Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Have a Hoppy Day on the Hopalong Cassidy Trail

Hoppy's Hendrysburg Home

The Boyds’ old home in Hendrysburg is still standing today.

William Boyd began his life in 1895 in the small town of Hendrysburg at the edge of Belmont County. His parents moved to Cambridge when he was but a youngster.

Hopalong East End School

William Boyd attended East Side School in Cambridge until he was twelve.

   Their home was on Steubenville Avenue and he walked to school at East Side School. William Boyd always referred to Cambridge as his “home”.

Second Presbyterian Church

His family attended Second Presbyterian Church in Cambridge.

   The Boyd family attended the Second Presbyterian Church on West 8th Street in Cambridge. Today that church is the Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship.

   As a teenager, the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where his father worked as a day laborer. When his father died in 1913, William moved to California where he did everything from an orange picker to a surveyor and auto salesman.

   Because of his stunning good looks, charm and charisma, he soon became an extra in Hollywood movies. Cecil B. DeMille, who became his lifelong friend, arranged for Boyd’s first leading role in a silent film in 1918 at $25 per week.

Hopalong on Topper

Hopalong Cassidy, cowboy legend, appeared with his horse, Topper, in 52 television episodes

   His role as Hopalong Cassidy appeared in 1935 with the film “Hop-Along Cassidy” based on a character created by Clarence Mulford in a 1912 novel. Throughout the rest of his life, he was best known for his cowboy role as Hopalong Cassidy of Bar 20 ranch and called “Pride of the West”. In his black cowboy hat riding on his white horse, Topper, William Boyd starred as Hopalong Cassidy in 66 movies.

Laura with Hoppy cut out

Laura stands alongside a life-size cutout of Hopalong in a room filled with his memorabilia.

   For 25 years, Laura Bates, the best friend that Hoppy ever had, organized a Hoppy Festival each May to honor this hometown cowboy, who went on to be a movie and television star. She also displayed her vast collection of memorabilia at the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, which is no longer in existence.

Laura at Country Bits

Laura Bates checks the display of her memorabilia in the window of Country Bits.

   Today some of that memorabilia is on display in a window at Country Bits in downtown Cambridge on the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 7th Street and in a couple of other stores downtown. Look carefully in store windows and on building walls to find memories of Hoppy.

Laura Full Mural

This mural by Sue Dodd captures Hoppy’s life from “Hendrysburg to Hollywood”.

   As you enter Downtown Cambridge on Southgate Parkway, take a glance to the left to see a beautiful mural done by local artist, Sue Dodd. This depicts the life of William Boyd entitled “Hendrysburg to Hollywood” with accurate information and detailed pictures.

hoppy-talk

Laura shared this copy of the first edition of “Hoppy Talk”, which she wrote and distributed.

   A great place to start your Hoppy Adventure would be the Guernsey County Senior Center where there is a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy. When the festival ended, Laura wanted to be sure his memory lived on in the area so with the help of many Hoppy friends, she raised funds to have a statue created.

Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill, the sculptor, stands beside the bronze statue he created of Hopalong Cassidy.

   Wanting only the best, she contacted Alan Cottrill of Zanesville, whose statues appear around the world. Funds were raised and dedication of the statue took place in June 2016. Fans stop by often and if you’re lucky, you might find Laura Bates there to tell some Hoppy stories.

Hoppy Monument

Hoppy look-alikes from Alabama, Ohio, California, and North Carolina proudly stand by a monument to Hopalong Cassidy on the grounds of his former elementary school.

   At the corner of Wheeling Avenue and Highland Avenue, there is a monument dedicated in 1992 at the site of the school William Boyd attended. In the early 1900s, it was called East Side School, which later became Park School. When a new school was built there in 1956, William Boyd donated money for playground equipment. He always kept in touch with his hometown.

Hoppy Grace

A picture of Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, can be found at the Guernsey County Senior Center.

   When Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, came to the festival, she always made a stop at Park School. Children looked forward to her visit as the beautiful, charming lady had great stories to share. Her picture can still be found at the Guernsey County Senior Center.

