Keep sending letters

By Regina Villiers. Originally published December 28, 1994 in The Suburban Life, added December 16, 2019.

     The holiday season and the approaching new year seems a good time to salute the readers of this column and to do some selective name-dropping.

     I know that’s a cheap, easy way to come up with a column, but hey, all the big-time columnists do it.  Mark Purdy has his “Better Mail Than Jail,” and Nick Clooney uses his readers all the time.

     Even the mighty New Yorker magazine has built a long tradition of using a celebrity name-dropping poem at the end of each year.

     Now, we have readers too, and we get letters.  So here goes.

     Since this column began almost three years ago, there have been many people who help with ideas and there are regular letter writers.

     Brownie Morgan has come up with so many ideas and has written so many informative letters that he has “hall of fame” status.  In fact, he probably deserves to share the byline.  He continues to be my best source for help and information.  His letters are gems.

     Oscar Meyer is also a regular reader and letter writer who sometimes phones.  Oscar is a big help and is always ready to share information or an old picture.

     Doug Oppenheimer and all the members of the Madeira Historical Society frequently come through with help.  They have made their collection of photographs available for use, and they all have a great interest in the column.

     Warren Joy is constant help and a walking encyclopedia of information on Madeira families and locations.

     Former Madeira Mayor Dan McDonald has also volunteered the use of his vast collection of documents and local history.

     Dallas and Doris Burton are people that I turn to frequently and who give me ideas for columns.

     These are all regulars who are always behind the column, but there are loads of you out there who offer feedback and ideas wherever I go.  I see you at Kroger’s, in the library, on the street.  I’m happy for your input.  It lets me know you’re reading, and I appreciate your interest and help.

     Some of you occasionally get in touch by calling the newspaper, and that’s fine too.

     But the readers I appreciate the most are the ones who take the time to write a letter.  I love to get mail, and it seems to me that the person who will go to the trouble of putting his or her words in writing is just a bit exceptional.

     Several years ago, Robin Wood of WEBN said to me:  “There’s something exciting about finding a hand-written letter in my mailbox.  It’s something I can hold in my hand, read again and again, and carry around for weeks if I want to.”

     I feel the same way, and I received such a letter about this column from Kathy Hyatt Raab of Glenshaw, Pa.

     Kathy’s mother had sent her a column I wrote about Helen and Brownie Morgan.  Kathy wrote to me about how the Morgans inspired her when she was a child and how they still do.  She related many warm anecdotes about them.  It’s probably my all-time favorite “fan” letter.

     I’m amazed at the out-of-state letters I receive about these columns.  Relatives or friends clip columns and mail them to people they know.

     Christie Brockhage, who lives in Dunwoody, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, checks in from time to time.  Other letters have come in from Georgia.

     Florida has several fans of the column.  Jill Hanson has sent ideas, which have been turned into columns.  Jane Muchmore Simpson, who lives in Madeira Beach, Fla., and is a relative of Miss Cleo Hosbrook, has written several letters.  So has Jack Morgan of Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

     Carolyn Benhase Haas of Murray, Ky., wrote a wonderful letter that I plan to turn into a future column.  She included some interesting information and gave me some leads to follow.

     John Perin has mailed in column ideas and background information.

     Among those who have sent ideas as yet not used are Bob Wubbolding and Tory Agin.  All ideas are filed for possible future use, and all are appreciated.  Sometimes even the smallest tidbit or the mention of a name can trigger a column.

     Some people write just to say they enjoy the columns.  These are the people who make it all worthwhile-people like Tae Toki, Dr. Rick Singel, Bob Wick and Joseph Scherrer.

     Not everyone is enthusiastic.  Once in a great while someone will complain or point out some flaw or something he believes to be incorrect, but not often.  And as Mark Purdy says, “Better mail than jail.”

     And in the coming year I hope my mailman will deliver your letter, the sooner the better.