At 99 years of age, Alice Holst could have become by now Angwin's town crier of the blues. At that age, she has outlived numerous family and friends, seen physical health vacillate and travel plans shelved. But Alice believes in cheerfulness.
Each week, she wades through her huge collection of humorous anecdotes and inspiring stories and designs a page called "Smiles and Thoughts. " She emails this weekly message to 500 recipients and prints another 80 copies for distribution each week to fellow Angwinites coming into the Market, the Credit Union, and the Post Office.
After 27 years of this project, Alice has won Angwin's affection as the village cheer-leader.
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There is a lot more to admire in this white-haired lady. Alice distinguished herself through some 40 years as an innovative educator. She was born in Jamaica, daughter of Seventh-day Adventist missionaries. Growing up with her father's sermons fashioned her life of faith.
Alice earned an M. A. at Columbia University, then stayed on to earn an Ed. D.
Her first teaching post was at Broadview Academy in Illinois, where all the faculty members held several posts. Alice taught English and typewriting and served as dean of girls and librarian.
She moved up the education ladder to become chair of Secretarial Studies at Atlantic Union College and then to the same post in 1948 at Pacific Union College. Alice taught here for 15 years, then for another 17 years in Napa high schools where she developed specialized secretarial training programs for medical, legal and clerical fields. IBM purchased her Medical Terminology Course and used it world-wide.
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Alice served Pacific Union College in a number of significant ways outside her classroom. She established a student scholarship fund and raised $96,700 for that cause. She has served on the PUC fund-raising program, the dedicated Committee of 100, for 38 years now. Through the years, the college has acknowledged her long professional career with a variety of honors, but the most lasting probably is that the new PUC Dramatic Arts Theatre bears her name.
On this Thursday in 2014, Alice is still reminding her friends in "Smiles and Thoughts" that two things are OK. One is that a few chuckles are good for the health and Two is that trust in God is good for the soul.
Here is one of Alice's recent mailings:
Smiles and Thoughts
* "Wholehearted, ready laughter heals, encourages, relaxes anyone within hearing distance." -Eugenia Price
* We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have strange names, and all are different colors... but they all exist very nicely in the same box.
* The quizmaster was a composite of all objectionable masters of ceremonies; loud, brash, condescending, and insultingly familiar.
The contestant, a farmer's wife from Maine who was in town visiting her daughter, endured the quizzer's quips about her home state with quiet dignity, but her lips tightened when he burbled repeatedly about New England thrift and penny-pinching.
Answering question after question, the Maine woman won the jackpot with ease. Dangling the prize money before her, the quizmaster rehashed his jokes about New England thriftiness.
"And now," he asked theatrically, "what are you going to do with all this money?"
The woman's answer brought down the house.
"Count it," she said frostily.
* No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.
* My college professor friend admits that he should be doing a better job of keeping track of his money. But in these days of merger mania, he says it's all he can do just to keep track of the name of his bank.
* My son, who is a forest ranger, dislikes talking in public, but he agreed to give a talk on rattlesnakes. Before the speech, he brought in a sack-covered box and placed it carefully at his feet on the speaker's platform. With every eye riveted attentively and apprehensively on the box, he gave his talk, picked up the box, and walked off. The box was empty.
* "I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday, and I love today." - William Allen White
* "When I call Thee to mind upon my bed and think on Thee in the watches of the night remembering how Thou hast been my help and that I am safe in the shadow of Thy wings, then I humbly follow Thee with all my heart, and Thy right hand is my support." -Psalm 63:6-8 NEB
Love, Alice Holst