Category Archives: 31 Days of Writing 2014

Day 13: Hollywood in the South

Today youngsters can quickly rattle off the names of movies they have seen. Sometimes I think there is a long list of hundreds of titles in their heads with a box beside each one. Once you see a movie, you put a check in the box and move to the next. If you ask a child about a movie they will say something to the tune of…..” It was awesome! So cool! The graphics were amazing!…. And so forth.

So let’s skip back to another time and look at movies in a different way. First of all, Walt Disney had already made some movies when I was a child. I saw part of Bambi and I was done with animal movies. Movies were expensive in the 1950’s. Even Saturday matinees where children could go for a reduced rate. In those days, the audience could view a trailer with upcoming movies, generally a news clip about something and a NEW cartoon. Then the real film would start. The theater in Marietta had a lighted marquee where the name of the film was displayed in lights. You stopped at the ticket office to purchase a ticket and then handed the ticket to the uniformed usher. Then you entered the theater lobby. The refreshment bar had ornate golden arches and mirrors. You could get popcorn or candy and coca-colas. The burgundy Persian carpet was soft. A staircase led to the upstairs bathrooms and THE balcony where the couples sat. The whole theater reeked of popcorn with real butter. It was so glamorous to all of us kids.

The earliest movie that I can remember seeing was Walt Disney’s The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills. I loved it. I still have two copies of it: one is tape and plays in my ancient VCR. The other is a DVD. I can not tell you how many times I saw it. And my children and grandchildren still enjoy it to this day. I still laugh out loud when I see it.

You will be surprised about the other movie I remember. It was The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was so scary. And I got to see it at The Fox Theater in Atlanta. It was the first time I had been to The Fox. It was the most fabulous theater I had ever had the chance to visit. The ceiling looked like the sky complete with stars and clouds. 4000 people could sit there. It had an elaborate pipe organ and they played it before the curtains parted and the movie began. Everything looked like it had just been flown in from Morocco on a magic carpet. My dad and I went together one Saturday afternoon. We had a wonderful time watching the movie and then we ate at The Varsity. The Varsity is an Atlanta traditional. It is across the highway from Georgia Tech and served the best burgers, deep fried onion rings and these yummy fried peach pies. Hundreds of people ate there daily. You could actually watch TV and eat. Diners heard “What ya have?” “what ya have?” From the men behind the counters.

The final movie that I can remember was really due to a lie I told my mother. Sorry Mom! One of my friends decided to have a movie party for her birthday. And she planned to go to see “Blue Hawaii” with Elvis Presley. I knew my parents would not allow me to see Elvis. So I told my mother I didn’t know what movie we would see. Liar liar pants on fire! So that is how I saw my first Elvis movie. I thought Elvis was the most handsome man with the most gorgeous voice. I wanted to GO to Hawaii. I wanted to see the beach. I wanted Elvis to sing to me. I wanted a fragrant lei around my neck. Years later when I did go to Hawaii, I fell in love with it. I went to the beach. I had an exquisite lei around my neck and Elvis was still singing “Falling in Love with You”. Ahhhh-it’s nice when things don’t change!!!

Day 12: Howdy Who?

Media in the 1950’s and 1960’s was so different than today. I can actually remember when we purchased our first television set. It was common for them to have a screen of only 12 inches. They were black and white. That is IT! NO color. Zero. Nada. We had rabbit ears on top of our set so we could “receive” three different channels–2,5 and 11. Television stations only ran certain hours– not 24 hours a day. At midnight, the stations would show the American flag and play the Star, Spangled Banner. Then all you would see is a test pattern and hear a tone until the stations started up again the next morning.

I cannot remember everything that was on TV but I can remember the ones my parents let me watch. In those days, parents were in charge. Period. At our house, the television did not come on early in the morning. The radio did. It was the source of news and weather and music and programs like “The Shadow”. Everyday at 12, Back to the Bible came on the radio and we always listened. The theme song in those days was “I Love to Tell the Story”. We always listened and ate lunch. Well, except on Thursdays. That was payday and we would pick Dad up at the Plant and go to the bank.

