attorney there, Clyde Lewis, introduced her to Marysville attorney Luther Liggett. They married and began their life together living above his law office in downtown Marysville. Daughter Dorothy Liggett Pelanda observed that her mother provided life’s excitement to her father and he in turn provided stability to her. Later they would raise their children on a farm in the Allen Center area.
I met Kay when I moved to Marysville in 1969 also as the bride of a local attorney. In those days the Union County Bar Association had several social events every year and Kay and I stuck up a quick friendship. She was kind and welcoming to the new girl. She also knew everyone in town.
There was always a funny story and  she wasn’t afraid to tell one on herself. I was soon to be a new mom and she had many tales to share about the experiences with her four children, Mariah, Sarah and twins Dorothy and Luther, and mistakes she made at first.
Kay, who had been a much loved home economics teacher at Marysville High School, taught my son, Mike, along with the other male students in the class, how to sew. You can imagine it was a big challenge to deal with these guys and a sewing machine. The two of them had a great relationship. He quoted her all the time during his senior year and was quite proud of the ski jacket he made in her class.
She taught all her daughters to sew and impressed upon them that they must learn to be independent and self supporting. Kay was also quite a knitter. She knit a sweater for Dorothy as a young girl and then after she grew out of it, Kay unraveled it and reknit the yarn for Mariah in another pattern. She did the same for Sarah. That went on for numerous colors of yarn. Her reasoning was, kids won’t wear hand-me-downs, so each sweater was essentially new!
Just four months after her husband died, she wanted to make a change in her life. Even though her children were concerned about her next move, she went to China to teach English as a second language to medical students, for about two years. This was an important skill for them, because many of the medical textbooks are in English.
Kay returned with fantastic stories, which made her a much sought after speaker in our area. She also attained a good knowledge and respect of the ways of Chinese medicine.
In her later years, she even used her good mind reporting about the Community Concerts for the Journal-Tribune.
Long periods of time would pass before I would see Kay, but when I ran into her she would be so excited to see me as she was with everyone she knew. Her energy and happiness were infectious!
Kay passed away last week and we lost a bright light in Union County. She will be missed.
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1/9/15
Volunteering at its best
I have recently learned of several young Marysville residents who are volunteering years of their lives to help others.
Allie Spain is doing missionary work in the Far East and now Laurel LaFrance is preparing to go to Mexico for two years. She’s a 1998 graduate of Marysville High School and after earning a degree in Spanish and a second one in education from the University of Toledo in 2002, she returned to MHS to teach Spanish. Early on she became interested in helping children in Mexico. Since she is fluent in Spanish, she served as a translator for her group while on mission trips to Piedras Negras (little black rocks), Mexico. It’s a border town about 25 miles from Eagle Pass, Texas. Actually, she said her knowledge of Spanish served her well in every day living, but there was some learning to do about construction terms and local slang.
While in college, Laurel joined others in what they called an alternate spring break trip to Mexico. It provided nice weather and an opportunity to help. On the first trip, the group of volunteers helped build a house for the church pastor and on another trip they worked on the construction of a nearby Methodist Church.
The area where she will live during her next volunteer time is surrounded by an eight-foot cement fence with barbed wire on top and a gate that shuts at night. She says it is there just as much to protect those inside from roaming animals as from desperados. The scene in the town is quite different, too, because there are armed guards in front of shops. While that would seem scary to us, to them it means that the shop owner is providing protection and that it’s a safe place to shop. Laurel is blonde and obviously not an area native. She is careful where she goes and doesn’t ever carry a purse. All that said, she generally feels safe while there.
The climate is varied in this part of Mexico. In the summer it’s often 100 degrees and can drop into the 30s in the winter. The poorest families in the area do not have electricity in their tiny shanties. In the past, the efforts to keep warm during this cold time have sometimes produced fires in the shanties and some children have been burned. It’s a sad product of that needy part of the world, so close to us.
Since Laurel was so taken with the needs in this town, she has resigned her job as a teacher at Marysville High School and is preparing for a two-year missionary commitment to the children there. She will be a service missionary in an orphanage, which is located on the two-acre property. She will also live on the property in a guest house with others helping there.
This is an opportunity to reverse her usual role of teaching Spanish to English-speaking students. Now, Laurel will teach English to the Mexican children and some adults living nearby, along with tutoring the 30 some children living in the orphanage in other subjects. By providing one-on-one attention in tutoring, she’s able to meet an urgent need at the orphanage.
Children do come and go with this orphanage because, as Laurel explains, there is no foster care system in this area of Mexico. Some children are just there for a short stay, but most have deceased or incarcerated parents.
Laurel is ready to make her trip down to Mexico. She needs to have saved $30,000 for her two years of expenses for gas, insurance, food and utilities. She will not be earning money while at this new venture, so her time now is spent fundraising. If you would like to help her or learn more, her blog is: land-of-lal.blogspot.com. Her email address is lalafrance@gmail.com.
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1/2/15
Can you read it?
A friend recently sent this sentence to me with this explanation: “If you can read this out loud you have a strong mind. And better than that, Alzheimer’s is a long, long, way down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you.” Well, read it and feel good about your brain.
7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD!
0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.
Now for the bad news. It seems everyone (not just the very bright) can read and understand what this garbled message says. One source says that we can read this because the numbers resemble the letters they replace. I needed to know more, so I did some research. What did the scientists say about our brains and reading?
First, I learned a new word - neologism. That means a new word and refers to typoglycemia, which means, one can read a garbled word if the exterior letters are correct. That didn’t really fit this passage so I went on, since some of these words started with numbers. How crazy is that?
Another source says that context is very important and that our brains read a certain set of words and come to expect what will follow.
It continues with, “You probably didn’t get every single word right. You only thought you were reading the passage perfectly, because you automatically went back and filled in any gaps in your knowledge based on the words that came later.”
Ok, that’s interesting, but how does our brain do that? The researcher claims you can read this next passage because it is easy. Note there are no numbers here to mess it up.
“I cdn’uolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg: the phaonmneel pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rseearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiatrely cllaed Typoglycemia. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and you awlyas thguoht slpeling was ipmorantt.”
Since I hope you could read that, the theory of easy, familiar words may be correct. Read this:
Anidroccg to crad-cniyrrag lcitsiugnis planoissefors at an uemannd utisreviny in Bsitirh Cibmuloa, and crartnoy to the duoibus cmials of the ueticnd rcraeseh, a slpmie, macinahcel ioisrevnn of ianretnl cretcarahs araepps sneiciffut to csufnoe the eadyrevy oekoolnr.
This translated is, “According to card-carrying linguistics professionals at an unnamed university in British Columbia and contrary to the dubious claims of the uncited research, a simple, mechanical inversion of internal characters appears sufficient to confuse the everyday onlooker.”
OK, now we know it can be very tough to read and the brain can’t always interpret words when scrambled. At least I couldn’t get much of the second one, at first.
You might now ask why we stress spelling so much. I guess we could say, if we can’t spell correctly we can’t recognize this gibberish! In all the reading I did there was no sure explanation about how this works. I guess we should just be glad it does. So, the brain is a mystery, we know, and can do so much for us that we don’t understand.
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