Madison Wilson on Christmas break from Simpson College, five months after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Photo by Jason Selby
Last June, Madison Wilson discovered she had cancer. A few weeks before that, she was in South Africa helping build a playground for orphaned children. By Christmas, she was back home in Wayne County with her family, taking a needed break from her senior year at Simpson College.
It is safe to say Madison does not need to worry about boredom—that is, outside the two weeks she must isolate herself from others for radiation treatment.
“It was out of nowhere,” Madison said of her cancer diagnosis. “I never expected it. I had just come back from South Africa. I could tell, because I was swallowing and I could feel it there—there was a knot, and I didn’t know what was wrong. So I told my mom.”
Madison’s mother Fern Wilson is a nurse. She works out of Chariton as a home healthcare aide. Jan 3, 2017, 09:11
Ralph Alshouse with his 1970 Iowa gliding championship trophy and a photograph of the veteran from his Navy days. Photo by Jason Selby
WORLD WAR II ERA NAVY PILOT GETS THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT HE HAD BEEN WAITING ALMOST 75 YEARS TO RECEIVE
After 75 years of flying, from World War II Corsair fighters to his 93rd birthday on Dec. 17, Ralph Alshouse can finally say he owns his own airplane. The Navy veteran purchased an ultralight this Oct. 24. It was both a birthday and Christmas present to himself.
“He just bought it on the spur of the moment,” Ralph’s wife Shirley said. “I was terrified.”
Shirley is more accustomed to transportation lower to the ground. She drove a school bus for the Wayne Community School District for 42 years.
“It’s my new girlfriend,” Ralph chuckled, showing off a photograph of his wife standing next to his new airplane. “She’s not very big, but she’s kind of cute. That’s my old girlfriend on this side. And they’re both named Shirley. You know why, don’t you? So you don’t get mixed up.” Dec 19, 2016, 09:32
From the round room in the house at the round barn site decorated for Christmas. Photo by Jason Selby
During this year’s annual Holiday Tour of Homes, participants will get a chance to walk through history, renovated and decked out for the season. The round barn site east of Allerton will be on this Christmas’ circuit, specifically the old house, which was built in 1897 by a Civil War veteran with only one arm.
Joseph F. Wilson commissioned the home for wife Victoria and their family, kitty-corned from the Allerton Methodist Church. For the longest time after Wilson sold the property and moved to Milwaukee, Wis., locals knew it simply as the Bracewell house. It was done in the Queen Anne style of architecture popular at the end of the Victorian Era. Nov 21, 2016, 09:02
David Thomas poses with his M-16 on a road during the Vietnam War.
When David Thomas describes history to his students, he does not always need to consult a textbook. His memory often suffices.
Before dictator Pol Pot reigned in narcissistic madness over the trembling nation of Cambodia, massacring millions, Thomas was fighting the NVA and Viet Cong by destroying their stockpiles of weapons across the border with Vietnam.
Later, when Cambodia turned against Vietnam—in the greater struggle between Soviet and Chinese Communism—it would be a Vietnamese invasion in 1979 that put a stop to the Khmer Rouge.
“They just exterminated people,” Thomas said of the Killing Fields of Pol Pot, which came to fruition in 1975. “They started with all the teachers, all the people that had an education—they were the first ones to go, because they didn’t want anyone to be educated. They just wanted them to be followers.” Nov 8, 2016, 09:26