Our little household would generally halt every day around 1 because that is when “As the World Turns” came on the television. That is generally when the television was turned on for the day. People worked in their homes. They listened to the radio and worked. All the women tuned in to their favorite soap. They laughed and said they would not even answer their telephones!

After school, children played outside or did their homework. Sometimes children watched TV because there were a few children’s shows on. One I can remember was The Howdy Doody Show. It had a clown and showed a few cartoons. Another very popular show was ” The Mickey Mouse Club”. I knew every word to the song. Annette and Tommy and the others were glamorous to all us who watched from home. One of our local channels had an afternoon children’s program and my Brownie troop was in the audience. We were so excited to be on TV. There was no taping of shows. You saw it or you didn’t. VCRs were not invented.

Night programs included a few that you may be familiar with today. The KING of evening TV was I Love Lucy. You may remember that the couple had twin beds. That was just the way it was. Even married couples were not filmed in bed together. I have many favorite episodes. Do you remember the chocolate factory? Or the Vita Veta-Min Commercial? Other favorites included “Father Knows Best”, “Donna Reed Show”, “Ozzie and Harriet” and “Dragnet”. On Sunday night, you could watch the Ed Sullivan Show. I never saw Elvis on it. My parents said no. But years later I saw The Beatles. You could watch Lassie but I never watched animal programs. I was a weepy mess because Lassie was always in trouble. And you could watch Walt Disney World. On Saturdays I watched Sky King and The a Roy Rogers Show. I loved Roy and Dale! They were always singing and doing the right thing. I also watched The alone Ranger. He was another good role model for children. As a preteen, my all time favorite program was Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey. I even had an autographed picture of Ben Casey! And one of those white button up jackets like interns wore. Lots of girls had them. I received mine as a gift. I ironed and starched it myself. crazy, I know! This seems mighty tame compared to the stars that children look up to today. I have to say I prefer the old days even now.

So I guess I will leave you with this tidbit of a song. See if you can finish it! Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse. Forever let us hold our standard high!

Day 11: Life Interrupted Part 2

On Saturday, I was working at a breast cancer 5k run and slipped and fell. One minute I was standing erect and the next I was on the floor. It had been raining and the floor was wet. Oops!  I guess I should have gone to the porta potty and perhaps my wrist would be fine. Or then again, I could have fallen out of the porta potty with my undies around my ankles, be covered in ick, and still have a broken  wrist!  Since I am a dab behind, I thought I would use this post to make fun of my injury!

Top Things You Can’t Do with a Broken Right Wrist

* Tie your sneakers ( duh you say)

*Floss your teeth. I am a flosser and was really bummed when I could not figure out an alternate way to floss.

*Fasten your bra. If I were smaller, I would not wear one. But a DD girl needs support. I guess I could try a sports bra. But I would have to be able to step into it and pull it up. Well, that ain’t happening folks. There is way too much stuff to pull it over with only one hand.

*Line your eyes. I wear minimal makeup. Eyeliner is one of the things I do wear. I would suggest you practice lining your eyes with the “wrong” hand just to give it a try.  And then figure out what you might do. Asking my hubby was out. He had already committed to bra fastening.

*Wipe. You know what I mean. Awkward. I would suggest investing in some baby wipes. And go ahead and train your other half to replace the roll of toilet tissue on the roller do-dad. I have found it is a lot easier to get the tissue when it is on the roller. Honey– are you hearing me? It’s true!

*Pull up your panties/ pants. I would suggest you go with running tights/ yoga pants-commando style ( that means no panties), As my daughter has reminded me, most of them are made for use without panties. Yay! You need to wear something you can tug up with one hand. My friend K who had hip surgery suggested getting some of those old lady mumu dress things. The good thing about that is they require no bra and no panties. Pretty  cool. Or you could look for what my Nannie called ” step-ins” . They were a bloomer style panty with a really wide leg. You could just pull the leg open and squat. You never had to pull them down. They were great when you had to go to the outhouse to “go”.

*And I could name a bunch more but I will close with—shampoo,dry,fix your hair.  My hair is not long enough for a ponytail. It is chin length and has some curl. So it mostly sticks out and is flat on the side. I am toying with getting it cut short-wash and wear. That’s it. Feel free to weigh in on cut versus looking like a bed head all the time.

