Overheard, out and about, Mrs. Grundy sees all, tells all

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw Miss Flora, working in her daylily beds over at Covington Hall. I stepped out onto my porch and took in the crape myrtles, lantana, and marigolds. A gentle breeze brought me the perfume of the gardenias. Oh, what a beautiful world!

Sidney Waits, one of our chief historians here in the “Dimple of Dixie,” has published a new book, The Three Notches of Andalusia. It’s about the history of East Three-Notch Street, South Three-Notch Street, and “the Court.” The book includes pictures of some of the old houses that graced our streets. It’s a must-have for Dimpletonians. The asking price is ten dollars.

Thank you, Danny Hankins.

A memorial concert for James “Jim” Arthur Nettles, former, beloved bandmaster at the Andalusia High School, is set for Sat., June 12, at 2 p.m. in First Presbyterian Church here. A reception is planned to follow in the new Fellowship Hall.

Reading in the Montgomery Advertiser a letter to the editor by Herman L. Harris, vice-president of the Loveless School Alumni Association of Montgomery, I was impressed by his last sentence, “There is simply no right way to do wrong.” I think letters to the editor are the best part of any paper. In them one finds the pulse of the people.

Those who left the cigarette butts at our post office ought to clean them away. They look nasty.

Miss Priscilla Primme, the English teacher, said that no matter how much money educators request, it is never enough. In frustration one of her friends said, “You can’t ever give enough money to education.”

The Methodists tell me that Jim and Joyce Moore plan to serve as minister and wife at Bermuda United Methodist Church near Monroeville.

Amy Spurlin of the Andalusia F.U.M.C. is to serve as a delegate to the Methodist Annual Conference in Montgomery June 6.

Perry Dillard, coach and teacher at the Andalusia High School, is the new, part-time youth director at F.U.M.C..

Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, retired English teacher and current organist at First Baptist here in town, was honored last Sunday for her 25 years of service as organist. Dwight Crigger, minister of music, presented a check from the church to Mrs. Kirkland. Her husband, Jimmy, now a retired banker, and Jeanice Kirkland moved to Andalusia in l970. In l972 she became organist for evening services. In l985, after the death of Juanita Turner, she became church organist. The Kirklands are celebrating 40 years as members of First Baptist.

In addition to playing both organ and piano, Mrs. Kirkland shares her beautiful voice in solos and performs in dramas.

Memorial Day was celebrated at First Baptist with a short film, honoring those who died in America’s past wars. Veterans who had recently been on the local Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., were also recognized. Patriotic music was played and sung.

The pupils of Mary Clyde “M.C.” (Mims) Merrill, piano teacher, were presented in recital May 29, at 5:00 p.m. in the First Baptist Church Chapel.

Performing were Mary Morgan Pierce, Heidi Cross, Alli Yant, Bren Sharpe, Jeremy Boyd, Emily Theus, Ivory Rabren, Katie O’Brien, and Brady Sharpe.

Heidi Cross also sang, accompanying herself on “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

Two potted ferns atop white pedestals flanked each side of the Ann Martin Memorial Piano. Behind the piano was a spring bouquet on the lectern and an old-fashioned, white, wicker basket of spring blooms on the podium. A vase of matching flowers brightened the program table.

Mrs. Merrill was beautifully attired.

Miss Primme and I were bemoaning how informal the world has become in dress, manners, and, especially, behavior.

We fussed about men who wear hats while dining out. They ought to take them off. Wives should make them.

People should be on time. If late, they should enter between something, like an act of a play or at the end of a song in a concert.

People at recitals should stay for the whole recital, not leave when their children have finished. After all, others have to sit through their children’s pieces.

Dress appropriately for weddings, funerals, concerts, recitals, church, and the theater. T-shirts, flip-flops, athletic shoes, and clothes that look as though they came out of a ragbag are not appropriate. Even the poorest person can dress well today, thanks to the Christian Service Center and other charities that often have fine clothes.

It has become common to see women, in particular, at funerals in brightly colored clothing. They should wear black or other dark clothing, instead, and dresses, not pants.

I don’t know why women are so set on becoming men. That’s a step down, not up. Women who flock to join men’s clubs do not pass men, flocking to women’s clubs. Women who wear pants do not see men in dresses.

