Susie Duncan Sexton's Blog - Posts Tagged "jo-ellen-copp"

Many People Remember Blue Bell [From the February 1987 Whitley County Historical Society "Bulletin"]

The daughter of the man some people refer to as "Mr. Blue Bell" in Columbia City has chosen to write the following article for our publication. One of the largest employers for over 40 years in the community, the Blue Bell factory touched many lives in more ways than a place to work and to earn a living. To many individuals, it was like a family with hard work and fun times to remember.

"Blue Bell Factory Revisited"

By Susie Duncan Sexton

FOR OVER FOUR DECADES the impressions one observed after mounting the nine concrete steps to the main entrance of Columbia City's Blue Bell factory included the following: glistening highly-polished hard­wood floors of native elm from Whitley County, sweeping blades of nearly 200 ceiling fans, pungent smells of massive bolts of blue denim meta­morphosing into rugged garments for work and play, rivets, lot numbers, inventories, the thudding and subsequent steaming and hissing of per­manent press machines, thread cones, cost improvement, fatigue factors, tapered legs, flare legs, hem stitchers, button inspectors, white pockets, inseams, piece goods, bins of finished garments categorized by size, style, and dye lot, lines of whirring sewing machines, elongated cutting tables, dollies loaded with bundles, salt pills, water coolers, Dictaphones, swivel office chairs at massive desks and busy switchboards. These were all ingredients of a handsome brick building at 307 South Whitley Street that was very much alive and teaming with industrious, loyal workers dedi­cated to performing their tasks with a constant eye toward a quality Wrangler product.

The many visitors became part of the building's history. These in­cluded touring classes of school children, senators, congressmen, repre­sentatives from foreign countries who were interested in duplicating the plant's operations, and officials from Blue Bell's national headquarters at Greensboro, North Carolina. Others were from some of the nation's largest industries which were Blue Bell's important suppliers, such as Universal Button Company, Scovill Manufacturing Company and Coats and Clark.

A huge sign above the factory's entrance read: "World's Largest Producer of Work and Play Clothes." A lesser known slogan, but one very familiar among Blue Bell personnel was "The Big Company that pays attention to little things."

Of topmost concern to the Blue Bell company was the welfare and contentment of its employees. Quoted from the August 1944 issue of The Southern Garment Manufacturers' Magazine, ' 'It is worthwhile to note that seldom have Blue Bell's key people left to join other organizations. For one thing the Blue Bell family relationships are based on mutual goodwill and respect. Furthermore, it is a Blue Bell policy that if the company does well, everyone from top to bottom will share in its success."

Brief History of Building

Work clothes were manufactured by the Superior Garment Company in Columbia City in 1907. The building was on East Ellsworth Street be­hind the bowling alley. This firm merged with Globe Manufacturing Company of Abingdon, Illinois, in 1926 and was known as Globe Superior. In January 1932 the Blue Bell building at 307 South Whitley Street was open­ed. It was described as "the most modern overall factory in the United States" according to the January 4, 1934 Columbia City Post.

Products manufactured at the plant at that time were overalls, jack­ets, blanket lined coats, and waistband overalls, all made of chiefly blue denim material.

The town's citizens were proud of this new architectural addition to the southeast end of Columbia City, due partly to the fact that business people of the community had contributed $15,000 toward the building's construction. However, the completion of construction was marred by tragedy when Kenneth Magley's light plane buzzed so low over the building site that it caught on a telephone wire and crashed into a car, killing Mel Miller, owner of the local Ford Agency, and Willis Leininger, who was sitting on the car's running board. Magley's uncle, Virgil Brumbaugh, a passenger in the plane, was also killed. Mr. Magley, who had been operating a steam shovel at the construction site, was hospitalized for several weeks. The accident occurred October 4, 1931.

