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

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I perked up at the sight of pink daisy mums, a-bloom along my picket fence.

The Covington Rifles Camp (#l586), the Andalusia “chapter” of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, met October 4 in the Dixon Memorial of the Andalusia Public Library.

Sir Francis McGowin, commander, presided.

The room was arranged with national, state, and Confederate flags by Derick Davis.

John Allen Gantt voiced the invocation.

The men stood to sing “Dixie.”

Henry “Hank” Roberts was presented with his membership certificate into the SCV. He presented, in turn, the program for the evening, “Weapons of the Civil War,” rich with facts and actual weapons.

Mr. Roberts also worded the benediction.

Guests included Mack Lott, lt. brigade commander of the Southeast Brigade of the SCV (our section of Alabama); Brian Fleming, chairman of the Battle of Newton Committee; and Joe E. Clark Jr., commander of the Southeast Brigade of the SCV in Alabama, which includes camps in Troy, Eufaula, Dothan and Enterprise, as well as the camp in Andalusia, which is the largest in the Southeast Brigade.

Others in attendance were Vaughn Bowers, Curtis Hampton Thomasson and Joe Wingard.

Refreshments were provided by Sir Francis McGowin (cake and cookies) and John Allen Gantt (boiled green peanuts).

UniServ District 24, a division of the Alabama Education Association, made of AEA members in three counties – Conecuh, Covington and Escambia – met for its monthly meeting Oct. 8 at Reid State Technical College in Evergreen.

Attending were Beverly Wade of Brewton, Dianne McKenzie of Brewton (district treasurer), Jimmy Ponds (district vice-president, librarian at Straughn Elementary School), Eugene Smith, Joe Wingard (district secretary), Adrian Hixon, Jacqueline Earthly (district president), Ethel Robertson of Andalusia City Schools (retired), Marcia Adams (vice-president of the Escambia County Teachers Association), Teresa Hultz, Kimberly Gibson, Charlotte Ewing, Holly Tullis, Vivian Jones (district director, employed by AEA) and Janelle Riley.

The Andalusia High School sponsored its homecoming Friday, Oct. 5. I went over early to the cafeteria, arranged neatly with breakfast buffets, speaking with the following at the breakfast, at the assembly, the parade, and the ceremony to honor outstanding graduates: Miss Delores Boyd, who has been at AHS 31 years now (she also taught two years in private schools before her time here); Angie (Baker) Sasser, science teacher at AHS since 1996, choir director of the First Presbyterian Church here, and valedictorian of her Class of 1972; Jane Barr, who works with special education and has been at AHS for 21 years; Wanda Morgan, the new office secretary that took Donna Bass’ place; Carolyn (Patterson) Sanders, Class of 1953, present for her sixtieth class reunion; Jack McGowin, AHS ’63, retired from his own McGowin’s Garage (1975 – August of 2011; he and his brothers, Francis and Robert Allen, were all in the Marines together, all, in Vietnam, at the same time; his mother had at least one son in action for five Christmases running); Tommy Lankford and his wife Marion, both in AHS ’63 (his nephews are also graduates of AHS, the twins, Tommy and Eddy Lankford, one named for Tommy, one after the twins’ dad, Eddy); Wayne Miller from Mississippi, AHS ’63, the only child of the late Cecil and Lucy (Chestnut) Miller; Valerie Keith, AHS ’73; Roddy Thomasson, AHS ’73, and his wife Mary; Joe Perrett, AHS ’73; Jim O’Neal, AHS ’73; Dwight and Babs Mikel, AHS ’73; Carey Brogden, AHS ’73; Tim Wishum, AHS ’73, and his wife Jane; Cody Carter, AHS ’73; Emily Kelly, AHS ’73; Steve Gatlin, AHS ’73, and his wife Cere (Steve can still recite the first 18 lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales); Donna Grissett, AHS ’73; Whitni Pouncey Young, AHS ’03; Patrick Caffey, AHS ’03; Lauren (Pebworth) Lawson, AHS ’03; Laura (Hunt) Harper, AHS ’03; Cindy McDonald, AHS ’03; Jessica Cheshire, AHS ’03; Cathy (King) Alexander, AHS ‘83; Karen Marvin, AHS ‘83 (she is the daughter of the late Martha Catherine “Cat” Marvin, who worked so cheerfully and faithfully in the high-school cafeteria for years; “Cat” died Aug. 5, 2012); Betsy (Worley) Tucker from Hartford, AHS ’63; Almyra (Frazier) Culpepper from Clanton, AHS ’63; Blaine Wilson, AHS ’93, “the Wizard of WAAO”; the ethereal Janet Riley, AHS ’73; Dianne Ludlam, AHS ’73; Glover Barnes, AHS ’73; Dianne (Maddox) Foshee, AHS ’63 (her grandson, Tucker Foshee, is a senior at AHS this year; her son, Keith Foshee, was in the Class of 1986; her dad, Clifton Maddox, was in the Class of 1934; that’s four generations at Ol’ Andy High); Shane Cook, AHS ’93; Brett Darnell, AHS ’93; Keith Beam, AHS ’83, and his wife Melanie; Retha (Robertson) Daniels, AHS ’73, and her cousin, Caroline (Robertson) Bradley, AHS ’73; Cathy (Cauley) Crowl, AHS ’73; Brenda (Williamson) Henderson, AHS ’03; Renee Bishop, AHS ’03; Wanda (Beasley) Katinszky, an early graduate in AHS ’73 (whose mother served me my first cucumber sandwich during a meeting in the Beasley home of the Philopadic Literary Society); Lynn (Goodson) Lloyd, AHS ’83; Dodd Riley, AHS ’83; Hazel Jordan, AHS ’48, long-time manager of the AHS Cafeteria and one-time employee of the local newspaper; Emily “the Em” Northrop, AHS ’73; Donny Sanders, AHS ’73; Jeff Hobson, AHS ’73; the precious and beloved Jule Browder, long-time teacher of social studies at AHS, pretty in yellow, with her daughter, Julanne, AHS ’68; Gordon Moore, AHS ’66, and his equally dynamic brother, James Moore, AHS ’63; Susan (Powell) Theus, AHS ’85; her father, Tex Powell, AHS ’64; her sister, Angie (Powell) Miller, AHS ’89; and her mother, Rebecca (Pittman) Powell, AHS ’64; Kenny Blackmon, AHS ’73 (a car dealer in Wetumpka); Katie (Bass) Foley, AHS ’93; Joni Nelson, AHS ’93; her sister, Lee Nelson, AHS ’92; Jeanette Carnley, AHS ’93; Pete Donaldson, AHS ‘6l; his wife, Judy (Bennett) Donaldson, AHS ‘6l (daughter of C. C. Bennett, a Baptist minister; Judy and I were together at Howard College in Birmingham).

