by Ammie Bryant, Editor
This month we begin Volume 15 of Stillwater Living Magazine’s story!
Two and half years ago, we began our journey as the new owners of this magazine with a desire to grow as a publication that shares the kinds of stories that make us all proud to call Stillwater home. During that time, we have met new people, made new friends, and built fantastic partnerships with our contributors and advertisers. Thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way!
Each month, every issue is grounded in the stories that are Stillwater’s heart and soul. They are what make our community exceptional. So, my friends, I ask you to help us to curate volume 15 of Stillwater Living. Tell us, what is your story?
Join us in making this fifteenth year the best one yet for Stillwater Living Magazine.
P.S. Just after this month’s issue went to layout and print, one of the best examples of Stillwater’s heart and soul that I have ever witnessed happened when our community came together to make Myda Lewis’ birthday wish come true. On Thursday, June 21, 2018, Myda got her wish to ride in a convertible in a parade for her 107th birthday.
Myda’s wish was granted and Stillwater was blessed in doing so thanks to the initiative of the Westhaven Nursing staff who began the effort with a simple written appeal to people who were working and shopping downtown to take a few moments to step out of their businesses to “wave as she passes by.” There weren’t any parades scheduled, so Myda’s would be a simple parade of one convertible and a special lady. Then social media got involved in a great way.
The first I saw of this letter was when Paul Priegel shared it on Facebook and Twitter on the afternoon of June 19th. (Paul is the Stillwater Regional Airport Assistant Director and a past SPD Sergeant. Paul was involved coordinating SPD’s Community Outreach program.) Paul wouldn’t be in town on the 21st but he encouraged his friends and followers to spread the word. From there, it spread like wildfire across the social media platforms. Soon Downtown Stillwater created an event on Facebook, then I saw a post from Mayor Will Joyce responding to someone’s inquiry about whether Myda would have a police escort saying that it was already in the works. The NewsPress ran a story on Wednesday, June 20th and the next morning, the day of the parade, KOCO Channel 5 announced it on their morning news, but by then many local people had already heard all about the parade and were making plans to be there.
For an excellent story about Myda’s life and how the parade came to be, I recommend visiting the Stillwater Newspress’s archives. Michelle Charles was the lucky reporter who interviewed Myda on June 20th.
My daughter and I headed downtown on Thursday around 11:30am. As I approached the corner of 6th and Main I saw people waiting to cross 6th heading south. I never doubted that Stillwater would show up to make Myda’s wish come true–the question was just how many people would show up. After all, getting away in the middle of a workday on short notice isn’t easy for everyone.
I started to worry we might have miscalculated. Maybe we should have come earlier to get a parking spot? We ended up parked on Lewis between 9th and 10th and walked over to the corner of 9th and Main. It was still a quarter ’til noon, but parking was getting difficult to find. We got lucky.
The atmosphere was festive. Here and there, people had signs, balloons, and wore party hats. A news helicopter hovered overhead. Everywhere you looked were smiles.
The parade began right on time. The crowd exploded with cheers and shouts of “Happy Birthday Myda!” With the promised police escort leading the way, Myda followed in the backseat of a convertible. Adorned in pink from head to toe, sporting a tiara, and shaded by a pink umbrella, Myda Lewis was the marshal of her very own parade. Westhaven and Physicians Choice Hospice staff followed on foot and by car. At this point, I don’t recall the exact order of the parade. KOCO sent their storm tracker truck/van. The Stillwater Fire Department and Lifenet were there too. There was even a miniature horse pulled in a trailer and Rains Trucking brought up the rear.
The parade only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was a glorious 10 minutes of happiness and good news that everyone benefited from, not just Myda. During a time when there seems to be bad news around every corner, Stillwater came together and showed the world what good news and a community can be.