Nationally, Blue Bell, Inc. was founded by Charles Hudson in Greensboro, North Carolina, while R. W. Baker originated a company known as Big Ben. Big Ben and Blue Bell merged January 1, 1926. The name of the company was changed in August of 1930 to Blue Bell Overall Com­pany. In 1936 the company became known as Blue Bell-Globe. Blue Bell bought out Globe Superior in that same year and changed the name to Blue Bell-Globe Manufacturing Company. J. C. Fox became president and directing head of operations for the new company, the result of the merger between the world's two largest garment manufacturers. Accord­ing to Blue Bell: Its History, the resulting organization "practically corresponds to the United States Steel Company of the work clothes business." Blue Bell-Globe grew extensively as it merged with other companies and became nationally known through progressive advertising cam­paigns. The name of the local plant became simply Blue Bell, Inc. in 1943. Blue Bell's first large acquisition after its name change was the Casey Jones Company in 1944. The plants in Blue Bell in 1936 were located in Greens­boro, N.C. and Middleboro, Kentucky. Globe Superior plants were located in Abingdon and Canton, Illinois, Commerce, Georgia, and Columbia City. The products included bib overalls and dungarees.

Physical Aspects of Structure

The three-story brick building in Columbia City contained 25,000 square feet per floor. Though market demands dictated changes from time to time, the basement area was the location for the cutting department. In this location 50 thicknesses of material were stenciled and cut with a six-inch blade cutting machine which moved up and down with such rapidity that workers had to be highly skilled in its operation. This opera­tion was masterfully handled so that there was minimal wasted cloth.

The main floor housed the offices and the shipping department, the loading docks being located at the north and east sides of the building. The receiving room was consistently full of bolts of denim shipped to Col­umbia City from Alabama and Mississippi. The baling operation also occurred at this level as boxes were banded after applying air pressure which compressed shipping cartons into firm containers. The centrally located giant scale, built into the hardwood floor, was the next destination of these cartons. The boxes were weighed, marked, and delivered to the trucks waiting at the loading docks.

The top floor, perhaps the liveliest floor, where surging (individual pattern pieces being joined in a continuous chain), ticket making (sewing a leather ticket on the "W" trademark hip pocket), joining (joining left and right front of the garment), felling (joining the front and back half together), zipper tacking and waistbanding, all of these steps kept busy feminine fingers flying in the sewing department. Prior to and during World War II, sewing machines occupied nearly the entire floor. After the war, the number of machines was reduced. The demand for combat pants, jungle suits, regulation khaki dress pants and shirts, and fatigue clothing had ceased. Government workers returned to their home offices. Blue Bell resumed the manufacture of work clothes and also diversified into children's play clothes and casual apparel for women. The initial use of the stopwatch and slide rule had led to assembly-line production of the first order.

Duncan Becomes Local Manager

Roy E. Duncan became the local division manager in February 1942, supervising plants in Columbia City, Nappanee, Warsaw and North Webster. The manager preceding him was Albert L. Lomax. To quote the Whitley County Observer, February 23, 1967, "... it (is) apparent that the success and growth of the company is due to its very capable management team and their attention to even the smallest detail in the operation." Manager Duncan was well aware that Blue Bell's loyal and dedicated employees, who became a "family," had contributed mightily to these successful and productive years.

The local Blue Bell operation was truly appreciative of its work force during its years of expansion, accommodating the part-time schedules of the busy housewives whose sewing proficiency was vital to the indus­try. Interior renovations to update the surroundings and make the work place pleasing to the eye, conversion of the Vandalia Depot on the north side of the building to a lush, tree lined park, and replacement of a coal yard with an employee parking lot were all improvements. The Blue Bell Cafeteria, for approximately 12 years one of Whitley County's finest eat­ing establishments, had as its specialty Lucille Scott's meatloaf. Lucille worked at the Blue Bell 46 years and had worked 10 years prior to that in the garment industry for a total of 56 years. She was the manager of the cafeteria.

Other innovations were the conversion of a cloak room into a Canteen with vending machines, and a company store with an extensive inventory of Wrangler clothing manufactured by Blue Bell factories across the nation. These alterations and additions were designed to improve and enhance the working atmosphere for the industrious employees whose combined efforts produced approximately 250,000 dozen garments each year.

