By Don White, CV& T staff writer
From time to time, Jane and Buddy Wynn Walters would take a lantern and walk along the railroad tracks in Ravenna…..just for the fun of it.
Other times would find them atop some of the highest hills in Estill County, a picnic basket at their side as they sat and drank in the beauty of his native homeland.
“One time we came upon a moonshine still,” says Jane.
Then there were those occasions when he would prepare dinner for the family, and all would dine while sitting on a blanket in front of the fireplace.
I never had the opportunity to meet Buddy, but I wish I had.
Pretty sure I would have liked this thinking man.
Jane loved him….a lot.
That was very evident recently when she paused from raking leaves at her cozy Poplar Street home to talk about her 51 years in Estill.
The native of Akron, Ohio had just returned from a visit home to see her 86-year-old mother.
“Mom doesn’t understand why I don’t move back to Akron, but this is home now,” she explains.
Buddy, who has been deceased for 11 years, often accompanied his wife to Akron. That’s where he first met his future bride more than 50 years ago.
“He had an aunt and uncle living four doors down from me, and he stayed with them while looking for employment,” she says, a hint of Ohio accent in her voice.
The handsome Kentuckian and his 18-year-old bride would become the parents of a son and two daughters and face tragedy and triumph along life’s path.
Worst of all was when their 17-year-old son lost his life in an auto accident.
Of the two daughters, one lives with Jane and the other, in Richmond.
Some of the best memories stem back to when Buddy served as a teacher at local rural schools.
He was at Wagersville in the last year of existence for that school and also taught at Pea Ridge. Another year was spent teaching art at Dilce Combs High near Hazard.
“While at Pea Ridge, he circulated a petition to get electricity put in the school and was successful,” recalls Jane.
In later years, he would commute to IBM in Lexington.
Jane has worked at a variety of jobs, including at a bank and local insurance agencies.
She is now serving as manager of Irvine School Apartments, a job she calls “the best I’ve ever had.”
At age 69, Jane knows she still has some mountains to climb and regrets Buddy isn’t at her side.
“A friend used to remark that when you see Buddy, you’ll see Jane,” she said.