December 30. 1984Dearest Family –
Got out the file and realized that we haven't written to you all this month so better hurry. We have talked to you several times on the phone (tried oftener) and did see John and X on Nov. 30 when we took G'ma to the airport. It was so nice having Serena home for Christmas and glad to have Mary Virginia with us since Thanksgiving. Hope that Serena got back OK. Mary V called from Urbana last night & glad to hear from her. She is attending URBANA '84 which we hope to learn more about - 20,000 there for a mission conference. She said that they have three speakers each morning and evening with seminars in the afternoons. Billy Graham is to speak this evening. She is rooming with a girl from Pa. & one from North Carolina. She and five others from Port William drove over in the van leaving at 5AM Thursday morning and due back Tuesday PM.
It seemed really strange celebrating Christmas early as Serena did want to get Chicago early Tuesday evening. She kept talking about taking the 6:30 AM bus from Dayton but after attending Candlelight Communion service at the church Christmas eve it would have come super early. We did get there in plenty of time for the 11:45 AM bus which would get her to Chicago at 6 PM. Mie Young and MV went with us so we made good use of the van.
The tragic deaths of Sarah Burton Palmer and her daughter Barbara Mongold in an accident Dec. 21 in Adams County put a pall on the Christmas celebration in New Vienna. Calling hours were Wednesday & Creed Culbreath had the double funeral Thursday. Tina asked about you John - she is living in Dayton (was married in the church here a few years ago). Saw most of the family except Rosemary who hadn't arrived yet from Florida. Diane asked about you Catherine. She lives in Lynchburg, still very slender and seemed to be the most stable one of the family. Lydia has recently moved to Tennessee to live with Cynthia and her family. Aaron came home from Germany (he's in the service) and really a good looking young man and he asked particularly about Serena. David and Diane are the executors of their mother's estate. David is the oldest and lives in Blanchester. We had never really talked to Sarah's husband and he seemed very nice – so different than her first husband.
That certainly wasn't anything that Jim Mongold needed to cope with as he has such a drinking problem anyway. They had lost two children - one seriously handicapped infant and then their son who took his life (about 19) a few years ago. Lora Drake was sitting with Tina Mongold as they had been good friends and room together in nursing school and she asked about you John.
Mrs. Howard Penn (Hazel) passed away Dec. 22 and so they had calling hours after the double funeral. It was really a blessing for her as she has been low for a long time. Dad did get to see his old school chum Barbara who was her usual self boring her children with details of their friendship. Larry Penn and his wife were there but Tim wouldn't arrive until the next morning in time for the funeral. He lives in Tennessee.
Dad has one more day (Monday, the 31st) as commissioner. David Stewart and the others were sworn in last Thursday and Dad was honored with a resolution then thanking him for his service. David Bailey can be quite verbose especially when he has an audience - not that he wasn't sincere. He enjoys the life of a politician.
Last night we stopped at the hospital to see Marge Wallen who asked about X and John. We hardly recognized her as she has some infection or allergy (they are trying to find out what). Her face was so red and swollen starting from a lesion on her nose. She said that the Rax potatoes come from Nick's potato business. I've heard they are the best so now we can see why.
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Sarah Alice Shinkle Burton Palmer 1914-1984
Barbara Ann Burton Mongold 1935-1984
Hugh Burton 1905-1967
Charles Palmer 1909-1989
Hazel Johnston Penn 1896-1984
Howard Newton Penn 1892-1963
Barbara Ellen Penn Nash 1925-2007
William Hoyt Penn 1932-2007