   If you look closely, you’ll also see little bits of Hoppy’s history in unexpected places. At the Christ Our Light Parish, there is an engraved brick on the patio in his memory. In Northwood Cemetery, there is a monument to his brother, Frances Marion Boyd, who was born in Cambridge June 13, 1906, and died December 29, 1906.

hopalong-cassidy and Topper   William Boyd didn’t sing, dance, or play sports. He simply became Hopalong Cassidy, the Gentleman of the Bar 20, who smiled, waved and shook hands. Hoppy was everyone’s Mr. Good Guy and his favorite drink was nonalcoholic sarsaparilla.

   Thanks to Laura Bates and the Friends of Hoppy, the memory of William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy, will live on for generations in Cambridge.

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Life is an Adventure for Jo Lucas Master Gardener of the Year 2018

 

Jo Turkey hunting 001

Turkey hunting has been a long time family tradition.

Everywhere she goes, Jo Lucas finds something to enjoy. For her, life is discovering new things on a daily basis. Part of this she credits to meeting the love of her life, Don Lucas, who had a spirit of adventure like no other.

   Their adventure began in Cody, Wyoming where they were married…with an elk hunt for a honeymoon. Since then hunting, fishing, gardening and many other activities filled their lives until just recently when Don died as a result of an accident.

   Their adventures could fill a book and have created many fond memories for her. They made friends wherever they went.

Jo with bear 001

Don and Jo with the bear she shot in New Hampshire.

   In New Hampshire, they both shot a bear and the bearskins still hang in her house today. She was sitting in a log yard when a bear appeared lumbering through the logs, getting closer and closer. She decided there was no choice but to shoot it and killed it with one shot.

   But bears aren’t the only thing on her hit list. Moose, elk, antelope, turkeys and other small game have all been part of her adventures from Maine to Alaska. She’s visited 49 of the 50 states with Hawaii still on her bucket list.

Jo Ice Fishing 001

Ice fishing in Maine was a very cold but fun experience.

   Ice fishing in Maine provided an unusual experience as temperatures were down to -20 and -30 degrees when they took a snowmobile out on the ice. Sometimes when they were ice fishing, they had a portable shanty to use as a windbreak. In Alaska, salmon fishing captured their attention.

Jo Cooking Tent 001

Their cooking tent is packed with supplies.

   Sometimes they used a camper, but most often tents. They had a special cook tent and then several sleeping tents a short distance away just in case an animal would decide to invade the cook tent overnight. Two dogs and a pistol kept her feeling a little safer wherever she happened to camp.

Jo Farmers Market

Jo sold her salsa and jams at the local Farmers’ Market.

   Back home in Guernsey County, Jo enjoyed large gardens and a fruit orchard. From these, she made delicious salsas and jams that she sold at the Farmers’ Market during the summer season.

   As a youngster, she grew up in the 4-H program in the Millersburg area, where horses were her passion and project. But on Thanksgiving, everyone went turkey hunting. It was a family tradition!

Jo salmon 001

Fishing for salmon in Alaska was a real success.

   Since Jo’s move to Guernsey County, she has been involved in the community in so many ways. Jo was the auxiliary president who brought back the idea for Wonderland of Trees at the hospital. That first year, there were six trees and six wreaths.

Jo fruit trees covered

Fruit trees are covered with parachutes to keep birds from eating the fruit.

   Other community organizations that are lucky to have her assistance are the Soil & Water Conservation Board (vice-chairman), Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (district treasurer), Mt. Herman Church (treasurer), Hopewell Homemakers, and Adair Ladies Bible Study at Antrim. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Jo has a degree in accounting.

Jo Raspberries 001

Her raspberry patch is used for jams, pies, or just a bowl of berries!

   In the last couple of years, she decided to go back to that early passion from 4-H of training and showing horses. These days she assists at Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center near Norwich. This facility helps the handicapped improve their physical, psychological and cognitive behaviors through association with a friendly horse. Veterans are always welcome.

   Working here has given Jo real pleasure as she volunteers as barn manager. She gets horses ready for riding by exercising them beforehand. Yes, sometimes she even rides herself.

Jo Tomatoes 001

Her delicious salsa was made possible through this large tomato patch.

   Jo Lucas loves the out-of-doors in so many ways but gardening is one of her favorites. She was recently named OSU Extension Guernsey County Master Gardener of 2018, a well-deserved honor. Jo was one of those original Guernsey County Master Gardeners.

   She remembers her days in 4-H and all the help the advisors gave, so felt it was her turn to “give back” to the community. She has shared her knowledge of gardening with hundreds of Guernsey County elementary school children.

