Turning 90 and in the news


Evelyn Long still writing

By Rhonda Bletner - [email protected]



Evelyn Long took dance lessons from Marilyn Meseke when she was six. Meseke lived next door to her in Marion. Meseke went on to win the title of Miss America in 1938, and the two women remained close friends until Meseke’s death in 2001.

Evelyn Long took dance lessons from Marilyn Meseke when she was six. Meseke lived next door to her in Marion. Meseke went on to win the title of Miss America in 1938, and the two women remained close friends until Meseke’s death in 2001.


Submitted photo

Music and writing aren’t Evelyn Long’s only accomplishments, she also loves to dance. Here she dances with her husband Willis at an American Legion dance.


Submitted photo

A young Evelyn Long


Submitted photo

Evelyn Long performs at a Marion operetta directed by Bill Dowler. She thinks she was 21 when this photo was a front-page newspaper feature. She played for her first operetta when she was in sixth grade.


Submitted photo

CARDINGTON — Evelyn Long turns 90 Friday; and she is still working, turning in numerous articles to the Morrow County Sentinel each month.

A report states 255,000 Americans 85 years old or older were working in 2021, 4.4 percent of Americans that age, up from 2.6 percent in 2006.

Evelyn Long is more than a statistic. She is tenacious, spirited, and probably frustrated her body is slowing her down. But even her doctors said, “You keep up your writing.”

It’s so I keep busy,” Long said. “I’ve been busy all my life. I’ve got to do something.”

“I’ve got a bad back so I can’t walk anymore; but I’ve got my computer, my recorder, and email, and people come to the house so I can keep up with things.”

Writing was not her first career choice, or her first career, but she turned it into a lifetime achievement.

Evelyn Long was born in July 8, 1932 to Paul and Adah (Click) Long.

She was the oldest of four girls. She comes from a talented family. Her father sang bass and was often on the radio. Sisters Norita and Marlene sang and performed. Her mother and sister Joanne were artists.

Long’s first love was music.

She was playing piano at age 5. She performed on Marion radio at age 6. She played numerous events throughout school, playing for operettas and choirs. “There wasn’t anything I didn’t play for. I love my piano,” she said.

She also taught piano for 14 years.

“Piano was my thing. Then I went to Capital University; and I thought, ‘I don’t want to sit in that cubbyhole [the small rooms where they practiced and played for their instructors] eight hours a day and playing the piano.’”

“So I switched my major to algebra – which I detested,” she said emphatically, “So, I quit.”

She went home. By that time her family had moved to Cardington. They lived on the Click family farm, where her mother was raised, on Township Road 169.

The family moved to Cardington one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

“We just moved over here, and I was in fourth grade. And then when the war ended, we all, my classmates, we all skipped school. I’ll never forget that. It was V Day, and my best friend was the daughter of the superintendent. We were all told not to quit school because it would be a mark against us. But everybody skipped school, including the superintendent’s daughter and me. We ran down the streets and had a good time cheering, she said.

“I ended up at her house and in comes her dad, the superintendent. Nobody got punished.”

She worked at HPB Hydraulic and Bill Johnstone’s Insurance.

Evelyn Click became Mrs. Willis Long on Aug. 19, 1955.

She knew him in high school, and they went to the same church.

“I never thought about dating him, all the way through school. He was so quiet; you never knew he was around,” she said.

But he returned from the service in 1953 and got a job. His neighbor was dating Evelyn’s youngest sister, and they urged her to date Willis.

Willis Long called her May 4, 1955 and asked her out. They went to see Chief Crazy Horse at the drive-in in Marion.

“One week later he asked me to marry him. We were at the Dairy Queen in Marion,” she said. “I jumped at the chance. He was so nice, so gentle. He wouldn’t get mad about anything; and I thought, ‘This was the guy.’”

The have two sons who live in Cardington: Alan (Kim) and Kevin (Cindy) Long. She has one granddaughter and two grandsons.

Her beloved Willis Long passed away Dec. 22, 2004, and she still misses him.

On Writing

One day they saw an ad in the Marion Star for a Cardington reporter. In high school she had written for the school newspaper, the Searchlight.

