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By Brianna Pitts
WARSAW — The Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts celebrated the 100th birthday of its longest attending patron, Max Poorman on Thursday, July 6 as their longest attending patron.
Poorman, a resident of New Haven, will turn 100 on July 12 and has been attending Wagon Wheel shows since 1956. His favorite seat is in the front row of section four, where he says it feels like he is taking part in the show, and regularly attends the Thursday matinee with his daughter, Arlene.
When asked about the first show he ever went to, Poorman said he did not remember, but he remembers there weren’t many people in attendance, saying, “There were only a few of us there.”
Poorman said he grew up in Illinois and attended Humboldt High School, and had participated in a play there, “but it was nothing like what they have here, we didn’t know what we were doing.”
Poorman said he was unsure how he and his wife ended up at the Wagon Wheel show that day in 1956 because they were living in Berne at the time, but he was sure glad they did.
When asked if he thought back then, he would be standing here today, still coming to this theater, he answered, “No, I thought we would attend for ten years or so, but they’re just so good we just kept going and going and now, we’re still going. The things they are able to do here are so good.”
When asked about what his favorite show he ever saw at the Wagon Wheel was, he initially answered, “All of them.” Poorman then went on to talk specifically about “Singin’ In The Rain” and spoke of the different effects they were able to do with the show with awe, such as making it rain inside.
He spoke of the different actors and actresses that have been in the Wagon Wheel shows, expressing how great they all were and said “many of them have made it to the ‘big time’ because they had everything going for them” and he said he was glad to have been a part of that by watching them.
Poorman said his secret to a long and happy life is “to keep coming to the Wagon Wheel.”