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.

2008.11.26 Boosted by kumquats and Chinese food

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY   

My life often has a one-thing-leads-to-another quality to it. Eventually everything gets done, but it may seem roundabout to those of a Type A persuasion, those with a nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic.

But even when work isn’t involved, even when I’m merely wondering about one thing, I will be led to a second thing and then a third, and on and on until, quite frankly, I don’t recall what the original thing was.

I was at the library sending an email to Marlena Bittner, David Sedaris’ publicist. Tell me you aren’t saying, “Who’s David Sedaris?” If you just said you are, you need to visit the library immediately and check out one of his books. I had asked Bittner if she could arrange a speakerphone chat with Sedaris for a library program.

At the end of my email I tagged on a P.S.: “You aren’t related to my high school English teacher Mrs. Bittner, are you?”

And then I had to stop and think and not click “send.” Bittner. That just didn’t sound quite right. Not enough syllables, maybe? Shoot, only 32 years out of high school and I can’t remember the name of one of my favorite teachers.

I called David at home and asked him to flip though my yearbook and find a teacher with dark hair and big glasses, wearing something black and white polka dotted and sitting on a table.

There were nearly 200 teachers and staff—not counting the fake ones like Lance Romance (Poise and Charm) and Milton Mongoose (Egyptology)—for David to plow through and he couldn’t locate the index.

He passed English teachers Judith Spielholtz and Inge Oppenheimer before getting distracted by names such as Norman Hessel, Waldo Pagani, Felicia Hirata, Cosmo Wenner, Gloria Moskovitz and Stella Trikouros, and then finally saying, “Constance Bitterman.“

“Bitterman!” I shouted.

“No glasses, but she’s wearing big earrings,” David said.

Mrs. Bitterman!

My gosh! How could I have gotten it so wrong? I loved Mrs. Bitterman. She so obviously loved life and wanted to share it with us. She brought us kumquats and invited us to dinner at her house where she served homemade Chinese food.

I loved how she really made us think. She asked insightful questions about all the books she made us read...I’m pretty sure somewhere in the bowels of my basement, I still have those homework assignments.

So, I came home and looked through my yearbook where my browsing took me past a page with my all-time favorite teacher, Mr. Weiss.

What ever happened to Mr. Weiss? I wondered. Mr. Weiss would respond, “No, I don’t know,” every time one of us used the meaningless expression, “You know.”

Wondering about Mr. Weiss led me to the John Bowne High School website where I clicked a link to an alumni site. I started registering and when asked about the clubs I belonged to, I dipped back into my yearbook where I landed on the last pages—with the booster ads in tiny print.

These are not your normal booster ads—line ads of praise or encouragement for the graduates. Sure, there is an occasional “Best wishes to all grads—R. Grossman” and “Shalom Aleichem—Peace on you.”

And there’s a useful quote every now and then: “Never insult an alligator until you’ve crossed the river,” but for the most part, the booster ads are private jokes (“I’m sorry I had to throw you Tony, but it’s better than getting shot) sprinkled with prophesy (“The Yankees will rise again!”).

I read more closely to see if I could find an ad I might have written. I recognized one immediately: One that, I suppose you could say, falls into both the private joke and prophesy categories.

We were upstate New York at a dude ranch for our senior trip and a group of us was sitting around a table in a commons area about to play cards. A fellow student smoking a cigarette walked toward the table as if he wanted to join the game.

Looking back on that scene now, it made me wonder, Where were the chaperones? But back then, I took one look at him and said, “Put out your cigarette if you want to smoke here.”

I paid one dollar to commemorate that moment in a booster ad; I still think it’s great advice—far better than my other gem that night.

The afore-mentioned group was having a hard time deciding which card game to play next.

“Oh, just deal the cards and then we’ll decide!” I said impatiently.

Hmm, sounds like I had a little Type A in me after all.

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