By Nathan Pilling
XENIA — The legacy of love based in 4-H and the Greene County Fair is strong in the Wickline family. It stretches through two generations of marriage back to the young, single days of Jim and Helen Wickline.
Jim and Helen – who will have been married for 50 years in August – first met at 4-H Camp Clifton in 1953.
“I was 10, and he was one of the older ones,” Helen said. “I knew who he was, but he didn’t know who I was.”
Gradually over the years they got to know each other through 4-H. Helen said the two kept getting put on the same committees. They have former County Extension Agent Hugh Morris to thank for that.
Eventually Jim decided to ask her out on a date. He was a square dance caller and so he asked her to come to a dance at the end of the fair one year. But fate decided that first date would be delayed a bit.
“It rained … that afternoon and the road was all flooded,” she said. “I didn’t get to go to the dance.” As she thinks about it now she laughs. Perhaps back then, though, young love might have thought differently.
Their square dancing date worked out eventually though, when Helen helped Jim run a square dance for a 4-H club in Jamestown at a later date. Just a few years later they were married, another couple a product of 4-H, which Jim says might have been more common back then than it is today.
“There are a lot of couples in Greene County that met through 4-H,” Helen said.
Jim and Helen’s fair love story is a good one, but it’s made even more interesting by the fact that one of their sons, Doug, has a similar story. He first met his wife Julie at 4-H Camp Clifton as well and went on to propose to his wife at the Greene County Fair.
Doug and Julie got married and today have kids who are involved with 4-H and the fair.
“We’re proud of Greene County and proud of the Greene County Fair and all of the people that are involved in it,” Doug said.
The legacy of 4-H and fair love has been passed on.
“It’s a very special time especially now our grandchildren are showing [at the fair],” Helen said. “We look forward to it.”