Ah, the summer of 1983! Alas, I remember it well. It was the last summer before I became an undergraduate at Lincoln Memorial University. Oh, how I looked forward to being surrounded for four years in an environment completely saturated with Lincoln lore and memorabilia. In the entire time I lived on the Harrogate campus, I never tired of seeing Lincoln everywhere I turned. I was in heaven on earth!
This is the third of a series of articles on the history of Wood Dale School in Union County, Tennessee.
In the first article I shared information about Wood Dale School from 1900 through the depression years to 1940 as related in Our Union County Heritage: A Historical and Biographical Album of Union County—People, Places, Events by Kathleen George Graves and Winnie Palmer McDonald (© 1978 Josten’s); Ms. Bonnie Heiskell Peter’s book Union County Schoolday Memories: A Pictorial History of Union County Elementary Schools From the mid-1800’s to the 1960s; and from available school registers on file at the Union County Board of Education.
My mother once surprised me. In a moment of frustration, she looked me in the eye and said, “If only I could be a genie for a day.”
I normally never thought of my mother thinking this way. There have been several stories and fairy tales that involved people coming in contact with a genie or Leprechaun who would grant them three wishes. Most always, those people wished foolishly and wound up in worse shape than before they had the wishes.
Welcome to 2020! One hundred years ago, it was 1920, the start of a decade of American history known as “The Roaring Twenties”. Were we able to, as my mother once said, be a genie for a day and turn back time one hundred years. How strange it would seem.
I would not go to sleep wearing my CPAP machine, watching one of four televisions in my house as I went to sleep. I would not awake to that same television in the morning and place my CPAP into a machine that would clean it for me at a preset time during the day while I was at work.
In last week’s article I described in some detail the house in which I was raised. That was not exactly what I set out to do, so this week I share with you my earlier intentions.
My father insisted in having his bed in the living room where the heating stove was located. The spot upstairs directly over the heating stove held an unfinished baby casket.
There came a time when a noise could be heard upstairs every night, as if something huge was being dragged over the bare, dusty wooden floor.
After a long day, with a few extra hours at work at the office, I drove home to eat a bowl of popcorn. It was lightly flurrying when I arrived home. After a pleasant hour and a half with my cat, wife, popcorn, and the local and national news, it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to write and submit this article. Thanks to a phone conversation earlier this evening with a co-worker, I did have a topic for you, Faithful Reader. There are times that inspiration just doesn’t seem to find me, but luckily due to the lateness of the hour I don’t have writer’s block.
The famous quote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” is from Act II Scene II of William Shakespeare’s enduring play Romeo and Juliet. Juliet speaks this to Romeo as she tries to reason with him that Romeo’s family name has no bearing on their love.
Perhaps that was true for Juliet, but it sure seemed to matter to her own family, the Capulets. It also seemed to matter to the principal players in the Hatfield and McCoy feud that has become historic in United States lore.
I recently conducted six professional development sessions on homelessness in a single day. I was sent the written comments from the evaluation forms, and I am thankful that they were all positive. At least I assumed they were. From what was visible on the email, it appeared one person wrote, “Ronnie is the dud” (the printed version of the email did read “dude”). Thank goodness for the power of positive thinking!
Recently I went to a local pizzeria to purchase the evening’s supper. My hair was in pretty bad need of cutting, so bad in fact that it looked slicked down because it didn’t have time to dry in the morning before I dressed for work. The young girl behind the counter said that I looked so professional except for my wild tie and slicked back hair. She asked, “Are you a car salesman?” I replied, “No, worse, I work for the school system!”
On Sunday morning, I get up and get ready for church. I have gathered all the materials I will need for the day on the Saturday night prior—clothes, Sunday school booklet, Bible and commentaries. This way, I don’t have to rush to get things done and can sleep a little later than would otherwise be possible. All I have to do is get up, shower, shave, put on my clothes, and grab my Sunday school bag before heading out the door.
I recently came across the question, “When is the last time you did something nice for a stranger?” There are indeed instances when we encounter strangers who have legitimate needs, but the bad experiences that we have with strangers who do not seem to be “on the level” make us cautious when dealing with all people unknown to us.
Most of us were probably taught as children to not talk to strangers. This was sound advice from our parents to prevent us from being harmed or kidnapped, and I believe in my case it once possibly saved my life.
A certain amount of misadventure can come from dining in public, especially if that public meal is as a student in elementary school.
Recently I was talking with my good friend Chip Brown. We recalled the time when we were having lunch in seventh grade at Maynardville Elementary. In those days, ketchup and mustard were in plastic bottles in the middle of each table. (Even vinegar for the spinach was in glass bottles on the table! Just imagine, spinach for lunch!) I haven’t seen this in a school in decades, and probably in great reason this is due to our misadventures at Maynardville Elementary.
When I was growing up, almost every meal I ate was at home or school. At home, our fare was usually pinto beans, potatoes, and corn bread with onions. One thing that without doubt developed my taste buds was Mother’s liberal use of Lay’s Clover Leaf® Brand Pure Lard.
If only once more I could go back through time and sit down to one of Mother’s meals. I would want it to be spring so we could have killed (“kilt”) lettuce, soup beans, fried taters with fresh garden peas, cornbread, and a good glass of store-bought buttermilk to wash it all down.
Year Two, Week Thirty
Leaf After Leaf Drops Off
Leaf after leaf drops off, flower after flower,
Some in the chill, some in the warmer hour:
Alive they flourish, and alive they fall,
And Earth who nourished them receives them all.
Should we, her wiser sons, be less content
To sink into her lap when life is spent?
--Walter Savage Landor
Year Two, Week Twenty-Eight
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.