Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
Are you familiar with this query: Why is there never time to do things right, but always time to do them over?
Apparently TLC #153 fell into that category. So this issue - #154 - is a quick bonus, or burden, depending on your ability to maintain interest in a lengthy discourse.
As you may or may not know, there are over 500 people who “subscribe” to TLC. Obviously, I cannot send them all out in one email. So I break them down into smaller batches. This time I overdid the addresses on some of the copies, and they bounced back to me as spam. They are more love letters than spam! But only about half of you received #153 on the first attempt. I will send that out again, and forgive me if you receive a duplicate.
Additionally, I had some correspondence I had hoped to include, so that happens now. And special thanks to those of you who have already written about #153. Valerie Wood-Hellyer said: With the exception of the passing of some of your friends and classmates, this was such an upbeat and entertaining email. I love your sense of humor and I love all of these exciting things going on in the old hometown! I will definitely be there for the eclipse and I'm staying all week for the festivities! I hope to get to see you then! Enjoy your reunion, and thank you again for this labor of love!
It may be immodest of me to print that, but several others sent similar comments. Thanks, Valerie; Allan; Howie, Jan.
Much of the mail resulting from #152 was in regard to Wentworth closing. Many sent words of shock and regret, plus concern for the town. To my knowledge, no new arrangements for the campus have developed, but I know there are people working on it.
Jane Ann Whitney ’56 Hunt conveyed her thoughts after TLC #152: Thank you so much for this latest TLC and the beautiful, poignant picture of the last Dress Parade. I have been sending your latest pictures and the newspaper accounts of Wentworth’s closing to our 2 Wentworth grad friends both here in Blair and in Phoenix. I know we are all very unhappy about the closing and what it means to Lexington but your words yesterday really expressed the terrible distress that it is causing there. The pain literally jumped off the “page.” It drove home the real implications about what it is doing there locally. Also, the sadness about the empty stores downtown was very apparent. It breaks my heart. I do hope the city council can come up with some remedies soon. Blair (Nebraska) has gone through this, too, with Dana College’s closing 6 years ago, but just recently we learned that Grace College in Omaha (a religious school) is going to be moving into the campus along with a few other entities. The campus needs a major overhaul because of storm and vandal damage through the years but soon there will be life again. Don’t give up! Blair is lucky because we do have a number of major employers in the area so the financial impact wasn’t as great as Wentworth’s closing will mean to Lexington. I don’t know what to tell you to boost morale there. It’s what so many small towns are and have been experiencing and it’s a real sad problem. It’s spring with new beginnings now so take heart----and pray!!! Lots of love to you and everyone there.
After expressing sadness about the closing, Shirley Briggle Miller wrote: Wish I could have been there for the Wentworth closing -- to try to find any "old boys" I knew. As you know, I was in town for our class of '53 reunion last month, and thanks for that riveting presentation of old Lexington photos. I intended to contact you for a lunch, but it seems all the Lexingtonians had huge colds and generously passed them on to me. I was there for six days, but didn't get around very much. There aren't enough of us left to produce a very big turnout for a reunion these years, but we made up for it with the fun produced by our organizers Leamon Johnson (student body president our senior year) and Jerry Shinn Warner. Regrettably, Jerry has now moved from Lexington to California to be near her daughter. Earlier she reminded me, with regard to the deaths reported in #152: Apparently no one told you that Ray Miller's wife was Patsy Kelly, LHS class of 1952, a chronically nice person, of great beauty. Several of us were close friends, and Patsy was one. But she lived in California for the main part of her life, and I always hoped I would see her again. I also knew John David, Sally and Eugene. What a dreadful winter. All three Kelly girls were beauties!
It hurts to relay the Lexington deaths, but many people have no contact other than TLC. In #153 I somehow forgot to include Jim Joe Pack, class of ’57. There will be some big holes in the gathering of classmates next month. And apparently I was not clear about inviting people other than classmates to attend the Reunion. For those who are interested, the Social Hour begins at 5 p.m. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. followed by remarks, entertainment and subdued hilarity. At 8 p.m. everyone is invited to join the class of 1957 for a drink and conversation. The date is Saturday, 8/26, at the Summit Ridge Villas clubhouse (Hwy 13 and Route O).
Ernest ’47 and Elaine Kronshage ‘49 Bussey asked to be put on the mailing list. She wrote: Both my husband and I graduated from Lexington in 1947 and 1949. Ernie was from Lexington so we loved hearing all the news from old classmates. If you could put us on the email list we would appreciate it. Jim O’Malley forwarded us this copy. Jim keeps me informed about classmates and good music.
Wentworth Alum Jack Gueguen wrote: Wentworth’s close was not a surprise to me, as one immersed in educational matters: the market simply has been drying up steadily, along with changing youth culture. Fewer and fewer young people can endure the kind of disciplined education WMA was so good at (especially the boys). That forebodes ill for our whole nation—indeed, our civilization. I hope the Wentworth campus finds a good junior college as new occupant. An ad in the National Geographic magazine might help—worth investing in by the City fathers. Maybe in other magazines, too (like the Atlantic monthly). The ad should be accompanied by attractive (non-military) photos. First Kemper, now Wentworth; can MMA be far behind? The whole affair is a silent tragedy of considerable proportions. America, America, what has happened to thee? Little by little, the family has betrayed its inherited duty, and has been fostering selfish brats (to use an old word).
Jan Rider McCoy said: So hard to reconcile in my mind Wentworth is no more a part of Lexington. It is my hope this will be a new chapter, and Lexington will become even more active and attractive to this generation when new things happen there. Thank you for keeping us informed. Earlier she had written: Although TLC is a joy to receive, the news was sad to read of so many deaths in our high school family. Remembering the 1951 flood brought back a memory of Bessie Hackley and myself walking across the bridge and wading in the water close to the little service station that sat at the end of the bridge. As we were walking back on the bridge we heard a roar and the levy broke, so here came a wall of water across where we had just been. These were the things we didn't share with our parents!
Conrad Pitz Sr. checked in: Thanks for getting me back in the loop, I notice that you have several classmates and spouses that have passed. The reason I got out of the loop was that my wife of 48 years Marilyn passed away one year ago today. She passed of a terrible disease, Alzheimer’s. Thanks again for the TLC's. Conrad, please accept our condolences from the TLC family.
On another note, Mary K Wilcoxon Gooseman added: I was sure sorry to hear about Sally (Brasher Lowther) as well. The last time I saw her was at that big 5-class reunion you had at the VFW in 2000 and haven’t heard anything about her since then. I had just been thinking of her a few days before I received the TLC. We were neighbors when she had polio the same summer as Ike Skelton. Sally and Judy (Brasher) and I used to play together, and Doc would pull my loose teeth as he did for all the kids in the neighborhood. Dr. Brasher served the Lexington community as a family doctor for many years. Mary K also wrote: There was a raccoon that came from across the holler and we called him “Coony.” When Doc was sitting in his lawn chair in the yard, Coony would get up on his shoulders and comb Doc’s hair with his claws.
Love those old hometown stories! Be sure to send any memories to share (and pranks!) and also – if you would like to see all the past copies of TLC – the website is www.thelexingtonconnection.com
Write to me!
Your devoted scribe,