Every year, Enterprise Media Group has an entry in the Gateway to the West Days parade.
But this year was extra special. This year, the Enterprise is celebrating its 150th anniversary as is the City of Blair.
To mark such a momentous occasion, the Enterprise loaded up one of the oldest pieces of equipment it has — a 1938 Model 33 Linotype Machine. It took several guys and a tow truck to get it out of the building and onto the float.
The machine, which was last used in 1969, definitely drew some attention. But a very important person riding on that float garnered more.
Sitting in front of that behemoth of a machine was 100-year-old Blair resident Fae Williby and her son, Ron. You may have read about Fae in our recent Celebration 150 Years special edition. She is one of the last operators of the Linotype. She worked for the Enterprise from the late 1940s until the machine made its last lead type.
From my experience with her, I can tell you this woman is an inspiration.
I interviewed Fae for the story that appears in the special edition. She was wonderful to talk to — so energetic, full of life and sharp as a tack.
On Saturday, I was riding on the back of the float, seated behind the Linotype where Fae would have sat for all those years typing story after story. The reaction to not only the machine, but Fae was amazing.
Block after block, I heard people from the crowd yell, “Fae. Hi, Fae.”
In one stretch, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren lined the parade route. You could hear them as we approached.
“Grandma Fae, Grandma Fae,” they chanted.
Fae graciously smiled and waved as she enjoyed her ride in the parade. It was a special day for the Enterprise, but an even more special day for Fae.
Thank you, Fae.
Leeanna Ellis is the managing editor of the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise and the Arlington Citizen.