Last week, I began a Top 10 featuring memorable column topics from 2017. Last week’s list included animals, art, architecture and more. Let’s delve into the rest:
5. Making a difference (May 13, 2017) — Ottawa Middle School eighth grader Lillie Durrie launched a fundraising effort to cover about $4,000 of overdue lunch and other fees so that every OMS eighth grader could participate in promotion. Within just a few days, the enterprising youngster had exceeded her goal for the eighth grade and even raised more than $1,000 for the sixth and seventh grades. Way to go, Lillie!
4. Baptist church bells (March 18, 2017) — A question that couldn’t be fully answered in words, this column featured a photo of the First Baptist Church bells, as well as a video. Charles Gillette, longtime Ottawan and church member, shared with me how he started a campaign for the carillon (bell system) five or six years ago, as well as the various chimes and rings it plays.
3. Elizabeth Taylor (July 22, 2017) — The Oak Lodge in rural Ottawa was the place. Elizabeth Taylor was the face. Columnist James J. Fisher related the memories of Wilda Wright, waitress at Oak Lodge, who said she served Taylor, her then-husband Nicky Hilton and the couple’s driver one fall night in 1950. My favorite detail: Taylor reportedly had the chicken.
2. Extreme Home Makeover (Oct. 14, 2017) — Whatever happened to the local “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” family? Turns out, they’re still enjoying the home that building crews and community volunteers came together to build in 2011. I caught up with Gina Hill, who said her husband, retired Staff Sgt. Allen Hill, and their two sons are doing well.
1. Williamsburg Produce Co. (July 15, 2017) — I had the pleasure of meeting a lively group of Williamsburg residents and historians at Williamsburg’s Guy & Mae’s Tavern to talk about Williamsburg Produce Co., the town’s old grocery/feed store. They obliged (between laughs and tales of their childhood shenanigans) and shared some fascinating memories of the store, as well as what it was like to live in Williamsburg during those times.