To the editor:
Thanks for the “Christmas greeting from Lydia Bleha” in your December 6 issue. The subject of the article was an elderly neighbor my brother Dustin and I knew as “Grandma Bleehaw” during the 1970s. Dustin even spelled her name that way in an elementary school writing assignment. She’d told us to call her “Old Granny Grunts” when she first invited us in for candy from her candy dish, but our parents suggested “Grandma Bleehaw” instead.
One especially nice day earlier this fall, I’d gone for a nostalgic walk down State Avenue, noticing how much our old neighborhood in the 600 block had changed since my kindergarten days. I’d never known Lydia Bleha’s first name, or that she was very recently widowed when we met, or whether she had any family at all. I wondered if anyone else remembered she’d ever been there.
In a coincidence that could only happen in a sparsely populated area with a quality local newspaper, your article was published a few days later. I went online and learned that Lydia was the youngest sibling of August Klindt, the legendary “Gann Valley Giant” who served as Buffalo County sheriff during the 1930s. Considering the headline of your article, it was also interesting to learn that Lydia was born on Christmas Day 1901.
I believe the article’s “neighborhood kid” who inherited Lydia’s caramel corn recipe was about my dad’s age, so apparently Lydia sweetened the lives of at least two generations.