Letters To The Editor

Each month, The Kentucky Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from our faithful readers. Whenever possible, we try to publish as many of them as possible in the 12 pages we have set aside for "Letters to the Editor."

Here are actual letters from September 2015

Little Hickman,
Jessamine County

Dear Editor:
In the mid-20th century small buildings were built in Jessamine County, Kentucky, to be used at the voting precincts. These were used only twice each year (May primary and November general elections) for decades.
These buildings had no restrooms or other amenities and gradually fell into disuse, disrepair, and were finally torn down as precincts were moved to churches, schools, and other public buildings.
Only the small building for the "Little Hickman" precinct survived. It had no restroom except for a port-a-potty, no room to prepare lunch or snacks, a small heater, and a window air conditioner. The building was dirty, but the voters took it in stride and always turned out to vote, even more than some of the other precincts in nicer locations. The long-time precinct workers were cheerful about their duties.
In the primary election on May 19, 2015, the "Little Hickman" voting house was used for the last time.
In the November 2015 General Election, voters will go to the nearby Little Hickman Christian Church to vote. The precinct officers will have inside restrooms, a kitchen, air conditioning or heat, and a clean environment to spend their 12-plus-hour day.
Wini Yunker
204 N. 2nd Street
Nicholasville, KY 40356

More On The Calmes
Family Genealogy

Dear Editor:
Regarding the "Genealogy From Long Ago" in the April 2015 issue, page 73, of The Kentucky Explorer, the information on Marquis, Sr. was correct, except that his son, Marquis, Jr., did marry. He married Winifred Wallace in 1725 at Calmes Neck, Virginia. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, born June 1, 1732. She married Leonard Helm.
What interests me is the fact that Leonard's and Elizabeth's son, George, married a Mary Frances Calmes. I haven't found out yet how Mary was related to the Marquis de La Calmes family.
I enjoy reading The Explorer, especially the "I Remember" stories.
Diane Preston Carey
230 Bells Lane
Junction City, KY 40440

Akers Celebrate
50th Anniversary

Dear Editor:
I would like to announce that Windell and Lillie Akers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 4, 2015. They were the parents of eight children and had many grandchildren.
Windell grew up at Dana, Floyd County, Kentucky. He was born to Carl and Goldie Pearl Akers in 1950, and is the grandson of Marvin Akers. Windell attended Banner School until 1956 where Beecher Woods was principal. Windell left Floyd County in 1958 to look for work in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Hamilton County Police Academy and worked for one of the world's largest security companies. He has three brothers and three sisters.
Windell and Lillie met in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky, and married in 1965.
Lillie grew up in the White Ash section of Lee County, Kentucky. She was born in 1937 to Robert and Dorothy Collins and has seven brothers and six sisters. Lillie attended Beattyville Elementary School. She first visited Newport in 1953.
Jesse Akers
Windell L. and Lillie Akers
19 W. Crescent Avenue
Newport, KY 41071

Josephine Hurt Article
Creates Connections

Dear Editor:
I thought readers might like to learn the results of my article about Josephine Hurt which was published in the June 2015, issue of The Kentucky Explorer.
Josephine was a precious part of my childhood, and I wrote the article because I wanted those who knew her not to forget her, and those who hadn't known her to wish they had. She was not in my book about Brushy, where I grew up, because she lived across the hill on John's Creek. She was truly a special lady, and those who did know her were blessed to he a part of her life.
I had sent the article in a couple of months before, and the first indication that it had been published was an email from Josephine's husband's sister's grandson, who had visited the farm often in his own childhood. He told me how much he had enjoyed the article, and that he remembered all the things I described in it. In addition he mentioned some things I had forgotten, like the Collie dog, names of the horses used to plow the farm, and eating watermelon on the porch. It was like a visit home, and wonderful for me to connect with someone who had the same special memories. That contact, in itself, was a blessing, but more blessings were to come.
Within a week or two, I received another email. This one was from one of Josephine's nephews who had even more memories, for he and his brothers had also visited the farm often in
their childhood. If anyone could have loved Josephine more than I did, it had to be those boys. In addition to being their aunt, Josephine at age 15 had taken over the care of their father from the time when their mother died, when her nephew was only a few months old, until he was eight when she married Everette and moved to the farm.
The nephew said he had pictures and information if I wanted them. I replied that I would be thrilled with anything he wanted to share, and asked if he had a photo of the swinging bridge.
When the next email came, my eyes must have lit up like a child at Christmas, for there were three photos of the bridge. What a dream come true. As it turned out, he has also shared many other photos and many of his memories of the farm.
I think that bridge, (along with the one on Brushy that I am still trying to find) more than any other single thing, is a symbol of, as I expressed in the title of my Brushy book, a gentler time and place. The Hurt Branch bridge was the biggest one I have ever seen, and I have memories of walking across it, not only with my mom when we visited the farm, but alone as a child of eight or ten years old when Mr. Hurt would send me to the store.
Going to the store meant walking possibly half a mile, climbing the wooden steps up to the bridge, walking across on its rough boards with the woven wire sides, climbing the steps cut out of the dirt hillside up to the road, and walking another half mile or so to the store. It was an adventure. The errand made me feel important, and there was no reason to be afraid. It is sad that with all the advantages modern times have brought, the greatest loss has been the freedom to be a child and able to walk freely with no fear.
So as I have come to value the memories of my childhood, I have wished for years to find a photo of that bridge. I have asked everyone I know, made countless phone calls, and looked up swinging bridges on the Internet, all to no avail, until I wrote an article with no thought of honor for myself, but only for the memory of a special lady.
I have always hoped that someone somewhere had a photo, and it would turn up. It has been an unspoken prayer and a need in my heart to find this tangible reminder of my childhood. What we often forget is that even with the smallest desires of our hearts, we need to ask for God's help. What may seem so unimportant to other people has been important to me and important to my God who loves me and wants me to have things that make me happy. Did I just stumble on the way to make my wish come true? I don't think so. I had to do my part, exhaust all my resources, and then when I could do no more, the blessing came. Sure, it is a small thing, but life is made up of small things, and we need to realize that it is not just the big things that are important. Small ones often bring the greatest joy and a reminder that if God can bring me a photo of a bridge, I have no doubt that he will take care of the bigger things I need.
So, thank you, Kentucky Explorer, for publishing my article, and a special thank you to Josephine's relatives who have had me walking down memory lane. You have all been a part of a dream come true.
Janive Lowe Underwood
514 Brewer Road
Danville, IL 61834

These are just samples of the many letters in each issue of The Explorer.