Here’s my neighborhood baseball captain, Jack Gillam. I was always on Jack’s baseball team when we were in grade school. We’ve been friends since that time. Jack, his wife Betty and their boys, Jack, Jeff and Jay have been our family friends for….ever. Our kids grew up together.
Jack graduated from K-State with a degree in architecture and I graduated with a degree in architecture from KU. He learned a lot more than I did and he was instrumental in getting our house put together in Ellsworth that I sold only after moving here. He and his son Jeff, also an architect, are responsible for hundreds of school buildings, hospitals, nursing home, houses and other outstanding buildings across Kansas and elsewhere. They have done outstanding work and made significant contributions in their field. Jack and Betty’s oldest son, Jack, is my dentist and keeps me smiling.
Jack lives here at the Palace and his wife, Betty, is here too in health care. I went to the Ginormous Instrument Concert today and Jack was there too…so we sat together. His son, Jack, was there as well. The room was packed with what I think is the largest audience since I’ve lived here. Many people came especially to watch Nathan Zimmerman, young son of Carolyn Hofer and Mark Zimmerman, who was one of nine stand-up bass players. Mark and Carolyn and family join John Zimmerman here for Sunday dinner so the residents have gotten to know their children and enjoy following their activities.
I didn’t know John Zimmerman when I was young, but his wife, Patsy Davis, and I were playmates…then friends for years. Now, John takes the Wall Street Journal and delivers it to me when he’s finished with it. That paper gets a good workout from the two of us.
It’s especially nice living here at the Palace since so many of my friends from the days of my youth living in Salina are here too. They include: Jack and Betty, Margie and Loren Walter, Marsha Stewart, John and Katie Weckel, Margie Eberhardt Wilson, Ivy Marsh, Shirley Drawbaugh, Mary Beth Engleman, Ginny Frederick, Pete Peterson, Amy Hoffman, Leo Lake and Louie Reynolds. I imagine I’ve failed to mention someone.
After my granddaughter, Mackenzie Britton, was born at Asbury Hospital on January 27th, 1983, a huge blizzard occurred on the day she was to leave. Traffic was at a stand-still and Dane, Julie and Mackenzie were stranded at the hospital…with no place to go and no hope of getting home to Ellsworth. Jack Gillam found a friend with heavy equipment….the only thing moving in Salina… came to the hospital and took the three of them to Jack’s house where they spent the next several days. Here’s what Julie had to say about it:
“What a great friend Jack was on Mackenzie’s first night out of the hospital. We were trapped in a huge snowfall and Jack rescued us and took us into his home and kept the fires burning. His sweet wife made a crib from a study Mead paper box and lined it with Betty approved flannel sheets and mattress.”
Jack and Betty really were life savers. We’ve talked about that Mead paper box and how happy Mackenzie was in for the first few days of her life. They have been good friends in many ways for many years. It’s nice to still be close after all these years even if it’s not in a way any of us envisioned back in our youth.
Thanks for tuning in…