THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR Bulletin of The Sebewa Association –
OCTOBER 1990, Volume 26, Number 2. Submitted with written permission of current
Editor Grayden D. Slowins:
SURNAMES: HEINTZLEMAN, CARR, CREIGHTON, HYNES, HARLE, BENSCHOTER, LEHMAN,
THE SEBEWA ASSOCIATION NEWS: With two balloon ascensions interfering, the
postponed annual meeting was held on July 21 and Raymond Heinzleman was elected
for a 3 year term and LaVern Carr was elected also for 3 years as to the Board
ELFA CREIGHTON is having the buildings, both house and barn, torn down so that
the former home of Jimmy Creighton and his baseball team of sons becomes a part
of the field. At the same time the Alton GUNN tenant house has been jacked up
and moved to Berlin Township on the Clarksville Road. LaVern CARR sold it or at
least disposed of it to the son-in-law of Lynwood HYNES. At its previous
location to the east on the north side of Bippley Road, it had been the BRITTEN
home. Pete always came back to the school reunions and delighted in telling of
old times. His sister, Mattie, married a Grand Ledge doctor and she, too, became
HOW SEBEWA FARED AT THE IONIA FREE FAIR IN 1990
Fifty years ago Henry Kenyon and his wife, Hilda, were married at the Fair. This
year they were featured in the parade and were honored by being congratulated by
Governor Blanchard and his wife. (The picture shown is by courtesy of The Ionia
HERE IS HOW NICELY EDNA HOWLAND KENYON WRITES in response to my request for
permission to “make something of her 100th birthday, which comes up on October
She left Portland a few years back to be within easy reach of her son, Norman
and her daughter who both live in Florida.
Edna lives in the Majestic Towers Retirement Community as pictured below. To
address your greeting cards, make it: Mrs. Edna Howland Kenyon, 1255 Pasadena
Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707, Apt. 710.
She writes: “Dear Friend – I didn’t suppose that anything of note in my life
could be worthy of putting in the Recollector. However if you wish to include
something of my birthday of one hundred years I will feel honored. Birthdays of
that length are becoming so common now as to be hardly of interest. Some have
asked me to give them some advice how I have managed to live that length of
time. But I have no answers. Living a simple routine life with plent of work on
the same farm for over seventy years, might be a factor. After my husband
Raymond’s death sixteen years ago, I continued to stay there, until eight years
ago. The family decided I shouldn’t be living alone so I left the old homestead
and since have been living in retirement homes. What the future holds whether
short or longer time of ____ is the question. Thanking you for considering my
one hundredth birthday of enough interest to write about. Truly, Edna __ Kenyon.
DEATHS FOR THE PERIOD:
JAMES HARLE, husband of Marjorie Thuma Harle. James had taught mathematics at
Davison for his entire career. Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a so far untreatable
genetic disease, is what took him.
WINNIE BENSCHOTER after a long and pleasant life, capped by two or three years’
illness and a long stay in a nursing home.
LEWIS A. LEHMAN, 83, of 10340 State Road, Lake Odessa. He lived just across the
road from Sebewa Township in Odessa.
GRETA A. FIRSTER, 84, of 138 West First St., Vermontville, passed away Monday,
August 6, 1990, at Springbrook Manor, Grand Rapids. Because so many varied
people have taken bus trips with her we include her obit here: “Mrs. Firster was
born on February 10, 1906 in Castleton Township, the daughter of Gillman and
Anna Harvey Linsea. She was a lifelong resident of the Vermontville area and
attended local country schools, received her teaching degree from Western
Michigan University, Kalamazoo.
She was married to George Firster. He preceded her in death in 1983. She taught
school for 48 years, retiring from Maple Valley High where she taught World
History and Government. After retiring she sponsored and organized Firster Tours
for Senior Citizens, who traveled all over North America. She was also a nurse
at Pennock Hospital and the Bliss Company years ago. She received many
educational awards and hosted many foreign exchange students in her home. She
was always helping people. She was a member of the Vermontville Congregational
Church and the National Education Association.
Mrs. Firster is survived by her sister-in-law, Maxine Linsea of Grand Rapids;
nephews, Michael Linsea and David Linsea of Middleville; niece Suzanne Smith of
Grand Rapids; also several cousins.
She was also preceded in death by a brother, Vincent Linsea, in 1965.
Funeral services were held Thursday, August 9, at the Vermontville
Congregational Church with Reverend Sally Nolan officiating. Burial was in the
Woodlawn Cemetery, Vermontville.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Maple Valley Scholarship Fund or
Arrangements were made by Maple Valley Chapel-Genther Funeral Home, Nashville.”