Now tonight when you pray, thank God for making such a marvelous body for you!

Day 10: What is in a name?

When I was a little girl, there were not as many choices for things to participate in after school or during the summer as children have now. Of course to me, it seemed like I had many choices. Little girls could take ballet or tap, they could go to Girl Scouts or they could learn to play the piano. Sometimes little girls could do two of them but that is about all. There were no soccer teams or softball teams or volleyball teams. Girls were very limited in the sporting area. For example, if a girl played basketball in high school, she could only play half court. Girls did NOT run down the whole court. I know this is hard to imagine now.

I was able to take ballet and tap. I liked tap dancing the best. There was something about those taps on the bottom of your shoes that make you feel special!  I only danced for two years before focusing on other things. I was in Girl Scouts all the way through high school. But I will save that for another time. I want to talk about playing the piano now. I was I kindergarten when my mother started looking for a teacher for me. Not everyone would take a six year old. Many teachers had waiting lists. The woman my mother wanted me to go to was filled but suggested one of her former students who has just come home from college and was going to teach high school and piano  after work in her home. My mom was really tickled and signed me up.

I can remember how nervous and excited I was that first day! My mom came in with me to meet my new teacher. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had a smile that made me feel welcome and calm. I wanted to be the best student she had ever taught. When I practiced at home that week, I know I drove my family crazy because I even gave up reading time to practice. When I went to my second lesson, I was a little early and I waited in her dining room where I noticed this kind of piano that I had never seen before. She saw me looking at it and told me it was a pump organ that had belonged to her grandmother. She showed me how it worked and let me give it a try. It was a challenge to be able to play and pump the pedals at the same time to produce the sound! I loved it. You also have to touch the keys differently than a piano. I wanted one of my own! Every other week we would spend a little time with the pump organ after my regular piano lesson. Then she surprised me with a piece of sheet music-Ave Maria-which I learned to play on the organ. At my first recital, I played a piece on the piano AND I played a piece on the pump organ.  My teacher never realized that she had started me on a musical journey that would last my whole life. I still play the piano 60 years later.

My teacher’s name was Nancy Ellen J.  In Hebrew, the name Nancy means full of Grace. That certainly described my teacher. Ellen means the shining one.  I adored her name and felt she had made such an impact on my life  that when my parents were expecting a new baby that I talked constantly about how  nice it would be to grace a new baby girl with a beautiful name. When my beautiful red-headed sister was born later that year, they graced her with a beautiful name-Nancy Ellen. And sis-that is where your name came from! A beautiful name for a beautiful woman!

 

 

 

Day 9: Signs of the Moon

I remember growing up in a quiet little neighborhood. There were about 24 families on our street. I didn’t know all of them. I only knew the ones that had children close to my age that my parents considered appropriate playmates. For example, if the parents drank beer, I was not allowed to play with them. Our neighbors on one side had two girls who were a little younger that I played with.  Our parents were great friends. Our families frequently cooked out together during the summer and early Fall.  The men would cook and talk. The women would sit in the swing and talk while the kids played freeze tag. After dinner, we would catch lightning bugs. We would always save our bugs in old mayonnaise jars. By then, our dinner had “settled” and we would either roast marshmallows on sticks over the coals or eat homemade ice cream.  Sometimes Mrs. W would make a chocolate cake. No one could make a cake that was as good as hers! It was a wonderful evening!

Mr. W  was “the” official griller. My dad was the helper. They would go together to purchase the meat several days before the cook-out. Sometimes we had hamburgers. Sometimes chicken. But my all time favorite was grilled ribs. They were scrumptious! Mr. W was a stickler for perfect ribs. So at the grocery store, he always asked to see the head butcher so he could have exactly the right ribs to cook. My dad didn’t mind the questions. Well-except for one! Mr. W always wanted to know the date the pig was killed. It had to be killed under a specific sign of the moon or he would NOT purchase them! The head butcher at the store we used was from our church and my Dad was always embarrassed by this sign of the moon question. But the butcher generally was able to come up with a date and then Mr. W would decide whether to get the ribs or not. I am not sure if the date was really correct but the men would go with what was said.

