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Smitty turns 100 - Communicator still a teen

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By Rog Patterson

I expect that most, if not all, Corridor communities publish their own resident newsletter. It may be weekly, monthly or quarterly on one sheet of paper or more, but someone, somehow gathers, assembles and distributes their community’s news.

At Marion Landing, the roots of what is our monthly newsletter, The Communicator, go back to the summer of 1991, when former residents, the Rev. Rab Watts and John Hanning, discussed the idea. Fortunately, Shirley Seckman, who became the publication’s first editor, was farsighted enough to put her memories on paper back in 1998 for folks like us to share today.

So, up to that time, what you’ll now be reading here will borrow shamelessly from her recollections. Shirley lives just around the corner among our Marion Landing neighbors, so I trust the following does justice to our enjoyable community newsletter she helped launch.

Shirley tells us there were two quarterly newsletters called Happy Landings prior to The Communicator. The second effort was professionally type set and printed with many good photos, but faded after eight issues.

Shirley’s previous experience editing the newsletter of a small development in south Florida proved to be the catalyst for making another try more successful. Pam Booher, activities director at the time, was recruited as co-editor and funding came from Marion Landing’s developer, Phil Emmer.

Actually, the general manager of Marion Landing, Brian Canon, preferred a quarterly concept and thus only approved quarterly payments. But if Shirley could squeeze out monthly issues with available funds, that would be okay with him.

Production must have been like the proverbial Chinese fire drill. John Hanning, advisory council president at the time, found a suitable printing company and lined up needed copy typists, seeking out anyone who had a typewriter. Home computers were still pretty far down the road in those days.

John also collected typed material for Shirley’s layout and paste-up before taking it to the printer. Final copies of The Communicator issue for October 1991 were then given by John to Meg Ryan for block captains who delivered them to residents.

After the second issue, Shirley received word that general manager Canon wanted one typist for the entire newsletter because different type faces from a variety of typewriters printed side-by-side did not look good. Nan Fisher came aboard as full-time typist and a different resident artist was given the opportunity to illustrate each month’s cover page.

After nine issues, Henry Rich entered the picture. A commercial artist before retiring, Hank’s clever cover artwork was published from August 1992 until November 1993 and the logo he designed continued to appear until June 1995.

In December of 1992, Shirley retired as editor and Hope Hutchins took on the job as co-editor with Pam Booher. Hope added the monthly calendar page and brought all production in-house for 13 issues.

The June 1995 issue was Hope’s swan song and the combination of Al and Mary Ann Hall, Amelia Heye and then activities director, Paula Walker, volunteered to be co-editors. The Communicator leaped into the future with originals created on the Hall’s McIntosh computer to be copied on the Xerox machine in Paula’s office.

Of interest was Emmer Corporation’s sales department use of The Communicator’s back page for advertising Marion Landing lots and spec homes still available in abundance during the mid ‘90s. The other pages did a splendid job of demonstrating activities and the kinds of nice folks who already lived there to prospective buyers.

I remember receiving copies by mail during 1996 from sales rep Helen Freitag, while making up our minds to become residents. Later the back cover became Al Hall’s playground for his “Kool Khronikle” creative meanderings.

Today, that same space is filled with dates of resident’s birthdays and wedding anniversaries faithfully assembled each month since February 1998 by Merle Gaugler.

In 1998, sponsorship of The Communicator became a project of the Marion Landing Computer Club. Member co-editors Joe Papiernik and Jack Price turned out their first of many issues in August 1998. In September 2001, Tom Houseworth took on editorial duties until February 2003, when Peggy Baxter stepped in to fill the breech.

When she tried to retire in 2006, Peggy’s track record was such that Connie Rowe and Gloria Wilberg convinced her to stay on with their help as co-editors. So, in February of 2007, two of the three editors began to take turns cranking out The Communicator for “their month,” while the third enjoys her well-earned sabbatical.

Wandering through these back issues of Happy Landings and The Communicator, borrowed from community association manager Deeann Welch’s archives to research this story, was to experience a vast variety of editorial whims and countless folks who contributed articles, the proof readers, collators, folders and those who delivered monthly issue during the past 17 years. And to greatly appreciate the volunteered skills and dedication they’ve all provided for their Marion Landing neighbors.

Happy Birthday, Smitty!

One of the babies of female persuasion born in Edina, Missouri on March 23, 1908, was christened Bernice Walters. In due time, Bernice married Reuben Smith and was promptly nicknamed “Smitty.”

This moniker stuck with Smitty’s fellow restaurant workers in Michigan and it followed her move to Wisconsin. By the time she became china buyer for Wolf, Kubly and Hersic’s department store in Madison, Wisconsin, the nickname was forever.

Heck, it even tagged along after she re-married a gentleman by the name of Earl Williams.

Smitty moved into Marion landing in 2002 and has been a serious threat to hand and foot, bingo, euchre and especially cribbage players ever since. On March 22, all of Smitty’s Marion Landing neighbors will have the chance to celebrate her first 100 years during a community party at the Lifestyle Center.

Happy 100th birthday, Smitty!

Volunteers of the Month

We have the team of Gloria and Dino Feltrin representing Marion Landing volunteerism at its best this month. Gloria is immersed in Sunshine Committee activities, co-captains her memorial luncheon crew and is always behind a serving table at community lunches, dinners and aprs Landing Lites or Little Theatre Group presentations.

When he can tear himself away from adding to his impressive whatsis-gauge model train setup, Dino is the fellow you can depend upon to turn out at the crack ‘o dawn and be ready to serve breakfast coffee, juice or whatever is needed with a big smile. When you need a volunteer, you get two Feltrins!

Latest Olympics Results

Here are the results from our first four days of Marion Landing Olympics, through noon of March 5. The name of the event will be followed by listing 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Pickle ball: Fred Ebli and Gary South, Ed and Peggy Reed, Gary Fores and Gary Engelbert.

Men’s table tennis: Gary Engelbert, Charlie Mock, Gary South.

Ladies table tennis: Evelyn Olsen, Carol Stine, Rachel Glenn.

Ladies bocce ball: Evelyn Olsen, Charlie Bondanza, Leta Simmons and Shirley Martin.

Ladies spin rod casting: Connie Rowe, Teresa Price, Carolyn Salzlein.

Chess: Joe Raffony, Art Salzlein, Kaz Sekurski.

Ladies bicycle race: Eddie Mock, Evelyn Olsen, Dot Toneske.

Men’s bicycle race: Gary South, Armando Cantele, David Rusch.

Hearts: Fred Ebli, Bob Fink, Rita Woch.

Ladies golf croquet: Ginny Dillon, Rachel Glenn, Olivia Soter.

Men’s golf croquet: Charlie Mock, Les Rowe, Gary Fores.

We’ll pick up where this leaves off with more results from Charlie and Eddie Mock next week.

Rog Patterson is a Marion Landing resident and Friendship Kiwanis member. Contact him with news for the column, he’s in the Landing phone directory.