There were hundreds of others with whom I wished to visit, but Time did not allow anything but a passing word or nod or glance.

Breakfast was followed by an assembly of almost three hours, honoring classes ending in three. A handful represented the Class of 1953; more represented 1963; but goodly numbers attended from 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2003. I wish I had a complete list of those attending, plus all their stories.

Skits, under the general direction of Dawn (Jackson) Thompson, English teacher, honored the four more recent classes. At the end of each skit, those honored were asked to stand and yell their class cheers, all in fun.

I don’t know of another school that celebrates homecoming as does AHS. AHS is tradition itself! The skit-assembly rivals a Hollywood production. Mrs. Thompson and her helpers cannot be thanked or praised enough. The cooperation and talent of the student body are amazing – quite professional. The sound was excellent, which makes all the difference.

The assembly began with a call to order by the president of the Student Government Association, Terrence Lane. Sung Mo, parliamentarian, led in the pledge to the flag. Courtney Tisdale, class songstress, led all in “God Bless America.” The exceptionally talented, senior-class pianist, John David Thompson, son of John and Dawn Thompson, provided much of the instrumental music and accompanied singers masterfully.

The senior-class poet, Tyler Peacock, read an inspirational poem.

Jennifer Botta, SGA vice-president, recognized alumni, members of the Board of Education and veterans.

Dr. Jim Krudop, Class of 1965 and a former teacher at AHS, now at Lurleen Burns Wallace Community College, introduced four outstanding graduates, who were later further honored in a ceremony, following the homecoming parade. They were Edward Neil Henderson, 92, the Class of 1939; Sidney Waits, Class of 1942; Paula Sue (Cook) Duebelt, Class of 1965; and Mayor Earl V. Johnson, Class of 1965.

Note, please, that Dr. Krudop, also an outstanding graduate from former years, had the distinction to honor two of his own classmates.

That Class of 1965 is something else!

The homecoming skits followed, introduced by Pierre Johnson, SGA treasurer.

The theme, running through all four skits, was based on Alice in Wonderland. A cornucopia of costumes, scenery, cast, and music delighted the audience. Some former teachers participated in the skits. Perhaps the funniest moment of the morning came when Richard Robertson, still coaching basketball at AHS, walked unexpectedly onto the stage and removed a fellow who was rather mockingly impersonating him. The young actor did not know this was in the plans. He was taken a-back, literally. The “house came down” at this good-natured fun.

Coach Robertson has now been at AHS longer than any other teacher in its 100-plus-year history. He and Mr. Wingard, a former teacher who was also present, both taught all four classes being honored with skits, 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2003.

Following the skits, classes loudly voiced their class yells.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, principal, presented the homecoming court. Pierre Johnson was named Miss Homecoming.

