The End of the Partyline

Society pages from the 1989 archives.

By Carla Sue Broecker

Over the years many people have asked me, “How long have you been writing your column?” I must admit it is hard to remember that far back. I do remember it as always being a lot of fun, that the paper has been through a lot of different names over the years and technology is a lot different now than when I first started.

1918 Willys Overland Model 86 at Keeneland Concours.

In the beginning, I had a typewriter with a keyboard not unlike today’s computers, but when you made a mistake, you started over on a new piece of paper. You couldn’t fix mistakes with the “backspace” key. And, news in those days was a little more “quaint.” It tended to focus on church socials and ladies’ luncheons. When the column was ready to be turned in, my grandfather drove it to the paper because I wasn’t old enough to drive.

1909 Washington Model A-1 Tourabout at Keeneland.

I know the paper, which was a weekly paper then, went through lots of editors and more than a couple of names. And the area of coverage got wider and wider until my “news” came from all over eastern Jefferson County.

Jump forward a lot years, one marriage and a couple of children, and I needed to know how to use a computer because the column and pictures were then being recorded on floppy disks! At the same time, we started going on long, exotic cruises. In addition to social news, the column became a journal of our travels to lots of far off lands. Just as exotic as the destinations were the searches for internet café’s from which the floppy disks would send the news home. Somewhere along the way, the photos went from black and white to color and that was amazing.

Probably the most dramatic change was when we were no longer a paper printed on newsprint and became the slickly printed magazine you see today.

Ownership of the publication changed a number of times. I still remember covering early morning “Dawn at the Downs” Derby news at Churchill Downs for Channel 15 with John Yarmuth. This was before he was a congressman. His wife Cathy was a flight attendant and in the air, so John brought their baby son along to nap on a pile of our coats while we did the early morning broadcast in the clubhouse. How was I to know that the day would come along when baby Aaron would become an owner of The Voice.

I have had lots of wonderful bosses, none more sweet than Tonya Abeln, who now is the director of community relations for Churchill Downs, and my just as sweet current editor and boss, Angie Fenton, who has an adorable daughter, Olive, and a charming and handsome husband, Jason.

Dick Wilson and Larry Shapin and Ladonna Nichols at Keeneland.

I guess by now you have guessed that with all the historical and “final” sounding comments I’ve made above that this might be my last column. You would be right.

To close out I decided to cover the 2018 Keeneland Concours car show. By invitation from Dick Wilson and his charming wife Ardi, we struck out early in the morning last Saturday to meet the crowd for breakfast at Wallace Station, one of Ouita Michel’s wonderful central Kentucky restaurants near Midway. We didn’t know how devastated that area was by the Friday night/Saturday morning storm: trees were down everywhere and the power was out. No breakfast, unfortunately. Dick sent word to come on to Keeneland, which we did. He served pastries for breakfast off the trunk of his Bentley inside Keeneland’s Gate 2.

The cars were a treat. The weather that morning was kind and we walked the paddock area seeing what someone described as millions of dollars worth of antique cars.

Some Party Line columns from the 1996 archives.

Near lunchtime, we headed to another of Ouita Michel’s restaurants, Holly Hill Inn. Dumb us didn’t think to call and ask if they were open. Skirting downed trees and other road debris, we arrived at Holly Hill to get the same word. No power. No lunch. An hour later we ended up at the Colonel’s Lady Restaurant in Shelbyville where they had power and all the trees were standing. What they didn’t have was enough fried chicken. Full of apologies, the manager told us that when it came out it would be fresh and hot. It was.

This about wraps things up. It’s been fun. Thanks for your loyalty. Maybe I will see you on a ship next January. VT

Row of Model T Fords at Keeneland Concours.

1918 Willys Overland Model 86 at Keeneland Concours.

1909 Washington Model A-1 Tourabout at Keeneland.

1928 Auburn Model 8-115.

A vehicle I call a “Thingmobile” at Keeneland.