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March 5, 2005

Memories courtesy of my mailbox

A letter arrived in the U.S. mail the other day. Ordinarily I read pieces like this, silently thank the sender and go on to something else. In this case, however, it made me stop and think. This was from a lady who is 90 years old. Her handwriting is firm and clear and her thought processes obviously are in good order. So it is a good letter. We should all be that well. I'm not just thinking of the nice things she has to say about the Northwest Corner, but of course that is much appreciated. She still clearly remembers that lamented period years ago when Perry people spoke with pride of their community and each one did his or her part to make this little town commendable. So I'm reprinting the text of her letter because it's a good one. It was not intended for publication, but I think you will find it enjoyable and worthwhile. The writer is Lorene Miekle, now of Oklahoma City. Many of you remember her, I'm sure. Here's her letter:

"I am writing this to share my memories of the Beers Drug Store with you. I am Lorene (Rendla) Mielke and I am 90 years old. I was married to Edgar Mielke who passed away after more than fifty years of marriage. I am now living in Oklahoma City with my daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Charles Eckenrode. They added an apartment onto their home for me so I am close to family and enjoy that. My father was Fred Rendla, who built and operated the Rendla Garage until he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1928. The garage was a block north of the square on Elm between Sixth and Seventh Streets. I have many pleasant memories of Perry and the friendly people there. The Friday night band concerts in the park on summer evenings, made up of local talent as musicians. What beautiful music. Now for my memories of the Beers Drug Store I want to share with you. I take the Perry Journal and enjoy your columns very much so keep them up.

"When I was about seven years of age, your father had this display in the store window of this beautiful 'sleeping doll.' The first to submit her name would win the doll. I finally submitted the name `Marie.' That was her name, but someone guessed it before me. Your father rewarded me with a large candy bar, and that sweetened my disappointment.

"(Your father) always had clever window displays. One in particular I remember was a statue of a dog listening intently to a box-type record player with the caption 'His Master's Voice'."

Mrs. Mielke had some other nice things to say about this column and I appreciate that, but the portion printed herewith really took me back in time. Those "drug store days" were an important part of my life. I do not remember the beautiful doll in the window, but I definitely remember the paper mache dog, an advertising piece that is still used by RCA Victor. It lasted many years in the City Drug Store on the north side of the square. It was still there when we closed the store some 65 years ago. Those are good memories, and I thank Mrs. Mielke for bringing them to the surface once again. Letters like that are always good to receive.