When ribs were going to be the  star at the cook-out, the two men would gather in Mr. W’s kitchen to make the sauce. No one was allowed in the kitchen during this time. It was a secret. Then the ribs were massaged and covered with a secret rub. Then they rested in the refrigerator all night. And the special sauce spent the night in the refrigerator so the spices could marry.

The day of the cookout started early.  The two men would head off to the “ice house” to get a block of ice for the ice cream freezer. In those days, our town had an ice house. There were no bags of ice. The men would make the ice cream base and start churning the ice cream. They would drink coffee and take turns turning the handle. Although we made several different flavors of ice cream, vanilla was the most requested. Next the charcoal had to be reduced to the just right kind of coals, before placing the ribs on the grill. The next period of time was critical. The ribs must sweat for a bit so they would be tender. Then came the secret sauce. By this time, all of us kids would be sitting at the picnic table waiting for the feast ahead.

When I was in ninth grade, Mr. W had a massive heart attack and died. I  was so sad for his wife and children and for my dad because they were best friends.  I will always remember him as that gentle soul who loved his family and who had a special place in my heart, too.

And frankly, ribs have never been the same for me! But then it might be because I didn’t check the signs of the moon first!

 

 

Day 8: Fridays and Fishsticks

When I was in the fourth grade, my street was redistricted to another school.  Lockheed-Georgia was booming and lots of people were moving there.  What resulted was a real need for more schools.  That doesn’t seem so terrible actually. But it was for me.  I went to first grade in one school. That was the one with the garter teacher! Second and third grade was spent in a school far away from my neighborhood. In fact, the bus drove past two other schools to get there. The school was new and all I remember was it rained a lot and it was so muddy. Yuck! In fourth grade, a new school was opened only a mile from my house and I was transferred there. I was glad to be closer to home. I was tired of going somewhere different every year.  Elementary schools went through the eighth grade so I felt certain I would be at the new place a few years. Yay!

Being so close also meant that I could go home for lunch.  That was so terrific.  Kids whose homes backed up to the new school could just walk home for lunch. My mom would come and get me and we would have lunch together and I loved that.

Things rocked along pretty good for a few years and then I entered the glorious seventh grade.  You see, seventh and eighth graders had special privileges.  If you had really good grades, your teacher could nominate you as a lunchroom aide. You were allowed to leave class and actually work in the lunchroom for two hours a day!  And generally you would work once a week at that job.  You wiped tables. We had a milk machine that dispensed milk into glasses. Younger students were unable to manage this activity and hold their plate. So the aide would fill the glasses of milk for the younger children and would take them to their table.  That was pretty cool to me.  I hate to think what the state department would say now about child labor! And classroom instructional regulations! Oh well.

The principal of the school actually took up the money every day. Yes. Every day! He sat behind this little wooden table with a cash box and he would take your money and give change.  You could also purchase a weekly ticket and he would punch it to show it had been used.  The principal had a wooden leg so when he sat down, he released a lever that allowed his leg to bend a little.  I had never known anyone with a wooden leg so I always carefully watched him. Sometimes, his pant leg would come up a little and you could actually see the wood.  It was amazing and scary.  He walked with a cane and never smiled. He never chatted with children.  He was scary.

Fridays were my favorite day to work in the lunchroom.  First of all, they always had fish sticks for lunch.  My mom was not a big lover of fish sticks so we never had them at my house. I had to wait for Fridays.  In those days, Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays so schools everywhere had fish.  Our lunchroom produced crispy sticks and gave you tartar sauce. I was in heaven. Yum.  To go with those sticks we had whipped potatoes. And on Fridays, the milkman delivered chocolate milk. It was a real treat.  Usually they would run out before the seventh and eighth grade arrived, so we frequently were unable to have chocolate milk. But by working there, the lunchroom ladies would “save” us some.  And by this, I mean a large glass. Yum again.  Fridays meant we had homemade rolls.  They were heavenly.  Working meant we could have two of them.  Ahhh.  And we always got extra dessert.  Food could not be kept over the weekend. So the helpers always had a big pig out time.