Reminiscences of Longtime Employees

A great portion of the joy of piecing together this Blue Bell article was interviewing many of those long-time employees who made up the local "Blue Bell Family." The process reminded me of that familiar child­hood finger game: "Here is the church, and here is the steeple; open the doors, and here are the people!" You see, what makes a building come to life are the people who inhabit it, and who make it bustle and hum and produce.

Don York, who worked in many aspects of production, confirmed my memory of a "few" ceiling fans by informing me that there were indeed 200 fans and that the addition of just one more would have sent the factory blasting off into the sky faster than a 747! Don should know as he worked his way up from bundle boy to a chief mechanic during his 26 years of employment.

Gladys Albert worked on white pockets, leg hemming, pitch hitting until she became one of Blue Bell's "best-ever" and most frequently recognized supervisors racking up 40 years with one company. In glancing over old copies of the local company's semi-monthly newspaper, STITCH 'N TIMES, (named by Mrs. Roy Duncan), one is impressed with a picture of Gladys being presented a dozen rose for quite simply being "a very good employee."

"Coach Leonard Barnum, who served as a carpenter during the summers of the early 50s, assisted in designing and building the bins on the top floor, which later were to bulge with finished Wrangler products. Leonard also lent his talents to the building of the Warsaw plant and indicated that he, along with countless other teachers and col­lege students, was grateful for the opportunity for summer employment. Leonard shared the anecdote that the first day he reported to work Manager Duncan crept up behind him with a pair of scissors and began to cut the coach's Levi jeans off, starting with the pant legs. Once the competitor's product was removed, Mr. Duncan pre­sented Mr. Barnum with a pair of durable Wranglers which Leonard still wears to this day.

Waldo Ferris spent many years as a sewing machine mechanic. He explained the cutting room, an area which called for artis­try and a spirit of adventure. Waldo explained that the electric spreader was a machine which laid the mass­ive bolts of material on the long cut­ting tables until the thickness was 50 layers. The cutting machine, which was a motor with six inch sharp blades attached, had to be pushed through the many thicknesses while masterfully follow­ing patterns stenciled onto the blue denim. Voila! Result? Piece Goods!

One of Blue Bell's many success stories was that of Treva Wolfe who rose from sewing operator to training specialist in her 48 years with the company. Treva and her husband Lawrence travelled extensively, assisting in the development of new plants in Alabama, Oklahoma, Canada, and, as Blue Bell began expanding into international markets, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, and a Wrangler unit in South Africa. Lawrence spec­ialized in establishing office operations, while Treva concentrated on engineering and time studies. Treva referred to, the Blue Bell Company as a "life-line for an incredible number of people." She remembers that in the 30s and 40s, employees wore blue uniforms. Men were required to wear blue chambray shirts and women wore blue wrap around dresses with white collars. When all of these "blue" workers had lunch-breaks, the other citizens of Columbia City were well aware as the town was deluged in a sea of blue.

Bill Winters, presently manager of Indiana Knitwear Corporation served as a cutting room consultant during the last years he spent with Blue Bell. Mr. Winters was made acting manager of the local division in 1978 when the Greensboro office made the decision to phase out its mid­west division. He shared an anecdote which brought back vivid memories of Roy Duncan, who had retired on December 31, 1974. Upon hearing that Mr. Winters was named acting manager, Mr. Duncan, although happily retired, rushed down to the plant, climbed the front steps, and entered the front office which he had previously occupied for 42 years. Mr. Duncan congratulated Bill heartily, requested that Manager Winters sit down at the executive desk, and sized up his loyal 26 year employee. Mr. Duncan liked what he saw and gave Mr. Winters his stamp of approval with a firm handshake and a smile which signified a heart full of pride.

Mr. Duncan Retires in 1974

At the time of Roy Duncan's retirement in 1974, E. F. Lucas, senior vice-president in charge of marketing wrote: "Roy, all of us know and appreciate what a great job you have done for Blue Bell in every way through­out the years. You have done so many goods things for Blue Bell that I wouldn't even try to list them here, but one thing stands out in my mind and that is your loyalty and support which has had great influence on many of our people, particularly the newer and/or younger people." The Duncan family received a letter from Rev. Harold Oechsle, former Col­umbia City Methodist minister, following Mr. Duncan's death in October of 1983. Rev. Oechsle concluded his message by writing: "Roy will be remembered for his warmth, charm and generosity. He had his own style toward life and was very much a Christian gentleman ... I know you are filled with joy remembering who he was and continues to be in our memor­ies." This quotation captures not only Roy Duncan's personality but that of the Blue Bell family, those people whose perseverance and loyalty and caring for one another make Blue Bell memories very special ones indeed.

