Remember When: Remembering Eloise Thwing

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 2, 2018

I met Eloise Thwing at the Columbus Methodist Church when she was running the Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry from there.

I don’t remember why I was there, but I think it must have had something to do with Lions. At any rate, my appreciation for her began there and grew over the years since.

She was the perfect person to administer the help programs of Outreach. I say this because she told me something of how she went about it.

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For example: if someone came in wanting help with their electric bill, Eloise would ask, “If we give you the money for this time, how will you pay it next time?”

If the answer were not positive, she would insist that the person attend her money management classes. The help Eloise provided always came with a way for the person to improve their living conditions.

I thought then that if Eloise were running our welfare system, there would be a lot fewer people on it!

At some point, the Columbus Lions decided to collect food for Outreach at Christmas instead of giving one another presents. I liked to visit with Eloise when I delivered the goods because she was always positive and uplifted my spirits.

Eloise came to our Lions Christmas party at our house once, and was admiring Fran’s mug collection displayed on a wall. She noted that Fran did not have one from Vermont.

A short time later, a beautiful Vermont mug mysteriously appeared on our porch. We knew from whence it came; we were just sorry we missed her visit.  

I have been visiting friends in the medical part of White Oak in Tryon for a number of years on Sunday afternoons. At first, there were two or three now it is a dozen or more. I walk the halls, checking the names by the doors.

When I found Eloise there, she was sharing a room with my Tryon High School classmate, Christine Glover. She would listen as Christine and I exchanged our usual banter, and offer her own polite observations. As she took my hand on my leaving, she would tell me, in words she must have learned as a child, that she was glad I had come, looked forward to seeing me again, and so on. Always cordial, “proper” etiquette.

Weather permitting, Eloise was outside in the big sitting area with trees and shrubs, birds and butterflies, to make it seem more like a park. That got her out of the confines of their little room, and gave her more people to visit with.

She was in the TV room last Sunday, asleep in her chair, so I did not wake her. When next she awakens, I feel sure she will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Now, to our upcoming move.

Eloise Johnson, former “Consumer educator” at the extension office, now lives in one of the apartments at White Oak. My late friend Howard Greene and I were in one of Eloise Johnson’s Kiwanis cooking classes at the extension office back then.

Eloise told us that the apartment we are moving into at White Oak was formerly occupied by my late friend, Maj. Jack Brandon. Jack was a Marine aviator who flew fighter jets that I did design work on.

As we move through our lives, others move into the places and spaces we vacate, thus giving continuity to workplaces and communities.