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Friendship of 60+ years shows clipping is caring

For decades, Ann and J.D. Dickerson have mailed Richard and Becky Worst packages carrying news about their beloved Buckeyes.

Three couples pose in front of the entrance to Ohio Stadium. They are all white, middle-aged people wearing Ohio State gear and baseball caps (though one lady has on a brimmed sunhat) who stand smiling with their arms around the shoulders of the people next to them.

Becky and Richard Worst, second and third from left, and Ann and J.D. Dickerson, second and third from right, attend a Buckeye game with their good friends the O’Rourkes. (Photo courtesy of J.D. Dickerson)

Our friends’ commitment is almost incomprehensible: For 50 years, J.D. and Ann Dickerson have been keeping my wife, Becky, and me connected to Ohio State via diligent newspaper clipping and the U.S. Postal Service. Yes, five decades.

In 1960, J.D. was already a Buckeye, and Ann, Becky and I were enrolled at Denison, rooting for the Big Red. We got together when J.D. came to visit Ann at the Pi Phi house, where the women were sorority sisters. It wasn’t long before we caught J.D.’s scarlet and gray fever.

Our foursome didn’t miss a home football game while J.D. was working toward the bachelor’s and dentistry degrees he received in 1965, and while I — having enrolled at Ohio State — was pursuing the MD and psychiatry degrees I earned in 1964 and 1968, respectively.

We saw so many Buckeye legends, watching the men’s basketball team win the 1960 national championship with Lucas, Havlicek and their teammates, and traveling to the Rose Bowl to watch Rex Kern and the Super Sophs of 1968 beat USC and O.J. Simpson.

After three years in the Air Force, I returned to Ohio State to serve as director of student mental health services, and J.D., Ann, Becky and I picked up where we left off. But in 1973, Becky and I headed to Idaho, and that’s when the Dickersons’ mailings began.

It was hard to follow Ohio State in Idaho in those days. If a game wasn’t televised in our area, I would have to go to a local bar and ask them to find it with their expanded selection of games. J.D. and Ann’s packages — which continue to this day — help us feel connected from nearly 2,000 miles away. And, even better, we feel cared about.

The deliveries are especially heavy during football season, often two a week, but our fellow Buckeye faithful also send articles about basketball, baseball, track and other news from Columbus. Back when we all had VCRs, they’d record games and send us VHS tapes.

Ours wasn’t just a pen pal relationship, though. The Dickersons and the Worsts have assembled for many summer get-togethers at our family cottage on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. Our last reunion was just this past summer.

So, there you have it. We met in 1960 and our friendship is still going strong 63 years later. I get almost tearful thinking about the last line of “Carmen Ohio.” “How firm thy friendship” rings so true.

I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Buckeyes who have experienced something similar. I don’t think we’re unique among the many friendships spurred by Ohio State, but I can’t imagine there are many who have lived the Buckeye spirit of connection much better than we have.

Thank you, J.D. and Ann, for these many years of friendship and the mountain of newspaper stories (and more) you have gifted us. Becky and I are forever grateful. O-H!

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