Phyllis Mattix Locks Door for Last Time

Phyllis Mattix began working for Blue Bell-Globe Manufacturing Company on April 15, 1938. She ended her employment in the spring of 1978, assisting in the termination of the local operation. Phyllis, Robert Hiss, and Ermal Day were the last three employees to leave the building. Day was largely responsible for the development and upkeep of the park-like area north of the factory. Phyllis, Blue Bell's Gal Friday for precisely 40 years, literally locked up the building for the last time.

Just as the front door to the Columbia City division of Blue Bell, Incor­porated—"World's Largest Producer of Work and Play Clothes"—was secured, at that very moment so were nearly half a century of memories. These memories included Christmas parties for employees' children where the little girls received dolls dressed by the factory's accomplished seamstresses, summer picnics at Center Lake in Warsaw or Camp Whit-ley grounds, special banquets followed by the Ice Capades for Columbia City's new teachers, plant parties with entertainment provided by well-known magicians and Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers, luncheons for the Columbia City Joint High School Athletic Department, and the women's three-part harmony chorus billed as the Blue Bell Choraliers led by Mrs. B. V. (Flossie) Widney with Evelyn Zumbrun at the piano. Manufactured Wrangler jeans were worn by rodeo star Jim Shoulders and movie star Robert Mitchum in the motion picture entitled The Lusty Men, Roy Rogers, who wrote a personal note of thanks for his free pair of Wranglers. More memories include the popular company store called The Corral, company style shows, and visits from Dr. Roy Standahl of Blue Bell's Psychological Services Department who brought a scientific approach to employee selection and placement. Engineers and their families were transferred to the Columbia City division, and they became an integral part of our community and were missed greatly when they moved on. Finally, addi­tional memories are of the STITCH 'N TIMES newspaper, Lucille's Cafe­teria, the Canteen, Manager Roy Duncan's faith in the potential creativity and productivity of people, and of course, all of those diligent employees who gave years and years of loyal service toward the manufacture of a quality product.


To the following individuals for their recollections: Gladys Albert, Leonard Barnum, Waldo Ferris, Phyllis Matrix, Lucille Scott, William Winters, Treva Wolfe and Don York.

Blue Bell: Its History, Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Bell Ringer, Blue Bell's national publication.

STITCH 'N TIMES, local Blue Bell division's publication.

The Observer, February 23, 1967, Vol. 3, No. 6.

"The History of Blue Bell, Inc.," from Southern Garment Manufacturer Magazine, 1944.

"Columbia City for Over 50 Years Home of an Overall Manufacturing Estab­lishment," Columbia City Post, February 2, 1959.

"New Buildings Bring Employment Gain," Columbia City Post, January 4, 1934.

[Read more of Susie's writing at]

By Randy Grimes

We look back over 1986 as a growing and changing year. We are very pleased with the renovation accomplished in 1986, and are looking forward to completing the last two rooms on the first floor of the Thomas R. Marshall Home. These are the parlor and the dining room.

We are awaiting the arrival of the final report and evaluation of the professional consultant from the American Association for State and Local History. He will be making recommendations on efficient use of museum space and use of additional buildings within Columbia City. The result of this study will be shared with anyone interested.

Plans have been made for the annual dinner April 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the El Comedor Restaurant. The Spring Lecture Series will follow during the next three Thursday evenings. Some very interesting speakers are being chosen. It has been brought to our attention that a few Historical Markers are in need of repair in our county. We are investigating the cost at this time.

The Board of Directors of the Whitley County Historical Society meets on the first Thursday of each month. I personally invite you to come and see for yourself what is happening with your Society.