Jo Cherry Tree Pruning

These trees were used to demonstrate proper pruning methods.

   Ag school days, master gardener classes and workshops are a few of the ways that she has given back. Over the past few years, she has hosted three pruning workshops at her home.

Jo Lucas and Clif Little

Clif Little presents Jo with the Master Gardener of the Year Award.

   Local OSU Extension Educator, Clif Little, praised Jo by saying, “I can sum up her work as a Master Gardener volunteer as hard-working, energetic, friendly, generous and very interested in learning. She is the type of person that will always help when we offer gardening classes.” That says it all!

Jo Flowers 001

This flower bed contains crazy daisies, daylilies and iris.

But one place that Jo is a bit dangerous is in a plant nursery. She enjoys trying new plants and searches for them wherever she goes. Sometimes she comes home with almost too many.

   There are still a few places on her bucket list and both relate to ancestry. Her grandparents came from Austria and Ireland so those are two places she would enjoy exploring.

Bear Skin 2

This bearskin hanging on her wall at home makes her smile as she remembers her adventures.

   Of one thing you can be certain, Jo Lucas will not be sitting in a rocking chair watching the world go by. She’s always ready for an adventure as she strives to learn something new each day.

If you have interest in becoming a Master Gardener in Guernsey County, contact Clif Little in the Guernsey County Extension Office at 740-489-5300.

The Cambridge Singers Have a Song in Their Heart

Cambridge Singers 2017

The present Cambridge Singers often dress eloquently for their performances.

Music makes the world a happier place. If you enjoy singing around the house or while driving your car, perhaps you’d like to join The Cambridge Singers, either singing as a member or listening in the audience.

Kathy Turner, Cambridge Singers director

Kathy Antill, the director, brings experience and new energy to the group.

   The unique sound created by The Cambridge Singers sets them apart from traditional groups. This wonderful group of singers is the oldest continually operating six-part harmony chorus in the state. Recently Kathryn Antill took over the helm of directing this elite group.  Tom Apel accompanies them on the piano.

Singers Fred Waring Award 001 (2)

This 1955 Waring Award was the beginning of “The Cambridge Singers”.

   It all began with a group called “Musigals”, a group of married women who loved to sing. Then in 1965, they decided to add some men to the chorus for a special show. It was suggested that they enter the Fred Waring Sacred Heart Program Choral Competition by sending in a tape for critique.

Singers Fred Waring Trophy 001 (2)

The Fred Waring trophy still brings a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

   They won first prize and a beautiful trophy in the mixed ensemble category over a field of entries from all over the United States and Canada. Their award-winning rendition of “O Sacred Heart” was heard on 875 television and radio stations.

   With that kind of success, they drew up a charter for the group, and officially became “The Cambridge Singers” in November, 1965 under the direction of Donna Shafer Blackwood. Their first concert under that name occurred at Easter of 1966 in The First Presbyterian Church.

Singers Salt Fork Lodge 001 (2)

Sometimes the chorus harmonizes outside Salt Fork Lodge

   This chorus has sung every kind of music and entertained audiences around the state. Their performances have included: AmeriFlora, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Miss Clayland Pageant, and Barnesville Pumpkin Show.

Singers Carnegie Hall 001 (2)

The chorus had a happy time at Carnegie Hall.

  In 1991, The Cambridge Singers performed at Carnegie Hall during their 100th-anniversary celebration accompanied by the Manhattan Philharmonic. This talented group is proud to have been invited back, and hope to make a repeat trip in the near future.

   In the lifetime of the chorus, there have been over 130 community members who have participated with eight different directors and three accompanists. They practice each Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church. 

Marge Stover

Marge Stover, back center, has been with the group from its beginning.

   One member, Marge Stover, happens to be the only charter member of the group still performing. She shares with her family a great musical background and was pleased when asked to join the group. Marge not only has a beautiful voice but has helped with every aspect of the singers at one time or another from costumes to set design.

Singers Mayor's Award 001 (2)

The late Mayor Sam Salupo presents former Director Jim Whitehair with the Mayor’s Award about ten years ago.

   Costumes are of great importance and they are pleased that the Kiwanis Foundation and Rotary Club have given them grants, which they used for costumes. The Rotary Club has also given a grant for music in honor of the late Dr. Quentin Knauer, who sang in the chorus for fifty years. The chorus sincerely appreciates all the support they receive from the community.

