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August 17, 1999

The readers write, usually with helpful information and good ideas for me to check out. Other assorted sources also provide material for these columns. Today's a good time to submit a few of these for your approval. Thanks to all contributors and please keep your ideas coming.

Don Stoddard is a friend and a former place-kicker for one of Hump Daniels' fabled football teams at Perry high school. He frequently offers thoughts on a variety of subjects. Recently I had an item about a story in Good Old Days magazine written by former Perryan Ruth Esther Willett Lanza. The story was her first person account of the 1937 Exchange Bank holdup. Ruth Esther, a 16-year old PHS student at the time, witnessed the entire affair and was helpful in identifying the holdup man when he was caught. Don tells me that Ruth Esther had another article in the magazine a few years ago, telling about the Willett family when they were living in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Don also advised me that Sam and Dorothy Turner of the Orlando area recently were featured on a TV commercial in which they endorsed an Oklahoma City hearing aid company. The Turners are members of the newly organized Landmark Baptist church in Perry, Don says. He also tells me that a matter of concern to him right now is the rundown appearance of our old Santa Fe (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe) railroad depot. Along with that are the washboard rail crossings on Cedar street. He wonders why they cannot be rebuilt like those on Seventh street. Don also has an idea for a new diagonal route to Stillwater from Perry. Ask him to tell you about it.

Speaking of washboard-like driving surfaces, has everyone had a chance to experience that effect on I-35 at the north approach to Oklahoma City? What went wrong on that job? It seems to grow worse by the day.

Perry's annual Rural Heritage Festival in May is getting more publicity. This year's celebration was one of the largest and certainly one of the best ever. Photo coverage is provided in the July issue of Mistletoe Leaves, the monthly publication of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The pictures show Elizabeth Willems and Clyde Speer in their period clothing, the Morrison school fourth-graders winding the May Pole, and some of the action from Stagecoach Community Theatre's little dramatic contribution to the day. Our Rural Heritage Festival is growing each year, thanks to all those who contribute their time and creativity to the event.