THE BULLETIN is published by the Whitley County Historical Society, Columbia City, Indiana every other month: February, April, June, August, October and December, and is mailed to all Society members. THE BULLETIN is intended to bring to light and preserve stories, articles, anecdotes, accounts of the personalities and events, and pictures, all relating to Whitley County and its history. Readers are encouraged to contribute such material. The Society is a non-profit educational organization. New members are welcomed; types of membership are listed on the back cover. THE BULLETIN is printed by the Tribune-News Publishing Company, South Whitley, Indiana. The Society office is located in the Museum, 108 West Jefferson Street, Columbia City, IN 46725. Telephone (219) 244-6372 or 244-5931.

Note from the Editor

The pen and ink sketch of the Blue Bell building on the front cover of the February issue of The Bulletin is used courtesy of the Whitley County Art Guild. The artist is Phillis Mattix who was a long time employee at the factory. We are grateful to Susie Duncan Sexton who took such pleasure in writing the story of her father’s workplace.


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Jo Ellen Adams, authenticated "Daughter of the American Revolution", belonged to my sister Sarah who patterned herself as a kid after the petite, energetic, plucky little girl who lived in the large, elegant, brick, Civil War Era farm house on the outskirts of town.


(You can view a scan of the print version of this column and photos by clicking here.)

Sarah's pal seemed to inhabit the original Disneyland and frolicked daily with a menagerie of horses, cats, dogs, chickens, goats, donkeys, peacocks, …and cats! I occasionally got to tag along with my older sis, crossing three "big city" streets to enjoy cake and iced tea with Mama Clarice, Jo Ellen and Lois Jeanne. "Jimmy" seldom appeared to be available, but every time I view John Cusack in a movie I see big brother Jim exactly as I remember briefly sighting him…exact replica!

From 1986 until February of 2013, I claimed honors of feeling just as close to Jo Ellen as her '57 classmate Sarah ever did. When I moved back to Columbia City, a welcoming committee of singular Ms. Adams McConnell Copp -- on moving day --met me at the front door of my childhood home with an invitation to her book club, "THE Coterie" ("THE" MUST be included in any referral to the ladies' long-lived organization!) plus an insistence that I delve whole-heartedly into the Whitley County Historical Society. Thanks to this lady with journalism coursing through her veins, I succumbed to her request for a thorough accounting of the Blue Bell Story to be featured in "The Bulletin".


"Blue Bell Factory Revisited" (February of 1987) still exists in the bowels of the Thomas Riley Marshall home/museum…multi-copies stacked up, staples rusting onto its "research paper" pages. I struggled in earnest to interview former local employees via phone or face to face, to search through trunks for photographs, to check facts via yellowing annual reports compiled at the Greensboro (North Carolina) headquarters, and even corresponded with the company's president E. A. Morris…all the while moving my lifetime of material possessions into a home already filled to the brim with my parents' plates, silverware, furniture, golf clubs, spare light bulbs, screw drivers and hammers, etc.


Thus, Jo Ellen, who served her time in a 14 year role as contributor to and editor of the "Whitley County Historical Bulletin", occupied my thoughts this past holiday season as I searched for a particular publication upon which I had depended for a reasonable bulk of my retro-information. Don York gently requested that a treasured newspaper, which he had loaned me during that manic phase of my life, be returned to him -- 26 years later? Lucky Jo Ellen always toted all of her precious ephemeral paper history to her hideaway across the hall from where her handsome son (and my dentist!) takes wonderful, proper care of Whitley County molars! I, on the other hand, stuff precious newspapers, letters, and magazine articles into drawers or under beds -- and cram folders into chintzy filing cabinets. I totally coveted her private office.


