Retired AHS teachers enjoy outing

Published 1:03 am Saturday, September 8, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I was pleased to see the September morning glories, curling, twirling, and whirling up and over the picket fence, bordering my little postage-stamp yard.

The love-bugs have come out. The little troublemakers seem attracted to white.

September is the yellow month. Notice the yellow butterflies, some falling yellow leaves, and roadside, yellow bitterweed.

Word comes from Kelley Carter that the Straughn Class of 1961 is planning to get together at noon, Nov. 3, at Straughn School. Checks of $10 for a class book and refreshments can be pre-paid to Dot Hudson, 25280 Sutton Road, Andalusia, AL 36421, or $13 can be paid at the door. Items for the book are due Oct. 1 to Kelley Carter, 14888 F.M. Jones Road, Andalusia, AL 36421. Profits will go to the Straughn School Historical Society to help maintain the school’s heritage room.

The Andalusia High School Homecoming is set for Oct. 5. Alumni in classes ending with three should be planning – right now – to participate. That includes 1933, 1943, 1953 and 1963, especially. Others – 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2003 – are being featured in the homecoming assembly that morning.

The search for the oldest, living ex-teacher has found, so far, Virginia (Anthony) Broughton. For the last few years the oldest, living graduate, known, is Lucille (Williams) McGraw, living in Andalusia Manor.

Jenny Pitts, assisted by Amy Spurlin, Kennith Mount and Mary Avery, organized the first “reunion” for retired teachers from the Andalusia High School, Sept. 5, at lunchtime at David’s Catfish in Andalusia.

Attending, in addition to those above, were Brunetta Patterson, Debbie Posey, Faye Enzor, Jerri Stroud, Katy Sue Wells, Roland and Angela Brown, Jule Browder, Elaine Manning, Pat Stewart, Bobby McGhee and his wife Dorothy, Gwin Burkett and Joe Wingard.

Invited, but unable to attend, were Wayne Sasser, Cynthia Gunter, Willie Thomas, Judy Weant, Linda Mellown, Robert Sanders, Beth Wilkes, Sara McAnulty, John Beasley, Mike Jones, Desi Manning, Gary Harper, Paula Sue Duebelt and Emma Locke.

After an a la carte meal, each educator shared a bit about his life since retirement in “tell time.”

The McGhees spoke of their son, Robert, a bachelor, who for the past 16 years has worked at WSFA in Montgomery. The McGhees will have been married 44 years, come December, Lord willing.

Jule Browder said her biggest excitement was when she was caught in an earthquake in San Francisco.

Faye Enzor has been “on the road.”

Angela Brown has taken up tennis, like her husband, and teaches a few classes at our community college.

Jerri Stroud visits her two sons and their families.

Elaine Manning works part-time at Cagle’s on East Three-Notch.

Kennith Mount represents District 2 on the Andalusia City Council.

Debbie Posey works Wednesdays at Town and Country.

Jenny Pitts works two days a week at Town and Country.

Roland Brown has a new hip, and keeps playing competitive tennis. He and “Angie” enjoy Gulf Shores.

Amy Spurlin enjoys the beach and mountains and being able to just get up and go on the spur (as in Spurlin) of the moment. Her son Bill owns David’s, where the retirees assembled.

Brunetta Patterson has five grandchildren. One of her granddaughters is an Alabama beauty queen. Three of the youth are adopted from the Ukraine. Brunetta and her Cecil celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary at David’s last week.

The Covington County Education Retirees Association assembled for their first meeting of the academic year, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m., at the Straughn Elementary School.

A committee, headed by Mandy Morris, a fourth-grade teacher at Straughn, created a dining room for the retirees, set up in the elementary gymnasium.

Tables, laid with burnt-orange cloths, with centerpieces of candles and fall colors, featured hand-made placemats from the children, and fall napkins, tied with fall ribbons.

Additional tables offered coffee, water, orange juice, cola, and finger foods – cinnamon rolls, crackers and pimiento dip, a variety of freshly cut fruit and slices of cheese, ham and turkey.

The bottled water was personalized for the retirees.

Sharon Dye, president of the CCERA, presided.

Geraldine Boothe of Opp delivered a devotional about the Christian attitude toward finances. She said, “God is the CEO of the entire world.” She ended her talk with prayer.

Evelyn Larigan, public-relations chairman, shared a feature on Mrs. Boothe from the magazine, Dothan.

Glenda Presley read the minutes from last year’s last meeting and those from the meeting of the executive committee.

Kim Dyess distributed a treasurer’s report.

Allen Miller thanked the group for his gift, given him as retiring president for the past two years.

Committee reports and new business followed.

The guest speaker, Charlotte Frattini from Baton Rouge, La., a representative of the National Education Association, detailed benefits of belonging to the NEA.

President Dye encouraged those present to vote “yes” on Amendment I, come Sept. 18.

Peggy Mobley, past president of the Alabama Education Association for two terms and member of CCERA, was absent because of attending the Democratic National Convention.