There was no time left for a pep rally or the alma mater, sadly.

The parade began at 2 p.m.

It was followed by a ceremony, honoring the four outstanding graduates mentioned above, in the old East Three-Notch School, now the city hall.

The Andy Bulldogs Football Team lost 9 – 6 to Clarke County School that night.

A homecoming dance in the new gym followed the game.

The program for the morning assembly was illustrated by senior-class artist, Jasmine Botta, who is also SGA secretary.

The oldest known living graduate is Lucille (Williams) McGraw, Class of 1931. Mrs. McGraw resides in Andalusia Manor. The oldest known former teacher is Virginia (Anthony) Broughton.

Breakfast servers homecoming morning were Tyleshia Malcolm, Shelby Nixon, TryKayla Purifoy and Quentasia Stallworth.

Homecoming ushers were Alisha Barnes, TaMiara Hall, Champale Jordan, Kadeejah Lane, Keise Moore and Ingrid Ridgeway.

Greeters for homecoming were Sarah Emily Barefoot, Rachel Bray, Shelby Golden, Jala Hall, Dalton Moore, Christian Ossenfort, Haley Ray, Morgan Stephens, Shandrika Thompkins, John David Thompson and Jamie Till.

In the background, working to make an exceptional assembly, were Angie Sasser (teacher/pianist), Gloria Adams (bookkeeper), Donna Cauley (teacher), Dawn Thompson (teacher), Amy Spurlin (retired teacher/librarian), Perry Dillard (teacher), Anthony Mikel and his AHS “ag” department, PowerSouth and alumni.

The AHS Outstanding Graduates Awards Ceremony, named in honor of W. Robert Brown, Class of 1948, was staged in the old East Three-Notch School, built around 1914, the second brick schoolhouse in Andalusia, where, in its auditorium, was first sung the “Alma Mater,” where children used to gather to sing and attend assemblies, where early graduations were conducted. Today it is the city hall.

John Thompson, city clerk, presided, as a member of the OG committee.

Cindy Howard, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, voiced the invocation.

W. Robert Brown, chairman of the Class of 1948 Foundation, followed with remarks.

Zane Thompson, Class of 2005, thanked the foundation for his scholarship.

Mention was made of the summer study abroad scholarship by Murray Findley to send students for four weeks to Cambridge University in England. This year two students are being sent, thanks to the additional help of Mary Godwin.

Sheila Williams presented a biographical tribute to Paula Sue (Cook) Duebelt, Class of 1965, the first female to receive the OG award.

John Thompson presented Edward Neil Henderson, Class of 1939. Mr. Henderson was joined by his two sons.

Dr. Jim Krudop presented Mayor Earl V. Johnson, Class of 1965, his classmate and, now, fellow OG honoree.

Dr. Mike Wells presented Sidney Waits, Class of 1942. Mr. Waits’s two children were present.

Each honoree was given a handsome plaque, a medal to hang about the neck, and a pin for the lapel. Each responded to his honor.

Dr. Krudop ended the ceremony with remarks.

A printed program listed all the recipients of the Class of ’48 foundation scholarship and brief biographies of each OG this year.

The celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, England’s greatest novelist, continues.

This year we also celebrate the l00th anniversary of the birth of the Christian movie cowboy, Roy Rogers, born Nov. 5.

We also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts.

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.

During this week “the most significant of the battles fought in Kentucky” was fought between Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s Northern troops and the Southern troops of Gen. Braxton Bragg, who, afterwards, was forced to retreat southward.

In Pennsylvania, Southern Gen. J.E.B. Stuart successfully led raids before returning to Virginia.

President Jefferson Davis requested a draft of 4500 blacks to construct fortifications around Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy.

A new Southern law exempted owners of 20 or more slaves from service in the Confederate army. This led to resentment from the poor soldiers.

Remember to buy Sesquicentennial, Mark Twain, War of 1812 and Girl Scout stamps.

The mysterian again is Mrs. Hill Guy.

Birthdays this week include those of Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale,” a singer whose voice, they say, was the loveliest ever heard (pictures of her hung in many a Victorian parlor); James Whitcomb Riley, Indiana poet, best known for his poems, “Little Orphant Annie” and “When the Frost Is on the Punkin” (Jeanice Kirkland used to recite the one about Annie to her schoolchildren); Edward W. Bok, American magazine editor; and Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer of opera.

From Riley’s poem about Annie, by the way, came the newspaper cartoon strip, Little Orphan Annie, by Harold Gray. From the cartoon came the musical Annie and that wonderful song, “Tomorrow!”

Bok lived by the philosophy of his grandparents, “Make you the world a bit better and more beautiful because you have been in it.” He wrote a wonderful autobiography called The Americanization of Edward Bok. I highly recommend it.

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

Fare thee well.