Jo Ellen socialized and traveled extensively. I am a stay-at-home blend of Boo Radley, Miss Havisham ("Great Expectations"), and reclusive Emily Dickinson rather than an Auntie Mame/Truman Capote type of individual. But the two of us local natives, an "Odd Couple", had lots of fun following my son Roy about whenever and wherever he performed one-man concerts, starred in Wabash College, Ohio State, or Metro-Detroit theatrical productions, or delivered Wabash College valedictories! Jo Ellen led Roy's fan club, insisted that he matriculate at Wabash in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and cheered when he achieved Rhodes Scholar finalist status there. We hobnobbed with college presidents, chopped onions with character actress Frances Sternhagen at a Columbus, Ohio pool party, and shared drinks/coffee with Ginny Hays whose father-in-law Postmaster General (Hoosier) Will Hays served as this nation's first ever Hollywood Censor, once deleting a lascivious bubble-bath scene of Marilyn Monroe's in "The Seven Year Itch" -- uh-huh! Ginny -- who lived next door to lyricist Ira Gershwin for years in California and who counted many movie stars among her closest chums-- adored Roy and phoned me often from Crawfordsville. At last, Jo Ellen envied ME, commenting: "You do realize, of course, that Ginny ringing you up is comparable to Nancy Reagan chatting with you on a weekly basis!" When Ginny's husband and Crawfordsville's beloved former mayor Bill Hays died, the two of us rushed -- via J's new pick-up truck -- to Ginny's side during the Hays Memorial Service at the Wabash College Chapel.


At any rate, thanks to my organizational skills required for that prior humongous 1987 assignment/challenge issued by Jo Ellen to detail the history of our local Blue Bell Factory, I finally unearthed and pored over Don York's happily, thankfully rediscovered 1967 "Observer" (@ only ten cents per copy!). One final time I re-visited photographs of Theral Wise checking stencils galore, "speed demon" Bob Eames slicing denim material into proper patterns, Jeanette Taylor and Mary Friend attaching leather "W" tags -- denoting "Wrangler" trademarks -- onto hip pockets, and Rosemary Palmer "surging" white pocket facings. Yesteryears flashed before my eyes as: Floyd Sullivan supervised carpentry projects; mechanic Bob Hiss repaired a belt loop machine; Cora Dexter and Barbara McCullough joined the front and back halves of garments together referred to in the trade as "felling"; Mary Karst loaded pre-pressed jeans from mobile racks to conveyors to be transported into the "oven"; secretaries and receptionists Phyllis Mattix, Edna Gondek, and Mary Gruesbeck smiled into the reporter's camera; and "Chief Cut-up" Bill Winters, phone to his ear, got described as "never perplexed while managing the cutting rooms of all of the division branches."


Understandably, my favorite "on the job" photo captures my dad, Roy Duncan, who "competently leads…and still finds time for many worthwhile civic endeavors" and who -- according to my surrogate "big sis" (and niece of local newspaper moguls Uncle John Quincy Adams and "Aunt Hester") Jo Ellen -- impressed folks as a "gentleman ahead of his time"!


Jo Ellen, not unlike our expert shutterbug chum Keith Kleespie, accompanied Don and me on our countless road trips (My dad referred to claustrophobic automobile adventurers as "sardines in a can"!) to keep tabs on son Roy's singing gigs, documenting our activities with super Kodak pix! Cruising about with this "Gal Friday" passenger in the back seat cannot be minimized since my friend of two thirds of a century offered a stream of candid comments, historical reveries, glowing compliments, hilarious community recollections/anecdotes, and especially magnificent tales extolling the animal kingdom with an emphasis, of course, upon…cats!


Ten years following my sister Sarah's death, Jo Ellen died last month at home, surrounded with love from her son Jim, daughter Marcia, and very special grandchildren. Oh, how I wish I had bought her a copy of "The LOL Cat Bible" --which I happened upon recently at Barnes & Noble on a snowy-blowy evening. Author Martin Grondin features incredible feline-photos and purr-fectly logical interpretations of Biblical lore from a kitty's purr-spective! Clearing my throat and beginning with "Genesis 1: Oh hai! In the beginnin Ceiling Cat maded the skys and the Urf n stuffs, but he no eated dem" all the way through to page 124, "Awl fings brite an purtyful, all kittehs big an small, all fings wize and wunnerful, Ceiling Cat mekked dem all…", I had switched on the car's interior ceiling "lite" ("Genesis 3: An Ceiling Cat sez, ' I can has lite' ? An lite wuz. Srsly!") and read aloud to husband Don alllll the way home from Fort Wayne. Don suffered silently, but kindred soul Jo Ellen would have relished every word…although probably never admitting it!