I, VIRGINIA INGRAM, would like to dedicate this memorable experience (ALASKA
BOUND – OUR 3,650 MILE BUS TRIP TO ALASKA) to several people:
First of all my dear husband, “Bill” who encouraged me to go “and enjoy
yourself” and I did. My daughter Marilyn without whom I would not have been able
Last, but not least, the “Indian Chief” and his four little Indian bus drivers,
in line as they drove:
BUS #8, Gerrit Douma, Charlotte, our fearless leader, Head Honcho, Wonderful
Guide and Pace Setter, who at bus driver meetings, or at our evening meal, would
say “now here is the good news and the bad news” or “We’ll get there before
dark” as we advanced to different time zones.
Bus #4, Kathy Adams, Charlotte---our “Sweetheart” who turned every young man’s
head with her bubbly personality. Her many calls home because of her concern for
her young family---must have given the phone company a big boost.
Bus #17, Beverly Zuantrell, Charlotte---a “Sweetie” always concerned about
everyone, keeping an eye on both front and back buses to see that we were okay.
She never used the rest room but got some great camera views of those who did.
Bus #36, “THE BUS” Marilyn Disch, Charlotte, our darling who provided everyone
with laughter during our stops, and looked after her mother (me) with non-stop
devotion as luggage handler, tornado buffer, hair dresser, etc.
Bus #1, Gladys Mitchell, Nashville, Our Faithful Guard, who brought up the rear
and watched over all of us. With her CB, kept Gerrit informed of any of the
needs of the group. “A good job done, Gladys”.
Virginia Ingram, mother of Marilyn, passenger in her bus, and enjoying myself to
the n’th degree. My only regret was that Bill wasn’t along to share it with me.
All of these people made my trip an enjoyable one. Gladys told everyone we met,
“This lady is 70 years old and making this trip”. I didn’t think it unusual
except that I was allowed to go. If health permits, I will enjoy traveling until
I’m 85 or 90---if I am permitted to live that long. I might add it is always
wonderful to get back home. Gerrit stopped at many points of interest along the
way (sort of like seeing things through his eyes) so we could enjoy the beauty
of both the USA and Canada. In Canada the horizon was endless. The beautiful as
well as ominous sky was a wonder to behold. Marilyn and I saw many pictures in
the billowy clouds. The people of Canada are very courteous and gracious, more
laid back than we, more relaves and not hurried.
I will travel any day with any of you little Indians.
An added thanks goes to my granddaughter, Pam Disch, for her contribution in
typing and compiling this account.
My best to all of you, Virginia Ingram
Mr. and Mrs. William Ingram live at the site of the closed Goodwin bridge in
ALASKA BOUND; OUR 3,650 MILE BUS TRIP TO ALASKA:
The object of our trip was to deliver five buses to the Fairbanks school system
in Fairbanks, Alaska. The trip was contracted by Gerrit Douma of Charlotte, who
arranged for the participation of four excellent bus drivers from the Charlotte
and Nashville school systems. We left Charlotte on Sunday, June 24, 1990 at 1:03
p.m. Gerrit drove his car and his son, Tom, a pickup and a trailer to transport
us all to the point of departure. Tom then returned, using the trailer to haul
the car back to Charlotte.
We went through Indiana and reached our point of departure at Aurora, Illinois,
about 5:30 p.m. Three rooms were reserved for us at the Comfort Motel. Marilyn,
Kathy and I roomed together with Gladys and Bev sharing another. Gerrit roomed
by himself---for obvious reasons. We arose at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, June 25 and
enjoyed a continental breakfast before being transported to the terminal at
Plainfield by bus. There are three such delivery terminals around the Chicago
area. I watched the luggage while the others checked out their year-old buses
for the trip. While sitting there a gentleman who had transported buses from
Arkansas to the terminal, came and visited with me. The ones he delivered were
built in Arkansas. Our buses were Ward body and GMC.
I was the only passenger, going with my daughter, Marilyn. The seat backs were
high so I had to sit on my sleeping bag and a blanket that Marilyn had brought
along, to see over the top. We left the terminal. Along the way we stopped for
fuel and had breakfast at Denny’s. Denny has a policy where if your breakfast is
not served within ten minutes, it is free. We were served twenty minutes after
ordering. Marilyn suggested to Gerrit that we tell the waitress. He did. She
took their bill (Mine was always separate due to just being a passenger—all the
group had their expenses paid). The waitress came back and they had deducted
$10.00 from the $17.00 bill. At l0:00 a.m. we were on the road for a most
memorable trip. We were in Wisconsin at 12:30 and stopped at a large food store
at Beloit for fruit, munchies and ice. Each of the buses had a cooler.
