Sally Valiton has been a Waynedale resident for 35 years. She worked for 12 years at Rogers Formal Wear and married her late husband, Ron Valiton on August 15, 1981.
Ron spent his career as a railroad worker and an avid model train collector. When he retired he turned his hobby into a business. Ron and Sally traveled throughout the country visiting train shows, selling and repairing all types of toy trains. He kept busy in his workshop gathering both knowledge and equipment.
Ron was also a member of the Wheelin & Dealin Car Club and enjoyed working on his 1957 Golden Hawk Studebaker and playing pool, winning the state championship in 2006.
Sally was a partner in all that Ron did and they often joked about the model train business being their retirement nest egg. When Ron passed away due to a heart attack in 2009, Sally’s world came crashing down. She began having her own heart problems and survived three cardiac stent operations.
She adjusted well to her new world without Ron, but it was difficult for her. In June 2011, she decided to downsize by selling most of her past possessions and moving forward to a new life in an apartment.
Sally’s friend Penny Larimore suggested that Sally call Ellenberger Auctioneers to sell the house, garage, train, workshop and all the things they had accumulated during a lifetime together.
Glen Ellenberger of Ellenberger Auctioneers put the plan in motion and set a date of September 10, 2011 for the auction. The address is 7112 Baer Road.
Sally began sorting her possessions. She moved the furniture and other items she would be keeping to her new apartment and continued the sad task organizing and preparing. She mentioned that during those nights, her late husband Ron would sometimes visit her in her dreams, asking questions about various items and why she was getting rid of them.
Sally, her son Shawn and grandson Noah Hill were up in the attic bringing things down for the auction when Sally came across a box full of old 8mm movies. They were marked with various labels, “1944 Polar Bear Plunge,” “W & D’s,” “Santa and Sleigh,” “The Noll Mansion” and one that was labeled “Elvis 1957, Colesium.” She noticed that coliseum was misspelled and thought she recognized the labels as being written in her father-in-laws handwriting. Still, they had much to do so she boxed all the movies together and continued the sorting.
On Tuesday, August 22nd, Glen Ellenberger stopped by to see how everything was going. Sally said, “He got to the box of movies, saw the one marked “Elvis” and said, THIS item will have its own auction.”
From that time on, Sally’s life has gotten very busy. Not only does she have the auction coming up on Saturday, September 10, at 9:00 AM, but, her head is spinning with all the possibilities that the Elvis tape has brought.
It’s not a surprise that the 1957 tape is stirring up interest. Elvis was only 22 years old at the time of the local concert. Just the possibility of a quality Elvis movie has the Internet buzzing; as it wasn’t until the 1970s that the Elvis concerts were recorded.
As we sat in Sally’s foyer, talking about old times (Waynedale was incorporated into Fort Wayne in 1957), Sally picked up a manila folder full of black & white pictures of movie stars. They looked to be media publications to advertise TV shows. They were not hard to recognize, Clark Gable, Natalie Wood, etc.
“I wonder if these are worth anything?” she said.
Elvis is no longer in the house; he is now in a bank vault awaiting analysis at Indiana University.
It has been a strange and interesting progression of events that has led Sally to this situation and although she isn’t getting her hopes up, she said, “I feel as if Ron has guided me to these discoveries.”
REFLECTIONS OF THOSE WHO WERE THERE
Buck Ormiston, CC, Class of 57: I was on the Fort Police Department and was working security at the Coliseum.
“Bill Walsh who was the head or security gave me the assignment. We picked up a new Chevy from Hefner Chevrolet and drove to the airport. Elvis came in with three bodyguards. We all got in the car, one bodyguard on each side in the back seat and one up front with me. We drove to the Marriott and rode up to the fourth floor with him.”
I said, ‘How ya doin’. And he said, ‘fine.’
“We spent the night and then went to the concert. As soon as the show was over, he was out of there.”
Jude (Stark) Cline, EHS, Class of 1959:
“I remember the tickets were $5.00 each, an outrages amount for the time period. I was just 16 and went with a group of girls. We sat in the upper section of the coliseum. We never heard a note of the concert because as soon as Elvis came on stage everyone started screaming and they kept screaming until he left. It was the most exciting thing I had ever experienced.”
“The flashbulbs were blinding.”
Gelaine (Listenberger) Smock:
“My dad loaned me his binoculars and we passed them back and forth trying to get a better view of Elvis.”
Betsy (Cochran) Ormiston:
“Someone saw Elvis and shouted, ‘There he is’ and everyone rushed towards the stage, pressing to get a better view.”