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What your neighbors are writing

By By Suzanne Monk
Dec. 14, 2001
Submissions for "Profile 2002: The Fabric of America" are already coming in, and I thought you might like to a hear a few examples of what kinds of things people are writing.
Eighty-two year old McRae Limerick, a genealogist and historian, says he has "6 feet of files on everything that ever happened in Kemper County." He told me he likes the idea of writing for The Meridian Star because the newspaper has always been a part of his life.
Limerick has written four Profile stories. One is about his boyhood memories of walking 2 1/2 miles to a one-room schoolhouse, one of about 70 in Kemper County at that time, and what a typical school day was like complete with frogs and lizards.
Velma Parker, 86, of Meridian is also writing several pieces for Profile. She's going to tell us what it was like to fly with the Key brothers before they became world-famous aviators. In another story, she will touch on what it was like to live, work and economize in Meridian during World War II.
Louise Duke of Meridian is writing about the influence of good music teachers in her life, as well as how music has shaped her grand-daughter's world.
Ovid Vickers of Decatur is writing a story about how attitudes on college campuses have changed since the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington.
An emu farmer is working on a story about what we don't know about giant flightless birds, and plans to do a "scrambled emu egg taste test." (Yes, really.) A proud mother introduced herself to me at Books-A-Million last weekend, and asked if it would be OK if she sent a poem her daughter had written about Sept. 11.
The niece and grandparents of a reservist who shipped out Sunday with the 186th Air Refueling Wing called Tuesday to say they weren't sure if he would be able to write a "Letter Home" for the Profile edition but could they write a "Letter Overseas" instead?
I hope you will submit a story or column, too. Call me if you want to talk about it.
Y'all have started something
The Meridian Star's parent company, cnhi, publishes an in-house newsletter. Several months ago, an article appeared in it about The Meridian Star's reader-written Profile edition from last year called "By the People."
A number of cnhi editors from around the country called to ask more about it. Several requested copies, and then called to ask more questions.
A big envelope from New Castle, Penn., arrived in the mail last week. I opened it, and pulled out a 24-page "By the People" edition from the New Castle News. The editors published it as a special Thanksgiving edition, and plan to make "By the People" a permanent holiday tradition.
The stories written by New Castle readers reminded me that Americans really do share the same dreams. Inside were thoughtful essays about the difficult times we find ourselves living in, proud grandmothers, patriotic poems, funny stories. The same "fabric of America" really does wrap around us all.
The Meridian Star's readers have started a revolution, I think.
Unsung Hero' nominations
The seventh and final section of "Profile 2001: The Fabric of America" will be devoted to "Unsung Heroes."
These are people you know who go about making things happen, working behind the scenes, taking time to lend a hand. They don't expect or need praise. But Profile season is your chance to recognize someone like that.
About 10 unsung heroes will be chosen to appear in this year's Profile edition. To nominate an unsung hero you know, please write me a letter about their contributions to our community. You can submit a nomination by e-mail to smonk@themeridianstar.com, or by regular mail to:
The Meridian Star
Profile 2002
P.O. Box 1591
Meridian, MS 39302
Attn: Suzanne Monk
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.

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