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Today's Features

  • Some years ago, it was the dream of most little boys to have an electric train for Christmas. The name “Lionel” was probably almost synonymous with “Christmas wish” for young boys.

    It was not unusual to see Christmas trees, often decorated with colorful Noma Bubble lights and little electric trains running around their base.

    The electric trains, with maybe a few more feet of track and accessories added, eventually were packed away and stored in the attic as the boys became interested in other toys and pastimes.

    Not so with Mark Miller.

  • When one approaches the American Legion Home in Ramsey, the first impression is one of reverence and appreciation of the serene setting for the memorial walls and benches dedicated to the area’s veterans.

    As you enter the building on any given weekday at the noon hour, you may again be impressed, this time by the small group of senior citizens who gather for a nutritious noon meal, conversation and companionship. This is the highlight of the day for some, and a time of enjoyment for all.

  • Lynn Sefton Ferguson became interested in aerobics in 1979. Soon convinced that aerobics were very beneficial to a person’s health, both physically and mentally, she became an aerobics instructor.

    That was 20 years ago, and she is still going strong. Her energy, vitality and youthful appearance speak well for her chosen profession.

    She was introduced to aerobics through a friend whose sister was into aerobics in Oklahoma, where it was comparatively new. Her friend wanted her sister to come here for a clinic, but at least 20 people had to sign up to do this.

  • This week, Betty Bolles Feezel continues her remembrances of Carter Oil Co.’s Williams Camp north of St. Elmo.

    The Move to Williams Camp

    “We moved to Williams camp in 1939,” Feezel said. “My dad had a house built in Williams camp, which was nothing but a farm field.

    “The company leased the land and made out streets. Every street had a wide, concrete sidewalk on each side and an alley. We had a ton of fun skating on the sidewalks,” she said.

  • “One Happy Family” is the title of an article published in the August 1946 issue of “The Link” a Carter Oil Co. publication.

    In part, the article states: “Life in a Carter camp is like life everywhere – just about what one chooses to make it. … 200 people in the Williams Camp are taking full advantage of the opportunity to make a small community like a rich one for all concerned.

  • If you see a cowboy riding his horse down the street amid traffic in Vandalia, you could be reminded of the old big-city-based TV series, “McCloud."

    That cowboy is Brad Mason, doing what he likes to do best – work with horses

    Brad, one of Don Mason’s sons, was born and reared with his dad’s horses, and his background includes roping cattle, breaking horses to ride, working as a farrier for 13 years and working with horses at a racetrack. He still practices roping locally, but hasn’t made the rodeo circuit recently.

  • If you remember Gerkin’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Vandalia, you may also remember a young Vandalia high school student who worked there as a soda jerk, Clarence Alender, better known as “Butch” in those days.

    “Butch” would hurry (walking, no car) from the high school (now known as High School Apartments) and work during his 45-minute lunch break, then hurry back to school

  • Mark Heischmidt is very talented and creative, seemingly in any endeavor he undertakes. He taught art and English in the St. Elmo schools to all ages before retiring after a career of 34 years.

    As an interior decorator, he has lent his talent and touch to Mary Ann’s Restaurant's walls and also to friends’ homes.

    An artist, he likes to paint scenic landscapes, and he drew the illustration for cover of “Living the Dream," a historical fiction novel written by Barry A. Coughlin.

  • Visitors to the new National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia may find themselves being guided through the center by lifetime Vandalia resident Joyce Mueller.

    Mueller not only gives the documented history of the displays of interest, but she also can share personal memories of Vandalia, which makes the tour all the more interesting and brings old photographs of Gallatin Street to life.

  • The site – the rural setting of Crown Point Church. The occasion ­– the first practice for the church family’s annual Easter presentation. The tone ­– good-natured, but committed, cooperation as the cast works together to tell the story of Jesus Christ’s last hours on earth.

    The inspiration was intensely felt as the curtains closed and the heartfelt voice of Marcia Frailey softly, but clearly, filled the sanctuary as she sang the poignant words to “How Can You Refuse Him Now?”