More Memories of Myrna

Shortly after her death, I typed out some fond memories of Myrna, but somehow never got it to any of our classmates. Good intentions, but I failed. Only recently I learned of the website and, as I am enjoying a furlough from Longaberger, I literally dug up the old script. The memories already on the website were especially interesting to me. Well, here it is, just as I wrote it back in 05.

 Knowing full well that time runs out for all of us, I was still shocked when I received word that Myrna Wagner Ketcham had died peacefully in her sleep. There are things that I like to recall about her. When I started seventh grade at Grover Cleveland, I had come from Norval Park Elementary School and blended in with others, the bigger portion of which came from Wilson School. I met Myrna and we became good friends. Iíll always remember staying over at her house across from the school on Pershing Avenue. Some nights we would babysit her niece while Myrnaís sister Betty and Carl, Her husband, enjoyed an evening out. It was very convenient because Betty lived in the upstairs apartment of the same house. On school nights when I stayed over I would awaken to the sounds of her Mother making hot chocolate and warm cinnamon toast. We could wait for the very last minute to cross the street for school and that made it very special for me. Myrnaís Father was an artist in the pottery industry. He was well known in our area for his work. It was a number of years later that I purchased one of his beautiful glazed pottery vases and I treasure that piece to this day.

 Making the cheerleading squad was big time for us and my fondest memory of that time was how focused Myrna was on choosing the navy blue tric-skirts that we would wear with white blouses and Bulldog sweaters. The draw-string waist would fit all sizes and Myrna was sure this was exactly the right skirt for our outfits. She was right, they fit everyone perfectly and looked very sharp! Iím sure Fritzie remembers the tric-skirt too. I remember practicing on the front lawn of Grover after school and cheering for our Bulldogs at the games.

 Myrna had many friends and was very well liked by everyone, and when Lash High School beckoned us, we all went with great expectations. It was at Lash that we all came together and what a growing time it was for us. Changing classes in a large facility, new teachers, new friends, a new scene in the down-town area, we took it all in stride. We joined Teentime at the YMCA, where we gathered after games of Friday nights to sing, dance and meet each other for socializing. We often walked from the Municipal Stadium to the downtown area and on Saturday nights from Armco Park after square dancing all the way back into town. Myrna was a good dancer. She taught me all I knew about it. I guess her older sister Peggy had helped her to learn. Often, upper classmen would ask her to dance because she had her steps down. You could say I was impressed and that would be true!

 Occasionally, with our parents permission, we would go to the movies after school. We would run up the alley to Main Street, buy our popcorn at the Nut Shop and head to the Liberty Theater to watch Esther Williams in one of her swimming movies or Gene Kelly in ďSinging in the RainĒ. Myrna always insisted that we wait in the lobby without peeking until the movie was beginning again. This was different for me because as a child my Grandparents would take me and my sisters every Saturday night and we would enter at any point. I saw the ending of many movies most times before the beginning. Myrna and I would save our popcorn until the featured movie, holding the yummy box on our laps through the newsreel without even sneaking a bite!

 All of these things endeared me to Myrna. She was very meticulous about everything. In her eyes, anything worth doing was worth doing right. Because she was methodical she was excellent in typing, shorthand, and business machines in high school. Our teacher for typing was Miss Miller. In our class, which was very large, there were two girls who excelled, they were Donna Frame and Myrna Wagner. Whenever we had speed tests, you could bet one of them would beat everybody else in words per minute. Her career as a secretary for IBEW was surely a reflection of her good secretarial skill. Iím doubly sure that her calling was exactly right for her and nobody could have done it better!

 I will always remember when we took our first puff on a cigarette at Katsampes and coughing till I was red in the face, drinking cherry or chocolate cokes in a booth at lunchtime, or confiding in one another about our boyfriends. But most of all, Whenever October 15th came around throughout the years, I knew she would be celebrating another birthday and that I would get mine eleven days later. Time has not erased these wonderful memories but it does help me to realize how very rich we were when we barely had enough money to get into the movie theater plus a little extra change for the popcorn.

Linda Williams Warne