COLONY — A pyramid of scrapbook albums cover the Luedke’s dining room table. Allene Luedke sits in her quaint Colony home and thumbs through the album pages. She traces her index finger across the yellowing newspaper clippings attached to the pages.
The softly worn books contain 19½ years worth of feature stories that Luedke has written for The Iola Register.
Luedke, 84, began writing for the Register in 1971. She had never written for a newspaper until former owner and publisher Emerson Lynn Jr. asked her if she would.
“I told him ‘Well, I’ll try it,” she said.
As a child Luedke had pen pals but that was the closest she came to being a writer. She began constructing her feature stories about community members on a typewriter. Through the years she progressed to an IBM typewriter and now, a computer. Her nephew helped get her started on the computer but she also taught herself many tech skills.
In August 1995 Luedke retired from writing feature stories for the Register when the demands of taking care of her mother became her responsibility. She still sends in Colony News to the newspaper every week and it runs on Wednesdays.
“People always say I don’t know how Mrs. Luedke gets so much news,” she said.
Luedke gives thanks to her numerous sources in the Colony community. She has made contacts with its churches, school board clerk, city clerk and club secretaries throughout the years. She includes around the town news which includes holiday gatherings and birthdays. This type of information is important to readers if it is shared in the right way, Luedke maintains.
“I want to make sure I’m being newsy not nosey,” she said with a chuckle.
Her oldest news contributor is a 93-year-old gentleman who comes to Luedke’s house every week to drop off the Northcutt Church news.
Through the years she has met countless people and she has loved writing about each one.
“I enjoyed writing about them and I try to keep in contact with them,” she said. “I’m interested in keeping Colony on the map.”
HARD work was instilled in Luedke when she was a child growing up on a western Missouri farm. She would help her father on the farm and milk cows. In her late-20s she visited a Sunday School in Kansas City and met her future husband Morris. In April they will be married for 58 years.
Although they didn’t know a single soul in Colony the couple decided to move to the small community and begin farming.
“I’ve enjoyed farming,” she said. “I’ve helped bale and rake, milk cows and drive trucks.”
When her two children started school Luedke worked part-time at the city clerk’s office. She also was treasurer.
Their son Mark comes over every day to help Morris with the farm.
Luedke said Morris has suggested it’s time for her to retire from writing but she said he hasn’t retired from farming yet.
“I thought about retiring last year but when the time came I couldn’t let go,” she said. “I really enjoy it.”
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