Every couple of hours were given the opportunity to stretch our legs and get
some relief. At these times the buses were fueled and checked over. Gerrit,
having been over this route many times before, knew all the points of interest,
which made it very enjoyable. I will try to hit the highlights of this trip then
each person can add their own thoughts.
We passed by the Wisconsin Dells. At 7:30 p.m., we stopped for dinner in
Wisconsin and reached Minnesota at 8:30. Our “fearless leader” asked the girls
(at a drivers’ meeting) if they would like to drive on to St. Cloud, Minnesota.
They said “okay”, not realizing how far St. Cloud was. They drove until 11:00
p.m. Though the extra mileage was exhausting on a very hot day, it gave us an
opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunset as we approached St. Cloud. It was well
worth it. By the time we had finished the first day, we had traveled 501 miles.
Once in the motel, which was very nice, we were ready to collapse. It was a very
long day and aside from being tired, I felt good.
Tuesday morning’s wake-up call came at 6:30 (Tuesday, June 26). Throughout the
trip Kathy did her usual ironing, hair styling, etc. each morning. Marilyn also
spent the morning showering, fixing her hair, applying her make-up and packing.
When time permitted she did my hair as well. Quite often after a long day of
driving, showers were enjoyed in the evening as well as the morning.
This particular morning presented itself with a bit of trouble. Marilyn’s bus
would not start. After much discussion, and 20 minutes of working on the
problem, the other drivers persuaded Geritt that the choke lever should be
pulled out. Once this was done, the bus started right away. Before leaving we
enjoyed a cup of coffee from the motel. Breakfast and a bus drivers’ meeting
came after a couple of hours on the road. Everyone along the way was interested
in what we were doing. We had many interesting topics of conversation. Before
leaving we purchased more ice and groceries.
Two good meals were consumed each day with our noon meal consisting of munchies.
Marilyn kept me busy getting her ice to suck on or a piece of fruit to munch.
The other drivers kept their ice chests next to their seats for easy access.
Mealtime was never boring, with good conversation from all. Gerrit always
started the day with a silent prayer at breakfast. It was a happy up-beat group.
Everyone enjoyed the trip and all the happenings that surrounded it.
I had planned to write on the bus and keep my diary up to date. This quickly
became an impossible task due to the jarring. Some of my notes are illegible.
We crossed into North Dakota at 2:00 p.m……I called Bill at Red and Jean’s and
found out Loina passed away today. We arrived in Minot, North Dakota at 8:00
p.m. The buses were fueled for the next morning and we checked into the Select
Total. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the “Rollin’ Pin”. At one of our stops
during the hot day we treated ourselves to a “Tastee Freeze”.
Wednesday, June 27, 1990 we started early once again and were on the road at
7:00 a.m. We stopped and took pictures of the beautiful rolling hills of North
Dakota. The scenery was breathtaking with cattle grazing everywhere and hay all
put up along the roadside ditches. The temperature this morning was 63 degrees.
We fueled up just before the point of entry into Canada. Our departure from U.
S. was not a pleasant experience. Not only was it raining, but we had an
unforgettable breakfast. Gerrit had prepared us for a fancy restaurant at
Portal, USA. The waitress was a real winner. Of course we all had to use the
rest room, which might have upset her. Anyway, she was quite rude.
We arrived at Canadian customs at 9:00 a.m. (gained one hour). Bev and Kathy
were called into Customs since they had never been in Canada. We took pictures
in the entrance building and picked up some interesting material and signed the
register. The lady there was very nice and helpful. As we entered Saskatchewan
we saw coal strip mining. We stopped at historical Weyburn Museum for a few
minutes where we picked up some cards, etc. A lot of road construction and
pumping oil wells were encountered along the way.
As we traveled north on Highway 2 toward Prince Albert, Kathy picked up a
tornado warning coming our way just a short distance from Saskatoon. We could
see it billowing in the sky. After a brief drivers’ meeting we decided to try to
run it out. The storm was moving in a southeasterly direction as we traveled
northwesterly. As we got back into the buses the wind came up and hail and rain
were coming down. We drove a short distance and the weather became increasingly
Marilyn would not drive any farther. We could see the tornado coming toward us.
The other drivers continued on, Gladys stopped a minute, then went on ahead with
the others. Marilyn stopped the bus and we got into the ditch down from the bus.
