It seemed like Calhoun County this past weekend in
The children of Otho and Leah Sturm and their
spouses spent several days there, hiking, shopping and enjoying the fall
colors. I was invited to join them and the fellowship was as warm as the
They were at my house for brunch on Saturday. While
I was putting the final touches to the meal, they were all out on the
back deck. I looked out and everyone was gathered around a body on the
floor! I panicked, because Carolyn and Debbie were both recovering from
knee surgery. I went out, with phone in hand, prepared to call 911. To
my relief, it was Debbie’s husband, Graham Living, fixing a sagging
screen door. This was just the beginning of a day filled with love and
Of course, the talk was mostly of memories of
growing up in Calhoun. A few tales were told concerning a young Home Ec.
teacher. Carolyn’s first story was about 4-H camp held at the NYA
building. We slept on tables in the VoAg shop. I was teaching a class in
outdoor cooking, and the project of the day was to prepare our
breakfasts without using many utensils.
The students first ate orange halves, keeping the
skin intact. The halves were then turned inside out and an egg was put
in each and placed in the coals. While the eggs were baking, biscuit
dough was prepared and strips were wrapped around a thick stick and
baked over the coals. The baked bread, called Doughboys, was filled with
jam. The orange and the bread were good, but the eggs were a disaster.
What Carolyn did not remember was that I was sitting in a patch of
poison ivy. Later, I was in the A&P store, wearing shorts, legs covered
with calamine lotion, when Carl Morris walked in and spoke to me for the
Carolyn was also in a group of students I took to
Jackson’s Mill for an FHA conference. She remembers that we were in line
at the dining hall, when I was called out for a phone call in the
office. It was that same Carl Morris who had called from Glenville, so
none of the neighbors would listen in. This led to our first date!
Eugene Gherke was one of the band instructors at
the time. He taught with C.R. Yoho, Jesse Evans and Clinton Foster. Joe
Wilt was one of his students. Eugene is married to Joanne Sturm. He
taught in West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, and had award winning bands.
Carolyn married Bill Hatfield and they lived next
door to us. We attended the same church and Sunday School class. Our
oldest sons were the same age. My dad interviewed Bill for his job with
Hope Gas Company.
Debbie is the youngest of the group. I met her and
Graham several years ago when we attended the same worship service at
Blackwater Falls State Park. We have been friends for only two years,
but it seems forever. It appears that she is the aunt who is always
playing pranks on the rest of the family.
Richard Sturm, son of Otho and Leah, married
Carolyn Meadows of Glenville. They live in Weston. After a brief
conver-sation, we found a common connection. Carolyn and my sister,
Marguerite Shriver, were PTA members together. Her favorite cake recipe,
White Buttermilk Cake, was from my sister.
The ladies of the group went to the Old Loom Barn,
while the men stayed at the house. When we returned, they had assembled
my swing stand for me. They said Graham can do anything, so he was the
That evening, I went over to their place for a
campfire. Debbie was frightened when she saw bright eyes through the
darkness. Yes, you Calhouners know it was some deer! We sat out there
for two hours while they asked about so many of you. The list included
everyone from Lennie Ball to Jane Carpenter. I heard more stories about
some of their escapades in younger days. I was telling my sister, Gerry,
about the day and her comment was, “They must have been old!” I
answered, “Wait just one minute, I was their teacher so I am older than
any of them.”
Even though the three girls have lived in Delaware
for several years, their hearts are still in Calhoun. The pride in their
family and friends proves that “Once a Calhouner, always a Calhouner!”