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

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    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
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    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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2011.02.02 Ben, Rosie and Maddie don't live here anymore

Written by David Green.


For years, as one, then another, and another, of our children left home, people had been giving us grief about our home answering machine message. Rosie recorded it when she was in high school.

“You have reached 517/458-7642. David, Colleen, Ben, Rosie, and Maddie can't come to the phone right now. Please leave a message.”

It probably seemed short and sweet and full of the facts to Rosie, but everyone else found it unbearably long—and, as time went by, woefully inaccurate.

“Yeah, Ben, Rosie, and Maddie can’t come to the phone because they don’t even live there! They live all over the world!” said our friend Brad several years ago. His message was left on the machine to remind us to change the darn thing. 

As was my friend Adrienne’s, “Hey, David, Colleen, Maddie, Sam, Joe, Ben, Rosie, Arnold, Ethel, and the rest of the crew! Are you in New York?” she asked in a message left several years ago, hoping to catch us before we left Morenci for the big city.

But, David and I were never compelled to take the time to read the manual to figure out how to change the message. Every time Rosie came home I’d suggest she ought to record a shorter message. She never did, and suggested that we ought to do it ourselves.

Finally, this Christmas vacation, Maddie pressed the relevant buttons, and David recorded his voice—from half-way across the room. 

“We’re not home!” he yelled loudly so the machine would pick up his voice. And then again, “We’re not home!”

I heard the message when I called from the library and David wasn’t home. It sounded like something terrible had happened to someone just as they picked up the phone. It didn’t sound like someone yelling “We’re not home!” from across the room so his voice could be heard on the recording. It sounded like someone screaming and moaning.

It even scared Maddie when she called and the machine picked up.

“It’s creepy,” she said and advised us to change it.

After years of hearing Rosie’s sweet voice, others were reluctant to leave a message at all, thinking they had reached the wrong number.

You could hear the hesitation, not just in their voices, but in their messages: “If this is Colleen, this is the message...”

David’s own mother couldn’t tell it was him. She called, and because the machine picked up before Ben got to the phone, their conversation was recorded. 

On the recording, Jackie asks, “Who did the yelling?” and Ben answers, “That’s my dad’s new message.” 

I was pleased to hear he didn’t say, “my parents’ new message.” I didn’t really want to be associated with it.

My sister Linda left a message that starts with laughter before proceeding with, “I hope I have the right number here. I think I do.…”

My brother Mark mostly just laughed, and then expressed his approval.

“I like the message. The message is funny for the first time. It’s kind of techno-scary, but different,” he said.

My siblings must have a better sense of humor than I—I wasn’t laughing at all.

I suppose I could have figured out how to change the message, but it was easier to harangue David. 

“Just say the phone number,” I told him. I figured the shorter, the better.

His next message said, “They ain’t home,” in a gruff voice after he gave the phone number. It continued to scare and confuse people and I continued to harangue him to change it to something more normal.

The current message features David in a sing-song sort of voice as if he’s reciting a jingle, “Green-Leddy. Get ready. Record your message now!”

It’s a happier message and I don’t even care that it’s missing our phone number. It’s as normal as it’s going to get around here.

I shouldn’t really complain, especially since I’ve been greatly entertained going back and listening to some of the messages randomly saved over the years, including this snippet of recorded conversation from when David picked up the phone too late when my friend Adrienne called.

“I’m standing here naked in the bathroom so I can’t just run out and shut that thing off,” David says.

“Did you have to give me that mental image just now? I just finished breakfast,” Adrienne says and then laughing, continues, “Oh, Mister, who’s going to see you?”

“Oh, we’ve got windows,” says David.

And we’ve got a decent answering machine message. All is well. 

(Except for the part about Ben, Rosie, and Maddie not living here anymore...)

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