St. Elmo News

Thursday, January 15
• Vit-Em-In Sunday school class potluck, 5 p.m., First UMC Fellowship Hall. Note that the time change is correct. Ham, beans and cornbread are being furnished.
Sunday, January 18
• A pizza party will be held at 6 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. This is a kickoff for the grades 7-12 youth group. The group will be led by Pastor Dan and Pat Laack, and Jeffrey and Summer Maxey.
Monday, January 19
• Historical Vandalia Inc. Board, 6:30 p.m., Fayette County Museum, Vandalia.
• St. Elmo Board of Education, 7:30 p.m., Unit Office.
Thursday, January 22
• The St. Elmo Unit of Home and Community Education, 1:30 p.m., in the home of Anna Jean Rhodes.
Cancellations to Date
Because of the freezing weather, the following organizations cancelled their first 2015 meetings:  Friendly Neighbors and Council of Catholic Women for Jan. 6; Wright’s Corner Unit of Home and Community Education for Jan. 7; and Wheatland Unit of Home and Community Education, and St. Elmo Women’s Civic Club for Jan. 8.
Lunch Bunch
Because of the very cold weather, only three attended the Lunch Bunch meeting at noon on Jan. 8 at Mary Ann’s Restaurant – Karen Denning, and Arlin and Lillian Grobengieser. It was reported that they had a really good visit.
Library Board
The St. Elmo Public Library District Board met on Jan. 8 at St. Elmo Public Library. After approving the December minutes, the treasurer and librarian reports were presented and the bills were approved and paid.
Beecher City Branch Library’s printer and fax are not working properly. Wayne          will set up the copier to deal with this. Annette Donaldson donated a loveseat and chair, and JoAn Evans made a reading area for them. Dona Jo Henry donated a Lego table, chairs and Legos.
St. Elmo Public Library’s scavenger hunt went well, and they would like to do another one in the spring. The vent over the circulation desk needs to be checked, as it doesn’t seem to be working. There needs to be more rock in the parking area. The librarians would like an entry-alert chime. There were 33 kids at the Jan. 8 after-school program and Principal Sean Hannagan was the speaker. The cables for the cameras have arrived, so installation can begin. The light in the back room is fixed.
Plumber Jeff Shelton is to check on Beecher City Library’s septic system on Jan. 9.
The board reviewed the report from Timmerman and Co.
Rhodes-Side Gleanings
Because news is short for this week’s papers, I will share my end of the year newsletter I wrote December 31 for family and friends – it reflects the 2014 year.
I am so thankful this December weather was much better than last December weather! No Christmas parties had to be canceled this year! We had many rainy and cloudy days with no sunshine, but Dec. 25 was a beautiful day – I do miss not having just a little bit of snow for a “snow white Christmas,” but the sun was so welcome to observe the Son’s birthday!
I started doing my decorating the first of November; it was done by Thanksgiving and I was able to attend all the Christmas parties this year and entertained the bridge club here on Dec. 11.
Steve and his friend Scott Edmonds, both of Chicago, visited here Dec. 5-6.
I was alone Christmas day, but Phyllis and Prentiss Lea, Soo Jin, Chae Rin and my granddog Ginger of Green Oaks came the next afternoon. At Libertyville High School, Soo Jin is a junior and Chae Rin is a freshman and still loves to play on the soccer team; I went to her 8th grade graduation June 3.
I was born in Oklahoma and we (parents, Hobert M. and Mattie Bell Garrett Bates) came to St. Elmo in 1937 during the Oil Boom. When I was in the fifth grade, the first half of the year we lived in Vandalia and one of my friends, who lived just a few blocks away, was June Squibb – we attended the Lincoln School. The last time I saw her was December 1961, when Bob and Jeanne Cox, Le Mar and Billye Jo Marchman, and Phil and I went to St. Louis to see the play “Gypsy,” which starred Ethel Merman, and June was in it. After the play, we went backstage to have a short visit with her.