Singers Go Patriotic 001 (2)

The Cambridge Singers added some choreography to this patriotic tune.

   Each year, The Cambridge Singers have a spring show and one at Christmas, both of them being at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in downtown Cambridge. The chorus has performed at nearly every Salt Fork Festival and their Christmas appearance at the Guernsey County Senior Center plays to a standing room only crowd.

The Cambridge Singers

The Cambridge Singers performed at the 48th Salt Fork Festival.

   While memorable performances are their main goal, members feel the group is an extended family, who gives them support during troubled times. When attending the Tuesday rehearsals, all troubles disappear for two hours as they harmonize in song. Music heals the mind, body and soul.

Singers Children 001 (2)

Children of chorus members take part in the annual Christmas program.

   This group has a special interest in encouraging young people to become involved in the world of music. Each year they present several scholarships to area youth. The prestigious Rigel Award is given in memory of Everett “Red” and Mary Ann Rigel, both long-time members of Cambridge Singers. This honors a community member who promotes and advocates music, music education and the importance of the arts in all walks of life.

   If you have an interest in joining The Cambridge Singers or have other questions about the group, contact any member or call Janet Teichman at 740-638-2220 or Gayle Roberts at 740-680-1723. They will welcome you with open arms and a song in their heart.

   The Cambridge Singers’ wish is to promote music and the musical quality of life in our community. Most of all, they love music.

FMJ Indoor Shooting Range Promotes Firearm Education and Safety

fmj shooting rangeTo become good at anything takes practice. Shooting is no exception.

   The FMJ Indoor Shooting Range has only been around for a couple years, but its popularity has caught on quickly. Phil and Stephanie Lappert were vacationing in Missouri several years ago when they noticed indoor shooting ranges at several places. They brought that idea back to Guernsey County and built a new facility on Glenn Highway just west of Cambridge.

fmj staff (2)

Experienced staff includes Justin Wilson, manager Dave Scurlock, owners Stephanie and Phil Lappert and Shane Lappert.

   An important function of FMJ is their concealed carry classes, which are held each month. After completing this eight-hour class, an applicant must then file an application with the Ohio Attorney General. Before a license is issued, an extensive background check takes place.

fmj map

This map is colored coded to enable students to see which states recognize an Ohio concealed carry license.

   First Shots, an introduction to shooting, is frequently held at the facility so check their schedule for available dates. You never forget your first shots, and FMJ would be the perfect place for that experience. The seminar will include safety instructions, information on gun ownership requirements, and recreational uses. If you’ve been thinking of giving shooting a try, this is a great opportunity.

fmj stalls

Thirteen computerized shooting stalls give an opportunity for practice.

   This state of the art indoor shooting range has 13 lanes, each having a maximum distance of 25′. Each lane features Fusion Targets, a digital motorized target placement material so the shooter can set the distance he wants to practice and the target will automatically be placed there. Important ear and eye protection are always available.

   If you’re trying to decide on what gun to purchase, here’s the place to rent a gun just for practice to see if it fits your purpose.

fmn lightning works gun repair

FMJ’s Lightning Works Gun Repair features an ultrasonic gun cleaning machine.

   This isn’t just a place for shooting though, as they also have a gunsmith room, Lightning Works, to make needed minor repairs to guns. Included is an ultrasonic gun cleaning machine.

fmj black rifle coffee

Black Rifle Coffee would make a great gift for any outdoorsman.

   Their store has a wide variety of firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and accessories. You’ll be surprised at some of the things that you’ll find there from stun guns and pepper spray to tee shirts and Black Rifle Coffee.

fmj cambridge writers

Members of Cambridge Writers recently held a field trip there to gather information for their mystery novels. Pictured are Orval Gosnell, manager Dave, Cindy Stonebrook, Barbara Allen, and Paulette Forshey.

   Dave Scurlock, the manager, presented an educational slide show that gave background information and was required viewing for all applying for a concealed carry license. Their Training and Conference Center holds up to 90 people and can be rented for business meetings.

fmj dave shooting lane

Dave explains safety regulations and instructions for setting targets in each lane.

   Dave grew up shooting and fishing so loves the outdoor sports. He introduced his granddaughter to her first rifle at the age of four. Dave thinks that everyone should know how to handle a gun properly. He recommends shooting fifty rounds a month for better aim. “Practice, practice, practice.”

fmj bullets

Dave explained different bullet types and sizes as well as the benefits and weaknesses of each.

