County girl helps others make good
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 2:31 PM
I first met this week's wonderful lady when we worked together launching the first New Market Spaghetti Supper. It was all Carolyn Lamson Swank's idea and fortitude that pulled that first one off. An amazing amount of money (about $4,000) was amassed thanks to Carolyn's hard work. This money maker went on for many years and the total accumulated arose, as well.
Being an only child, Carolyn remarked that her parents either felt they couldn't match perfection or couldn't stand another like her. She doesn't know which. I vote for number one. Definitely, Carolyn is a Montgomery County girl, her Lamson's going back to 1828 here with a couple other of her families about the same time frame. She graduated from CHS the year the basketball team went all the way to the final game of state. The chant for weeks was, "We win the state in '58!" Sad to say, they did not but it all still made her senior year pretty exciting. Loved another basketball story she related. Her father, George Burke Lamson played basketball at Waveland. At one away game, Waveland was ridiculously behind at the half, so George just left. Although he got in trouble on that one, most of the time, George was a kind and funny man. "Dad always had a joke!" Mine, too, Carolyn!
Upon graduation Carolyn went to work in the office of Perry Lewis Ford for $30 a week. Luckily, she got a $5 raise after only a few weeks. Her father was VP of McDaniel Freight and she worked in their office for some time. Her first two children are from her marriage to Larry Ratcliff. Michelle is married to Lance Wonderlin, an attorney in Carmel. She works in a Day Care and they have two children, Ryan and Rachel. I had a giggle-fit when Carolyn told about the suggestion that Rachel be named Alice Ann (Wonderlin). Lance and Michelle failed to see the humor! Son Darrick is married to Cindy and has one daughter, Daryl. They live south on the Putnam/Parke County Line Road and he works at Nucor. It was later after Carolyn's divorce that she attended a Parents Without Partners get-together and met her love of 42 years, Ron Swank. Originally, Ron called the wrong person. When he finally called Carolyn it was rather late, but she decided to go out with him, anyway. He later told her had she not gone, he'd not have asked her twice, so, "I got stuck with him," she laughed. Ron's first wife, Jerry was killed in a car accident and their young son, Mike was injured. Mike was not yet three when Carolyn and Ron were married. Mike is wed to Nisha and has four children: Ashley, Amanda, Logan and Haley. Mike, too, works at Nucor and lives on Country Club Road. Dusty, Ron and Carolyn's son is also a Nucor employee in Bourbonnais, Illinois. He and wife, Sherri, with their children Kenlie, Griffin and Brady live in Lake Village, Indiana. What I love about this family is that there are no yours, mine and ours. The kids are "all together." They all four are Ron and Carolyn's. That's awesome!
While raising the four kids, Carolyn didn't work, but met herself and Ron going and coming to all the activities. Later on, though, she worked in the County Treasurer's Office. She also served two terms as Treasurer and retired a few years ago. The Swanks have a home on 47, but also a place at Lake Holiday Hideaway in Fountain County. Ron has a 12 x 12 garden with tomatoes, zucchini, beets and other veggies. What they don't eat, they give away. They both enjoy fishing at the Lake but throw 'em back in. She is in the Hideaway Auxiliary and helps with suppers and breakfasts (she's obviously great at that) to earn money for what's needed for the Lake, such as tables and chairs for the clubhouse. In their area of the Lake, she said 20-25 stay year-round and others come on weekends or once a month. Carolyn is also in the Red Hats from the Lake area. She enjoys the tours, towns, and museums they visit.
Garage sales, rank high on her fun list, too, but says she about had to quit those because she has, "too much stuff!" Making crafts and her card club of 55 years are other things she enjoys. She thought that she and Susie Hamm Lockard were the only two originals still going, but the rest of them have all been in the group for 30 plus years.
As with many I interview, the topic of genealogy came up and when she told me her maiden name, I about flipped. My step-mother, Doris Simpson Jeffries Bazzani is Carolyn's second cousin, Doris' grandmother, Florence Catherine Lamson Simpson being a sister to Carolyn's grandfather, Harry Elmer Lamson. That was fun.
Carolyn cared for her mother and Ron's mother. Sadly, she finally had to put her mother in Williamsburg, but Carolyn said one of her highest life's joys was spending time and doing for the people there. She'd get bubbles and have the patients blow them on the porch. Such joy they had! She even fried mushrooms for them. Definitely, she urges people to go see anyone they know living in a retirement-type situation, and especially family members.
Truly, Carolyn is a special lady, always thinking and doing for others. We had a wonderful time catching-up on our families and friends and I so greatly appreciate Carolyn allowing me to feature her in this week's Around The County!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, a monthly magazine published by Sagamore News Media. Her columns appear Thursdays in The Paper of Montgomery County.