Donovan and his wife, Kate moved to Batesville in 2014 in prep for retirement. They felt most fortunate to have been able to buy a simple log cabin on a six acre wooded lot.
When they heard that a backyard chicken coop and four birds needed a new home, they–somewhat tenuously–said “Bring ‘em!”
The coop was dropped off in their driveway on a cold, rainy March night. But soon, all adapted and Don built a simple fence, repaired, decorated and bolstered the coop to protect the four hens from night-time predators. The Freelands enjoy the company of “the first ladies” (and eggs!) year round.
This is a recent capture of Don, holding “Dora” next to their backyard coop.
In 1952, Nancy won the Batesville ‘Centennial Queen’ title.
”It was not a beauty queen win. We had a pageant at a football field and they were selling tickets to the pageant - they used the community platform, how Batesville was founded and the wood-working. So, whoever sold the most tickets to the pageant wins the title. It was between my junior and senior year in high school. My best friend, Barb Biehl, and I sold the tickets together, and we won. So that’s how I became the ‘Centennial Queen.’
One company came in as the sponsor and they gave me a gown to wear, a robe with fur on it and a crown. There was a dinner function one night and the governor came from Indianapolis.
At the pageant, the women would wear old fashion clothes and the men grew their beard as they had a beard contest. Then we had a big parade in town and I was standing on the float with my court around me, basically they’re the other girls who sold ticket too. I wore a dress that looked like a wedding gown; it had a long train and I remember my younger sister and her friends helped carrying the train. I had to give a short speech at the pageants, which went on for 3-4 nights. Maybe just, ‘Welcome to Batesville,’ or something along those lines.
Anyway, the main prize was a trip to New York City. So Barb and I went to New York City for one week, on a train, by ourselves. All the local stores gave me something to take to the trip - the millinery shop gave me a hat, the dress shop gave me a suit and some store gave me a luggage.
My best memory from the trip was the Stork Club in Manhattan. I had kept books for Kennedy Dry Company in Batesville, so when we were in New York City, a representative from the company took us to the Stork Club for lunch - it was very prestigious but I didn’t see anybody I know. Before we left on the trip, a girl’s father had told us, ‘Be sure you don’t eat your peas with a knife.’ Well, one of the dishes we ordered has peas on it. Barb and I had the giggles when we saw those peas on the plate! It was so much fun!”
“My fascination with Kodak started when my wife and I were in Memphis, TN. We met a commercial photographer, Red, who invited us to his house and he had all the Kodak folding cameras and I was totally captured by them. They were fascinating.
Then, I got a job in a camera shop. The owner had a dark room at the back of the shop, a little studio set-up which were all to sell cameras and the Kodak came along with that. Occasionally, there were clients who wanted to sell their old Kodak camera which interested me, because I’ve seen Red and all his stuff. From then on, my photography evolved - I was photographing more events; I had even photographed Zig Ziglar and Paul Harvey.
It’s been 40 years and I’ve built my Kodak collection quite extensively. When you go up on a curve; the more money you make, the more you buy. At some point, I’ve stopped buying and enjoyed the stuff I have. Now I am on the other side of the curve - the divestiture side where I’m starting to sell a lot of the items I don’t use. I’m enjoying that part of the collecting because trading and selling are really exciting parts of collecting. It’s a lot of fun.”
Since 2010, Jim Waldo has been the brain and drive behind “Youth To Yellowstone” - a program where selected youths from the local high schools go on a 12-day trip to Yellowstone National Park for an “Adventure of a Lifetime”. Jim has lead 3 such trips per year for the past 11 years.
”The dream began to become reality during 2010 when a friend and I took a young man to Yellowstone National Park. Watching the young man’s reaction and how he grew and changed in just 10 days of camping and exploring gave me the answer. The next year we took 3 young men and the results were the same in triplicate.
Advance to today…the thrill is as intense as in the beginning. Now the trips are 12 days long; 2 days to YNP stopping first at Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial, 8 days camping in YNP and 2 days home. Therefore, for three trips, I spend almost a month in YNP as a guide.
The beauty is in watching as the students and adults, all strangers, at first tentative and unsure, begin to warm up, blend and unite. Everyone is equal, and age means nothing. Adults find new “Grandchildren”, adults that do not have children “adopt” teenagers.
Many chaperones have decided to join and continue this dream. I can’t begin to explain the feeling I get, the emotions are intense and deep. It is the hard work, the process, the excitement of students and their families when chosen to go, the look in their eyes and the sound of their voices when they get to YNP. It is from “Jim I can’t do that,” to “Jim, I can do anything now!” It is the pranks and jokes, the singing and dancing, the laughsand tears! It is all encompassing. I change the lives, students and adults, and I love it!! People that are close to me understand. I could not ask for anything more. The dream is BEAUTIFUL!”
Delbert is a resident of Osgood and has a wealth of knowledge on the history of Ripley County, especially of Osgood and Napoleon. He used to dress up as an Old Prospector with his donkey at the local parades.
“I was born on 17 January, 1928. My folks didn’t have a car until April of that year, so I was a (horse) buggy child for 3 months!”
“I started the Old Prospector role in 1970 when Napoleon celebrated its sesquicentennial. One day I thought, ‘Maybe I’d get a donkey and go as an Old Prospector.’ I didn’t own a donkey at that time, so I borrowed one. Then people started calling me the Old Prospector.