Others attending were Opkelia Merrill, Rosalyn Wright, Lucy Conner, Gwendolyn H. Jessie, Jerri Stroud, Larry Presley, Carolyn H. Davis, Janice Hudson, Mr. Jones and his wife, Dot, Linda Mellown, Elaine Chavers, Marlene Miller, Gaylen Sims, Johnnie Weeks, Gayle G. Weeks and Joe Wingard.

Tony Nall was recognized for his 55th birthday, Thurs., Aug. 30, with a supper at the Hilltop Restaurant.

Attending were his wife Donna (Davis), his son Brandon and Brandon’s wife Ashley with their children, Braleigh and Brayson (Braleigh worded the blessing), Tony’s mother, Anna Lois Nall; Donna’s parents, Ronald and Vivien Davis; Tony’s brother, Tim Nall, and his date, Tammy Holley; Tony’s brother, Stephen, from Troy, and friends, Joe Barton and Joe Wingard.

Following a la carte meals, birthday cake was cut and “Happy Birthday” sung.

Others seen at the Hilltop that night were Gordon and Trudy Vickers, Neal and Jennifer Dansby and her mother, June Smith and the Sanderses of Easley Road.

Seen last Sunday for lunch at Mama T’s were Rogerl and Elaine (Jackson) Reeves, Wayne and Margaret Bennett with Wayne’s mother, Jenevie Bennett, who had just turned 85, and Jay and Beverly Farrington and their two lovely daughters.

Ann (Stinson) Robinson of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., one of the town’s most beloved and respected citizens, a leader in local society, and a resident of historic Circle Drive, was surprised Saturday evening, Sept. 1, with a party to celebrate her 85th birthday (Sept. 4) in the home of friends, Charles and Marie Hinson.

Initiated by Marie Hinson, the party included a tribute to Ann by her son, Craig Robinson, a CPA, memory cards about Ann and for Ann, written by all invited and placed in a memory basket, various gifts, visits with friends who had come from far and wide (even, out of state), a beautiful buffet and a birthday cake fit for a queen!

The cream of DeFuniak society gathered in a house fit for Southern Living to celebrate Ann’s life.

Ann arrived, quite unsuspectingly, to “Happy Birthday” and applause and soon dissolved into tears of joy and appreciation.

As all gathered around Ann, her son, Craig, accompanied by Sherry Paris at the piano, sang the sentimental 1925 song, “Pal of My Cradle Days,” tears streaming down his cheeks, unable at moments to sing on, his mother’s face, wet with tears, hidden in her handkerchief, one of the most sincere and beautiful scenes I have witnessed in life.

The dining table was laid with lace cloth, centered with a bouquet of peach-colored flowers and appointed with floral napkins. The buffet included chicken-salad croissants, chicken salad and crackers, open-faced, pimiento sandwiches, lemon-curd cups, fruit kabobs and cold hoppin’ John salad.

On a separate table was a silver bowl with peach-ice-cream punch.

Peach, indeed, was the dominant color of the evening because of Ann’s nickname, “Peach,” given her by her one-and-only granddaughter, Opal Robinson, just 4-years-old.

Ann cut the first piece of her cake, iced white in a basket-weave pattern, topped with peach-colored roses, as tall and fine a cake as ever came out of an oven!

Ann’s cousin, Scott Covell, was among the guests.

Some present were Jean Anderson, Johnnie Dupree Riley White, and Marie Hinson’s committee, Cate Campbell, Peggy Collins and Janice McLean.

Johnnie D. Riley White is a friend of our John Allen and Rosemary Gantt. She was a college roommate of our own Jonnie Dee Riley, one of the three daughters of John D. Riley, one of the early and most prominent citizens of Andalusia. It is remarkable that the roommates bore the same name, except for the spelling.

Driving down to DeFuniak Springs for Ann’s party, I noticed the beauty of the cotton, now, turning white.

In Florala I was impressed with the new paving and how nice the main street looks. It was sad, though, to see Country Folks Restaurant, apparently closed.

In DeFuniak, it was good to see McLain’s open for business with its weekend seafood buffet.

Sunday at First Baptist Erica Ziglar, a freshman at our community college, played her trumpet for the special music in the distinguished Baraca Sunday School Class. She was assisted with “At the Cross” by Martha Givhan, church organist, at the Ann Martin Memorial Piano. Present in the class was Erica’s grandfather, Graham Tucker, a minister. Erica went on to play again in morning worship, assisted again by Mrs. Givhan, but this time at the organ. Erica perfectly played “Holy, Holy, Holy” for the offertory.

Teaching the Baraca Class that morning was Richard Pass, 90, who celebrated 74 years of marriage Sept. 2 with his wife, Georgette.

Bro. Pass said in his lesson, “So many times people know about the Lord but don’t know the Lord.”

The Baraca Class recognized Claude Pike, clerk for the Baraca Class for the past eight years or so, who just concluded his term of duty.

