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December 5, 1996

Oklahoma City's channel 4 is promising to bring us "Whatever happened to Danny Hodge" on the 6 p.m. newscast Friday evening. I'll have to watch that because I haven't seen Danny around town the last day or so, and I've been wondering about him. It's good to know our big city electronic news hounds are on top of such stories.

This town has been proud of Danny for a long time, dating back to his prowess as a state champion Perry high school wrestler and a star Maroon football player, then a national champion matman at the University of Oklahoma, twice an Olympic wrestler, Golden Gloves boxing champion, professional wrestling champion and on into his later business enterprises. Right now he's busy with crafts made at his home workshop. The channel 4 folks interviewed him here a few weeks ago, and I'm sure they found him an interesting subject. We'll all be watching to find out "Whatever happened to Danny Hodge."

Danny's name brings up another matter. I was not at home recently when a gentleman named Ted Cass, who operates Green Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast at Ashville, Maine, called me during a visit to Perry. Mr. Cass was here hoping to learn about local history for a friend who is writing about Sanora Babb, who spent some of her early years in Red Rock. He came here hoping to do some research at Perry Carnegie Library, but arrived on a Saturday just 20 minutes after the library closed. Here's a portion of a letter I received from him after his visit in Perry:

"...I was downhearted (because the library was closed) and thought I was going to strike out. I parked the car and decided to inspect the bronze sculpture in the courthouse park, but before I got there I was attracted to the colorful neon beer signs in the windows of what I guessed was a beer joint. Maybe they had the ball game on, I thought, and a cool Oklahoma beer. Well, there was no ball game that I could see and people didn't seem to care. Harry served me up a beer and somehow we got talking about my futile trip to Perry ... So, these nice folks gave me some names, yours being one of them...

"Making small talk with one of the gentlemen at the bar the one who ordered up beers for all and give the man from Maine one, too,' I asked about Perry wrestling teams of yore. 'Dan Hodge is from here and he won Olympic medals,' says my benefactor of the beer. 'And that is his sister sitting right there,' he added. Well, now, I had read a book, Two Guys Named Dan, by Mike Chapman, about Hodge and Gable, both Dans. Louise (Dan's sister, Louise Lovekamp) even went to the phone and called her brother, saying that he liked to talk to folks. I am not a celebrity hound and was somewhat relieved when she came back from the phone and said, 'He's in Tulsa, doing something with wrestling.'

"Well, I was pleased that I had stopped for a beer but if I stayed any longer I would get back to Tulsa too late to call on my mother in a nursing home there. I thanked my new friends and headed out into the wind of the afternoon. I never did check out the bronze 'boomers' in the park ... What I am trying to tell you is I enjoyed my stay in your pleasant town, that I am sorry to have missed the library, but I am glad to have found living history down on the other end of the park. I'll get back to the library someday."

Mr. Cass provided this information about the lady, Sanora Babb. She wrote a book, Owl on Every Post, which begins with thoughts of her childhood days in Red Rock. Her father, Walter, was a baker. If any reader has information about Ms. Babb or her family, I will forward it to Douglas Wixson of Austin, Texas, the author being assisted by Mr. Cass. He seems like a nice gentleman.

Apologies to Linda Brown (not Burns) for the error in the item about her appearance on the Regis and Kathy Lee "Live" show last week. And congratulations to her husband, Dr. Malcolm B. Brown, for completion of requirements for a doctorate in history at Oklahoma State University. The Browns and their nine children constitute a most interesting family.