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SANDY BENNETT'S INAUGUAL ADDRESS

When I retired from teaching in Loveland after 31 years, I decided to "go home" again, to seek out my roots. For me, that's always been Johnstown. Both my mom and dad grew up in Johnstown, and moved to Loveland a few years after I was born. I have lived in Loveland all my life, but have heard many stories about "the good old days" from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

As the new president of the Johnstown Historical Society, I hope to learn more about the history of Johnstown, but most importantly, to get to know the people, past and present. When I was an elementary teacher, I loved to teach Colorado history. Every year, the students would present reports on famous people in Colorado, which I called Colorado's Colorful Characters. Each student dressed up like someone in history and made a presentation based on that person's life. I feel that people are the life of history; how history comes alive for me. Most of the columns, therefore, which I write for the newsletter, will be about someone in Johnstown' history, Johnstown's Colorful Characters. Please let me know of any person you think would be good to include in my columns. I'm looking for people who were important to the growth and history of Johnstown, but also the "unsung heroes," and the people who made johnstown a more interesting place to live. I am eager to learn.

Since I didn't grow up in Johnstown, many people wonder who I am. As I said, my roots are in Johnstown, and I have many relatives who came from here. Wailes, Parish, Becker, and Lammers are names in my family history.

I am a Wailes. My dad was Jim Wailes, who grew up here, went off to war in WWII, got married and started a family. He always claimed to be the best mechanic around, and he and Al Dill started a garage in Johnstown, before they went to work at Loveland Ready Mix. And, yes, I am related to the Wailes family who has lived in Johnstown "forever".

I am a Lammers. My mother was Frances Lammers. My mom, her sister and brother lived on the Lammers farm growing up, until they moved "to town," where they graduated from Johnstown High School. She worked as a telephone operator in Johnstown during WWII, until she married my dad , and soon after moved to Loveland.

Mom's aunt was Anna Miner, who lived in Johnstown for nearly one hundred years. My grandpa Joe's and Anna's mother was a Becker, one of the founding families of the Johnstown Methodist Church, of which I have become a member.

I am a Parish. My great great grandparents were Harvey and Mary Parish. When I'm working at the museum, I can't believe that I'm walking where they used to walk. I feel fortunate to get to spend time in the same place where they used to live.

Whew! I guess you'd have to say I was a genealogy nut. I love to find out about people's histories and stories. I'd love to meet you and hear your story. It's been a pleasure to meet so many friendly Johnstown people already. I'm looking forward to getting aquatinted with "home" again.

From the February 2008 newsletter