   When being attacked, it is recommended to aim for a large part of the body. “Aim small, miss small” is a slogan they follow. Revolvers are most reliable but they don’t recommend a lady carrying one in her purse.

fmj pepper spray

They highly recommend that ladies carry pepper spray with them.

   In its place, ladies might carry a taser gun or pepper spray to defend themselves. It’s available at their store in varying strengths. The pepper spray that can carry for 10′ is most desirable as it can even stop a rattlesnake or bear.

   A wide variety of people come to the facility for many different reasons. Many teachers are coming here for their concealed carry permit since school boards have seen the need to approve having someone on staff to carry in case of emergency. School boards that have approved include Caldwell, Cambridge, East Guernsey, Rolling Hills and Shenandoah.

fmj handicapped stall

One lane is specifically designated for handicapped use.

   Men and women participate at the shooting range but staff reported that as a whole, women shot 90% better than the men. People often come in wheelchairs and have a special handicapped lane in which to practice. Their oldest frequent visitor is an 80-year-old man, who served in Vietnam.

fmj gun history

In their showroom, the history of guns is honored through this personal collection.

   Their facility had some surprise uses in my opinion. Birthday parties, bachelor parties, and family reunions find FMJ the perfect place to meet and have a little target practice. My suggestion was a divorce party, but that hasn’t happened yet.

fmj remington rattlesnake

A bit of artwork in the form of “Rattlesnake” by Frederic Remington graces the counter.

   At FMJ, you can target practice, purchase firearms, have services of a gunsmith and receive training. Their staff has years of experience in the firearms industry so can give good guidance when needed.

   Stop by FMJ Indoor Shooting Range on Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00–5:00 to learn more about gun safety and perhaps practice shooting a little yourself. Practice makes gun safety perfect.

FMJ Indoor Range and Training Center is located at 6653 Glenn Highway on Route 40 west of Cambridge, Ohio. If you are coming in on I-70 take exit 176, then take a right at the light. Check out their website at www.fmjrange.com

Laura Bates – A Lifetime of Community Involvement

Behind every success is effort.

Behind every effort is passion.

Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.

Laura Salt Fork picture

Laura was a member of the Salt Fork Festival board and treasures this painting of her old family church in Noble County painted by a festival artist, Jim Secrest.

   Courage to promote local attractions is something Laura Bates still has a passion for after many years of community involvement. There’s no way to describe all her contributions in one short article, but here are a few highlights.

Laura and brothers

Brothers Eugene and Robert Williams sat with Laura on their farmhouse steps.

   Although Laura isn’t likely to tell her age, she will say that she was born on the day they repealed prohibition. Laura Williams grew up in the New Concord area and graduated from New Concord High School.

Laura and Andy 50th 001

Andy and Laura celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.

   While in high school, Laura worked part-time at Ohio Valley Dairy, where she met her husband, Andy Bates. Although she went to Columbus and worked for a couple years, it didn’t take her long to return to New Concord, get married and raise a family of three sons.

   While raising her family, Laura worked part-time at WILE writing continuity, scripts for advertising, and was the first woman to have a weekly community show from New Concord, Byesville and Caldwell.

   One interesting project at the radio station involved Betty Crocker coupons, which gave great rewards. The station collected 700,000 coupons with which they were given a dialysis machine. It was donated to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, their first dialysis machine ever, in memory of Betty Lou Showman, a Bloomfield lady who had needed a kidney transplant.

Laura Tomahawk

Laura helped with the Bicentennial of Guernsey County when Boyd Glass created a commemorative tomahawk.

   For nearly ten years, Laura worked with the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. She served on their board, wrote publicity for the festival and was in charge of the Performing Arts. She served as president of the board at a time when there were 225 exhibitors.

  Church has always been an important part of her life. Bloomfield United Presbyterian Church considers itself fortunate to have Laura as an active member there. As a cancer survivor, Laura feels she is indeed blessed, “There are no crumbs at God’s table. He uses everything.” She feels God has a use for each of us.

Laura Daffodil Luncheon model 001

Modeling at the Daffodil Luncheon was pure enjoyment for Laura.