So what did I miss by being out of class?  Nothing.  That’s right-nothing.  What did I learn by working in the lunchroom? Lots. I learned that it is important to take care of your own space at the table. In other words, you are responsible for cleaning up after yourself even when someone was assigned the job of wiping tables.  I learned the importance of smiling at people and being friendly.  I learned that thank you was a BIG word.  And I learned about helping others. So-all in all-I learned a lot and today I am a better person for those days I spent in the lunchroom.

Day 7: Garters and First Grade

I am a retired teacher and administrator.  I worked with children for 32 years.  During that time, I met some terrific students and parents.  During that time, I met some really interesting students and parents. I hope I didn’t offend anyone with that last statement. But I met some real doozies! During my career, I really wanted to make a difference in children.  Sometimes I did an awesome job.  Sometimes I wasn’t sure.  But I always wondered what children would say about me when they grew up. Since I have lived in this area since the 70’s, I frequently run into former students.  I am excited to talk with them and see what has been going on in their life.  And they often say funny things to me about what they remembered. Yay!

So I thought I would tell you about my first grade teacher today.  I hope she will be smiling down on me after I publish this post.  I must say up front that first grade is such a critical year. When I was in elementary school, there was no kindergarten in public school.  Almost all children came to school with no formal instruction.  We started after Labor Day and we ended the last day of May. I can never remember school being cancelled due to weather.  We had no fall breaks or winter breaks. We went to school every day. Period.

The school that I attended was one of the first schools in the area. It was over 130 years old. It had started out in another location as a community school that served grades one to nine. It had three teachers.  THREE!!! And one of them was the principal who also taught. After a number of years, the school was renamed for the principal in honor of his dedication to the education of children.  Nowadays, you have to be dead before a school is named for you! When I started there, he was still the principal. The school site was large enough to have an elementary school (1-8) and a high school.  The elementary school was in the original building. It was pretty cool.  Red brick with steps up to the double wooden and glass doors. Large windows that opened to the ceiling. High ceilings. Oiled floors.  For all of you who are saying “what kind of floors”, I have to say they were oiled.  They were wooden planks that had oil rubbed on them to act as a preservative.  The smell was wonderful.  Ancient. Musty. Tangy. Each night, they spread a rubber compound on the floors and swept it up with any dirt that had collected. There were classrooms on each side of the hallway that ran the length of the school. The walls were plaster and beadboard.  I seem to remember it was that sickly green color that schools liked to use.

In the middle of the building was a large auditorium with theater seats that folded up so that children could walk easily down each aisle.  There was an American flag on one side of the stage and the Georgia flag on the other. There was a piano. And EVERY Friday we had assembly.  I liked assembly. We would sit with our class and never utter a word to each other. That was the rule.  We pledged allegiance to the US flag. We had prayer. Yes prayer.  We read a Bible verse. We sang together while someone played the piano. I can’t remember a single song but they were ones I knew after a few weeks. That was the total of our music education.

Now for my first grade room.  It had a cloakroom.  It was a little room where we left our coats and lunchboxes.  Everyone had a little cubby with a hook. You always put your stuff in your spot. The room seemed to be huge but that was probably due to the high ceilings.  We had blackboards on two complete walls.  One wall was windows. And the other wall was in the back and it had nothing on it. We didn’t have bulletin boards. If you have watched old movies, you have seen desks that were attached to each other.  Ours were like that. The lid of my desk lifted up and we put our paper and other supplies in our desk.  We did not have supply lists with items like Kleenex, Crayola crayons, scissors, hand sanitizer or thumb drives. We had pencils. And pink pearl erasers.

My teacher held a special place in the teacher hierarchy.   She was the wife of the principal.  She was older–perhaps more experienced is a better word.  I would love to tell you that she instilled a love of reading in me.  I would love to tell you that she was marvelous and funny and gave us hugs or stars. But I can only remember one thing about her.   She wore knee garters that she adjusted while  reading to us after lunch. That’s it! I can close my eyes right now and see her hand on the garter. I was fascinated by her ability to read and fiddle with her garters at the same time.  FYI, in those days, many women would pull up their hose, place the elastic garter around the top of the hose and then roll the whole shebang down their leg until it was right below their knee.  Their dress would cover the garter.

