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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I noticed Clay Clyde Clump, starring right back at me. Seeing him so unexpectedly caused me to take a step backward from surprise. I opened the door and asked him what he wanted. He had come by to ask if I needed any yard work. I did, and “Clydie” set right to work.

In Ted Watson’s office the other day (he’s the superintendent of the Andalusia City Schools) I ran into Bob Harry, an educational administrator, who’s planning to retire next year. He introduced me to a visitor, Pam Morgan, executive director of Character at Heart, a non-profit organization. Pam was in town from Montgomery to enlist support. Her husband is Buddy Morgan, director of the water works and sewage in Montgomery.

Pam and I got to talking. She knows the popular Miss Marion Bumpers, a retired educator, known all over Alabama, now living in Grove Hill.

Seen at the Piggly-Wiggly “deli” were Roy Wilson, Joyce Leddon and James Bristow.

James and I struck up a conversation. I had seen him with his daughter Susan at the funeral of Warren Merrill and asked how he knew Mr. Merrill.

He explained that when he and his wife Helen (Kinard) moved to Andalusia in March of l960, Helen went to get her hair done at Vera Merrill’s (Warren’s first wife’s) beauty parlor. Melba Kelley, who worked for Vera, was the first person here to “do” Helen’s hair. Warren and Vera became James and Helen’s first and closest friends here in the “Dimple of Dixie” and cooked out and ate together frequently, even driving all the way to Montgomery just to eat out.

James told me that he and Helen moved to Andalusia because Helen’s brother, Walter H. “Bo” Kinard, lived here.

James commented, “The only good thing about a funeral is that it’s not yours.”

Seen at Mama T.’s for Sunday lunch were Gwen Bonner, Jean Thomas, Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Wayne and Lenora Johnson, Donald and Deronda Dozier and their daughter, Dawn Jacobs. Donald was wearing a shirt with the American flag on it and looked appropriately dressed for Memorial Day.

Seen at Larry’s for Sunday supper were Sidney and Polly (Wilder) Waits, Esker and Ann Thomasson and their grandson from Texas, Jason (son of Roddy and Mary Thomasson), and Jerry and Mary Lou (Bush) Bass. I learned that Mary Lou finished at Georgiana High School.

Last Sunday Richard Pass, at 90, delivered a good Sunday-School lesson in the Baraca Class, which meets weekly in the chapel of First Baptist. He proves to me that no one grows too old to serve the Lord.

In “big church” (morning worship) last week at First Baptist Gordon Vickers was honored with a monetary gift and applause for his 10 years (as of May 20) as minister to senior adults.

Also in “big church” the choir began their summer habit of wearing no robes, Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, organist-pianist, long absent because of health reasons, returned to the piano as accompanist, and R. K. and Rose Marie Price from Government Street Baptist in Mobile moved their membership to First church.

Dr. Louise Anderson, math instructor at the Andalusia High School, out of school for the summer, is spending three weeks in Philadelphia to help care for her new grandson, the child of Mark and Kristin Gray. Kristin is Dr. Anderson’s daughter. Dr. Anderson took an airplane out of Birmingham.

The Murals Committee met May 29 in City Hall with Wes Hardin, the muralist from Dothan, who has painted all six of Andalusia’s murals thus far. He is working on No. 7, which is being painted on the side of the Dairy Queen dining room. Its subject is old schools in Covington County.

Pat Palmore, chairwoman, presided and opened the meeting with prayer.

Present to discuss details of the mural were four other committee members, Robert Anderson, Hazel Griffin, Nancy Robbins and Joe Wingard.

In my May l9 column I listed senior adults in the Glory Singers from First Baptist who had attended an annual get-together at “the Shack,” near Opp, owned by Lucille Foley. I realized later that I had omitted several names. In an effort to be accurate I want to try listing the attendees again. They were Diana Bledsoe, Dwight Crigger, Kim Dyess, Margaret Eiland, Martha Givhan, Martha Griffin, Vivian Hickey, R. E. and Edwyna Ivey, Dallas and Boncille Merritt, Morgan and Wilma Moore, Nancy Robbins, June Smith, Margaret Smyly, Susan Underwood and Gordon and Trudy Vickers.

I appreciate anyone’s keeping my column accurate. Please don’t hesitate, gentle reader, when you know of any errors on my part.

Also, I would appreciate anyone’s identifying himself to me when seen out and about.

Also, if anyone has tidbits of news, I would appreciate his sharing the news, especially nice things about fellow citizens.

Thank you.

Ab Powell and I enjoyed talking about the good, old days as we took lunch at the Piggly-Wiggly “deli.”