Do not take babies and little children to weddings, funerals, commencement exercises, recitals, and concerts. The baby or child does not know what’s going on. I don’t blame the poor, little critter when it cries. I blame the adult who should know better. Sometimes I think the adult wants to be the center of attention and takes the child to get attention. When a baby cries all through a wedding ceremony; and then the adult goes out with the baby, that’s a bit too late. The poor bride, who has looked forward to her l5 minutes at the altar all her life and whose family has spent untold money for the wedding, is left with a recording of a crying baby. Get a babysitter or stay home with your baby.

Irene (Davis) Butler recently had as her houseguests Steve Poole and his older daughter Stevi Poole (from Jacksonville Beach, Fla.). Steve is a retired, office-supply salesman from Orlando, the husband of Irene’s only niece, who died a year ago, December 5.

Mrs. Butler’s guest the following week was Elizabeth Clark Kelly of Maryland, here for the Straughn School Class of l943 – ‘44 reunion held at Chen’s Garden in Andalusia. Mrs. Butler drove to the airport in Montgomery to pick up her classmate. Elizabeth is a sister-in-law to Vivian Clark (Mrs. James Clark), a retired schoolteacher and a member of First Baptist.

Dr. John R. Langford, retired veterinarian, Rose Hill, and his wife Rebecca planned the reunion. Dr. Langford presided and spoke on “veterinary medicine and small animal care.”

Attending the reunion were Hazel Adams, Sara Nell Bell, Irene (Davis) Butler, Curtis Eiland (schoolteacher), Sara Ben Floyd, Nobie B. Kelley, Elizabeth Clark Kelly, Dr. John R. Langford and his wife Rebecca, Floyce Barnett Mack and one of his sons, Ewin Moody of Eufaula (once owned Moody Drug Store in Florala), Evelyn Murphree, Clyde Powell and his wife Fern, Mary Vernon Lord Reeves and her husband Roy (instrumental in locating Shaw Industries here), Ruby Lee Skipper and her son, W. B. “Snoots” Tillman, and Cortha Wallace.

Class members who had passed away since last year’s reunion were named as follows: Merle Green of Red Level, Dr. Raymond Hicks of Straughn, Elton Folmer of Heath, Djanice Drake, and Mary Alice Wiggins Graff.

I made a factual error in my column last Saturday for which I apologize. I stated that Allyn Powell, “this year’s valedictorian at A.H.S, was selected to present the morning message” at First Presbyterian Church on Youth Sunday. I should have stated that it was her younger sister, Lauren, this year’s valedictorian at A.H.S., who was selected.

The Powell girls are remarkable. Allyn was salutatorian her senior year at A.H.S.. Both girls and their mother, Cathy Powell, have all been junior misses.

Rick Thompson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Basil Thompson III and grandson of Tommy and Pat Thompson, was graduated in May from Auburn University with a degree in industrial design. Congratulations!

Craig Nichols, principal at Pleasant Home School, and his staff honored Margie (Jacques) Thomasson, a sixth-grade instructor, with a brunch in the home-economics room of the school Tuesday morning, June l, the last day of school, on the occasion of her retirement from public education after 26 years.

Mrs. Thomasson was presented a silver box with “Mrs. T” engraved upon it. Inside was silver, keepsake jewelry, representing the school’s insignia.

In addition to her colleagues, Mrs. Thomasson was attended by her husband, Curtis Hampton Thomasson, a retired educator, and their three grown children, Curt Thomasson with his wife Heather and their young sons, Tyler and Peyton, of Oakman in North Alabama, Christy (Thomasson) (Mrs. Andy Clanton) and her baby, Hampton, of Grove Hill, and Clay Thomasson of Andalusia.

The home-economics room was decorated with the school colors, red and white. The staff had brought dishes for a buffet. One table had been extraordinarily decorated for Mrs. T. and her family.

Baccalaureate exercises for the Andalusia High School were attended in First Baptist Sunday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m.. The service lasted 45 minutes.

Directing was Jennifer Pitts, school counselor, who has served as grand marshal for the past five years, and is retiring this year.

The ceremony began with a prelude by the Irene Hines Hand Bell Choir, one of many choirs sponsored by First Baptist, and named for Irene Hines, known locally for her love of music for many years.

