Dear Hearts & Gentle People:
So, today is Cinco de Mayo, Small Business Saturday, and Naked Gardening Day. I hope you are all celebrating appropriately.
Once again, I apologize for the lonnng gap between TLCs. Even at my advanced years, I stay very busy.
The ol’ hometown is jumpin ’ – lots going on. Much of it is produced by the Board of the Municipal Auditorium, now referred to as The LEX. I guess two syllables is easier than nine. They have truly wonderful events, family oriented with music and dancing and craft projects and refreshments. Of course there are grown-up festivities too, with popular area bands, dancing, and adult beverages. Always something for every party holiday.
I might as well get to it, the obituaries. They are shown in alphabetical order by first names. Those of you who live away may not know we have lost the following:
Carol Sue Johnson Allen
Donna Dee Dye
Joseph “Joe” E. Anton
Judge James Lauderdale
Mary Elizabeth Dolley Thurmon
These are the ones that have been reported to me. As always, our sincerest condolences to the families.
This got interrupted, and I will struggle to finish. My usual plan is to compose TLCs when I have several hours uninterrupted. This seldom happens.
But, sadly, one more departure to report. This day, May 10, Dawson “Slick” Heathman left his beloved Lexington. What a legend he was! Plans are for visitation and funeral on Monday, 5/14, both at the funeral home. Visitation 11-1 and service at 1. Anyone needing further details may get in touch with me.
At this point my email address is still firstname.lastname@example.org. However, I may have to change soon. I was unable to get online for two days, and this is further delayed reaching you.
Much is happening in the old hometown – lots of restoration and some new businesses. One popular new shop is River Bluff Antiques and Mercantile. Lots to see there, plus they offer carryout lunches and cinnamon rolls. It’s located where Entine’s used to be.
Probably the biggest draw will be the Wentworth Museum, scheduled to open in the fall to coincide with WMA Homecoming. Located in what was once Hix Bros. and later Cox’s Corner, this is going to be a truly magnificent museum. There is a lot of information on Facebook. The alumni association fought hard in court and ultimately won possession of the Doughboy, which is currently housed at the Museum. I have seen only photos of the Museum so far, but it is really breathtaking. The Museum will also be the gathering place for Old Boys to reunite. Photos are on Facebook, and prepare to be awed at what the group of alums have accomplished. There are also four upscale hotel suites on the second floor.
The following is what I composed after attending the court proceedings:
Today I had the experience of watching our court system in action. Was so interesting. I went with a friend to attend a hearing regarding the WMA Doughboy, a statue representing the WWI soldier, later representing all Army participants in U.S. wars.
Capsule: Wentworth Military Academy closed its doors this past spring after 137 years of preparing young men (and later young women) for serving in the military. An auction of the “things” left on campus will be held. (The buildings/infrastructure are separate.)
It is an emotional experience for WMA alumni, and they are trying to preserve Wentworth memories and items of importance. The Doughboy is probably the most important piece of the school’s history. New cadets were required to salute the statue, to remain a respectful distance from it, and to not walk behind it. This tradition instilled respect in generations of WMA alumni.
The Doughboy statue was obtained by a group of alumni and placed on the grounds in a prominent location. The alumni group contends it was not “gifted” nor “donated” etc. to the school, but dedicated to WWI (and later) veterans. Thus their claim is that the statue is not owned by Wentworth nor the bank that has it in receivership.
Today’s hearing was to stop the inclusion of the Doughboy statue in the upcoming auction. Jennifer Teichman Kerr is one of the attorneys representing the alum group. They call her The Velvet Hammer. With distinguished alum attorneys, she fought to preserve the Doughboy, and today they won their case!
I am not an attorney, nor am I a WMA alum (although I did attend summer school college classes). I certainly had the privilege of attending many Balls, Parties, Patriotic Observances, Dress Parades, Wentworth Shows at KC Municipal Auditorium, sporting events, and even appeared onstage as the token girl in a Wentworth theatrical production. Please forgive any legal, military, or social misstatements.
My friend and I found seats in the courtroom (after I set off the security alarm, thanks to my artificial joints). It was full, nearly all WMA alums and Lexington residents rooting for them. The court proceedings were brief, and not intended for the audience. We could hear little of what was said. But after the ruling, we were invited into a room to be briefed on what had occurred. In a gracious victory statement, the legal counsel for WMA explained that the court had ruled the Doughboy statue is indeed the property of the alumni association.
Not only that, those present were treated to an announcement of plans for the Wentworth Museum. Contracts are being composed for the building which formerly housed the Old Trails Region offices. Some of us remember it as Cox’s Department Store/Cox’s Corner/Hix Building. Upstairs is the Rivertown Inn, four upscale suites, the rental of which will help fund the maintenance of the Museum.
It was promised that the Doughboy will be relocated to the Lafayette County Courthouse or perhaps become the centerpiece of the new Museum. There is also the possibility that it could be on display at the WWI Museum in Kansas City.
Mayor Jerry Brown also announced that it is hoped the buildings on campus will be sold to one entity, one with educational or other honorable purposes.
Recently I attended a meeting which highlighted news from our two motels. The owner of LEXIHILL Motel (formerly the Lexington Inn) and the manager of the Midway Motel described the improvements in both establishments. Visitors will have more pleasant and certainly convenient overnight accommodations. I have very particular friends who have stayed there, and said the establishments are “just fine!”
