Bio: Woods, Mary - Mingling With Mary - Memories (1994)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Murray, Woods, Berglund, Eddy, Zuehlke, Bartels, Voight, Raab

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 1994

Mingling With Mary (20 Years Passed - 1994)

By Mary (Murray) Woods

Excerpt from Diary: Dec. 31, 1973:

1973 was a very good year. On Jan. 4, I drove into Loyal. I remember driving into the community and thinking the words from the theme song from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, “You’re Gonna Make It After All.” The song was so typical for the day. It was a cold day, and the minute I got to work .. I worked! The first assignment was the McNeely family. It wasn’t difficult to sit down and talk to them and it made the day a perfect way to begin a new year and a new job. The night was spent writing the story on the foreign exchange student and would you believe I wrote the story five times .. something a good reporter should never do, and I took the picture with a Polaroid camera … something a good photographer should never use. Yes, the first day of being a reporter/photographer for the Tribune-Record-Gleaner in Loyal, WI was the beginning of so many memoires:

June 15, 1994:
I think of that day often. Now, I have been asked to write an update. Time has gone by so fast and so many memories have been made, saved and treasured. And yet, the memories of two years in the TRG area are as vivid as the things that happened yesterday.

As Bob Berglund put it, when he asked me to do this article, “You were the first professional reporter we had on our staff.” What a compliment and what a responsibility! But the communities I gathered my news in and the people that I dealt with made me feel that I had fit the description. There were village and city board meetings, school board meetings and county board meetings. I really expanded my knowledge of government by attending those meetings month after month. Today, I still remember the gentleman who always slept during the afternoon session of the county board. Perhaps that was a lesson in itself. County board meeting are not the place to sleep. Too much happens and the future of our counties lies in the hands of a few selected individuals.

Community activities always kept me busy. The annual celebrations were always enjoyable. Being the reporter/photographer, I always got a front row seat, always got to know what was happening and when doing the follow-up stories, the cooperation was always appreciated. It seemed that I would watch the same units in every parade and never get tired of them. But the day that Steady Eddy walked down Main Street in Loyal comes pretty close to topping the list of never-ending wonders. What an accomplishment!

My “Mingling With Mary” column was my connection with the everyday people of the communities. I looked through my copies of those articles just the other day. What a collection! The articles featured the women of the area, the farmers, students, the businessmen and women, the social workers, the caregivers, the queens, the funeral directors, maple syrup producers, athletes, a bowl maker, the clergy, bankers, senior citizens, government employees and so many others who I wanted to report on. A lot of coffee was drank during those interviews and a few tears were shed when reviewing the stories. The article I did on little Freddy Zuehlke the day he got to eat his first ice cream cone still holds special memories. I understand that now he’s a grown man. (Sorry, Freddy, didn’t mean to embarrass you.) I wonder if today’s reporters would find these individuals as interesting as I did and still do?

Bob asked me to single out a few memories and exception to my reporting. The first incident that comes to mind is when the Greenwood School Board and the teachers were going through negotiations. The progress came to a halt and so a state arbitrator had to be called in. I remember the meeting began in open session and then the public was informed the meeting was now closed. I recall Superintendent Bartels negotiating with the teachers, the arbitrator and the school board members to let me watch the steps in such a process. They all agreed, with the stipulation that I have no paper and no pen. The negotiations began and I went from the boardroom to a classroom (there was a construction project underway at the time) with the arbitrator with new ideas and new gives and takes. I can’t recall who won. But now that’s not the important factor. I look back on that experience with a sense of pride, a sense of acceptance and more than anything a (few words cut -off). Every reporter should have such an experience. To those board members and teachers and to Mr. Bartels, a long overdue thank you is in order. That experience taught me a lot.

The other experience that comes to mind is the day that Percy Voight got lost while picking berries. Everyone in the day, heard the news, so I don’t have to write about it. What an incident, with a happy ending.

I do have to add my bon voyage party before going to Ireland. What a sendoff and what a trip. A return trip is being planned.

I could go on forever recalling individuals and incidents that are so treasured. When I see a flag being raised I think of Jesse Raab, dedicated to putting the flag up at city hall every day. And now as trips to Loyal to bid a final farewell to friends come to mind, I know it’s time to close. Maybe there is such a things as too many memories.

Now, 20 years later, I am no longer a reporter and I no longer carry my camera wherever I go. I’m a mother, a wife, a secretary and an apple grower. Life does go on and we accept the changes that someone has planned for us.

Excerpt from last ‘Mingling With Mary” column – Feb. 27, 1976:
“And in closing the thoughts of the drive to Loyal on Jan. 4, 1973, come to mind … as I drove into the city with much hesitation, I heard the song, “You’re Gonna Make It After All” and looking back I realize that I didn’t make it all … you did! May happiness, love and contentment be with you all.” - Mary (Murray) Woods.



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