Dressed in white robes with red stoles and directed by Dwight Crigger, minister of music at First Baptist, the choir included Mrs. David Brantley, Mrs. Kip Carter, Mrs. Don Cotton, Mrs. Dwight Crigger, Mrs. Kim Dyess, Mrs. Kenneth Johnson, Mrs. James Krudop, Mrs. Jimmy Marley, Mrs. Willis Polk, Mrs. Doyle Prescott, Mrs. Steven Thomas, Mrs. John Twitty, and Mrs. Randy Wahl. The choir rang for its twenty-fifth year.

The seniors, dressed in their crimson gowns and mortarboards, marched in two lines and by height to the front, central section of the sanctuary as John Beasley, math teacher at A.H.S., played the processional, Handel’s “Largo” from Xerxes, a piece used now for 4l years. Mr. Beasley has served as commencement organist for 3l years. He plays the organ at St. Mary’s Episcopal, First United Methodist Church, and First Baptist Church, a remarkable man.

Mrs. Crigger, choral director at both middle and high schools and wife of the minister of music at First Baptist, led the congregation in the “Doxology.”

Evan Sullivan Tisdale Brooks, president of the Class of 20l0, led the seniors in reciting Psalm XIX: l4, a verse recited by senior classes since the l950’s. Evan departed from the traditional version found in the King James Bible and used a more modern translation.

Mrs. Crigger then led all in the hymn, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”

Evan next led all in reciting “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The Irene Hines Bell Choir rang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Cambrie Cadshay Barnes, vice-president of her class, read the scripture for the sermon, using a red-bound Bible given by the Class of l973 and stored between commencements in the school’s Heritage Room.

Sonia Crigger, as soloist, sang “A Future with a Promise.”

Dale R. Sallans, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, preached the baccalaureate, “A Useful Life.” Microphone troubles gave him the chance to make some humorous remarks that delighted the congregation.

For vespers, the hand bells rang “At Your Mercy Seat.”

Evan prayed the benediction.

For the amen Mrs. Crigger sang “The Lord’s Prayer.” This was her second year to sing.

Mr. Beasley played Wagner’s “Grand March” from Tannhauser as the seniors marched out.

Marshals who led the seniors in were Sam Fairley, Grace Spears, Shelby Strong, and Millard McWhorter. The girls wore white dresses; the boys wore white jackets. All wore red-and-white sashes made in the l970’s by Fredaline (Lail) Padgett.

Cord bearers were Meredith Tillman and Samantha Hill.

Sponsor of the Usher Club for her fifth year was Nicole Jackson. Ushers were Jakelyn Carter, Callie Marie Crigger (this year’s junior-class and next year’s senior-class president), Anna Bay McCord, and Brittany Raines.

Teachers serving as line marshals were Donna Cauley and Louise Anderson.

A sketch of the high school’s main building, Old Main, appeared on the front cover of the commencement program. It was drawn by Roger Powell, Class of 1972, circuit clerk, and father of this year’s valedictorian, Lauren Powell.

Graduation was attended Friday night, May 28, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Andalusia High School.

Chairs, covered in red cloth, were lined on the stage. In the front center was a lectern, given by the Class of l984, modeled after one designed by S. Daniel Shehan and built by his father, Comer B. Shehan. The old lectern, used l979 – l983, is preserved in the school’s Heritage Room.

Before the lectern was a silver urn, given by the Class of l979, with an arrangement of white snapdragons, daisies, lilies of Peru, and white roses (the class flower). The stage was flanked by the American and Alabama flags and greenery in urns on pedestals.

Mr. Beasley played the prelude, “Trumpet Voluntary,” at the grand piano, accompanied by Eva May, a junior.

Angelia (Baker) Sasser, science instructor, Class of l972, and senior-class sponsor, sang for vespers “Gaudeamus Igitur,” the traditional school tune with new words by Joseph Cecil Wingard, retired English teacher of 39 years and grand marshal for 34 years.

The seniors marched down two aisles and onto the stage in two lines, by height, except for the class officers, valedictorian, and salutatorian, as Mr. Beasley played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” the most popular of all commencement marches, used at A.H.S. since l946.

Class President Evan Brooks led in the pledge to the flag.

Mrs. Sasser led all in “The Star-spangled Banner.”

