Not many people can say they remember Lyons, NE in its glory days. But Loretta Barada can. Loretta has lived in Lyons since 1973 and hasn’t left since. She didn’t plan on staying here. However, she stayed when she fell in love with her husband, Sam Barada.
When she was a girl, Loretta attended O’Gorman Catholic School for girls in South Dakota. She had the experience most of us high school girls wish we would’ve had! Loretta traveled around the state of South Dakota singing in her choir group and she saw the Beatles in person in eighth grade (August 27, 1965). Who can say they’ve done that?! In addition to seeing the Beatles, she rode on her friend’s dad’s airplane to the concert! Even though there weren’t any sports for girls in her school, she still played on the basketball and track intramural teams. There was also mass during school every day. The students could then pick to have a study hall or attend mass. “We always chose mass to see the boys,” Loretta admits with a giggle.
After high school, Loretta attended college at Northern State in South Dakota for special education teaching, which in Loretta’s words is the “best career a person could have!” Loretta applied to Lyons right out of college. At first, she was planning to only stay a year or two. This was before she met her husband Sam. Sam and Loretta have three children and four grandchildren. Loretta herself is the 10th of 11 children with seven brothers and three sisters. When asked what her biggest success is over her years of attending school, teaching, and having children, Loretta said her biggest success is “raising my children with a strong belief in God and a sense of community.”
Speaking of community, Lyons has changed so much over the years. Loretta filled me in on the major changes. “Lyons was a dry town,” Loretta stated. “Fallout was the first bar.” Getting rid of the bowling alley and movie theater was hard on the entire town. Many people would take their children to either of these places to see a funny movie or bowl a while. There also used to be three or four gas stations in Lyons and an “after-school” fast food restaurant for teenagers. Often after school or practice, the high-schoolers of Lyons would gather here to have a milkshake or cheeseburger. What a perfect end to a day. This wasn’t the only restaurant though, there were three or four in addition! Lastly, the manor closing was a devastating moment in our community. The Logan Valley Manor has been in Lyons for years and the closing of it was another chapter closing in our community.
I would like to thank Loretta for being so brave and accepting my interview graciously! I really enjoyed her quirky sense of humor and her politeness. She taught me so much about the town of Lyons and I really wish I could’ve seen Lyons back in the day.