June was one of five nominees for the Oscar Best Supporting Actress Award. The evening of Feb. 28 I went to the Interpretive Center at Vandalia to see “Nebraska” that she was in and her performance was excellent. I was hoping she would receive the Oscar trophy.
Just this year, I found out June had a connection to St. Elmo. I received a phone call from Virginia Stine of Wingate, Md. – she wanted me to be sure to watch the Oscar Awards on television. Stine’s husband, the late Paul Stine, was related to June. His mother, Mayme, was a sister to Ed Force, who was the father of June’s mother, Joybelle.
Paul was born and reared south of St. Elmo, on a farm just three-quarters of a mile south of me. After Paul’s dad died, his mom, Mayme, left the farm and moved to St. Elmo. Phil and I were married in February 1949, so Mayme wasn’t our neighbor, but was a good friend. Adrian and Irene Potter and family were our neighbors and had moved to the Stine farm before Phil and I were married.
I usually go to Chicago in March. The first three weeks were too busy for me, and the fourth week was school vacation and my granddaughter Soo Jin was one of the 45 band students at Libertyville High School (there were four bands with 160 students) who chose to go to California that week and present a concert band performance at Disneyland Resort. Soo Jin plays a flute. The band played “Phantom of the Opera” and “Fall River Overture.” The California earthquake happened when they were playing, but it didn’t stop them.
I went to Chicago on April 1 and returned home on April 3 when it started raining. When I got on I-294, it started pouring down so hard that the windshield wipers had to go as fast as they could. After much more than an hour on I-294, when I got on I-57, the heavy rain quit—off and on I had rain most of the way home and occasionally, heavy rain again.
When weather is good, I-294 takes only an hour – I keep up with traffic and sometimes go almost 80. The rain slowed the traffic, sometimes to only 50-55 miles per hour, so it did take much longer to get to I-57.
A weird thing happened this year with my wheelchair. Mother’s Day morning, I was all ready for Sunday School and was in the little bath, checking my makeup and hair. When I was ready to back out, the chair didn’t move; I thought I had turned it off, but I hadn’t. It said “joy stick error.” After about 10 minutes trying to make it work I pressed my alert button. The St. Elmo Fire Department first responders came to move the chair out of the bathroom. For them to move it, I had to stand and sit on the extended tub seat. Before I could get up, I had to have the walker.
I had the chair put between the two desks in the family room so I could use the computer – I still write news for three newspapers and am on WPMB three mornings each week.
I was not able to go to church – I have to drive from my wheelchair to use my van. Monday afternoon, the brace man from Champaign came to replace the controls with an old one. A new control system had to be ordered, so I had to trust an old one (it was a month before the new part came).
The wheelchair man told me he was glad it happened Mother’s Day weekend, because if it happened the next weekend all the employees would be at a wheelchair convention in Nevada and it would be days before I could use it!
I do not like to use the walker and use it very little. This summer I had to have a new part put on my leg brace knee latches – braces are not made as good as they used to be made!
Phyllis and family and Steve (and Scott) were here Labor Day weekend, the first time Phyllis and Steve have been here together since my 2009 80th birthday. Lees left Monday morning, but Steve and Scott stayed for the St. Elmo Labor Day Parade and left after eating fish sandwiches at the American Legion stand.
In addition to 2013 December cancellations (sleet the evening of Dec. 5, snow and ice on the Dec. 7) the weather in January and February and first part of March had many more cancellations. In January, 4 inches of snow on Jan. 1, 12 inches on Sunday, Jan. 5; in February, 4 inches of snow on Feb. 4, and in March, sleet and some snow on March 2 caused church cancellations.
The diaries I kept for years and the scrapbooks I made have many weather stories. On March 25, 1955, there was a snowstorm and my diary reported that the next day Phil pulled about a dozen people out of the drifts across the road south of our house.
Winter starts Dec. 21 and spring starts March 20. I hope the weather these next months is better than in 2014!
I am thankful my health still is very good – on Dec. 14, I gave blood, my 108th pint, so if I can donate four more times, I will receive a 14-gallon pin.
I wish for each of you a good 2015 year!

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