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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Hattie Faye Obermyer: The Most Talented Person on Earth 2009.07.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The details appear right at the top of the sheet of music: poet, author, inventor and song-writer. Hattie Faye Overmyer Wilder  added that information with a typewriter at the top of her compositions.

She must be one of Morenci’s most famous residents if you believe the words that were painted on the side of the trailer she pulled through town: “The Most Talented Person on Earth.”

Lorene Whitehouse doesn’t recall much about Faye, other than the fact that she was a little on the strange side.

“She was an odd one,” Marilyn Rorick added. “A different kind of person.”

Bob Green confirms that opinion, but he remembers her as a character who gave people something to talk about.

Bob was just a teen-ager when Faye was in her prime as an entertainer, but he recalls that she befriended his father, Russell, who was editor of the newspaper.

Details are fuzzy—and maybe they’re no more than small-town legend—but Bob recalls hearing that Faye arrived in Morenci under strange circumstances.

There was something about an injury—falling out of a buggy, perhaps—and she was taken inside the house of Erastus Wilder who lived west of Morenci on Wabash Road.

After an earlier marriage, Erastus was now a widower, but he took a liking to Faye. Perhaps she never left the Wilder estate. On June 4, 1900, Erastus married the Albany, Ind., native.

His obituary from 1930 mentions Faye as “the daughter of an old time circuit rider preacher.” There’s also mention of her having “the distinction of being a poet, author, inventor and song writer,” but you already know that.

Bob recalls his father coming home from work with the story of Faye’s worry about gangsters from Chicago coming after her.

If Russell saw them in town, he was to call Faye and say, “George is in Wauseon!” If Faye saw the gangsters out her way, she would call the Observer office and say, “George is not in Wauseon!”

Wilma Fink has a few distant memories of Faye Wilder, including her mobile home trailer.

“She used to come to town and swish around,” Wilma recalls.

She was known for her dancing, as well as her musical productions, and Bob remembers her version of the Black Bottom.

The Black Bottom became popular in the 1920s and is said to be based on these instructions, according to a Wikipedia entry:

• Hop down front then Doodle back,

• Mooch to your left then Mooch to the right,

• Hands on your hips and do the Mess Around,

• Break a Leg until you’re near the ground

• Now that’s the Old Black Bottom Dance.

Faye had her own variation that she called the Pink Bottom, something she performed by standing on her head.

Faye Wilder came to mind recently when Bob was going through some basement items and came across “H. Faye Wilder’s Song Book,” a collection of a dozen or so songs written by Faye and probably left at the Observer office.

The pages measure 10 and a half by 14 inches and each is filled with hand-written musical notations, with lyrics added using a typewriter.

Many of her compositions include notes at the top. The song “My Earth, My Sea, My Sky” is described as a waltz ballad and the instructions say to “sing it and dance it as you go.”

Her tribute to the town, “Morenci, Michigan,” is another waltz said to be “appropriate for the dance, and to be sung at Grange and on other occasions.” In large hand-written type is the addition: “ESPECIALLY SATURDAY NIGHT.”

“My Joanna from Indiana” was written out three times in the song book. The first time it appears, a notation states, “This is a silly little song but it’s a good waltz.”

Another “silly song” but one with “a good moral” is titled “Just Nuts or Don’t-Say-It-With-Ink.”

The song tells the tale of a woman who found a letter her husband wrote to a female admirer. Faye’s lyrics warn, “Say it with flowers, say it with sweets, say it with kisses, say it with eats. Say it with jewels, say it with drink. But always be careful not to say it with ink.”

Some songs were written by Hattie Faye Wilder, others by H. Faye Wilder, and sometimes by Mrs. Hattie Faye Overmyer Wilder. No matter what name she used, each was composed at “Wilder Place, near Morenci, Mich.”

There’s ample evidence of editing. In many instances, the typewritten words were erased and new ones penciled in.

She took the old favorite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and created the “Mary Had a Little Lamb and Chorus March.” It’s a musical comedy in five acts.

“America the Beautiful” was given some new words, music and arranging by Faye.

For Morenci’s 1938 Harvest Festival, Faye wrote a special song lauding the community and poking some fun at herself and the special guest, Paul Spor, a well-know figure in Toledo entertainment for decades.

The last time “My Joanna from Indiana” appears in the book, Faye added this note at the bottom: “This copy is out on trial. Perfection is our aim. Criticism is welcomed by its author and owner, Faye Wilder, Wilder Place, Morenci, Mich.”

As one of the “town characters” of her day, Faye probably had no shortage of criticism.

And about that word “inventor” in her title. Faye Wilder claimed to be the inventor of dual wheels for trucks. She said the Dodge company stole her idea.

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