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July 18, 1996

You may remember a while back I mentioned the essays written by Charles Kemnitz and gathered into a collection with the title Hand Me Down the Land. I have learned from Charles that one of the essays appeared in the summer 1994 issue of Cimarron Review, a literary quarterly published at Oklahoma State University, and they will publish a second essay from the collection in their 1996 summer issue, which should be out this month. That makes eight of the original 13 essays that have been accepted for publication. They're worth reading, so find a copy of the Review and check them out. Caravan book store in Stillwater handles the quarterly.

Charles, son of Mrs. George Kemnitz and her late husband, has completed another year at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. He is head of the technical communications program, a bachelor's degree program which he designed and administers with four other professors. His wife, Susan, is the English tutor supervisor at Penn College, and this summer is teaching a five-week freshman English class. She also is actively involved in story telling, an art she practiced while the family lived in Perry. The Kemnitz children, Alicia and Aaron, are doing well at swimming and golf, respectively. Alicia went with her relay team to the national championships in Florida and Aaron is hoping to make the school golf team. Aaron also has become an avid mountain climber. Both are near the top of their class in school. Charles is a former technical writer at the Charles Machine Works, Inc.

One of the radio stations I listen to is carrying a commercial for something called "wireless cable TV." They say it's not a satellite dish, but a truly "wireless cable TV." Pardon me, but isn't that a bare-faced oxymoron?

Ted and Glenda Riddle opened the county's first major bed and breakfast enterprise earlier this year 12 miles north of Perry. Now there are rumors of one or two more businesses of this type in various stages of discussion. That fits just fine with our efforts to lure more tourists to visit this special part of Oklahoma, and we hope they all succeed in a major way. The Riddles named their place "the Homestead," and it is earning many favorable comments from those who have tried it.

Dr. John Chaffin, the distinguished Oklahoma City heart surgeon, has been honored as "Man of the Year" by the Greater Oklahoma City American Heart Association. Formal presentation of the award was made at the chapter's recent annual meeting at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. Dr. Chaffin, son of Everett Chaffin and his late wife, Betty, grew up in this community and graduated from Perry high school. We're proud of him and the lifesaving work he performs. Congratulations on this award.

The Daily Oklahoman had an interesting piece the other day about the stellar record of Oklahoma wrestlers through the years in the Olympics. And of course no such story would be complete without the names of Jack VanBebber and Danny Hodge, two Perry boys who won Olympic medals in the sport. Hodge, who never lost a college match while wrestling for the University of Oklahoma, earned a silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne games but failed to place in 1952 at Helsinki, although he led his Russian opponent 10-0 before a bizarre ending to the match. Dan thought he had pinned his man but instead had pinned himself. According to writer Mac Bentley, Hodge still believes he should have won two gold medals.

VanBebber, who wrestled at Oklahoma A.&M., and Bobby Pearce of Cushing won Olympic gold medals for the U.S. in 1932 at Los Angeles. Both are now deceased, but they became symbols of Oklahoma's excellent wrestling program during their lifetime.

One more thing to note: In looking through the composite list of Oklahoma medal winners at the Olympics, I could find no other city our size that has contributed two such outstanding individuals as Danny Hodge and Jack VanBebber.