Dear readers, sitting down to write this week’s Valley Home News is one of the most difficult things I have had to do during the 35 years I have had the privilege of reporting Valley Home News! During that time I have had the privilege of meeting and making many new friends in our community. I cherish the wonderful opportunity that I have had to write about these many in the weekly column. During that space of time, I missed turning in only two columns and the Leader missed printing another two out of an approximate total of 1860 issues started in September 1978. There have been some close calls also! My husband Glenn worked for the Navy in Fresno and would drop the typed article in the Leader door mail slot every Monday morning on the way to his job. On one occasion, Glenn arrived in Fresno, only to discover to his horror that the article was still lying on the passenger seat next to him, so drove back to Oakdale to deliver it. Our community was always in our thoughts, even when we were on vacation in Missouri and Massachusetts, doing family research. We received news by telephone via our daughter Kathy, wrote the article, then sent it to our daughter, who typed it and delivered it to the Leader. When I was hospitalized on one occasion, I wrote the article by hand and Glenn typed and delivered it to the Leader. Eventually, the Valley Home News articles joined the modern world and were typed on a computer and e-mailed to the Leader every Sunday evening.
I have met many new friends and neighbors here in our community and I have certainly enjoyed the wonderful opportunity that I have had to write about the many activities which have occurred in our little community. What would the Holidays be like without the fun of watching the Christmas Parade of Lights moving through the center of town, created and hosted by our Valley Home 4-H members, to welcome in the festive season! The planting of the live Christmas tree, glowing with lights, in our new Valley Home Community Park and the group welcoming in the Holiday by caroling through the neighborhood. What would Halloween activities be like without that group’s spooky Haunted House located in our new park? What would Easter be like for our Valley Home youngsters, if the 4-H’ers didn’t work with the Easter Bunny to prepare an exciting Easter Egg Hunt for them?
One of the heartbreaking events in our community was the loss of our old Community Center Clubhouse. The building held so many wonderful memories of events including school plays, Valley Home 4-H meetings, weddings, salad bars, community dances, luncheons, Valley Home School graduations, community meetings, Valley Home Volunteer Fireman dinners, the special thrill for our own family in getting to see our daughter, Kathy star in one of the many plays enjoyed within its walls. I feel especially proud that my husband and I were part of the group that tried so hard to save that venerable old structure from being destroyed.
When, after many attempts to save the beloved old building failed, school graduations moved over to the “old” Valley Home School campus and were held outdoors successfully using an old truck flatbed trailer for a stage, which, later also became the stage for several of our fun filled Valley Home Talent Shows. Graduation ceremonies and other events have now moved across the street to the newer school, however, the acoustics of the newer building leave much to be desired and take away from what is occurring.
I will close, this my last Valley Home News column, with a big sincere Thank You! to all who have helped me by sharing their lives and stories with me over these many years. I will miss you all!