Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
When is the prime of your life? Some would say it is age
35, but a few hundred DeKalb County Farm Bureau members in their
60s and older call themselves the Prime Timers and
enjoy the social interaction with others from their generation.
Mariam Wassmann of the Farm Bureau staff shared some of the groups
history, which dates back to 1986, when they organized luncheons
under the leadership of Bill and Marge Clausen. In the early
days, the planning committee included names like Gommel, Hauswald,
Knecht, Latimer, Lambert, Mosher, Pauling, Sanderson, Sandrock,
Stark and Willis.
Enjoying a recent Prime Timers excursion on the Rock
River for lunch aboard a paddle wheeler are (from left) Barb
Twombly, Jean Smith and Bob Twombly.
One of those originals, Don Mosher, spent 10 years as their travel
organizer and said he planned about 120 trips to nearly every
part of the country. He recalls seeing some big names in show
business as they visited Las Vegas, New York and even Nashville,
Tennessee. One particular star who came to mind was Johnny Cash
and his family, who took the time to talk with the group in Nashville.
They still plan a few trips every year in addition to their
luncheons the first Monday of each month. He recalls when they
first chartered a bus to see the Cubs it was only $12 for the
game including the bus fare. He doesnt remember if the
Cubbies won or lost, however.
Now living back here, my wife Kay and I look forward to
their monthly lunches at the Farm Bureau headquarters, where
we see old friends and reminisce with others about how DeKalb
County has changed over the years.
Some of our favorite day trips have been to the Fireside
Theater in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and more recently a riverboat
luncheon cruise on the Rock River out of Oregon. We havent
signed up for one of their Branson, Missouri, trips, but they
are tempting. However, I would probably be disappointed to find
out my favorite Lawrence Welk stars are all deceased now and
the younger talent just cant compare.
I got to meet accordionist Myron Floren once while he was performing
at the nearby Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California,
because his aunt lived in our town of Livermore and he went there
for Sunday dinner where I photographed him.
Cynthia Thompson, who has chaired the Prime Timers the
past three years, said, like us, she returned to her roots in
DeKalb County about seven years ago and quickly became involved
in this group because her parents, Ron and Marilyn Leifheit,
invited her to come along. She is a Sycamore High graduate and
then went through NIU, eventually becoming a community college
instructor in accounting and office technology. She also enjoys
the sociability and chance to get reacquainted with local folks.
I would invite some friends to come to their lunches, but
Mariam reminded me one must first join the Farm Bureau as a farm
member or associate-plus member. So if you want to find out more,
just call Mariam or staffer Dava Wayman at 815-756-6361 and get
the details. If you hurry, you can see a great program Monday
on Rosie the Riveter at the luncheon, presented by Lynn Rymarz.
I can imagine there may be a few local Rosies
in the room that day as well. But, as Mosher said, prices have
gone up. Lunch was only a dollar that first year, subsidized
by the Farm Bureau; now 28 years later its $6, still a