Last week, I wrote of my lucky find at the Jeromesville Homecoming, landing the top bid on my father’s senior high school yearbook.
I need to give credit where credit is due. The opportunity to even bid on such an item would never have presented itself without the kind heart and the keen eye of Jeromesville historian Kenny Wise.
Wise, a man I have known all my life as one of the top-notch good guys of my hometown, has become our town’s historian. He turns up at area auctions with the intent of finding Jeromesville memorabilia, placing the winning bid nearly every time.
He has put together an impressive collection for the Jeromesville Historical Museum, a two-room building that once served as the fire station and village council headquarters. If the museum already has a certain piece, it is put in the annual homecoming’s silent auction.
While some small towns might have a few pictures showing the changing landscape over the decades, Jeromesville’s Historical Museum is filled to the gills with great pictures of the village, most blown-up versions of original post-cards in black and white.
And there is a full World War I uniform on display, once worn by Jeromesville’s Dennis Austin Sr.
Sprinkled among all of this, visitors can find town calendars from nearly every year going back to the 1940s, all of the Hillsdale High School yearbooks and most of the Jeromesville High School yearbooks, along with old phone books.
The once-thriving small town can be described in many ways, and old milk bottles, cheese boxes and ice cream machinery help to prove that Jeromesville was once a strong dairy hub, with four dairies in the village back in the day. And all of this is due, in large part, to Kenny Wise.
An incredible number of Jeromesville Elevator calendars and decorative thermometers lines a table, long ago given out each year by proprietor Don Glasgo, prompting me to tell Kenny about a letter I received from a Farm and Dairy reader awhile back.
While going through her family’s home after the death of her parents, she came across a pristine piece of Jeromesville Elevator memorabilia and wondered if I could help her deliver it to one of Don Glasgo’s family members.
I agreed to do so, and she boxed it up and sent it to me. I packed it up and sent it on to a Glasgo nephew who was going to be seeing Don’s daughter at the family reunion.
This brought about a great story from Wise.
Upon the death of Mrs. Glasgo in recent years, the Glasgo daughters let Kenny know that they had not found a single piece of Jeromesville Elevator memorabilia in their parents’ life-long home.
Kenny chuckled and said he remembered Don Glasgo’s wife, commenting upon the colorful collection, saying that she had never had a single one of these sought-after items.
“Well, you were never one of my customers,” Mr. Glasgo promptly replied.
When I was a kid, I knew Kenny Wise could be found at Winbigler Lumber Company. A hard-working man who always had a good story or a joke to share, I knew him as a member of the same club my dad belonged to: the long-suffering silent husbands of the not-so-silent Jeromesville Canasta Club women, a group that is still going loud and strong after 50-plus years of monthly card club parties.
Many of the “old-timers” are now gone, but Kenny Wise perseveres. Every small town should have such a gem.