About Our Town

By Mark Swartzendruber
Posted 5/27/99

The corn is getting planted and the rains are coming. The gardens look nice and the grass continues to need mowing.

Realizing how our High Schools are graduating many students… Did you realize …

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About Our Town


The corn is getting planted and the rains are coming. The gardens look nice and the grass continues to need mowing.

Realizing how our High Schools are graduating many students… Did you realize the class of 1949 at Kalona had only 13 students? Did you notice how they dressed to have their pictures taken 50 years ago?

Congratulations to Sam Miller and his helpers for restoring the Wertz Cemetery. It’s good to see our young people take an interest in this and also to see how people are caring for our cemeteries for Memorial Day.

Mrs. Cletus Stoltzfus and her mother, Mrs. Paul Hershberger from Phoenix, Arizona, were here for Elva Troyer’s funeral. Iola and Elva are sisters. They were guests of Darrell and Janet Showalter.

Did you get any items bought at all the garage sales last week? It seems a person should have had some luck finding something to use.

Eleanor Yoder called me to ask if anyone knew the answer to this statement. She found it in a book, but no answer. You older ones can help us, and I will let her know.

“Luke had it before. Paul had it behind. Matthew never had it at all. All girls have it once, boys can not have it. Old Mrs. Mulligan had it twice in succession. Dr. Lowell had it before and behind and had it twice as bad behind as before.” Oh boy, that’s a tongue winder.

I went to the Kalona Telephone Company’s Open House. They have an emasculate setup there— all things in order and ready to continue more good service in the future.

Recently, I had put an article in the paper on how Robert Southwick worked in one spot all his life. Now I found out about a lady who worked in the same block for 40 years. That is unusual, for nowadays people drive to many other places to work in and out of town.

The Euguene Way’s worked in our town for many years. Elda graduated from Kalona High School in 1934. She worked part-time for the Kalona News and the Shimons off and on after graduation. She wrote news, learned to set type and operated the line-o-type machine for about six years. In 1940, she married Eugene, and both worked for a newspaper in Geneseo, Illinois. In 1942, Eugene was drafted and went into the army.

Elda then came back to Kalona. Gertrude Lahey had retired from the Eclipse Lumber Company and Elda replaced her in the office for 18 years.

Kalona Lumber, owned by Sal Ropp, bought out Eclipse Lumber in 1960. Virgil Hochstetler then hired Elda for a book keeper at the Kalona Savings Bank. Jim Strabala and Agnes Hochstetler also worked there. Elda worked for United Central Bank and also was employed by First Interstate Bank. She worked in banking for 22 years and retired in 1982, so all in all, she worked on the same block for 40 years.

She mentioned how the Eclipse Lumber Company had a fire and Mr. Shimon beat the big newspapers to the draw for pictures and the story that he gave them.

Elda also wrote news items for the Kalona News, the Press Citizen, Gazette, Journal and radio station KCII and WMT.

When Gene was discharged from the army, he had a truck and hauled rock, lime and sand until he sold out to Duane Mast in 1980.

The Ways are busy volunteering for the Kalona Food Pantry. Elda cooks, crochets, gardens, helps set up the flags, helps at the State Fair and does church work. Our hats are tipped to them for their service in one spot and Kalona for all these years.

A lady had married a banker— he died. Then an actor— he died. Next, a preacher— he died. Finally, an undertaker. When asked about these occupations, she said, “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.”

I talked to Verton Miller Kenny at coffee on Monday. He came to pick up his daughter who attends the University of Iowa. Also said hello to Bob Miller’s brothers and sister who are here visiting in Iowa— Carl, Warren and Lois.

Then at another table, Duane and Vi Yoder and Lando and Gladys Gingerich were enjoying the meal.

The word for the week is verdant. It means spring-like, green. Example: Ireland is famous for it’s verdant countryside. Certainly this spring it is verdant in Kalona with the trees, flowers, grass and all the beautiful rain to keep it that way.

Nobody minds having what is too good for them.