Editor finds snippets of news in notebooks

Marianne Gillespie
Chillicothe Homecoming Queen Deedy Johnson, now Jensen, sits after being crowned in 1962. Curt King was her attendant and both are 1963 Chillicothe graduates who returned to town in the fall for their 50th class reunion.

With a new year comes a readiness to start fresh again, but it seems to be harder when we’re stuck in the doldrums of winter and all you see are gigantic snow drifts.

The sometimes aggravating weather has made it easier to clean out my files and follow up on items stuck in the pages of my many reporter’s notebooks. Come with me as I meander through a variety of topics.

Homecoming Queen

Residents may recall seeing a truck with a homecoming king and queen celebrating their 50th class reunion. Dorothea (Johnson) Jensen rode in the IVC Homecoming Parade with Curt King. They ended up in a truck with a makeshift sign noting they were the king and queen of the 1962 homecoming. Their fellow 1963 classmates rode behind them on a float.

But as King told me later, he really wasn’t the homecoming king. See the photo he brought to me of the coronation.

Her boyfriend couldn’t be her attendant that night at the dance, so she asked her friend to join her.

In those days, it was the queen who was the main attraction for homecoming, not a couple as it is now.

In fact, after looking through old yearbooks, it wasn’t until IVC Homecoming 1984 that the yearbook noted a king and queen, instead of just a queen. Janelle Wanack and Jed Dooley were the crowned royalty. According to the previous yearbook, it appears that Lisa Foster was the last queen to reign by herself.


Residents who have had trouble finding a Chillicothe Times-Bulletin on the newsstand or want the convenience of not leaving their home (especially in these crazy winter days) now may sign up to receive our free e-edition. You’ll see the pages just like they are printed but in digital form on your computer.

All you need to do is email us your name, town, which paper you want (TimesNewspapers does have five publications) to


If you haven’t belted out some of your favorite tunes as the movie plays at Town Theatre, you’re missing out on the Chillicothe Optimist Club’s annual fundraiser. Last year “Grease” was the feature flick, and this year was “Mamma Mia” only a few weeks ago. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the words, they are put on the screen for you. The latest showing featured songs of ABBA, which even allowed one lucky participant to win an ABBA record.

Lovely ladies

We’ve lost a few Chillicotheans who will leave a void in the community because their separate strengths and character made our community a better place.

No doubt 100-year-old Polly Benten will long be remembered for her days of teaching business at the high school. It’s likely many residents still use something today that she taught them: typing. More than just the skills she taught her students, she actively participated in community service and always had a smile on her face. That sweet smile is what I’ll remember about her.

Juanita Swanson, who turned 90 before her death, was a friendly face that you could count on at community events. She poured her heart into the Chillicothe Historical Society and her love for the way things used to be. I’ve been told she kept a daily diary for many, many years, which is practically unheard of nowadays. One of my favorite stories Juanita told was about when her husband Hilmer kissed her — her toes curled. Sounds like love to me.

Jane Harms’ handiwork came out through teaching residents how to play the piano for decades. She was a familiar face at school district concerts as she accompanied the students. She also found time to help with Chillicothe Summer Theatre in the pit crew. Her son could be found there, too, whereas her husband took to the stage to act.

All three of these ladies found their niche in doing something that they were good at and benefiting the community in the process. It prompts the question: Who will step up and take their place for the betterment of Chillicothe?

New residents

It’s easy to get used to the people we know here in Chillicothe, but I was surprised at how many people I’ve come in contact with since last summer who have recently moved to Chillicothe. I met one family at Downtown Thursdays who had moved to the area and checked out the event since it was close to their residence. I found another new family at Claud-Elen Days who had a child involved in one of the pageants. Another woman called me on the phone and needed some questions answered. Another woman found her way to our Facebook page recently and sent me a message about moving soon. She was looking for a house for rent in Chillicothe as her child would be starting school in the near future and wanted him to go to a “good school.”

My point is, while Chillicothe is not growing rapidly, there are new families moving to town. I’m starting to think we may need some sort of newcomer’s club to meet occasionally. Maybe then we could explain the Ghostly “spirit” among us.