Then some years later also in Napoleon, they started having Pioneer Days and they had some t-shirts done with my character on it with the donkey. I stopped doing that role in the last 3 years or so, but I still have all the paraphernalia that I used.”
Secret to longevity
“I guess just keeping busy, I reckon. And I’d probably say genetics might have to do with it - my granddaddy’s been pretty old, and my maternal grandfather lived to be 90. We’re of Swiss descent, and we’re known for our longevity. As for eating healthy, I don’t pay attention to that. I eat whatever I want.”
Marriage & music
Delbert has been married to his wife since 1954 (65 years.) He visits her regularly at Manderley Health Care Center, as she has Alzheimer’s. He also gathers a few friends to play music at the nursing home she’s in, and at several other local nursing homes. “I do it to help people out, it doesn’t cost anything and others appreciate it a lot. They can’t get away, so to have somebody come in and do that kind of stuff is great for them.”
Dannie & Cheryl, married for 56 years.
How did you meet?
“We’ve always gone to church together, and then I asked him to my junior prom in New Marion. That was our first date. And then it just led from there. We got married two or three years after.”
“We were married here in Versailles at the Versailles Baptist Church in 1962. On December 24th. The church wasn’t finished; it was being remodelled. We had church on Sunday and we got married on Monday. We had a nice storm that day. We had the wedding at the church, and the reception in the basement. Just family and friends, not that many because of the ice storm.”
Secret to a successful marriage
Cheryl “The secret is just being compatible and get along with each other. Not be over demanding on your part.”
Dannie “Need to be a little bit flexible; it doesn’t always have to be “My Way or the Highway. Have a little bit more compromise, once in a while.”
“My mom and I subscribed to this company that sends you a box of global snacks from a different country every month. We enjoyed the variety of snacks that we’ve received and eaten. We were discussing about that and how we were tired of cooking and eating the same food at home. So we thought, ‘Let’s borrow the idea from the snack company and cook a dish from a different country every month instead!’
So we brought out our paper map, turned it upside down, then pointed to a random country. We started the game in late spring, and so far we have cooked a dish from Ghana, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Eqypt. It’s been a really cool experience to be able to experience different dishes from around the world in our own kitchen.”
What does ‘food’ means to you?
“I think of it as a connection with my family, or people whom I care about. And that is how I show that I care. It’s just instinctual for me to make and create things for those I care about.”
“My passion is theater. When it comes down to all the things that I do, and have done in the past, the thing that I love the most, the thing that makes me want to get up in the morning, is the theater.
I think the passion started when I was in grade school when we had our Christmas pageant. The nuns and sisters in my Catholic school would give me the parts with the big words, or the most words to memorize. I love people clapping for me. That sounds so vain but it’s true - I love the fact that it entertains people.
Then in high school, I was pretty much in every play being the actress, as I thought that was the only way to go. But when my kids were in high school plays, I was asked by the director to help backstage and I’ve been hooked since.
The first time I produced a play, when the actors went on stage, I cried. I felt like they were my babies and they were walking on the stage to go out and fly. It was so cool to feel that, and I do a lot of theater to recreate that. It’s a great way to get a lot of people of varied backgrounds, put them together to put one big project, have it become successful and people love it. And I don’t have to be in front.
The thing that is wonderful now is I’ve had several kids, in the last two years, who told me that I had something to do with them wanting to go on. I know a professional opera singer and she said I was one of the people who supported her when she needed it. I never did this to make a difference. I did this, at first, because I was selfish and it made me feel good. But when I started to get more involved, and getting more people involved, that’s when I found out the thing that I do is rubbing off on other people. It’s so exciting! I love it!”
Nancie is a humble and unassuming artist. Her paintings have graced the covers of magazines, exhibited in many local galleries and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Internationally, she has two of her paintings housed at the Louvre Museum, which is the world’s largest art museum, and a historic monument in Paris, France. She is also listed in the Who’s Who of American Artists.
”There’s something about artists, when you will go weeks, or months without painting, and then you see a brush or a pencil, and you have to pick it up and you have to create something. I always paint the eyes first in every piece of art that I do, because I’m basically a portrait painter. I do the eyes first because I will always have company with me while I paint. And when you get the eyes set, they’ll be looking at you no matter where you are…whether you’re over here reaching for more paint, or if you’re walking across the room to sharpen a pencil, they’re looking at you like, ‘Come on, finish me up!’. It feels good because the eyes are the pathway to the soul”
Despite the outstanding achievement and success…the biggest thing she wants to highlight is her love for people, and that she wants to spread what she does with others by teaching.
ROSELYN MCKITTRICK (August 22, 1934 - March 16, 2019) Milan, IN
Roselyn founded the Milan 1954 museum in Milan so the world can continue to celebrate and retell the story of the Milan Miracle of ‘54. The museum is her legacy.
What made you start the museum?
“I started the museum because of cancer. I started it after God let me survive from cancer. I used to own a big restaurant down the street called, ‘Milan Railroad Inn’ which I started with my husband. During that period, I had breast cancer. I had 2 children in college and one in high school. God has always been very important in my life - I started leaning pretty heavily on him and asked that if I could get well, I will do somethingspecial for this town. And this is what I chose to do - you don’t back out on your promise to God.”
Why Milan ‘54?
“Because I knew these men. They are the nicest people you can ever meet.”