Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Margaret Kennedy and Norine Laird are lifelong friends

  • Lifelong Friends, a monthly program at the Miners’ Hall Museum, started its fifth year Thursday with new hostesses Margaret Kennedy and Norine Laird.

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  • Lifelong Friends, a monthly program at the Miners’ Hall Museum, started its fifth year Thursday with new hostesses Margaret Kennedy and Norine Laird.
    Actually, Kennedy isn’t exactly new. She served as hostess when the program started in January, 2006.
    “I took off for a while, but decided I’d come back,” she said.
    A lifelong Franklin resident, Kennedy remembers being a little nervous at that first meeting, but said she relaxed when she saw so many familiar faces coming in the door.
    Laird enjoyed attending Lifelong Friends and helped out every month.
    “I had volunteered six or seven years at the old Franklin Community Hall before it blew away in the 2003 tornado,” said Laird, who also served on the old hall’s board.
    Following the tornado, Laird served on the committee to get the new community center and the new community park built, helped with the flowers in the park and planted trees to replace those destroyed by the tornado.
    Both women previously served on the old Franklin area water board, delivered meals on wheels, etc. Volunteering is nothing new to them.
    During the years they were paid for their work, Kennedy was a secretary and later assistant manager at Meadowbrook Mall, and Laird was employed at the U.S. Census Bureau in Pittsburg.
    Appropriately for their new duties, they really are lifelong friends.
    “We grew up together and went to school together,” Laird said.
    “I hate to admit it, but I’m just a few years older,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think I was going to get this old, but the Lord has been good.”
    “We’re the second oldest ones here,” Laird said.
    The two will prepare luncheons every month for the Lifelong Friends meeting.
    “As a rule we make everything,” Kennedy said. “That means there will be two first-generation Italians who are going to cook.”
    Her maiden name is Cambursano, and Laird’s is Nepote.
    Phyllis Bitner prepared the lunch for the Thursday meeting, a spaghetti casserole and gelatin salad featuring pineapple and cherries. Kennedy and Laird planned to do the cleaning up while those attending played cards or board games and visited.
    “One game we play is 31,” Laird said. “It’s a game my aunt and I have played for I don’t know how long, and we’ve gotten other people started on it. It’s a real interesting game, and anyone can learn to play it.”
    “I think a lot of them enjoy visiting as much as cards or games,” Kennedy said.
    She added that some programs are also planned.
    “For the holidays we’ll probably invite some of the school children to come in and sing Christmas songs,” Kennedy said. “They like to come, and people love to hear them.”
    Page 2 of 2 - People also enjoy looking at the old photo albums at the museum, and Bitner said that those who wish can even help preserve area history.
    “We have photos not just from Franklin, but from Arma, Breezy Hill and all around here,” Bitner said. “In some photos the people aren’t identified, or we might only know the names of one or two of them. We’ll have a sheet of paper, and anybody who recognizes somebody in a photo can just write down that information for us.”
    Around 40 to 50 people attend each month.
    “It’s really grown,” Kennedy said. “When we started we had 20.”
    “We always have a nice crowd and everybody seems to be pleased with it,” Laird said.
    “We welcome new people, but we do have to have lunch reservations so we’ll know how much food to make,” Kennedy said. “What we do is call people a few days before the meeting and ask if they’ll be attending. Anyone who wants to be added to our calling list should call the Miners’ Hall Museum office at 620-347-4220.”

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