From Jo Ellen Adams McConnell's "Celebration of Life" Memorial Bulletin: "…I have known many people, some good, some bad. Many and varied have been my experiences. But the sum total of all my observations is that there is infinitely more good in this old world than bad." ~ Thomas R. Marshall



thanks for this feedback!

Marcia Meader: "Ah, thank you. Lovely tribute to Mom. Yes, Steve was in my class and he is wonderful."

just talked with louise easterday, marcia, and we agreed that you are a special girl! one of her sons is a classmate of yours.

Annie Gagnon: "Jo Ellen has to be an angel because you are...You my lady have more then earned your wings. I have probably saved about thirty animals over the years, all the dogs, cats rabbits, hamsters, birds, and kittens. You have saved thousands, and work diligently always for them. I take my hat off to you, Susie, how satisfying that must be. You rock, and I am sure your friend was like you, bless her heart...I LOVE YOU TOO, AN AMAZING LADY."

Brian Williams: "Great piece."

Carol Baker: "Oh, Susie... only a soul sister could have written such a beautiful tribute to the life of such a wonderful spirit as your dear life-long friend, Jo Ellen. I can only hope that when I slip these earthly bonds, I have a single friend that will remember me with the sort of fondness you have shared here. Thank you for introducing us to the life, the love and the laughter of your dear friend. You have helped us to feel your loss in the most personal way."

Mary Shaull: "There you go again! You make me so wish I had shared adventures with you."

Kat Kelly-Heinzelman: "thank you again for letting me into the action. LOL Thank you, Miss Susie - I love you so much!...Roy, I forgot to tell you I love you too and what you do for your Mom...but I don't feel I need to say because you should already know. LOL You and Miss Susie are quite a pair. Take care and God bless you both."

Bev Sexton: "Hi, Susie...Roy has sent me an e mail about your latest... Congratulations once again! We're proud of you. Best to you!"

Lucy Grant:

Susie, Your dear son keeps me up to date with your wonderful columns and I love not only reading your columns but hearing from him. I know you are so proud of all his multiple accomplishments but even neater, he is equally proud of yours!

I recently re-read "Secrets" and I must say I was so totally transported by the tears and laughter that I forgot all my woes and just felt surrounded by the past interpreted by my brilliant friend. I do hope you will continue on your path. I know we vintage citizens love all your reminiscing and wonder what the response has been from the younger set of Columbia City citizens. I hope you inspire them to keep their memories alive and well too!

Thank you also for the column on Jo Ellen Adams. She and Linda Gates both had a dynamic liveliness that made them unforgettable women and made me feel so grateful I had known them. When we lived on Main down where the new Lutheran church now exists Linda was part of the neighborhood gang although we always knew she was a cut above...she had the most fabulous playhouse in which any of us felt totally privileged to be invited to play. As I remember it was shaped like the Gates' real house (I think the Hancocks subsequently moved in that house...not the playhouse) and we all dreamed that one day our parents would provide us with a similar retreat.

My sister was great friends with Jo Ellen...our next door neighbors had a horse in a tiny stall and in a tiny yard. Judy volunteered to exercise "Lucky" and regularly rode with Jo Ellen all over the what would be considered city streets rather than country side.

Much love and continued success,


Pam Simmons: "Roy, I brought your mom's book, it is delightful!!! ... I am cuddled up with my dog, Mocha, and one of the cats with book in hand...what a great vacation."

Paro Babu: "Susie writes just my heart out in her blogs...just so heart touching..."

Denise Earley: "Fantastic, love reading these stories, lovely to read something happy."

Bob Wannberg: "Hi Susie, absolutely wonderful. like you."

Scottie Belt: "God bless my friend Susie Sexton who has such a GREAT love for animals! Susie Sexton... This is for YOU!"

Barb Nicholson: "This one is so interesting with all the facts from here, there and everywhere! Good reading!"

Secrets of an Old Typewriter Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl by Susie Duncan Sexton

Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter - print and ebook versions available (click the title to order from publisher Open Books' website). Also available in both formats at, or download from iTunes

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or won't

Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl
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