By Don Hill
It was good to see JACSY on the front cover again. He belongs there because he was an important part of our community. It brings back memories because I was there when he was created.
I was a fairly new art teacher in the community and the United Fund committee asked me if I could come up with a logo or symbol that would represent the fund. Luckily, my good friend from college was doing his student teaching at the high school and was staying with me at the time.
Shelby Harding, from Bloomfield was a much better artist than I, especially in cartooning. I turned the project over to him. Shelby was very creative and immediately came up with the idea of a knight. You know, the knight in shinning armor. One who protected people and saved damsels, etc.
We knocked around ideas and felt that he should be a knight who would appeal to children. So, Shelby made him short and a little chubby, you know like Santa Claus. He added the heart-shaped shield for the symbol of love. JACSY should certainly be a loving knight.
I think I might have come up with the flowing red cape like superheroes wear. Shelby added the red plume on the helmet. Every knight had to have a lance, so Shelby made him a long one. Now JACSY was ready for battle. The committee was happy with him, so Shelby donated his work.
When JACSY first appeared featuring the United Fund’s articles, his lance had been shortened. They said it took up too much room, so they had to cut it down. Shelby wasn’t pleased with that, but JACSY was a hit.
When they started the school drawing contest, Mary and I volunteered to be judges. We had drawings all over the house. We divided them into age groups and laughed at all the difference shapes and colors that the kids had made JASCY. Later others took over the project.
The beautiful painting of JACSY in the paper showed him off well. I’m sure many said, “I remember drawing JACSY!”
Shelby Harding went on to teach art in Richmond, Indiana and was a well-known book illustrator and cartoonist. He was the best man at our wedding, and I was the best man at his. Sadly, cancer took him a few years ago and I gave the eulogy at his funeral.