September 5, 1995
Glenda Reed-Smith is leaving Perry at mid-September for an exciting new teaching challenge in Tokyo. She has been instructing Perry fifth graders in history at the elementary school, but she's going to be working with a different kind of student in a vastly different classroom setting. For the next year, she'll be teaching the English language, including correspondence skills, to Japanese ranging from four years of age to mature adults.
Glenda, under contract with International School Service, is understandably eager to begin this new assignment. She will be assigned to the James English School, operated as a private institution in Tokyo by a Japanese gentleman. "In Japan, young people are expected to decide by age nine what they want to do with their lives," Glenda says. "Their parents believe they will need to be conversant with the English language, so it is universally taught. This school hires primarily American and Canadian instructors."
Glenda taught at Covington-Douglas before joining the Perry school system a few years back. She has been a stalwart member of our Stagecoach Community Theatre, both as a performer and a board member, and she also will be missed there. Husband Mike Smith will be looking after the home front while she's away, but Glenda expects to be able to return here for a visit during a Japanese holiday period in about six months. She has earned her master's degree in education and has several hours credit toward her doctorate, and may be able to complete that during the next few months.
I had to rub my eyes in disbelief the other day when I read in this paper that Frances Lynch will be celebrating her 107th birthday tomorrow, Sept. 6. Think of it -- one hundred and seven years old! That is truly remarkable. I'm sure Mrs. Lynch is our eldest Noble county citizen, and she might well be the most senior resident of the entire state of Oklahoma.
I've known Mrs. Lynch as far back as my own memory goes, which is more than. somewhat, and she has always been a dear, sweet little lady, a hard worker but almost always wearing a bright, sunny smile. In the 1940s she was employed at Forney's Dairy Store on the west side of the square, in the building where Victor and Yvonne Green now have their collectibles and antique store. Forney's was one of the town's favorite hangouts for teenagers but the place also served a number of adults at the lunch counter. Ice cream cones, malts and sodas were specialties, all chock full of ice cream made right here in Perry at the Forney Dairy at the southeast edge of Perry where Mrs. Ruby Kirchner now lives.
The business was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Forney and their sons, Hubert, who died at an early age of polio, and Don Kirchner, who passed away only last year. Ruby Kirchner is his widow. By my calculation, Mrs. Lynch would have been 52 years old in 1940, about the time the downtown dairy store was opened. She was the grandmotherly type then, and her appearance had changed little the last time I visited with her. She has been a resident of Green Valley Nursing Home for several years. Her sons visit her regularly, though none of them live in this immediate area now.
I also remember C. W Lynch, Mrs. Lynch's late husband. In the 1930s, when all of us were scrambling to make a living, he was the town's sole distributor for oleomargarine. At that time, federal law forbid the sale of oleo in grocery stores, or any other retail outlets. So, if a housewife chose to use that instead of butter, she had to find someone like Mr. Lynch who was franchised to sell it privately. He delivered it to the homes where people requested it. Another portion of the law which banned the sale in stores also required that it could only be delivered in its natural state, with no artificial coloring added to give it that yellowish look, like butter.
So, if you ordered a pound of oleo from Mr. Lynch, he had to bring you four sticks of a white vegetable oil derivative along with a small packet of reddish-orange powder. You put all that in a mixing bowl and spent up to 15 minutes kneading the powder into the white stuff until it turned yellow enough to look like butter. It was quite a messy job, which is what the dairy-state lawmakers had in mind when they fashioned the law.
Eventually consumer protests became so strong that the law was repealed and grocery stores could legally sell oleo, with the color already added, and that spelled the end of Mr. Lynch's enterprise. He found other ways to feed his family, and Mrs. Lynch always worked for the same reason. Even in later years, when all the children were gone and they had more or less retired, Mr. and Mrs. Lynch made their home available as a polling place for elections in what was then Ward Three, and they were always willing to chat with the neighbors who stopped by to cast their ballot.
I'm happy to join the rest of the community in wishing Mrs. Lynch a joyous 107th birthday tomorrow!