In 1942, the chief operator of the Smiley Brothers Telephone Exchange, located on the second floor of the old First National Bank building at 101 W. State, was Helen A. Schilling.
In October that year, she went to visit her real-life doppelganger in Tonganoxie, Kan., about 15 miles northeast of Lawrence. As it turned out, there was another Helen A. Schilling there who, like her counterpart in O’Fallon, was also chief operator of a phone company. Not only that, they both started in 1931. But there’s more.
They both were one of three children — two girls and a boy. Also, they were both the same age, same height and within six pounds of being the same weight. Before they started working for the phone company, they both worked at newspapers. The O’Fallon Helen was a bookkeeper at the Progress and other Helen worked in the office at the Tonganoxie newspaper. The two even reported that they shared many likes and dislikes. One thing they didn’t have in common, though. They weren’t related in any way.
75 years ago Oct. 22, 1942
Never miss a local story.
Julius Runkwitz, of east of this city, made an unusual find in his cornfield when he discovered two ears of yellow corn which grew together in such uniform shape as to form a perfect “V” for victory. The “V” is on display at Moonlight Recreation and as manager Al Hartman delights in telling his friends “There’s the answer to the outcome of the war for America and her allies.”
50 years ago Oct. 19, 1967
Apple butter time on the farm is a sure sign that fall has arrived and Enterprise Grange members got together last Friday at the William Magee farm to make the tasty confection out of 15 bushels of apples. The cooking is in traditional manner – cooked all day long in open pots over slow wood fires. The Grange plans sale of the 45 gallons of apple butter with proceeds to be used for community betterment.