And that is the sum total of my first grade education knowledge. Garters! Please forgive me Mrs. O.

Day 6: Moonpies and Flashlights-The only way to read!

When you are a child and like to read, you will go to any length to be able to read when adults think you should be doing something else.  And I was a B.I.G. reader!  Between new Nancy Drew books and old Nancy Drew books and the public library and the school library and the church library, I was pretty set.  But then as I grew older, I had other responsibilities at home that took me from what I felt was my sole responsibility-reading.  During summer when school was out, I wanted to eat breakfast while reading, sit on the porch and read until lunch. Read during lunch. Read all afternoon-etc. You get the picture. During the school year, it was a little easier to squeeze in some extra reading because you could always claim it  was “about school”! Chores were a lot less because you had responsibilities like homework, practicing the piano, going to Girl Scouts and of course, church activities like Girls Auxiliary.  It was also easier to grab extra reading time during class.  Most of our school books were large. I could just open the book to the correct page and then put my library book inside the cover.  Ta-dah! The perfect solution for me!  All I had to do was keep up with where the teacher was.  It was a great solution for me.  So now all I needed was a solution for those golden days of summer.

I was a Girl Scout and went to day camp every summer. I loved camp.  And the most exciting part was the overnight camp-out at the end of the session.  Well, I had to have a few extra items at the camp-out. One of those items was a flashlight. I had never had my own flashlight so I had to  play around with it one night.  Oh my goodness.  It provided just the right amount of light. Not too much. Not too little.  Then T.H.E. idea came to me.  Why not use my flashlight to extend my reading time in the evening? Hmmm.  That sounded pretty good to me.  But wait! What if someone-like my mother-saw me.  That would not be good.  I might lose my flashlight. I decided it was worth the risk.  I hid my flashlight under the covers of my bed and tried it that night.  I heard my parents go to bed and knew it was the time to give this idea a test drive.  Success!  I could use my pillow to form a slight tent and then read with my flashlight under the tent. And I could read as long as I W.A.N.T.E.D! Yay!

My extra reading time was wonderful except for one thing.  After reading for another hour or so, I would be a little hungry.  And I couldn’t get up because my parents would hear and come and check on me.  Hmm.  What could I do for food? My favorite reading snack was a big dill pickle.  I couldn’t do that. They were wet and drippy. Ah-moonpies. They were cheap. They were yummy. They were individually wrapped. And my mom bought a big box every week.  She thought they were good snacks.  So I would sneak into the kitchen and snag a moonpie whenever I could. Then I would hide it in the covers on my bed. Since it was my responsibility to make my bed, it was no big deal.    Problem solved!  I could read all night if I wanted.  I could snack and no one would be the wiser.  Success!

My father did notice that my flashlight seemed to use a lot of batteries that summer.  I wonder why!

Day 5: Still crazy after all these years!

I was born in a very interesting small town in Georgia.  I knew from a very early age that the mere mention of the name brought laughter to all ages.  The town was not “funny” at all. In fact, it was a former capital of Georgia.  It was a typical southern town.  It had a main boulevard which was gorgeous. Streets surrounding the main drag were lovely with divided lanes and enormous trees.  All kinds of houses lined the streets.  There were one and two story homes with wide porches and rockers.  Children could walk to school if you lived in town.  Many of the people who lived in town worked for the largest employer or for companies that provided services to this employer.  There was a state college for women (yes-just women) and it was a well-respected college. In the “old” days, it was GSCW or Georgia State College for Women. In addition, Georgia Military College was there. So you are now saying-What is the big deal about the name?

Well, it was Milledgeville, Georgia.  And the state insane asylum was located there. Yikes! As an elementary student in Marietta, I H.A.T.E.D to tell people where I was born.  If I said Milledgeville, people-especially other children, would make some remark about how crazy I was.  In fact, another word for insane asylum was the word Milledgeville.  Period.  So early on, I searched for a way to avoid mentioning my birthplace so I would not have to deal with the insults.  Then I found the perfect answer. I would tell people that I was born in Baldwin County. This statement was absolutely true. But since most children and even some adults suffered from a basic knowledge of Georgia geography,  I was safe! No more jokes! No more laughs!