The younger of the two daughters of Dr. Fred and Connie Karthaus, Allie, beautifully sang a solo, “Your Love Is Amazing,” to taped music in the morning worship service last Sunday.

I saw something in church last Sunday, which I have not seen before. It has become common in many church services to project words to hymns on “big screens” so that members of the congregation need not use a hymnal. In addition, the words are often projected over a background that compliments the words. Sunday we were singing ‘My Lord Is Near Me All the Time,” which begins with “In the lightning flash across the sky.” Well, to my surprise, the background on the “big screen” began to flash like real lightning. It seemed 3D. I was enjoying the effect until I happened to think of the third verse and the sprinkling system at the same time, “When refreshing showers cool the earth.”

The celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, greatest of the English novelists, continues.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Christian movie cowboy, Roy Rogers, born Nov. 5. We have only about two months left to celebrate that.

This year is also the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, which goes on for several years yet.

Again, I ask that each citizen of “the Dimple of Dixie” 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.

Because of the position, held by General Lee and the Southern troops at Frederick, Maryland, Northeners began to panic in Baltimore and nearby Washington, D.C., as well as other cities, for fear of conquest by the South. General Lee assured the citizens of Maryland that they need not fear his troops. There were many Southern sympathizers in Maryland. (One wonders what might have happened if Lee had attacked the capital at that time.)

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial and Mark Twain stamps.

Kate Head has been described by a number of gentle readers. The main memory of her is that she was the wife of one of our sheriffs, Tom Head, and completed his term, following his death. She was said to wear a pistol on her hip and handle the prisoners so as to put the fear of God in them. After serving as sheriff, she opened a flower shop on the square, on the side where the Masonic Hall stands.

Later in life she was in a terrible automobile accident, which left her scarred.

A member of First Baptist Church, she was a short woman, full of personality, brave, bold, plain-spoken, fiesty, lively, enthusiastic.

The Head family lived in the jail, the old brick one now standing behind the courthouse on the Golden Square. They enjoyed private quarters there.

Tom and Kate had two children, Tom Jr., and Marjorie Dowe, who finished A.H.S. in 1946 and may have been the first majorette in the small band of 15, directed by Mark McGowin.

Marjorie went on to marry and have a daughter of her own.

Tom Jr., was older than his sister.

Kate belonged to the Pilot Club and greeted people with “Hey, Darling.”

Some told me that her language could be “plain” and were reluctant to explain.

What I have learned from asking about Kate is that most of us know really little about “characters” in Andalusia history or anyone else, even our own family members, that people are quickly forgotten, that readers don’t want to be the one to say certain things, from embarrassment or fear of hurting someone’s feelings, and that all of us have embarrassing stories about others, but that’s what makes “characters” interesting and human and memorable.

It came to me, also, that our library could leave a booklet of some sort on its counter, in loose leaves that could later be arranged alphabetically, for folks to jot down memories of Andalusians. For example, there could be a page for Kate Head. Anyone who knew her could jot down a fact about her life. Her page could be arranged alphabetically. I suppose this could be done on computer, on “redfacebook,” or something like that also.

Well, for what it’s worth, there it is.

The mysterian for next week is Ada Sentell. Who was she?

You know, this is starting to sound like homework.

Birthdays from last week include those of Eugene Field, an American journalist and newspaper poet; Sarah Orne Jewett, American writer; and Anton Dvorak, Czech composer.

The Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War, was signed this week in 1783.

A “newspaper poet” is one who is paid to write a new poem on a regular basis for a newspaper. I know of none today. They were once common. An example of a newspaper poet is James Whitcomb Riley, a friend of Eugene Field. It is almost unbelievable in “this day and age” that poetry was ever so important and popular. Newspapers turn their backs on poetry today as if it were a disease. The popularity of poetry seems at an all-time low in America. I blame free verse, written to be intellectual and vague, which flatters the poet’s ego but is meaningless to the average reader.

(Long live Longfellow! He could be understood.)

One of Mr. Field’s poems is “Jest ‘Fore Christmas.” I used to read it to my school children each Christmas.

Fields liked to write poems for children and was known as “the Children’s Poet.”

Sarah Orne Jewett wrote a book of beautiful essays on New England, called The Country of the Pointed Firs.

Dvorak’s masterpiece seems to be his “New World Symphony,” which includes the lovely and plaintive “Going Home,” associated with death.

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

When I was a child, there was a TV show for children called Howdy, Doody. It was on each school-day afternoon, Monday – Friday. The host was “Buffalo Bob” Smith, who also spoke for the puppet, Howdy. Each Friday “Buffalo Bob,” whom we admired, would encourage us to be in our place of worship. That’s where I got this idea for this column. When I taught school, I, too, encouraged my students, each Friday, to be in their places of worship. Such was the good influence of “Buffalo Bob” and Howdy, my pals from childhood.

Fare thee well.