“Willis saw it, and he said, ‘Why don’t you apply for that.’

“I said, ‘I’ll never get that.’ But he said, ‘Well, try it.’”

She called the Star and spoke to Charlie Martin, the city editor. He told her to send a “make-believe story.” She wrote up a mock meeting and got the job. It was May 1978.

“And then a tornado hit June 13, 1981. Our house was saved. Thank God because our little poodle was in here,” she said.

She and Willis had been shopping in Marion. They came back and saw the town “flattened.”

“We came up 529 and I said, ‘I never saw a cloud that low to the ground. It looked horrible. Then as we came to the top of the hill, the town was gone. I started crying, ‘My poodle’s at home.’

They worked their way through town. Trees were all down around their house; but their house and her poodle were spared.

“I never thought a thing about it until three days later, and I thought, ‘My gosh, I ought to call the paper.’ I called the Marion Star and Charlie said, ‘Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick about you.’”

“I forgot all about having a job,” she exclaimed.

Then she was busy, at meetings every day covering the tornado. Her sister Joanne Mathews was her photographer. Evelyn met Gov. Jim Rhodes and had her picture taken with him.

In 1996, she started working for the Morrow County Sentinel.

“And I’ve been there ever since with a bunch of editors,” she said. She did have a falling out with one editor and quit her job. A couple of weeks later, he saw her and asked her to come back, and she told him, “Not while you’re there.”

She said a couple of weeks later he quit, and she returned to the Sentinel.

Long enjoys historical research and writing her “Reflections” column. She has boxes of books and articles for reference.

“I’ve become the historian of the town. If anyone wants to know anything from way back, go to Evelyn,” she said.

When she got sick and needed additional research, she counts on Stan Sipe at the genealogical society to help her find information.

She said, “He helps me. He’s my good friend.”

She started with a column called “Glance Back.”

“I began to get response to that thing. People would call me up. Back then I would print the murders – the bad things. Finally, one night Gene Gompf called me and he said, ‘I didn’t know we had such a murderous county.’ I said, ‘I better switch the topics.’

“And then one day Randa [former editor Randa Wagner] called, and she asked me if I wanted to do a weekly column. She was the best friend and so good to me. We’re still friends today,” she added.

Long changed “Glance Back “ to “Reflections.”

But history isn’t her only subject. She wrote and edited the local American Legion newsletter for 30 years and also the sixth district American Legion newsletter which covered six counties.

“I did that for 20 years and received an award from the State American Legion,” she said.

She covers everything Cardington: council, board of education, community events, and stories of people and businesses in the community. And the community lends her their support.

In 2019, the village dedicated a tree in her honor during the village’s annual Arbor Day observance.

Editor’s Note: The Morrow County Sentinel wishes Evelyn a Happy Birthday.

Evelyn Long took dance lessons from Marilyn Meseke when she was six. Meseke lived next door to her in Marion. Meseke went on to win the title of Miss America in 1938, and the two women remained close friends until Meseke’s death in 2001.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/07/web1_IMG-9611.jpgEvelyn Long took dance lessons from Marilyn Meseke when she was six. Meseke lived next door to her in Marion. Meseke went on to win the title of Miss America in 1938, and the two women remained close friends until Meseke’s death in 2001. Submitted photo

Music and writing aren’t Evelyn Long’s only accomplishments, she also loves to dance. Here she dances with her husband Willis at an American Legion dance.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/07/web1_IMG-9610.jpgMusic and writing aren’t Evelyn Long’s only accomplishments, she also loves to dance. Here she dances with her husband Willis at an American Legion dance. Submitted photo

A young Evelyn Long
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/07/web1_Little-Evelyn.jpgA young Evelyn Long Submitted photo

Evelyn Long performs at a Marion operetta directed by Bill Dowler. She thinks she was 21 when this photo was a front-page newspaper feature. She played for her first operetta when she was in sixth grade.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/07/web1_Piano-Evelyn.jpgEvelyn Long performs at a Marion operetta directed by Bill Dowler. She thinks she was 21 when this photo was a front-page newspaper feature. She played for her first operetta when she was in sixth grade. Submitted photo
Evelyn Long still writing

By Rhonda Bletner

[email protected]