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Take a trip down memory lane as bloggers Danny Batson and Gary Thomas recollect their experiences while growing up in the Chillicothe area. We hope our discussion starters, pictures, and articles will evoke your personal recollections of Chillicothe; we invite you to share your stories with all of us. So, let us discuss the days gone by and have fun!
Stories From My Journey by John M. Irvin
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By Gary Thomas
Hi, I am Danny Batson (Knouse) and I am a lifelong resident of the Chillicothe area. I was born in 1951 and graduated from CHS in 1969. I took over my dad’s septic tank business that he founded in 1937. While I have been in every state ...
Chillicothe: As We Remember

Hi, I am Danny Batson (Knouse) and I am a lifelong resident of the Chillicothe area. I was born in 1951 and graduated from CHS in 1969. I took over my dad’s septic tank business that he founded in 1937. While I have been in every state (except Hawaii and Maine), there is no place like home! I love taking pictures of old and unusual things and sharing them. There is beauty in everything, if we look for it. I have three Facebook pages filled with local pictures that may be of interest: “Where Has Danny Been,” Chillicothe Now,” and “Danny Batson”.

Hi, I am Gary Thomas and I was born just across from Central School in 1942. I graduated from CHS in 1960 and MU in 1964. After two years in Army, I completed a graduate degree at the University of Chicago in 1970. After working in software development for more than 40 years, I retired from Raytheon in 2007. I have an abiding interest in history and in researching past events, places, and people. My latest project is developing a history-based chronology for Livingston County from 1801-2000.

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By Gary Thomas
March 14, 2014 3:21 p.m.

In 2012, I had the privilege of working with Mr. John Irvin in the development of a biographical sketch of his life. Fortunately, the final chapter is yet to be written as John will celebrate his 103rd birthday on July 11th. John's ongoing journey was featured in an edition of Chillimo in the Fall of 2012. Because of space limitations, there were some interesting personal stories that John shared with me that didn't make the printed edition. These stories span more than five decades in the life of one of our most beloved citizens. Virgie and John Irvin have given much to Chillicothe. They have made our town a better place. In Virgie's memory, I have included her picture as a freshman at Chillicothe Business College in 1927. There are four stories in all; I have added editorial notes for the first three.
So now, Mr.John Irvin, in his own words...
From 1931(Circa): Majorie Grable
"Another interesting happening was that I was called by a very nice girl asking if I would go on a date with she and a friend that would be visiting her, and could I get my friend, Sam McDowell to go with us. I said I would be happy to do this. The date was set and we met at her house. When I saw the visiting young lady, I was very surprised. She looked just like the movie star, Betty Grable. I found out that she was Betty Grable's sister. We had dinner, and then she wanted to go to a speakeasy. Well, Chillicothe had two or three, so we went and apparently she had a great time. We talked some about her sister in the movie business and how hard the work was at times. It was a fine evening."
Note: Marjorie L. Grable-Arnold (1908-1980) was eight years Betty's senior. They came from a prominent Saint Louis family and their mother Lillian was an aggressive "Stage Mom." The family also had friends in high places in Hollywood. After Marjorie (Joe's blind date) shunned any thought of a movie career; her mother Lillian turned to the much younger Elizabeth (stage name Betty) and prepared the thirteen year old for Hollywood stardom. Mom's first step was to bleach Betty's hair blonde. And the rest is history.
From 1964(circa): Margaret Truman
"We were in China going through a museum when I looked up to see a face that was familiar. I said hello, you look like you are from the U.S. She said yes, I'm from New York. I said I know I have seen your face before. She said yes, you may have. I am President Truman's daughter. Well, that led to a long conversation in which we found both knew a lot of the same people. Shortly, her husband joined us and we visited for a long time. Come to find out, they were making a round the world trip by private airplane. They were nice people and we enjoyed our visit with them."
Note: I am guessing on the exact year, but 1964 is a strong possibility. Margaret Truman Daniel hosted a show for CBS called "The International Hour" in 1965 in which she introduced variety acts from around the world. Her Husband, Clifton Daniel went on to be managing editor of the New York Times. Margaret had a very successful career writing murder mysteries set in Washington, D.C.
From 1977: Ronald Reagan
"Another incident that may be of some interest is this. Before he became President of the U.S., Ronald Reagan was invited to give a speech at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. Governor Reagan wanted to fly from St. Louis to Quincy, Illinois and be picked up for a short ride to the college. Irvinbilt had a twin-engine airplane and since I was on the Board of Directors of Culver-Stockton, we offered the plane along with two pilots to fly Governor Reagan from St. Louis to Quincy, Illinois. The same day we were picking up Governor Reagan, I was to be at a meeting in Springfield, Missouri later in the day. So we decided that Virgie would fly to St. Louis on the company plane and I would drive to Lambert field to meet Governor Reagan's flight and then drive him to the private field where the company plane would be waiting for the short hop to Quincy. Our visit with him to the private airfield was most enjoyable. We talked about his movies, the government in California, and his growing up years in Illinois. Virgie visited with him all the way to Quincy and then by car to Canton."
Note: In fact, this was the second Reagan visit to Culver-Stockton. In 1958, He spoke at the request of his Eureka (Illinois) College roommate who was on the faculty at Culver-Stockton. Just prior to speaking, Mr. Reagan was interviewed by a student at the college. There is an online audiotape of an interview with The Death Valley Days TV Host, Ronald Reagan. If you have interest in hearing it, copy the following url into your browser: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBZbaBjRCGE
From 1988: Gerald Ford
"One evening at home were watching television and President Ford was a guest. He told stories of his life, one of which sure got my attention. He had a date with a girl and was taking her home on a streetcar. When it got to his stop, he got off and left the young lady to go home by herself. His father found out that he had not taken her home and made him go to her home and apologize. I wrote to President Ford and told him of a similar experience and received a very nice letter from him. He thought my experience was the best. The letter hangs on my wall in my office."
NOTE: I have been remiss in not sharing these before now. If John took the time to write them up, then I need take the time to share them with you.

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