The Point Pleasant Writers Guild had not one, but three guest speakers at its last meeting, Melecio P. Simon, Jr., also known as Dr. Mel, Mea Enrico of California, author of “Under His Wings,” and Lora Lynn Snow, executive director and founder of the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra. Three speakers, two hours, and treats to eat while listening.
First on the agenda, Patrecia Gray, leader of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild, opened with prayer. She and April Pyles then introduced Dr. Simon, who introduced Mea and Roy Enrico, parents of Dr. Mel’s daughter-in-law, Dr. Agnes Simon.
Mea related some of her life story and faith journey found in her book “Under His Wings.” As a young woman in the Philippines, she had wanted to be a journalist, but she chose, instead, to be a nurse as a means of getting to America. Her dream of marrying a doctor came true when she met and married Dr. Roy Enrico, who has had more than his share of adventures. Her memoirs also include the miracle of how their daughter’s life was spared by the divine intervention of God. “Under His Wings” will be available on Amazon.com in the near future. In the meantime, Mea will keep the Guild updated on its progress and availability.
Dr. Simon also introduced Snow, who coordinated one of his book signing engagements at the Ariel Opera House, located at 426 Second Avenue in Gallipolis, Ohio. A local, professional oboist, Snow shared how she had dreamed of forming an orchestra in the local area, but she first had to find a facility where the orchestra could perform. When she was shown the abandoned Ariel Opera House, built in 1895, she felt right away it was the place she was looking for even though it had no heat and no chairs. When the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra performed their first concert on April 1, 1989, chairs had to be borrowed from a local funeral home.
But that was then. Over the years, with the help of the community, Snow’s dream of a restored, not renovate, but restored, opera house has become a reality. In 2005 philanthropist, Ann Carson Dater, purchased the Ariel Opera House complex and presented it to The Ohio Valley Symphony as its permanent home. The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, Home of the Ohio Valley Symphony, is open for business. September’s concert is past, but five more are scheduled: Oct. 26, Nov. 9, Dec. 7, March 21 and April 25. For ticket information, call the box office at 740-446-2787 or go online at ohiovalleysymphony.org.
Dr. Simon drew the guests’ attention to a display of pictures taken from his years of directing “Operation We Care,” a project made possible by his affiliations with the rotarians and the fulfillment of a boyhood pledge to give back to his community. For over 30 years, his team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and health-care givers has provided much needed medical, surgical, and dental services to the people of his native land. In addition, he has donated surgical equipment and hospital supplies, and seen to the construction of several deep-water wells to curtail gastrointestinal diseases.
Dr. Simon’s book “Two Rivers, A World Apart” describes his early years living by the Pigalo River in the Philippines, where he dreamed of becoming a doctor, and his adult years, most of which have been spent living and working by the Ohio River in the United States. Simon’s desire to be a doctor has its roots in the memory of his younger sister who suffered and died from an illness during WWII. Even though he was only seven years old, Simon daily walked to the hospital for his sister’s medicine. One day the hospital was fired upon by war planes, and he narrowly escaped being killed while fleeing the building.
As a young man, Dr. Simon studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and completed his residency in Chicago. In 1966, he was hired as chief of the Department of Urology at Holzer Hospital in Gallipolis. Dr. Simon also worked at Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant. At the age of 58, he joined the United States Air Force with the rank of Colonel. In recent years, he has taken up writing, which he believes is free expression of the mind. Preferring fact over fiction, he chose to write about his life. Thus, “Two Rivers, A World Apart” was born. Currently, he is working on a sequel. Copies of his book may be purchased from Amazon.com.
Those who were in attendance for the meeting were Dr. Mel and Lydia Simon, Dr. Roy and Mea Enrico, Lora Snow, Bob Watterson, Joe Ingerick, Letha Jones, Ilse Burris, Feryle Lawrence, Patrecia Gray, Marilyn Clarke, Carol Newberry, Kris Moore, April Pyles, David King, Ann McCoy and Marchella Shepherd.
The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets every first and third Wednesday of the month from 1-3 p.m. at the Mason County Library. All writers are welcome.
Submitted by April Pyles.