January 23, 2008 It was 90 years ago on January 16th that the stork dropped off a baby girl for the Harold Waltons. It was a snowy, stormy day and Harold hitched a team of horses to the sleigh and drove them into Dryden to take the doctor back to Grandma's house. That baby was Helen Walton Eschenburg.
Ninety years later, Helen's family staged a surprise birthday party for her at the Bavarian Inn in Franken-muth. All of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including Eve Elizabeth, tiny newborn daughter of Grandson John and wife Amy Eschenburg, were present. I felt honored to be invited and was seated next to Helen.
Naturally, we were treated to the Inn's famous chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Dorothy Zehnder, widow of the late "Tiny" Zehnder gave the blessing and came over to speak with Helen. Dorothy still goes to work several days a week at the Inn.
Accordianist Linda Lee came in and played Happy Birthday while all of us sang to Helen. Her son Don read a letter from his Father's nephew, Don Bretz, telling of his appreciation and love for Fred and Helen. Then Don took a traveling microphone from table to table as guests and relatives reminisced and gave Helen their love and congratulations.
Daughter Jean was in charge of putting together a collage of pictures of Helen from childhood through the years. Also on the display table was a trophy for winning a spelling bee when she attended the Terry one-room school back in 1931.
Son Randy was busy spreading his special brand of cheer as he visited the tables of friends and relatives.
My son Lee was my escort for the evening and he provided the picture of Helen taken that evening.
I treasure your friendship Helen, even if I was jealous of you in high school as you got to drive to school! Of course, you had 2 1/2 miles more to go (that was before school buses were born).