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January 28, 2006

A few years ago, when Perry High school was more than just a place of fond remembrance, I unknowingly began preparing for young adulthood. It was without malice because none of us in the circles I was familiar with had any thoughts of "growing up," whatever that implied. We were preoccupied with getting an education, whatever that entailed, and going on with the business of making a living and getting established in some honorable way. Our choice of friends was an important aspect, and there were many types available for selection. I shall always be thankful for the quality of those who were there for me at that critical time. I am talking about Charlie Lamb, Bob Elliott and David S. Thomas. If you have lived here long enough, you may have known them. They were good men, even if I did not know at the time what that meant. All three are gone from this earth, but their influence will last me at least a lifetime. All three were Presbyterians, but that is almost beside the point. They would have been good men, no matter which denomination they grew up in.

Charlie was the son of a gifted mother and a jeweler/optician, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Lamb, and they had a family operated jewelry store in a small space adjacent to the west side of our drug store on the north side of the square. In time, they built a new location just down the street, next door to Eddie Parker's popular Kumback Cafe. People bought reading glasses, wedding rings, and flashy looking gift items there. Our store went out of business several years earlier but Charlie and I were still friends.

Mr. Lamb was an optometrist and he conducted most of his optical examinations in a small area at the rear of the store. I never heard him called "Dr." Lamb, but he was entitled to that and Charlie followed him in the business. In the late 1940's, Charlie moved to Seattle and had a thriving practice there for many years until death claimed him, a year or so after the death of his loving wife, Ruth. I bought my first pair of glasses from him the year Truman upset Dewey for the Presidency.

Charlie, Bob and I used to do little playlets, usually based on the wit of radio comedian Jack Benny, and we enjoyed each other in many ways. I hope there are still good men like that to influence the young men of today. I will never forget Charlie, Bob and David. They helped me more than they could have known.