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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009


"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Clarkston native soaks up memories of 90 years on the same patch of ground

By Courtney Schoen

December 5, 2008 | In all of her 90 years, Sybil Goodey has moved maybe 150 yards.

As the middle of five children, Sybil T. Goodey was born and raised in the farming community of Clarkston, Utah.

"I grew up, married my neighbor, and we've moved half a block in our life," Sybil said.

And while she may not be the most well known woman in the valley, Sybil knows Cache County well and is a huge USU fan.

Sybil and her late husband, Dallas, used to regularly attend the Aggie sporting events. Basketball was their favorite sport to watch together.

When the games were held in the Nelson Field House and the Aggies scored more than 100 points, Sybil recalled, she and her husband would get the free french fries Labeau's gave out. And when the Aggies started playing in the Spectrum, there was no keeping the Goodeys out of the games.

"We had season passes and sat right on the floor," Sybil said, "but now I watch at home because I can't make it up those stairs anymore."

Sybil sits alone in her rocking chair, usually with needle and thread in hand, cross-stitching designs on dish towels for her children and grandchildren.

She used to go on regular walks to the local cemetery, but now she has a hard time even getting out of her recliner in her living room.

However, when the gracefully aged, white-haired woman does need to get out of her chair, she gives herself the motivational count off, "1-2-3 up," and slowly begins the standing process.

Sybil fought through tears when she recalled dancing the night away with her childhood sweetheart decades ago at Utah State's 50th anniversary party.

In 1938, Dallas Goodey, Utah State Agriculture College forestry major, invited Sybil to go with him to the campus's celebration.

He may not have loved dancing, but he was in love with Clarkston's "Miss Utah" -- the title Sybil held during the Pioneer Day parade the previous summer.

When Sybil was 21, Dallas made Sybil his permanent dancing partner.

The two Clarkston locals were married in 1939 and stayed happily married for the next 68 and a half years, never relocating from their hometown.

Sybil was a September bride, along with three of her best friends since first grade.

All of those brides out-lived their husbands, and currently three are still "alive and kicking," as Ulalia Simper, one of elderly widows, said.

Ulalia and Sybil are both living alone now, and since neither has the strength or ability to leave their home, they chat on the phone to keep in touch.

She was always willing to help and she was a good wife to Dallas, Ulalia said -- "Sybil was a good friend."

Sybil misses her husband, and even displays a fridge magnet and throw pillow that read, "I love Dallas."

But Sybil is still going on as strong as she can, swallowing 16 pills and at least one Coke daily as she works through Parkinson's disease, cancer, and a broken foot among other ailments. "I still haven't had to work a day in my life," she said. "I stayed home with the family, but that wasn't work."

Karen Kent, Sybil's oldest daughter, said her mother meant to say she never needed work for pay a day in her life. Karen said her mother has had plenty of work experience.

"She would wake up at the crack of dawn every day," Karen added, "She never quit."

Sybil was a hard charger, never giving up on her family or anyone else.

In addition to being a homemaker for her family, Sybil worked with many other organizations, like Daughters of the Utah Pioneers since 1942 and the 4-H Club since 1938.

Sybil was one of the original presidency members in 1970 for the North Cache Valley chapter of DUP.

Louise Butters, dear friend of Sybil's and current historian of the DUP chapter, said Sybil was one of the most organized ladies she has known and was always dependable in any office she held for DUP.

Both Sybil and Dallas valued service and improving the lives of people around them.

In fact, Sybil supported her husband in his work as a sextant for the Clarkston cemetery by keeping all the records for the cemetery while Dallas hand dug the majority of graves for 33 years.

Mervin Thompson, the former mayor of Clarkston, said Dallas and Sybil were exemplars for their community and "did a lot for our town."

Thompson nominated the Goodeys to receive the Mayor's Award in the Humanities from the Utah Humanities Council in 2002.

After being nominated on the local level, former Sen. Lyle Hillard honored the Goodeys for "dedicating their lives to the betterment of others" at a city council meeting.

It may have been several years since receiving the award, but Sybil can still proudly display the certificate and remember that day clearly, just like many of her other reflections from younger years.

Sybil's favorite memories in life have included riding with her husband when he was a bus driver for the school district and going for sleigh rides in Trenton with her family.

Dwelling on positive memories, such as raising her seven children in her 101-year-old home, bring a thin smile and more creases to Sybil's beautifully wrinkled face.

The home and two acres she currently lives on was bought for $700 in 1939 when the two Clarkston lovebirds married.

But living alone in her home where most of her memories come from is difficult, she said.

Sybil can hardly stand to eat dinner at the kitchen table anymore because she does not want to sit down without Dallas.

Memories are the reason for living, Sybil said. They let her dwell on fun filled events and learned lessons from the past.

Her good memories motivate her to stay strong, but Sybil is getting tired.

"I'm feeling old," she said, "very old."

But nobody knows, perhaps Sybil needs to reach over 100 before she can get the french fries at the end of her game.



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