   Working with local Channel 2 TV, Laura was host of a popular “Two About Town” show – every day for fifteen years. Here she talked to many local organizations about their promotions and activities. She was a natural as everyone knows that Laura enjoys talking, but more importantly, she’s a great listener.

Laura on stage

Laura organized the Hopalong Cassidy Festival and usually emceed the event.

   The most recent avenue for involvement has been with Hopalong Cassidy. Laura worked at the local radio/television station and was conducting an interview with a lady, who remarked, “I can’t believe your town hasn’t done something special with your Hopalong Cassidy heritage.”

Laura tries on Hoppy's boots 001

Visiting Boyd’s home in California, Laura tried on Hoppy’s boots.

   Bill Boyd, later known as Hopalong Cassidy, was born in 1895 at Hendrysburg and later moved to Cambridge, where he attended Park School and Second United Presbyterian Church. His dream even then was to be a cowboy in the movies. Before long, Bill left for Hollywood, and the rest is history.

   After the interview, Laura thought about this, and realized there were many people still interested in Hopalong Cassidy. That’s when she came up with the idea for a Hopalong Cassidy Festival, which was held each May for 47 years.

Laura and Grace 001

Laura and Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became good friends.

   Not only did Laura direct the Festival, but she began her own collection of Hopalong Cassidy memorabilia and had the recent Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge. Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became one of Laura’s closest friends.

Laura and Don McLean 001

Dan McLean, singer-songwriter, wrote the introduction to “Hopalong Cassidy an American Legend”. Laura attended one of his concerts to give him a Hoppy watch.

   In 1984, Laura was named the Jeffersonian Person of the Year and later given the Sidlo Award by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. These were given because of her excellence in vision, leadership and legacy to promote the community.

Hoppy with Laura and Alan

This Hopalong Cassidy statue was dedicated at the Senior Center with Laura and Alan Cottrill, sculptor, present.

   When the festival came to an end, Laura still wanted Hopalong to be remembered in the area, so she began a drive to raise funds for a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy to be created by Alan Cottrill, an international sculptor. Today that statue can be found at our Senior Center.

   No wonder Hopalong Cassidy’s faithful buckaroos say, “Laura is the best friend Hoppy ever had.” Hoppy fans all over the world know this lady and keep a strong connection by visits, cards and gifts.

   Traveling is something she has enjoyed throughout her life with trips to Scotland, England, Ireland, Mexico and nearly all the states. Andy and Laura even renewed their wedding vows on a cruise in the Caribbean. A short trip she’d still like to take is one to see the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

Laura Hopalong Cassidy Book

Laura treasures this Hopalong Cassidy book with its unique cover. Someday she plans to finish her own book about the cowboy legend, Hopalong Cassidy.

   Laura mentioned a couple of other things she’d like to do. Jokingly, she says she’d like to have her house cleaned up, but she has so many other things to do that are more enjoyable. Most important, she has started a book about Hopalong Cassidy and his local connection and plans to spend more time getting it organized.

Laura Family

Family is most important to Laura with three sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

   Most important of all is Family. Her feelings for her family were expressed by saying, “My family moments are more important to me than anything I have ever done. Our 50th wedding anniversary when everyone was here was a very special day.”

   While Laura lives life to the fullest and continues to promote her community, now we’ll have to keep on the lookout for Laura’s book about Hoppy. In the meantime, have a Hoppy Day!

Tom Swan Captures the Spirit of the Story

storytelling

Tom immerses himself in “Three Billy Goats Gruff” at the Salt Fork Festival.

There’s a secret to storytelling and Tom Swan has discovered the magical way to tell or read a story and make it come to life. Children listen closely as he tells his tales and even adults are drawn into his stories.

   Years ago Tom listened to the Minnesota Public Radio Show, “A Prairie Home Companion” as Garrison Keillor read “Tales of Lake Wobegon”. He read with such expression that Tom decided he would like to try telling stories too.

National Storytelling Festival

Tom’s daughter, Aili, and mother, Julia, accompanied him to the National Storytelling Festival.

   In order to get some first-hand experience at listening to great storytellers, Tom and his family have attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN several times. Here, all that is permitted to tell a story is a mic and a stool.

blue hair

Aili is with her dad, who wanted to surprise old college friends in Colorado so dyed his hair blue.

   People don’t understand how entertaining stories can be if they are told with enthusiasm. Stand-up comics and one-man shows depend completely on capturing the audience through expression. Too often readers and storytellers simply read, and that’s just not enough to seize and keep the attention of the audience.

