Posts Tagged ‘Nostalgia’

July 6 Continuing Down Memory Lane

Mrs. Heath, Ritchie, and my mother,Glendora Oldham, having a teacher/student conference, 1958

             First Grade —- hmmm!  Today I am a first grade teacher and have taught kindergarteners and first graders since 1974.  I find humor in many of their antics, frustration in some misbehaviors, and anxiety in their lack of grasping new concepts…until I remember me as a first grader.  Suddenly, my students seem to become normal and almost above average as I recall my own experiences.  I share these experiences with them on occasion, and they seem to take heart that they too, will be okay. 
                There was the day Mrs. Heath warned me that I should not bring my toy rifle back to school….but I did!  She kept it in a locker ALL year before returning it to me at the summer break!  Daily, or so it seemed, she took my tiny plastic matchbox-size-cars and placed them in her desk drawer.  As far as I know, they may still be there.  The notes she wrote home with RED pencil…I placed in the swift-flowing current in the creek just below the school playground so Mother would never see them.  (I checked the other day as I drove past that creek to see if it was still running – but it was barely a trickle – probably too many of my papers dammed it up)  And reading circle – what an impossible task to sit still in those hard wooden chairs.  I remember my legs and hands getting stuck in the rungs as I twisted and turned in various positions to ward off boredom…(okay, so it took all summer in summer reading program for me to learn to read!).  I remember when “Chuck” said something about a worm, and I said, “yick”.  This was after Mrs. Heath had said “Not one more word!”  Somehow, I never really thought I deserved that paddling for saying, “yick”, but it WAS one more word!  And both my boyfriends; Roy Wright and Charles Otto, turned down my marriage proposals – said they were too young. I loved Roy because his name was so close to Roy Rogers, and Charles, because his dad was a veterinarian who took care of the small birds I found when they had a broken wing. 
                I share these memories because I know that there are days I may seem unfair to my own students, perhaps they have had too many “red” marks on their papers, or they are just having a rough day learning something.  I look into their faces and I remember being their ages.  I remember school was hard for me, and that I wanted to “be good” but just had a hard time following through.  Perhaps the most significant thing I remember about being in first grade is that it was then, at the age of seven, I realized that God loved me so much that He sent Jesus to pay for my sin, and that His love was so great for me, He would have done it even if I was the only sinner.  It was then that I knew I loved Him and wanted my life to be led by Him.  It was then that I began to ask Him to show me how to live.  The Bible verse, “ Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right (Proverbs 20:11), became important to me then, and helps me today as I realize the children God places in my care, are also capable of making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. So today, I honor the memory of Mrs. Heath; my First Grade teacher.  She partnered with my parents, and my church, in teaching me the things that would guide me all the days of my life.  I only pray that the children God has placed in my classrooms through the years may have the same experience.


July 3 Down Memory Lane

Langdale Baptist Church 1957-58, Valley, Alabama – now named Valley First Baptist Church

Cherub Choir, Langdale Baptist Church 1957

            As my husband and I drove across Alabama recently, I realized that we would be going through Valley,Alabama, formerly an area called Langdale.  It was there that I attended kindergarten, first and second grade.  My dad was the minister of music and education at the Langdale Baptist Church, now called First Baptist Church, Valley.  What a precious thing it is to discover that for all the changes in the valley during these past 50 plus years, many things have remained the same.  Houses I lived in, the kindergarten building, the elementary school, and the church, still stand.  This church holds many precious memories for me, and significant milestones on my life journey.  It was here that my dad led many choirs and I was in the “cherub choir” (for kindergarteners), here that I remember looking across the valley and seeing the life size Nativity each Christmas (still being displayed), here that my second grade teacher, Miss Hooten, sang in the adult choir, and here that I was baptized as a young Christian.  My Christian life began in this church and has continued to grow from those small beginnings. As we drove through the town, landmarks and memories rushed to my mind and I realized just how precious the memories of days gone by have become to my heart.

Introducing 365 Moments in Time

My husband and I are on a summer journey enjoying family, friends, and ministry.  This has given me more personal time to reflect and rejoice in events of the past, in places we’ve visited, and in people we’ve met.  For the remainder of the summer, I will be sharing with you Moments in Time through picture, scripture, and memories. I hope these entries will be a blessing to you.

