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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

It was last spring that I wrote a column about the Writers Hall of Fame's induction of writers. At the time, I confessed to being a member of the board of directors. However, I said then that this event was worth knowing about, and me being a part of the organization shouldn't keep that from happening. Well, I'm doing it again. I'm still on the board, and my subject is the Writers Hall of Fame.

Although the Kickapoo Branch of the Springfield/Greene County Library isn't the library where I hang out (I'm a Brentwood Library lounge lizard), I was there recently and saw an impressive display, one you need to see. The Kickapoo Branch Library, at 620 W. Republic, has made space available for the Writers Hall of Fame Museum, which includes a display of the 16 writers in the Hall of Fame. Impressive photographs of the equally impressive group of writers include Mark Twain, David Harrison, John Hulston, Ellen Gray Massey, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sandy Asher, Edith McCall, Jory Sherman, Harold Bell Wright, Janet Dailey, James Giglio, Suzann Ledbetter, Langston Hughes, Vicki Grove, Robert Vaughan and Lanford Wilson.

I wouldn't lie to you. This is an impressive array of important writers. What better place for their photographs to be on display than a library?

Pictures hanging on the wall aren't all that I'm urging you to go see. The museum within the library also includes three display cases filled with books and memorabilia from inductees' careers. An original typewriter used by one is on display, as well as book galleys, original manuscripts and edited pages. There's a first edition of "The Shepherd of the Hills," and books by inductees printed in their original English version and foreign versions. Proving that even professional writers need help now and then, one author's worn-out synonym finder is on display.

The Writers Hall of Fame board member who also serves as curator of the museum, Paul Johns, said, "Our goal is to show a bit about the author and the writing life through this fascinating exhibit. We hope it will serve to interest young and old alike in reading the work of these respective authors, and perhaps inspire them to write something as well."

Paul Johns was serious when he said he hoped the display might encourage young and old to try their hand at writing. Inducting renowned writers into the Hall of Fame is only one part of the organization's mission. The encouragement of writing is another. To this end, it provides scholarships to area high school seniors wishing to pursue writing in college, sponsors a writing camp for young people at Drury College and recognizes young writers through the annual Language Arts Department Writing Contest. Also, it encourages writing among adults. In April, new writers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, followed by new photographs and memorabilia.

Hopefully the museum will move to the new library farther south on Campbell that will replace the Kickapoo Branch Library. For the time being, you can see it now at the Kickapoo location. Try it; you'll like it.

I'm not finished yet, just changing the subject.

In a recent column urging creation of an award for good builders who build offices or places of business that enhance the environment rather than adding one more plastic atrocity to the ever-growing urban blight, I used the DARRCO Building at East Sunshine and Blackman Road as an example of a facility deserving a Good Builder Award. At the time, I admired the building, but I didn't know much about what went on inside. Now I know. I recently received a very nice letter from Thomas L. Slaight, vice chairman of the board of American Dehydrated Foods Inc. He said two other food-oriented businesses share the building; International Dehydrated Foods, and Food Ingredients Technology Co.

The DARRCO Building, winner of the Good Builders Award, if one existed, was built in 1993. Jack Hood was the architect; Killian Construction Company was the general contractor. Sorry. No formal award exists; I'm presenting to all concerned with the DARRCO Building the informal Rusty Saber Good Builder Award. Somebody give me an Amen.

Now I'm finished.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the Drury College communications department and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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