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December 19, 1995

Christmas is by far the busiest time of the year at the post office, right? So who do you think was summoned to jury duty from November to January, during the heart of the Christmas season? Perry postmaster Leonard Robinson is who. He was called for possible service in Payne county district court in Stillwater last month and was advised to report daily until mid-January for standby duty. Leonard is doing what all good citizens should do, and affairs at the Perry postal center are in the capable hands of Larry Buffington during his absence. But it's just not the best time for this to be happening. Leonard is a legal resident of Stillwater so his jury responsibilities are vested in Payne county. Maybe this will motivate him to become a fulltime Perry resident.

Here's a little early notice for all you Glenn Miller fans out there. The 20th annual Glenn Miller Festival is scheduled for June 6-9, 1996, in Clarinda, Iowa, the maestro's birthplace. This event has been endorsed by the Iowa Sesquicentennial Commission and thus it will be an official part of the state's 150th anniversary program next summer.

Dr. and Mrs. Ed Fair attended the Miller festival last June and had hoped to go again in 1996, but his health may prevent that. They greatly enjoyed all the celebration events and recommend the trip for anyone interested in the great Miller style music. Some from Perry have expressed interest in attending next June. If you want further information, call the secretary of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society in Clarinda at 712-542-3881.

Traffic problems are acute daily in the area of the middle school on Fifteenth street. Vehicles and young pedestrians alike are affected. For starters, it's a narrow two-lane street feeding traffic from north and south as parents deliver youngsters to school in the morning or pick them up at mid-afternoon. There are no sidewalks and virtually no shoulders along the street because of deep drainage ditches on either side, so students walking to school must be especially wary.

It would be well if teachers and parents spent some time telling boys and girls to walk FACING traffic. Children that age need to be taught the safe way to be pedestrians. Some of us adults need to be reminded of the same thing so we can set a good example. Let's don't have any more accidents involving our school-age youngsters.

Another fragile but legible school book from out of the past has been provided by Donna Crossfield. Her husband, J. I. Crossfield, found the book and other miscellaneous items in a 1948 Fleetside pickup which he bought at an auction in 1971. The other articles have long since been disposed of, but Mrs. Crossfield kept this book, a text on English literature, all this time. It goes back much further than 1948 -- all the way to 1905, when it was copyrighted. The flyleaf is artfully signed by "Wanda Johnston" in a style much like calligraphy, and notes in her handwriting fill the book. The flyleaf also shows that the book was purchased at my dad's store, the City Drug, when that was Perry's official school book depository.

I recognized "Wanda Johnston" as the maiden name of the late Mrs. Henry Schurkens, and a phone call to her daughter, Phyllis Wurtz, confirms that it is indeed her mom's. Mrs. Schurkens inscribed this information at the front of the book, "March 17, 1913; 2nd period a.m., 10:25-11:05." The textbook apparently was used in an English literature class at Perry high school where Wanda Johnston graduated in 1914 along with Dr. A. M. Crowder, Quine Brengle Sr., Marsh Woodruff and other notables.

Incidentally, the textbook was written by Alphonso Gerald Newcomer, professor of English in the Leland Stanford Junior University. It covers the old English period, from 670-1066, through the "modern" English period, 1509-1558. Makes me wonder. Do schools still teach this subject? Shakespeare, Bacon and Elizabethan drama, prose and poetry are included, and we could all benefit from such a study. Thanks to Mrs. Crossfield for passing this along. The book has been turned over to Phyllis Wurtz, "Wanda Johnston's" daughter.