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Demos highlight ‘The Way We Were’

Bicentennial commemorations in Russellville have been an ongoing theme of 2019, and the celebrations are still going strong. July 13 will be another installment of The Way Were Were.

The Russellville Bicentennial Committee conceived this monthly series of historical demonstrations, exhibits and portrayals designed to inspire people’s interest in the history of Russellville and Franklin County. It began in May and will continue Aug. 10 and Sept. 14.

Saturday will welcome a number of presenters who will each bring their own taste of history to the Russellville Canteen, on Washington Street, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As in previous months, Frank Stone will offer wagon rides. Inside the Canteen, visitors can learn about all kinds of subjects, from Joel Mize’s presentation on Bylar Road to Doris Alewine’s display on knitting and crochet.

“I’ve got an afghan about a third made, a baby cap about half made – I’m bringing different things, crocheting and knitting,” said Alewine, 82. The German native said she has been kitting and crocheting since she was 5 years old. “I knitted myself some stockings before I started school,” said Alewine. She grew up during the war, and her family had little. “We had to spin our own thread and make our own clothes.”

Alewine said she knits dish rags practically every night while watching TV. She has also knitted things for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Although she wasn’t born in the United States, Alewine said she now cherishes her citizenship. “Americans bombed my little town in Germany in 1945, and in 1967 I became one of them,” joked Alewine, who now cries when she hears the National Anthem and treasures the Stars and Stripes. “I guess I became a real American.”

Orland Britnell and William Bishop will be displaying old farm artifacts as well as cooking and household items, and Glenn Rikard will demonstrate chair caning. Frank Richey will be making knives, while Barbara Bishop will be churning butter.

All in all, many facets of life over the past 200 years will be on display Saturday for folks to learn and reminisce.

“We’re wanting to show how people lived during this time, and not only how they lived – how they worked, entertained, every aspect of history that we can get out there,” explained Franklin County Archives director Chris Ozbirn, who chairs the Bicentennial Committee. “To me, history is something everybody has to know. You’ve got to know where you came from to get where you’re going.”