Margie (Jacques) Thomasson has returned from her 50th high-school reunion in Okolona, Ark., May 26, where she was one of 12 graduates from the Okolona High School. Mrs. Thomasson’s daughter, Christy Clanton, a teacher in Grove Hill, went along to help drive. The two also visited relatives.

Graduation exercises for the 83 seniors of the Andalusia High School were attended Friday night at 7 p.m., May 25, in the school auditorium. Commencement exercises have been staged there since 1964. Previously they were in the Old Gym (demolished), East Three-Notch (now City Hall), and the Opera House (burned) at the corner of Pear and South Three-Notch streets.

The lobby was pretty with ferns, potted palms and peace lilies.

On either side of the stage were the two new pedestals, matching the lectern given by the Class of 1984. The pedestals were being used for the first time. These pedestals, a gift of the Class of 2012, were topped with white urns, filled with greenery. In the center of the stage was the 1984 lectern, before which sat the silver urn given by the Class of 1979, filled with white lilies, the class flower.

The ceremony lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes.

The air-conditioning held out but was in a weakened state. The Board of Education needs to check on this, please.

John A. Beasley, math teacher, who retired last year, began the ceremony by playing the traditional Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary,” assisted brilliantly by a member of the junior class, the talented John David Thompson, who is now studying piano in Montgomery each week. Beasley was playing for his 33rd time.

The grand piano used Friday night belongs to the school and was supposedly signed by Liberace. One can see his autograph inside the casing. The school once had an electric organ, too, secured through the efforts of S. Daniel Shehan, once a teacher of English at A.H.S. and an organist/composer. The organ, however, has long since seen its better days. Perhaps some rich graduate can provide a new one.

Angie (Baker) Sasser, science instructor, senior-class sponsor, and valedictorian of the Class of 1972, sang “Gaudeamus Igitur,” a traditional school song, accompanied by Beasley.

Beasley then played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the seniors, dressed in crimson robes and mortarboards, marched down two aisles to reassemble on the stage in neat lines. “Pomp and Circumstance” has become the traditional graduation march and has been used consecutively at A.H.S. since 1946.

Stephen Todd Caton Jr., president of the Class of 2012, led all in Bellamy’s “Pledge to the Flag.”

Mrs. Wayne Sasser, nee Angie Baker, next led all in “The Star-spangled Banner.”

Caton, president of his class during his junior and senior years, welcomed the audience and presented the senior gift – the two pedestals mentioned above.

Salutatorian Samantha Riley Hill, who moved here with her parents when she was a freshman, delivered the salutatory, “To Honor Thy Fair Name,” a phrase from the school alma mater.

Mrs. Sasser, accompanied again by Beasley, sang the traditional school song, “The Halls of Ivy,” the theme song of an early television program by the same name. It was her 14th time to sing this piece.

Valedictorian Stephen Caton returned to the lectern with his valedictory, “Traditions.”

(By the way, gentle reader, one speaks at a lectern, not a podium. One stands on a podium or stage.)

Superintendent Ted Watson in his second year as such put the audience at ease with a charming speech.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal in his tenth year, a member of the Class of 1975, delivered a stentorian address before presenting diplomas to the gentlemen and, as Tennyson penned, “the sweet girl graduates.” Shakespeare was assisted by Bennie Shellhouse, assistant principal, for the second time.

Parents, grandparents, and guardians stood as their senior marched across the stage.

Mrs. Sasser returned one more time to lead all in the alma mater, written by Mrs. J. Morgan Prestwood 84 years ago for the Class of 1928, which was also graduated on a May 25.

Beasley played Verdi’s “Grand March” from the opera, Aida, as the seniors marched out.

Grand marshal for her second year was Donna Cauley, counselor. She is planning to bow out next year and let Nicole Jackson, Usher Club sponsor, take charge. Mrs. Jackson has been working with graduation for at least seven years.

Ushers for graduation were Corey Bulger, Morgan Dove, Laura Gatlin, Katie Hollinghead, Pierre Johnson, Morgan Jones, Tanisha Mathews, Chelsea Snider, Quentasia Stallworth, Morgan Stephens, Courtney Tisdale and Mason Wishum.

I see that Morgan is a popular name. The popularity of names comes in waves, doesn’t it?

A handful of students were the fourth generation in their families to be graduated from A.H.S. – Stephen Todd Caton Jr., Greeley Rebecca Foshee, William Grayson Gantt, Alexandra Chandler Hart and Stewart Daniel Studstill.

This is one of the reasons that A.H.S. has quality – continuity, loyalty, tradition.

