Opinion: An adult orphan

This last week I acquired three mid-1960s vintage, special editions of national magazines.

A copy of “Look,” and two copies of “Family Weekly,” magazines. The mailing label of the Look magazine reads Mrs. C. Harold Nordine, the mother of Mrs. Annette Nordine Doud. The Family Weekly magazines were originally distributed by the Bellingham Herald of Bellingham, Washington. I got the magazines at an estate sale for Chuck and Annette Doud.

Fred and I visited Bellingham about 20 years ago, coming home from a toy train show in Canada. It is a nice, friendly town. When we got to the airport for our return flight to Madera, I discovered, to my surprise, the airport newsstand sold second-hand paperback books at half the retail price printed on the back cover.

Two magazines are about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the third one about Mrs. Jaqueline Kennedy’s first Mother’s Day as the most famous widow in America.

Reading the narrative of the killing of JFK again after all these years is like a time-machine ride. The information is some-what fresh, as it is written by people I have never read before. Jackie’s Mother’s Day article is completely new.

But aren’t all magazines new if you haven’t read them? I was in third grade when the James Monroe School principal announced the president had been assassinated. They sent us home early that dark day. Some of my classmates didn’t know what the word assassinated meant. Since I learned to read young, my favorite book was the family dictionary. I knew it meant my president was dead.

My mom took my brothers and I door to door campaigning for JFK, so it was like a family member had been killed.

One of the things I remember about that day was when someone on the playground said Kennedy’s death meant Richard Nixon would be president and we would now have to go to school on Saturdays.

I also remember how sad I was for Caroline and John Junior. I loved my daddy so much the thought of his dying made me cry. I have an extensive collection of books about the Kennedy family and its legacy. These magazines will fit right in.

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This week Madera lost a father and downtown businessman who supported local agriculture, ranching, and the youth activities of FFA and 4-H.

Dale Evans, founder of Evans Feed and Livestock Supply, died Sunday at the age of 90. He and my dad were friends and mutual customers. Dad bought food and supplies for his barnyard menagerie of assorted fowl, lepus and bovines. In turn, Dale and his wife, Melba, had Daddy deliver milk and other products from Quality Dairy.

Daddy and Dale would talk about their children, local happenings and especially the latest innovations in animal husbandry.

I went to high school with the Evans children, son Roger and daughter Carolyn Alberta. Roger was a year older and Carolyn a year younger. Their younger brother, Michael, is two years younger than Carolyn. I knew Roger and Michael from when I accompanied my dad to their store. I loved going to “the feed store,” and especially its penny gumball and candy machines.

Carolyn and I sang together in A capella choir for Mrs. Lois Worthington. Choir is a bonding experience for singers much like a team sport. Our parents came to our performances, but we never drew the crowd the football team got.

According to Roger, his father went to every Madera High Coyote football game for decades, even when he didn’t have a son on the field.

The large majority of Madera residents attended all the football games. Madera companies bought Coyote shirts for all their staff and closed early on Fridays in the fall. These were “show your Coyote Spirit Days,” with local businesses hanging blue and white garland and bunting in stores, banks and other hometown establishments.

Having lost their mother Melba in 1989, with the loss of Dale, the Evans children have become adult orphans. They have my empathy, as my mom died in 1990, and my dad in 1993. Losing a parent is such a painful experience. A part of you never fully heals. And it happens to all of us that outlive our parents.

Dale was a great businessman, who, with his son Roger, his wife Karen and granddaughter Amy, keeps the business running through good times and bad. Dale still came into the store at age 90, although his official capacity has been semi-retired. He will be sorely missed.

Rest in Peace, dear Dale Evans, and tell my Papa Ralph we still miss him and love him most.

Have a blessed weekend and stay safe.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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