"Ambassador" jogs memory of former
Do any of you remember a young man named Mark Heilman?
Well, he was young when he lived here from 1951 to 1957. He lived on Tarleton Avenue and would have graduated from Williams High in 1960 had his dad not been transferred to Ohio.
While some of you may remember him, others will not, of course. But one thing's for certain. Mark
certainly remembers Burlington - and in a fond way.
His memory was jogged in a most unusual way - by satellite radio, or SiriusXM as it is known. Or
rather, one of the programs featured on that national radio operation every day. You see, one of his favorite entertainers on SiriusXM is Jeanne Robertson. Yes, Jeanne, the tall girl from Graham who represented North Carolina in the Miss America Pageant in 1963 and who since has gained fame
on the national speaking circuit as a humorist.
For some time now Jeanne and her "Flat-Out Funny" humor have been on Sirius and XM, the comedy channels, 20 times a day and sometimes 25 times. Each time a different segment of her collection of humorous stories is aired, and they go out to 20 million or more subscribers driving about the country. The good thing about satellite radio is that you can cross the country without losing signal. Others on the same channel with Jeanne include Jeff Foxworthy, Bob Newhart, Lilly Tomlin and Bill Cosby. She's in pretty high cotton don't you think?
Mark sent Jeanne a message recently and said that thanks to Sirius "I was introduced to your marvelous gift of humor and have been hooked ever since. The more I listen, the more you bring me back to my youth."
He said he used to go to the Paramount Theater nearly every
Saturday morning for the serials for which he paid 8 cents and a
Coble milk bottle top. Jeanne had mentioned May Memorial Library
in one of her programs, and Mark said that made him recall working with John Sharp May to lay the cornerstone of First Presbyterian Church in 1953. His dad worked with Charles Sharpe Realty here.
Mark remembered the Kiwanis train at City Park and the carousel as well. He wondered if they were still running after so many years.
After Mark's family left Burlington in the 1950s, he went on to dental school and a career in the United States Navy. But he added, "I have never forgotten my Burlington roots, and your bringing them back is a pure delight."
Jeanne noted recently that she had just driven across five states "and listened all week" to Sirius. It is a pretty cool concept.
Mark was reminded of Burlington by hearing Jeanne because wherever she goes across the country in her speaking career,
or whenever she is on the radio, she almost always talks about Burlington and Alamance County and Graham and Elon University. She's proud of her roots, and she shares her love for these places no matter to whom she is speaking. Her
career takes her to all points in the country and in some locations outside the U.S.
And to say she is a good ambassador for our community would be a gross understatement. She just may be the best one
we have ever had.
Printed with permission: Don Bolden, Editor Emeritus, The Times News.
Don Bolden columns appears every Sunday.
He can be contacted at DBolden202@aol.com