The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2008.08.20 Sunday morning trip to the past

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It was like I joined Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, for a ride in the “wayback” time machine. I know that sentence won’t mean a thing to many readers, but those who watched the Rocky and Bullwinkle show back in the 1960s will know what I mean.

And the 1960s is where I was transported Sunday morning. I was suddenly back in a structure that I frequented on Sunday mornings in the 1960s, and stranger still, back among many of the faces that I knew back then.

The occasion was the special 150th  anniversary service of Morenci’s First Congregational Church.

I walked along the back of the pews and encountered Mary Jane Borton looking a lot like the Mary Jane Borton I knew 40 years ago. I walked down the aisle and spotted Sylvia Sims looking pretty much like Sylvia Sims.

I sat down with my parents and sister, Diane, and saw Mary Jane’s little sister, Lisa. I don’t remember the 1960s Lisa, but we’ve run across one another frequently at Fayette cross country and track meets.

I didn’t go to the 150th as a reporter. It was one of those rare moments when I was allowed to attend just as a local resident. It wasn’t until later that I wished I had taken some notes.

Sylvia sang a solo, just like she used to do. Choyce Strayer Quigley’s talented voice stood out during a hymn, just like it used to do. I saw Jim Whitehouse in the audience. Little Stevie Kutzley was there. Where had those 30 years gone?

Of course there was a different pastor at the pulpit, but I liked this one. Jack Cahill has an informal style that I appreciated and I enjoyed a story that he told. It went something like this, although I wasn’t taking notes.

A man bought an old run-down farm that hadn’t been cared for in years. It took him three years to get it back in shape. Mowing, plowing, painting, fixing up—it was an enormous task, but finally he had the place looking good.

About that time a pious neighbor stopped over to take a look and said, “The Lord has really worked wonders with this old place.”

The farmer thought about that a moment and replied, “You’re right, but you should have seen it when the Lord had it all to himself.”

I don’t recall how Jack worked this into his message, but it took me back to high school and seemed to provide a clear analogy to the differences between us Congregational kids and some of our more fundamentalist classmates.

I remember their assertion that most everyone on Earth was headed to Hell except for them and others like them. Rather than win me over, it made me start to question the tenets of their belief.

But today I was among the Congregational kids. Carol Sutton. Valerie Clark. John Bancroft. Lee Ann Ranger. Susan Webster. What a crowd. Where were Molly Fish and her brothers? Jim Clark, Tom Pobanz Janet Stutzman and Janice Fink were missing, too.

John Bancroft told the crowd about the time the youth group went to a Detroit church to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., speak. It’s an experience that’s never left him.

He also talked about the time he threw an ice ball and hit Donnie Borton in the face. John took off running and sought sanctuary in the sanctuary of the church. Donnie still found him and gave him a good punch in the face. Rev. Thomas Toy heard the commotion and saved John from further punishment.

Sylvia took me to look at a photo display that included the two of us in a Sunday School photo. She figured I would remember the night that John Bryner and I played “Good Vibrations” over and over and over before a youth group meeting got underway. She was wrong, I didn’t.

I remember when the pastor of the day, R. Paul Koons, arranged for our trip to the World’s Fair in New York City, plus many other unique opportunities. Several of us agreed that we were extremely fortunate to have Rev. Koons as our leader.

When Sylvia spoke to the luncheon crowd, she said that in looking around the room, she was reminded not just of the familiar faces she knew as a child, but also of all the people who were part of the church in decades past but are no longer among the living.

I guess that’s the magic of a “wayback machine.”

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