Hunkered Down at Home

March 23, 2020

Arlene Swiler at her desk at MHS, 1968.
Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

How quickly things can change. Only a few months ago, we were listening to outbreak news from China with interest. Today CORVID-19 is among us and we are fast becoming a world none of us has known. Things are not going to return to what we consider normal any time soon. Maybe not ever. Yikes. Just yikes.

I am willing to bet there is not a blogger, news writer or columnist out there who is not thinking of how they will write about life during this odyssey.  There will likely be a lot of misinformation and just plain wrong stuff circulating out there. And there will be a good deal of useful stuff to help us all on getting through. Use your common sense. Stay home. Wash your hands often. Protect your loved ones and everyone else’s.  We are ALL on this great ark together. Swim, dog paddle, float. Think. Don’t sink. Cheesy, I know.

Marionites of any age will likely remember Arlene Raymond Swiler. She’s had her hand in a good many things in our little village during her long life, from providing the music at the Methodist Church keyboard, to the working for the Marion Public Schools. She is most likely remembered best as the first face one saw in the High School Superintendent’s office. She was the woman who ‘guarded’ Mr. Schwartz’ door and she knew every student walking the halls, and their parents too.Mrs. Swiler retired in 1994 after 27 years in the MHS office, but she was far from retired. She and husband Dick, who founded Swiler’s Fruit Market, beginning in the late 1960’s, later Swiler’s Sports Center, couldn’t be leisure for long. For many summers, the Swiler’s were the local source for vegetable and flowering plants. The driveway and yard of their Marion home was the equivalent of today’s pop-up businesses, well before its time and they enjoyed it very much, as did their many customers.

The Swiler’s sold their mom and pop greenhouse to Fred and Christie Prielipp in the late 1990’s who successfully built it into Christie’s Potting Shed. And then, Dick and Arlene Swiler were officially retired from business.

Arlene Swiler, 93, left us this week, just a year and a day after husband Dick.    

Marion lost another life-long resident with the passing of Highland Twp. born, and longtime Marion Twp. resident, Verna Bonham Salisbury, 95, on Sunday at Pleasant Ridge. Verna was one of the last surviving women from the first generation of early employees at Marion’s Riverside Electric Manufacturing Co.

Locating here late in 1948 just north of Marion along the railroad tracks, Riverside manufactured electrical wiring harnesses and related automotive product at ‘the factory’ for more than 25 years. The workforce was largely composed of women who worked the lines and were, let’s face it, better at the fine motor skill job. A job here meant a difference for many families.

These ladies became more than co-workers. They united to raise funds for good causes both national and local, like March of Dimes and Easter Seals and especially those locally from illness or misfortune. They became lifelong friends. Riverside brought these women together and cemented friendships.

Verna Salisbury was one of the women of the Riverside Sisterhood. Her wit and humor will be greatly missed by her family.

Our condolences to the families of Arlene and Verna.

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