Thursday, August 20, 2009

Church Signs - the Original Twitter!

I like church signs with the pithy sayings. Sometimes the signs are related to religion, but just as often they are merely words of wisdom for life.

Since the character space for sayings on church signs is so limited, I've decided that church signs were the original Twitter!

Here are some I've enjoyed in the past few weeks in North Platte, Nebraska.

If you like a sign in your town, take a picture of it and e-mail it to me as a JPG as large as you can. Please include the name of the church and the town where you saw it (please don't send the ones that are making the Internet rounds - I want original ones). If you want your name listed, please include that also.

Oh -- where to send them would be helpful!
Please e-mail them to me at

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chyenn's childhood memories

This is a guest column submitted by my Sploofus (a trivia Web site) friend Chyenn. She wrote this in response to my post about friends moving. I found it so interesting that I asked her permission to post it.

Your thoughts on moving stirred some of my own. By the time I was 25 I had lived in 33 different rentals houses in five states and Puerto Rico. That's quite a lot considering we were not a military family.

Changing schools often was the most difficult for me because I didn't develop any lasting friendships. Until high school, two years was the longest I stayed at any one school. I'd like to share the ultimate in culture shock with you.

In July 1969, we moved from Citrus County, Florida, to Van Buren County, Tennessee. In the fifth-grade in Florida, I was in a middle school of approximately 300 kids. Each subject had a different teacher, so I changed classes all day long.

I was excited to go to sixth grade in Tennessee, although my summer vacation was cut short because Tenneess students began fall classes in mid-August, not the day after Labor Day as I was accustomed.

The school in Tennessee had been built about a mile from my grandparent's house in the late 1940s. My mother attended eighth grade in this building in 1949. It had three rooms; two classrooms and a kitchen/lunchroom.

One teacher, Mrs. Geneva Davis, taught the first through the fourth grade in one room and the principal, Mr. David Baker, taught the fifth through the eighth grade in the 'big' room. Mrs. Geneva was Mother's eighth-grade teacher. She had been the only teacher that year because there had been few students enrolled in the little mountain school.

Mr. Baker was the first male teacher in the community. He was strict and enforced his rules by taking off his belt and using it on any misbehaving behind. I think most of the kids were justly scared of him.

The year was 1969, yet there were no bathrooms in this school. There were outhouses behind the main building; one for girls and one for boys.The girls' outhouse had two seats, one for the little first-graders and one for the bigger girls.

Mrs. Geneva would come into the 'big' room and ask one of us older girls to escort the youngest ones, boys and girls, to the girl's toilet. The toilet paper was handed out by the teachers so the kids couldn't waste it. It was so embarrassing for the girls to ask Mr. Baker for it.

The bell was a cowbell. As a reward for good grades, you might be picked to ring it, walking around the building in the mornings or after recesses.

Each day someone from the 'big' room was chosen to help with lunch. Mrs. Pearl Evans was our cook; a kindly, grandmotherly type lady with a flowery apron and a flour sack tied around her head for a hairnet.

We all called her Aunt Pearl. I loved my days with her. I think she was the one who sparked my passion for cooking. She made it look easy to cook for 50 people every day. As we washed the dishes, she told me stories about the 'old' days and about my Mother and her brothers and sisters growing up on the mountain. I really enjoyed that.

The school was heated by three coal-burning potbellied stoves. The 'big room' boys were responsible for taking out the ashes and filling the coal buckets every winter day. The little kids could get extra recess time for bringing in sticks for kindling from the woods surrounding the school.

Once Mr. Baker's grade book was found in the ash pile outside. All the boys got a licking in front of the entire school that day because no one would admit to doing it.

I was so far advanced with my Florida education that after sixth grade, Mr. Baker wanted to promote me to ninth grade -- high school -- skipping two grades. Mother would not allow it because I would have only been 12 years old that fall. She thought that was too young for high school and she was probably right. I was a very smart book-wise, but quite the social misfit. So in my seventh-grade year, I spend most of the time as Mr. Baker's teacher's aide, and working on special assignments for him.

The two years i spent at New Martin school was like living in a bygone era; but it may have been the best two years of my young life. It was during that time that I learned there is so much more to education than a state-mandated curriculum.