April’selection delivered us a new mayor. Fred Wiebling (pronounced Wy-bling), who has lived in Lexington several years now, at 17th and Main. He brings fresh energy and ideas to our town. Several new council members took office too. Plus we have an excellent new Chief of Police in office, Charlie Grom. He’s a nice guy, but our new motto is “Don’t mess with Lexington!” (I made that up.) In case you haven’t heard, Joe Aull (son of Bill Aull) is the current City Administrator. We have wonderful leadership in the old hometown.
Many civic groups are in full swing offering old and new activities. On June 23 there will be a rip-roarin’ time downtown when the killing of the outlaw “Little” Archie Clements is reenacted, along with associated period activities, including downtown tours. The annual Community Fair will take place in July. Porches and Peaches, now in its third year, is planned for June 21. It’s a fun and delicious event. Another fall festival, old west theme, will be held in September, and the Woman’s Club Christmas Homes Tour is being planned now. These are just a sample of the events available to visitors and residents.
To keep up with the constant activity, there are several websites to visit. Check out www.visitlexingtonmo.com, the Tourism site, www.historiclexingtonmo.com which is the Chamber of Commerce, plus a number of sites on Facebook relating to local activities, including the WMA Museum, the R-V School District, and many others. Please explore and consider a visit to the old hometown.
Notes from readers:
From Mary Pat Gueguen Miller ’58: Susan, what wonderful memories!!!! I always thought your class was a little nutty; maybe it was because of that that you all stayed so close all these 60 years!!!! A good sense of humor will serve us all well through life. Memories of Fall Festival and the LHS band came flowing back, as well as the name and face of Jimmie Joe Pack,(God rest his soul) my first "luv" as a Freshman; Dr. Ben (Brasher) giving me my pre-college polio shot, saying "I wish we would have had this for my daughters." Didn't know that Sally and Judy had died. (r.i.p.) Your whole #154 TLC reminded me of the joy in putting together my little book of memories and hometown love ( "My Story: Going Home Again"). I look at the cover now and wonder who that cute little girl is... like I'm reading someone else's story. FYI, I asked Pat Worth of the "River Reader Bookstore” if she would consider highlighting the hometown writers in her window, esp. with all the festivities coming up which will bring many "old timers" back to "home." (She gets all the proceeds from my book... I just don't want to get buried with them all!!!). Thanks again, Susan, for all your work, unique creativity and great sense of humor.
Looking west on Franklin on a rainy evening. If this doesn’t make you homesick, something is wrong with you.
This arrived from Valerie Wood-Hellyer who wrote:
Hi, Susan! I had hoped to give this to you if I saw you last weekend. Unfortunately I didn't get to see you. My dad used to reload ammunition and he passed on all of his equipment and supplies to my husband. He used two- pound coffee cans to store bullets in, and separated the layers with newspaper, cut in a perfect circle. My husband was going through one of the cans the other day and he pulled out some clippings and showed them to me. I thought you would like this particular one. I have no idea of the date, but I'm sure you might! I hope it brings a smile to your day!
I believe it was around 1989.
Ohhhh, my! I can hardly recognize my own self now…nearly 30 years ago. This was sponsored by the Lexington Community Betterment Association or the Lexington Garden Club. I was active in both, and memory fails.
Del Scharnhorst ’55 reminded me:
Enjoyed the latest issue of TLC. One obit you'll want to include in the next TLC - Ed Schumacher ‘56, who by the way, was recently inducted into the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
The R-V School District has recently instituted a Scholastic Hall of Fame as well. If you have suggestions for worthy former students, faculty, administration, or local residents, you may send me suggestions.
Ray Miller wrote:
Had a email from Shirley Briggle Miller and guess Patsy (Kelly) and I have quite a similar background. My folks moved from Napoleon to Lexington in 1948 and built a house on Amelia avenue. I started to LHS in 1948 and met Patsy at the same time, one day while I visited Mike Mcdonald, who lived a couple of houses away on Highland Ave. Needless to say, I thought she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Unfortunately Patsy did not go to LHS until 1949. I graduated in 1951 and Warrensburg (then CMSU) in 1955 . Patsy was the LHS Homecoming Queen and graduated in 1952. I finally convinced her to marry me in 1954, and we joined the Navy when I graduated from Warrensburg. I underwent flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator. The next 30 years we traveled to New Zealand, Hawaii, Taiwan, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, China ,Midway Island, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Europe (and all 50 states). We have daughters Chris and Robin with four grandkids, all living close to us in San Diego. We have been back to Lexington when both Patsy's parents and both of mine passed away. Our last visit was for our LHS 50 year reunion. Fortunately I was able to keep informed on The TLC until my last one,#154. I do appreciate all your super TLC efforts.
Later Ray added: Enjoyed this last TLC, as all others. Have lost Patsy' s LHS 1952 Yearbook (Patsy Kelly) and our grandkids would love to see Mom in those days. I would like to obtain a copy. If anyone could help I would certainly appreciate it. Thanks Ray Miller..858-395-2453..12271 Fernando Ct, San Diego CA 92128.
I saved this for last because I wish ALL of you would write a brief autobiography and send it to me for publication. You would be surprised at how many people would like to hear from/about YOU. Thank you, Ray, and all of those who wrote asking if I was “okay.” Well, that is still to be determined, but I promise to try to keep you more frequently informed.
Your devoted scribe,