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Thursday November 20, 1986


Pix #1 - The Smiths photographed in front of the Nazarine Church at Kankakee Ill., where Rev. Smith pastored from 1948-1956

Pix #2 - Rev. Sylvester Smith and wife Leah, the author of "Mind, Matter and Old Lace", photographed in 1985

Pix #3 - The Smiths in front of the Roseland Church of the Nazarine in Chicago in 1939.

"Mind, Matter and Old Lace", the book's title is rather catchy, but it doesn't really do justice to the excellent content: the reminiscing the author did over many years about her life...growing up mainly in rural areas, but finally becoming the wife of a preacher, with pastorates in many places.

At one period in her life, and that of her husband, the Smith resided in Fostoria, and he was the pastor at The Nazarine Church, during its formative years.

Readers who like tales about the outdoors, rural schools, the way of life in near poverty, how people with grit and gumption overcame the worst of odds, horse and buggy days, living off the land, but finally achieving with college will enjoy her book.


The best of all in the book's content is that in all of the difficult situations that Mrs. Smith and her family encountered, they always took their problems to God, and he never failed them.

During the author's reminisching, she recalled the time they spent in Fostoria, when her husband was pastor of The Nazarine, and not getting much salary back then. Here's a couple quotes about that period.

"Lance Marshall (a member of the church) was washing down his bathroom wall one day and thanking God for his nice home, then God spoke to him... Pastor Smith has no furniture. He got down from his ladder, wiped his hands and started writing names God was giving him. The plan God gave him was for 12 men, not members of our church, to give a dollar a month for 12 months toward furniture. He wrote the 12 names, two of whom he didn't know. As he talked with the men he knew, they liked the idea, and one man on the list knew the other two. They all agreed..."


"When my husband was told about their plan, thankfulness filled our hearts. As my husband Sylvester talked to the manager of the furniture store, he asked about our salary; it was then $12.50 a week. But you can't pay for furniture with income no more than that", the manager said.

Well it's not quite that way, Sylvester said. As he explained the plan, it was easy to see the furniture man was impressed.

I have a young couple who want to move out of state and they owe some on their furniture. I have told them if they stay, they can keep what they have and pay as they are able. But if they moved out of state, they will have to return the furniture. They are to tell me Thursday. Come in then and we'll see.

When the time came, we went to the store. Good news for us! The couple had turned in six rooms of furniture. The manager told us if we wanted it, we could have it for a hundred dollars. That would leave us some for buying curtains and other things. How good God is!.


A humorous, yet serious item in the book, as told by Mrs. Smith..."Paul (our son) was quite a favorite with the people of the church at Fostoria; but none liked him more than George Fisher, or "Shanks" as he was called. Whenever Pastor Sylvester would be taking pledges for offerings, Paul would raise his hand just because his daddy was asking for hands. Then "Shanks" would say, "I'll pay it regardless of the amount Paul raised his hand for".

I gladly admit that once reading of the book began, it was not easy to lay it aside. I highly recommend it.

After Mrs. Smith finished manuscript she could not find a publisher to produce it, so she sent it to the First Church of The Nazarine, Nashville, Tenn., where her husband now live in retirement. Her instructions were to place it in the church library.

Then, the editor of the church's publication, The Nazarine Weekly, started to run the manuscript in serial form. A reader read it and found a publisher to produce the book.

Mrs. Smith has also written and had published several books of poems. After one book was published she was listed in Who's Who of American Women.

At the time the Smiths were residing in Fostoria, her brother, Al and wife Nona, moved to Fostoria. Al became an employee of The Fostoria Pressed Steel. Al since retired, and they are residing at 2909 Roma Court, Punta Gorde, FL 33950.

For a price of $4 postpaid, readers can get "Mind, Matter and Old Lace" by writing to: Leah Whitecanack Smith, 60 Lester Ave. Apt. 509, Nashville, Tenn. 37210.


John Switzer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil switzer, deceased former Fostorians, is the daily weather reporter for the Columbus Dispatch...but he does it in an unusual way. that information came to me from former Fostorian Dorothy (Smith) Gardner, a resident in Columbus for many years. She is the sister of deceased Pat Smith and Mike Smith, residing in Lima. With the letter from Gardner was clippings of Switzer's column.

Gardner reported that everyone she knows in Columbus like Switzer's style, which in addition to the actual report on the weather, includes some phase of the season, or activities which prevail at the moment because of the season: Indian Summer; the normal heating problems, apple season, etc.

In one column, John reported, the headline on his column was: Fostoria's Excitement Outdoes Weather"...and then went on to comment on the image of Jesus which appeared on the storage tank in Fostoria.

John's father "Poody" as he was always know, was editor of The Fostoria Daily Review many years ago.

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