Children's Moment

Tom continues the Swan Family tradition of performing with puppets.

   To tell a story well, the storyteller must bring back to their mind why the story is important to them. All stories are not fun; some have a poignant or nostalgic theme. Tom practices telling stories while driving his car. Most important is to memorize the first line. Once you get started the rest just flows into place.

   Usually, he has an outline in his mind so the major points are covered. When he writes the story down, it’s usually after he has told the story to a group. His first storytelling adventure was with the Zanesville Christian Women’s Club where he recited the poem, Cremation of Sam McGee, in a meaningful manner.

Installation as state president of the doctors' wives' club

The kilt reflected his Scottish ancestry when he was inducted as president of the Ohio Doctors’ Wives’ Club.

   Tom is married to Dr. Linda Swan, an obstetrician at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville. As a result, Tom has become very involved in the National AMA Alliance, which he calls The Doctors’ Wives’ Club. He has been state president and involved nationally in their organization.

Roasted Leg of lamb and kosher salt crusted new potatoes

One of his favorite dishes to prepare is roasted leg of lamb with new potatoes and red wine.

   Tom has led an unusual life as a housewife. Now, however, his children are adults with his daughter being in medical school and his son a State Trooper. So today he lives the life of a trophy husband when he isn’t out telling stories to places like The Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, Dickens Victorian Village, the Celtic Society, and various schools and churches. This man loves a mental challenge.

Buckeye 4 miler

Physical fitness is important in his life. He wore a kilt when participating in the Buckeye            4 -Mile Run.

   Tom grew up in Cambridge, Ohio and graduated from Miami University, where he majored in zoology and was a cheerleader. Since his father and grandfather were doctors, it seemed that he might follow in their footsteps. But Tom really didn’t enjoy the studying required to be a doctor so decided to become a high school science teacher, which he did for seven years.

Auctioneer

As auctioneer at the AMA Alliance in Chicago, he helped raise money for community health grants.

  Frequently, he has participated in Community Theater in Cambridge and Zanesville. Handbells are something he has also played over the years and still participates in a great handbell choir at the Grace United Methodist Church in Zanesville.

Sermon on the Mount

He let his hair grow long to portray Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount.

   Dedicated to fitness training, Tom decided to learn the Sermon on the Mount while bicycling. He then decided that he would like to portray Christ giving this sermon so Tom let his hair and beard grow so he would better fit the image. It is of great importance for a storyteller to get into the character he is portraying. He presented this program in several area churches.

Trixie

Tom donated his hair to Locks of Love after portraying Trixie.

   While his hair was long, Tom also decided to dress as Trixie with heels and a short skirt. When he was working with the Doctors’ Wives’ Club, he auctioned off the opportunity to take pictures with Trixie and raised quite a bit of money for their projects.

Judas back from the dead

Tom likes to tell all sides of the story so portrayed Judas returning from the dead.

   The role of Judas coming back from the dead was also a fulfilling role that he portrayed. Here Judas asked that he quit being terrorized as he was sorry for the betrayal. It ends with a warning to the audience not to be like Judas.

Chainsaw carver

Tom showed his artistic side by this chainsaw carving of a 10′ bear.

   Tom gave a bit of good advice to himself and others who find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and commitments. “Learn to say NO to anything that is neither necessary nor meaningful.” That’s great advice from a man who also likes to spend time with his granddaughter.

Baked Alaska

This Baked Alaska proves to be a popular dessert with the Swans.

   A favorite story of Tom’s is “Selfish Giant”, however, his favorite one to tell is “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. There he has fun using different voices to entertain children.

Queen Victoria and her royal bard

As a royal bard, Tom shared stories with Queen Victoria during Dickens Victorian Village season.

   Tom’s goal is to make a living telling stories. If you would enjoy having Tom tell stories at one of your events, you can contact him at lswan@columbus.rr.com.

With our Hardleys

Tom and Linda head off on their Vespa motorscooters, which Tom calls “Hardleys”.

   When Tom’s not telling stories these days, he enjoys riding motorbikes with his wife. He’s also been experimenting with making wine – from honey instead of fruit. Sometimes he adds a bit of cinnamon, cloves or orange for a different taste treat.

   No one can say that Tom Swan lives a boring life.

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

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