She threw her rain coat over me and crawled under the rain coat with her body
over us. We remained in the ditch for several minutes. Once the rain, hail and
wind subsided, Marilyn looked over the top of the ditch. The tornado was not
moving very fast at that point. We got back in the bus and took off like a big
We caught up with the others not too far down the road. Everyone was frightened
in his own way, not really knowing what to do. I’m sure the tornado passed right
over where we had been. When we got to a gas station in Saskatoon, the stores
had been evacuated.
There had been quite a bit of destruction in and around the city for about six
miles but no bodily injuries. Two of our drivers, Kathy and Gladys, took
pictures of the tornado. We all saw a tail separate from the larger mass, but it
disappeared as fast as it came. When Marilyn and I got off the bus, we looked
like drowned rats. We had a laugh over that at dinner that night---about Marilyn
throwing her mother in the ditch. I think they were all equally frightened and
much relieved when it had passed. We had the distinction of being called “ditch
inspectors”. This was around 3:00 p.m.
We stayed overnight at Imperial Motel in Lloydminster. We had an enjoyable time
swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. Gerrit, Kathy and Marilyn went down the
water slide several times. Gladys and Bev went shopping. Marilyn called Rosie.
Kathie called her family.
June 28, 1990 found us on the road at 6:30 a.m. We entered Alberta, Canada at
6:55. Yesterday we drove 580 miles, about half the way through our trip. There
are huge farms, many with their own drying bins and silos. Oil wells are pumping
and many ponds along the road as well as beautiful lakes---but no fishing. I
inquired about the reason for not seeing any boats or activity on the lakes.
They are shallow and freeze to the bottom in the winter. Therefore no fish can
live. Many two lane highways, much road building. Trees are used for field
boundries, very few fences. They use women as we do for flag persons for road
We stopped for breakfast in Vegerville, “Smitty’s Pancake House”. I liked these
restaurants as they had senior citizen menus just right for me. Regular meals
were far more than I could eat. Gladys shopped for some items, Bev bought a
camera since Gerrit had left his jacket home, he bought one as it had started
getting cool. There are more riding horses in Alberta than we have seen
We stopped at 10:20 so Gerrit could fix Glady’s CB. At Whitecourt we filled up
with fuel, got a few munchies and checked the gift items. While there Gerrit
stuck his head in Marilyn’s bus and said “what’s that?”. I said “garbage”
(thinking he was referring to a small bag we had setting there to throw into a
He said “No, that” referring to Marilyn’s rock collection. I don’t think he
could believe his eyes. I said “yes, she collects rocks”. He just shook his
head. Whitecourt is the snowmobile capital of Alberta. We also saw a field of
buffalo and deer.
At 7:10 p.m. we entered British Columbia and took pictures of the Canadian
Rockies. The Canadian Rockies are breathtaking. You would think there was
nothing more beautiful; then, around the bend there was one to surpass the
previous one. The horizon was endless.
We took pictures of signs about 12 miles down the road. After fueling the buses
we called it a day and stayed at Fort St. John. It is 10:00 p.m. (1:00 a.m. our
time)---now three hours difference. Our Fearless Leader---at drivers’ meetings
always told them we’d get there before dark. About the second day the girls
caught on to that one. Since daylight lasted longer each day, we made good time.
Our lodging was at Coachman Inn.
We were up at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, June 28 and took off at 5:35. Breakfast was
enjoyed at Fort Saint John where we left at 6:55. Gerrit treated me to a roll
and coffee along with the whole crew at Pink Mountain at the foot of the
Canadian Rockies---a nice long rest stop.
When we reached Dawson Creek we were at the beginning of the 1523 mile Alcan
Highway. We parked the buses and Gerrit took us to the middle of town to the
monument of the Alaskan Highway. At the middle of the thoroughfare traffic
stopped all four ways to let us take pictures. One of the girls remarked that
that had been Charlotte, the motorists would have gotten us all. A short
distance beyond Dawson Creek we ran into road construction---again. We stopped
and took pictures of one of the highest points on the Alcan Highway. Farther
down the road we took pictures of a beautiful gorge and saw Rocky Mountain Stone
Sheep. Shortly after, Gerrit pulled off at a gas station (set somewhat back from
Kathy didn’t see him (winding roads along the whole route, and could not always
see the lead bus) and barreled right on by. The other buses noticed him and
stopped for fuel. Bev filled up and went on ahead, finally catching up with her.
Kathy had stopped, waiting for those behind her. We always traveled in the same
order---Gerrit, Kathy, Bev, Marilyn and Gladys. Marilyn asked the gas station
attendant if he would call the police and have Kathy stop. He said they do their
own policing. The remaining buses left and before long we found our runaway girl
and Bev waiting for us at a turn off enjoying the beautiful scenery. TO BE
CONCLUDED NEXT ISSUE.