There were the third-generation seniors, too – Brealynn Egyptiana Albritton, Martha Hunter Albritton, Mitchell Lee Alexander, Benjamin Todd Ballard, Sarah Marie Brabner, Benjamin Andrew Clark, Andrew Tyler Davis, Joshua Will Doster, Adejah Symon’e Grace, William Christopher Jackson, Jessica Meranne Park, Megan Nicole Rogers, Austin Paul Shirey, Cayleigh Michelle Stacks, Jacard O’Brien Townsend, Latrexius Keonshae Trawick and Kourtnee Nekole Woods.

I hope the names above are spelled correctly and listed completely. If not, please let me know. I suggest that seniors and their families save these notes, as there were a couple of mistakes in the printed program; and I have made an effort to preserve correct and additional information.

Class officers are as follows: Stephen Todd Caton Jr., president; Omarria Milia McGee, vice-president; Alexandra Chandler Hart, secretary; Megan Anderson Helms, treasurer; Samantha Riley Hill, poet; Shi’Amber Lasha Townsend, historian; Megan Nicole Rogers, songstress; James Michael Kelley, pianist; and Sarah Marie Brabner, artist.

The class flower is the white lily; the colors, cardinal and silver; the song, “We Are Young,” and the motto, “To achieve all that is possible, we must attempt the impossible; to be as much as we can be, we must dream of being more.”

The class sponsors were Dr. Louise Anderson, Daniel Bulger, Richard Robertson, Tina Rogers and Angie Sasser. Coach Robertson has now been employed by the Andalusia City Schools longer than any other person in its history.

Have you ever noticed that AHS spells ahs, which sounds like Oz?

The Board of Education this year was Dr. William G. King Jr., president; Joecephus Nix, vice-president; W. David Bryant, Amy P. Dugger and Dr. David McCalman.

Jasmine Hills Gardens above Montgomery but below Wetumpka is open “for the season” now through June, each Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p. m., and Sunday, noon – 5 p.m..

The celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, England’s greatest novelist – and, perhaps, the world’s – continues. Dickens was born in Portsmouth, a port town on the Southern coast of England.

The l00th birthday of Roy Rogers, a movie cowboy, known for his wholesome life and Christian example, is being celebrated this year, too. Rogers was born Nov. 5.

This year is also he 200th anniversary of the War of l8l2. Out of this war came the following: our national anthem, the burning of the White House, battles on the Great Lakes, the victory at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, the Battle of New Orleans, which helped Andy Jackson become president, and the U.S.S. Constitution, still in use.

Again, I ask that each citizen of Andalusia join the Covington Historical Society and pay its annual dues of $25 so as to help preserve the history of our county, whether you attend meetings or not. Mail to CHS, P.O. Box 1582, Andalusia, AL 36420.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us return to this week 150 years ago.

The Federals pressured Confederate General Beauregard’s troops to leave Corinth, Mississippi, where they had been holding up. Before leaving Corinth, Beauregard’s soldiers destroyed materials they feared the North might use against them.

Confederate Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson evaded Federal troops, moving between Northern armies. Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston won a victory at Fair Oaks (also known as Seven Pines) in Virginia, pushing the North back. General Johnston was wounded, however, causing President Jefferson Davis to replace him with Robert E. Lee as the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. This is when Lee begins to come into his own. President Lincoln commanded his General McClellan to hold his ground near Richmond, the capital of the South. McClellan has been leading the Peninsular Campaign to capture Richmond.

Remember to purchase the two new Sesquicentennial stamps and the one of Mark Twain.

Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Wayne Johnson, who identified the mysterian – Byron Vickery, who used to be business manager of this newspaper in the days of Editor Ed Dannelly.

The new cluegram is that he sold cars and wears suspenders.

This week saw the birthdays of Alexander Pope, English poet; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish author; South Carolina, the first state to leave the Union in the War Between the States; Victoria, queen of England; and Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet.

Pope, next to Shakespeare, is the most quoted of English authors. He penned the line about “Fools rush in where angels fear to dread,” which Elvis Presley sang into fame. Pope also wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

Doyle created the detective, Sherlock Holmes, who solved cases with the help of his friend, Dr. Watson. There is a fine statue of Holmes on Baker Street, in London, where he supposedly lived. Doyle also wrote about a lost world, the inspiration for the movies about Jurassic Park.

In the writings of Doyle, by the way, one will not find “Elementary, my dear Watson – elementary!” That comes from the movies.

Victoria ruled about 64 years, the record. The current queen, Elizabeth II, has ruled 60 years, I think. She has four years left to tie and surpass her ancestor. One may see in the media nowadays the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s “Diamond Jubilee.”

Emerson wrote many memorable lines, including “Hitch your wagon to a star.” I believe Clayton Bryant once told me that Emerson’s poem about the “Rhodora” is the only poem he can still quote. Ask him.

Now, gentle reader, allow me to encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing.

Fare thee well.