President Brooks welcomed the audience to the l06th commencement exercises. He acknowledged “that we as a class were somewhat unruly. You might even go as far to say that we were quite a handful at times.” Brooks went on to defend his class, though, as one that “made our mark on this school simply because we loved it.” He finished by saying, “Expect a class that may falter but will never quit; and to my classmates, expect never to forget this place that made us great.”

Indeed the audience was a little rowdy during the ceremony, more so than usual at a service at the Andalusia High School.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Anna Rebecca DeSchepper, salutatorian, delivered her salutatory, repeating the class motto, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Referring to the children’s author, Dr. Seuss, Anna said that all should strive to be themselves, to be “younique.” She ended by saying, “You were born an original. Don’t become a copy.”

Mrs. Sasser then sang “The Halls of Ivy,” a traditional school song, once the theme of an early television program of the same name.

Mrs. Sasser has sung this piece twelve times, and her voice gets richer and richer.

Lauren McDavid Powell, valedictorian, next presented her valedictory, “Our Common Ground.” She reminded her classmates that, to get to this point of commencement, they have crawled, stood, walked, and run. Because of that, Lauren stated, “We can fly, leap, dance, and soar. We will go our separate ways in search of our own futures; but this, tonight, shall be our common ground. The height of the sky is yours to decide.”

At this point on the printed program the superintendent, Dr. Beverly McAnulty, completing her fifth year as superintendent, was to make comments; but the chair reserved for her was empty. I was told that the night before, May 27, the Board of Education had modified her duties and that now Ted Watson, principal at the middle school, was the interim superintendent. Of course, Dr. McAnulty’s name had been printed in advance on the commencement program; so her absence was conspicuous. Had I been on the Board, I think I would have postponed such action as was taken to a time after May 28.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal of the Andalusia High School in his eighth year, then addressed the audience in what may have been his most commanding speech thus far. He also addressed the Board and the new superintendent, Mr. Watson.

Donna Glisson, assistant principal, read the names of the graduates as Dr. Shakespeare presented diplomas to 89 seniors.

Mrs. Sasser then led all in the alma mater, first sung 82 years ago at Senior Class Night, May 25, l928, written by Mrs. J. Morgan Prestwood (Ellie Snead), and dedicated to the Class of l928.

The seniors then exited to Verdi’s “Grand March” from Aida, played by Mr. Beasley.

Ushers for graduation were Callie Marie Crigger, Jakelyn Carter, Nikki Curry, Alicia Johnson, Octavia Johnson, Catherine Grace Searcy, Alex Hart, Anna Bay McCord, Brittany Raines, Morgan Palmer and Penny White.

Two “sweet girl graduates,” as Tennyson called them, were the fourth generations of their families to be graduated from A.H.S.: Ashley Morgan McDonald and Lexie Victoria Studstill.

Third-generation graduates were Shelby Cotton Brashaw, Steven Miles Brashaw, Evan Sullivan Tisdale Brooks, Matthew Tyler Campbell, Kenneth Ralpheal Chambers, Tasharree Simone Chambers, O’Brien Rashad Curry, Oddissius Jamal Curry, Chandler Senquaye Dix, Jessica Haley Dorman, Lee Grant Enzor III, De’Airhyus Dewayne Flowers, Joseph Michael Gatlin, Adrian Nicole Green, Wilson Robert Hart, Brittany Lynn Hugghins, Grady Marcus Ingram, Unricka Antonia Jenkins, Jr., Corey Lane Kilpatrick, Kedonis Moual Knight, Kenesha Monae Leslie, Morgan Shabriece Leslie, Lauren McDavid Powell, Demetrius Rashun Reed, Taneshia Lashun Reed, Melissa Grace Riley, Randeshia Darshanna Robertson and Johnna Lee Spann.

Birthdays this week included those of Edward Elgar, English composer of “Pomp and Circumstance”; Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet; and Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the Confederate States of America, born l808.

When in Florala, drive up Fifth Street and around Lake Jackson and admire the beauty. We are fortunate to have such loveliness so close to us. Also, turn aside at Lockhart and look at the homes, live oaks, and take a turn in the Longleaf Yellow Pine Memorial Park.

Before it’s too late, visit Jasmine Hill Gardens between Montgomery and Wetumpka. It’s open weekends only through June 27.

Gentle readers, let me encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend. Fare thee well.