BETTY OTT LEANS in to greet her long-time friend Emily Widlake. Their husbands used to play together in a band.   Ian Stepleton photo
BETTY OTT LEANS in to greet her long-time friend Emily Widlake. Their husbands used to play together in a band. Ian Stepleton photo

     AS EMILY WIDLAKE SAT in the front room at Maplecrest Manor last week Friday afternoon, a crowd began to gather around her.

     Many were there to help celebrate Emily’s 94th birthday. Riponite Judy DeWar, for instance — the daughter of Emily’s high school best friend — served cake.

     But that’s not why people began to crowd in closer to hear the soft voice of this long-time beautician.

     No, they were leaning in as they began to hear a story they might not have ever heard about Emily.

     With a wry grin, Emily spilled the “secret.”

     “I was working for the FBI.” ...

     EMILY ISN’T SAYING whether she was “in” on any big secrets from the cases being investigated in the day.

     In summer of ’43, for instance an mysterious typewritten letter in Russian appeared at FBI headquarters. Did it pass through Emily’s hands?

     The FBI delved heavily into counterintelligence work during this period domestically. Did she see names of double agents at work as she filed away?
If she did, she’s not saying. ...

     To read the entire column, see the June 6, 2016 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.