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May 25, 1996

Because so many of our town's street signs are being damaged or stolen by senseless vandals, it's getting tougher to give directions to visitors and strangers in the community. Traffic signs also are being defaced or removed along with mail boxes in town and on the rural routes. Why would a normal person mess with such things? There's no logical explanation for that kind of behavior, especially in a community like this where most people are trying to build up, not tear down.

Mildred Will operated the nursery at the First Presbyterian church for several years before she retired from that position a few years back. Mildred is a dedicated member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, so it was no problem for her to be at the Presbyterian church on Sundays. Recently she reminisced about some things from her childhood. Most of what follows is in her own words, and I think you'll find it interesting:

"I was born in North Enid but we moved a couple of miles south of Garber when I was several years old. I went to a country school the first year. The Kepleys lived a mile east, and that first year I went to school with Koto Kepley (later Mrs. Dee Treadway) and her brother, Byron. We had a Mrs. Elliott for a teacher. Years later, when I first came to the Prestyterian church to babysit, there they were. I was right at home. Mrs. Millie Kepley couldn't be beat. She was a good person. Mr. Kepley was kicked in the head by a mule, as I recall. He was not instantly killed, but the injury later proved fatal and that is why Mrs. Kepley moved back to Perry.

"Across the street north from the present Bank IV building, where a used car lot is now located, was a tall white house. Mrs. Hejtmanek lived there and she took in kids from the country who did light housekeeping because no buses went to the country at that time. Upstairs were Marcella Nelson (now Mrs. Joel Yarborough) and a cousin, Bernice Strom, who later married Mr. Pierson, a TV farm personality. Hazel Hull was my partner, along with several other girls.

"When I was two years old mom's parents, the Danusers, bought a home, one mile west of the 'Y' and one and threequarters south. They were the Danusers. Grandpa was a carpenter, the best one I have ever seen. He also drew the plans for buildings. He learned it in Switzerland. The house still stands there. Dad's people were from Germany. They were ship builders. His grandpa took three teenage boys in one of the boats he built and sailed the ocean, dumped the three boys off on the shores of New York and turned around and went back to Germany.

"My grandpa taught me German. I learned it right along with English, but I forget most of my German because when we moved to Garber I had no one to talk to. Until, that is, I met Buddy Francis (son of Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Francis). I said something to him in German and he answered in German, but I couldn't understand because by then I had lost most of my German. They talked German at home but I didn't know that."

I think these are interesting recollections of an earlier time in this area, where cultures have been blending for more than 100 years.