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September 7, 1999

A lot of people are telling us that 1999 marks the end of a millennium and 2000 is the start of a whole new one. Others argue that the next millennium actually won't start until the year 2001. Choose your own way to look at it. Whatever else, the year 2000 will alter the way we refer to previous decades. In today's usage, if we say "the roaring '20s" or "the silly '60s, we expect the hearer to understand that we mean the 1920s or the 1960s. How are we going to abbreviate the decade just ahead? Will we call it "the technically advanced '00s?" I don't think so. For one thing, how do you convert "00" to conversational English? Is it "double aught?" Or, perhaps it should be stated as "oh-oh." That could convey a whole different meaning. How will next spring's graduates at PHS identify their class verbally at future reunions? ("Hi, I'm John Jones from the class of '00." That's awkward to say, and I worry about such things.) Let's just forget it for now and concentrate on the angst we've already created by the potentially disastrous advent of Y2K.

Part of the hullabaloo relating to this subject is brought to us courtesy the many experts in various fields of endeavor. We've been presented with the 20th century's greatest Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University football teams. Many other team sports have been subjected to the same analysis. Before the torrent of such lists is ended, we can expect an onslaught of them from every imaginable segment of the populace. That thought made me wonder: Why shouldn't Perry have its own list of top ten citizens? It quickly dawned on me, after a moment's deliberation, that the number ten would be insufficient because we have produced so many outstanding folks.

So I decided to forge ahead with my own list, but I would make it broad enough to span every field of endeavor. Athletics, humanities, government, politics, education, industry, business, science -- achievement in any of those, and any others I might think of, would qualify a person for the list. Above all, they would not be listed in any numerical order. Who among us would want the responsibility of categorizing Perry citizens that way?

Being fully aware of the potential grief this would invite, I plunged ahead and decided to bring out my own list of notables. The deliberation that followed brought up a rather enormous quantity of names and I am proud to present them for your consideration. If Perry had a Hall of Fame, most of these men and women would be in it. The criteria used in selecting them were simple: Anyone who has made it big in some way can be included.

There are too many of them to fit in just one column, so in due time I will start to reveal my version of those whose accomplishments convince me that they should be included. They may never have their names etched or engraved in stone or bronze for the magnificence of what they have done, but I am moved to place them in my own summation of Perry folks who deserve a little extra credit. I don't expect unanimous agreement, but maybe this will be the starting point for a little discussion.