Lady Kenmore

She Has Always Been A Lady

“Sure would be nice to own a sewing machine,” Mom would often comment. With Christmas many months away Dad secretly went down to the Sears Roebuck Store and began making payments on a sewing machine. He thought this machine to be the finest model ever. She had twenty different decorative stitches, a ruffle attachment, and features that would appliqué, hemstitch, monogram, do double needle stitching, and make buttonholes. Though Dad didn’t fully understand all the gadgets, he was so excited that on many occasions he almost told his secret. When Christmas morning arrived, tears of joy filled Mom’s eyes when she saw the two-tone, copper colored Lady Kenmore, housed in a walnut- finish cabinet. We three daughters were too young to understand her immense joy, but we soon learned how “the lady” would transform our lives.

Mom began visiting the outlet mills and bringing home whole bolts of unbleached muslin. She and “the lady” would sometime toil late into the night, lulling us to sleep with the whir and hum of the motor as she sewed. As she experimented with new attachments, we would occasionally hear her explode, “dad-gum it, I did it again!” We soon learned to pay no heed to her outbursts. By morning when we awakened, we’d see a ruffled set of kitchen curtains complete with decorative stitches, drapes for the living room, or a lacy stitched tablecloth. Once we awoke to find all our dolls decked out in new duds. Soon she had adorned each of us in beautiful Easter dresses, winter coats, and all sorts of togs with appliqués, ruffles, and frills. Fabric from previous projects began to reappear in the form of blankets and comforters. No scrap was too small.

That was more than 45 years ago. In all the years since, “The Lady” has sewn sport coats and trousers for the men in the family, dresses, formals, and finally, bridal gowns for each of the three daughters.

When my husband and I married we were college students, having very little extra money for the nonessential. I often sewed on other machines but they didn’t have the same solid feel as “the lady,” so I often returned home to sew. Soon I was making placemats, tablecloths, pillows, and curtains . . . all decorated with special stitches. As the years passed, my own children wore dresses and played with doll clothes, which I fashioned on the Kenmore. When it came time for each of their weddings, Mom let me bring “the lady” to my home. Late into the night my girls often fell asleep listening to the steady whir and hum as endless yards of satin and brocade were fashioned into wedding gowns.

I still sew on the Lady Kenmore because she’s a comfortable friend. She doesn’t have all those fancy cams, computers, and gadgets that are available today, but she’s been faithful, and true. Her parts are worn, and there are no replacements available . . . they say she is just too old . . . but I don’t use her as much now that the nest is empty, so perhaps she and I can complete the journey together. Meanwhile, I believe she needs a bit of oil because that little grandbaby of mine could use some blankets, a new set of curtains, hmm, . . . and maybe I should make him a special pillow, . . . and a nap mat, and . . . a set of play overalls . . .


Grandma’s Porch Swing

Though the picture is blurry, it is indeed the actual porch where Grandmommie planted thousands of seeds each year and enjoyed a colorful harvest growing all around that ol' porch swing.

Sitting on the porch swing down at Grandma’s house,
We push off from those old weathered floorboards.
High we go,
higher and higher my sis and I, till almost
our toes touch the ceiling.
Then back down, to push off once more.

The rusty hinge on the porch screen door squeaks out its raspy voice,
the spring twanging, like a taut bow as it releases an arrow.
We are on instant alert about approaching peril.
A grown-up will chide us and run us off the porch,
so we drag our feet, till the swing barely moves.

Grandma’s anxious face peers around the corner.
“Thought I heard a commotion out here. Ya’ll okay?
“We’re fine, Grandmommie.”
“Well, don’t ya’ll be taking that ol’ swing too high.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” we reply in perfect unison.

In that quiet lull as we sway back and forth, swatting an occasional sweat bee,
swinging like old people after a hard days work,
half-dozen or so hummingbirds appear
among the morning glories on the lattice at the edge of the porch.
We don’t move a muscle; we don’t even scratch our noses.
We stare unblinkingly at this great mystery of aviation.

The rusty hinge speaks out again.
The old screen door slams,
– a signal.
The hummingbirds move on,
and we, my sis and I
one more time
push off from those old weathered floorboards.


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