We Remember: A Review
So, just who make up communities? Most certainly, it is the people and wonderful everyday unknowns, who can be called the great and the good.
Let me tell you about John W. Ashbury of Frederick County, Maryland. These days he’s identified as a historian. That’s proper. More than that, though, his career of chronicling people goes back many years as a newspaper columnist, editor, author and people-person extraordinaire.
My privilege, in this space today, is to review John’s latest book, “As Long as We Remember…..”
Newspaper women and men, journalists of all stripes, are well aware that names make news, that every city and town has heroes who make invaluable contributions to our lives.
Mr. Ashbury has gleaned his files from at least three past decades. He’s brought to life vivid columns about terrific people, from witty citizens and those who were just fantastic mothers and fathers, farmers and educators and plainly nice people.
Frederick County, Maryland, includes many quaint towns and communities. He starts with the story of Jane Henderson, a Realtor, whose life was cut short at 41 and described, “She walks in beauty like the night.” A must read.
Luther Horine was known as “Mr. Walkersville,” where he served as fire chief, a banker, town council member and churchman.
Now, from a newspaper column April 29, 1987, Mr. Ashbury’s biting humor headlined the tale of “Miss Belly Achers, the first exotic dancer, employed by the Frederick County commissioners.” This chapter is knock-down funny, laughter from start to finish and critiques the workings of county government.
There are delightful stories of his alma mater, Emory and Henry College, and his growing up with “Lash LaRue, Roy, Gene and Hoppy...” our cowboy heroes of early years.
Incredible unsung personages Hans and Annelise Simmons, escaped Hitler’s Germany and despite wariness of Virginians in Petersburg and Dinwiddie, Virginia, became model Americans.
The people stories are exhilarating. From July 1993 there is the one about a Frederick middle school teacher that “every child should demand for math.”
This teacher and his family escaped Fidel Castro’s political persecution. He is an educator par excellence, now retired, but still promoting the best of instruction. His name? I’d be remiss not to notice Nick Diaz, Page 53.
Frederick County has been known for many characters, individualists to be proper. These people won’t let readers put down the book.
I point out such as G. Lee Teets and columnist Roy Meachum of the Frederick News-Post, who kept readers paying attention and entertained.
Mr. Ashbury recalls the loss of Baltimore’s great afternoon newspaper” with “Death Knell Tolls” For “The Evening Sun.” What a nine-year career there he enjoyed. He had started his career as a proof reader for the Frederick News-Post. I, too, started my newspaper days as a youngster on my hometown afternoon paper. Wonderful times.
I should point out Mr. Ashbury is the distinguished editor and publisher of TheTentacle.com. It is a pleasure to review this enjoyable book. The list of names in the 150 pages are exceptional and I can proudly note them as tender, humorous, and kind. Enjoy.