The fact that people laughed about Milledgeville made me sad. Not angry. Just sad.  It was a lovely town filled with gracious people. I had a number of relatives who lived there.  They had beautiful Southern names like Mary Claire and Rosa and Ruth Ann.  My Aunt Rosa was the queen of watermelon pickles.  Every summertime meal had a dish of her special  pickles.  My parents finally limited the number of times I could ask for another one.  Hydrangea and gardenia bushes surrounded their homes,  There was a jug of sweet tea in the frig always.  I loved to visit and listen to their conversations about various relatives and neighbors. I volunteered to dry dishes because it put me in the kitchen where the women talked about everything. They solved every problem in the world. I was always quiet so they would forget I was there. I would even dry dishes twice just to be a part of the sisterhood. It was amazing!

Since many of my relatives worked at Central State Hospital (the official name),I also got to visit there.  In those days, the hospital had dorms and single nurses could live there. My Nannie had a fabulous room. Large, airy, windows looking out at ancient magnolias. Ahh,  it was restful.  Everyone in the three story dorm knew everyone else. They had their own community.  I also visited some of the wards.  That was interesting when the big metal door thunked shut.  I think children are more understanding of some things-like women with mental problems.  The ones that my Nannie worked with were sweet as pie. They were great gardeners and had a huge flower and vegetable garden.  They loved to take my hand and show me every flower they had grown.  I learned so much from them. I was never afraid.

When we would go down to pick Nannie up for a visit, she would have a shoebox with sandwiches for lunch in the car.  I learned to have an appreciation for pineapple sandwiches. Yum! And her homemade pimento sandwiches were fabulous. Sometimes we would eat first on benches under the trees on the state grounds.  It was so peaceful. Sometimes, she would ride the bus to Atlanta and we would go pick her up at the bus station in Atlanta.  As I grew older, my parents would let me ride the Greyhound bus down to see her.  It was an exciting  trip for me. All alone. Traveling halfway down the state. WOW! I thought I was so grown-up!

Milledgeville still has the state hospital.  The college is still there but with a new name.  Many streets are still divided by trees.  Antebellum homes are restored and in use.  A visitor can still see the former state capital which by the way has underground tunnels for safety sake.  And at Bible study a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was born in Milledgeville and one of the ladies said-“I visited the women’s section of the state hospital when I was in college”.

So I guess I am still crazy after all these years!

Day 4: A-You’re Adorable B-You’re so Beautiful

I was an only child for almost 10 years. And then my Mother became pregnant. Pregnancy was different in the 60’s. First of all, mothers-to-be were never to look pregnant or have anyone see their protruding belly. It was just in poor taste. Maternity clothes were large and completely covered the belly. Women really didn’t wear pants a lot either. And no one talked about what was really happening inside of you. But that is another story. My parents were so excited about the new baby. In those days, there were no ultrasounds. When the baby came out, you knew what you were having. That was it unless you had a distant aunt that could predict the sex using a needle on a thread that was swung over your belly!

When my sister was born, she was a cutie. She had R.E.D. hair! My parents took a lot of kidding about that. No one had red hair that we knew about in our family. Oops! Then when my Dad’s mother saw the new baby, she laughed and said that she had red hair as a young woman. Mystery solved!

I loved watching my dad rock my younger sister. It was a side that I had never seen. I would sit on their bed and watch him holding her and talking to her. The sweetest part was when he would sing to her at night right before he put her in bed. He told me that he sang to me, too, when I was a baby. I can close my eyes and see the picture of him and hear him singing:

“A-you’re adorable

B-you’re so beautiful

C-you’re a cutie full of charm

D-you’re a darling and

E-you’re so elegant

F-you’re a feather in my arms

G-you look good to me

H-you’re so heavenly”

And the song would continue until he had used the whole alphabet. As he sang, he would stroke her cheek. By the end, my sister would be sound asleep all cuddled in my Dad’s arms. Just thinking about those precious moments, chokes me up. Even today.

When I had children, I sang this song to them, too. Yes, even to my son! And then to my daughter. When my grandchildren came along, I sang this same song to them.

Thank you Daddy! I love you and miss you so!

Dad Army uni