Sunday, August 24, 2014

Run, Spot, Run

The Fair was over and school close on its heels. A new notebook, a couple of No. 2, yellow pencils, a new pad of lined paper. New, long, white sticks of chalk sat in the tray at the blackboards.We were ready for school, and school was ready for us.

In those first years of school, we started the year with a big, fat, black pencil and paper that was more grey than white with fat lines to accommodate the fat pencil. Our desks were ages old. I remember sitting at a desk that actually had a place for an ink well. The top of the desk lifted so we could store our school supplies. I often thought of the little girl who had her pig tail dipped into the ink well long before I went to school. Dick, Jane and their dog Spot came into our lives.

Mom took me school shopping for replacements of clothing that no longer fit. Hand-me-downs from my cousin Karen were the always loved and appreciated. New white bucks for band were a bit expensive but necessary. We never really went with the trends. We went with what fit into the pocketbook. I always hated that first streak of dirt on my new Keds yet couldn't wait until they were scuffed up to look broken-in. I had a new hair cut or perm, both which made me look ridiculous and maybe, just maybe, a new sweater.

Our feet that had been toughened up over the summer and our bodies that were tanned from hanging out in the fields paled as the year wore on. We changed colors with the changing of the seasons. My hair went from pale blond to dark blond. My fingernails went from summer digging grey to winter white. A farm kid was always in transition.

I am jealous that we didn't get to set our own style back then. If you dared to be different, you ran the risk of whispers behind your back. A boy didn't dare have long hair. Girls didn't dare have short skirts. That was about the long and the short of it.

My granddaughters go back to school with their backpacks, insulated lunch bags with plastic containers, calculators and very little paper. Most of their homework is done on the computer. They no longer get a grade card. It is all online. They can email their teacher's with questions and can get homework at home when ill with just a few clicks on the computer. School supplies now consist of supplies for other students and the school as well. Best of all, there can wear their own style. Being popular takes a back seat to academics, and many kids have college credit by the time they graduate. Pretty exciting.

I don't think they make those old fat pencils any more. The old desk with the inkwell is worth about $185 online. You can buy an old copy of Fun with Dick and Jane on ebay for a reasonable price.
Time for school, and all I can say is "Run, Spot, Run!"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reel to reel

"The only surviving movie house in Greenville. A renovated former live theatre built in the 1920’s and owned by Tony Macci. It had converted to movies by 1941, when the seating capacity was 460. It was split into two smaller theatres, each with 120 seats, in the late-1970’s or very early-1980’s." - from Cinema Treasures

The room was dark. I sat on my mother's lap, holding tight to her. A princess danced across the screen. Vague memories from 1950 when Cinderella opened in theatres. I was three the first time I went to Wayne Cinemas. It was there that I had my first date. The movie was Gone With the Wind. News reels showed us news from around the world. Cartoons entertained us before the main movie event. Wayne Cinemas, a staple to the scene in Greenville, Ohio. A landmark that held memories for us all.

I was saddened to hear that the theatre is closed. Even if it opens again, our memories are in that old theatre where we grew up to the movies that came our way. A medium bag of popcorn was around $3.99 back then. A ticket was about $.25. We didn't have much then, so this trip into town for our family was a major event. I never knew of my parents going to another movie in Greenville. It is indeed a treasured memory.

Sammy Force worked for Ken Whited at the little grocery in Painter Creek (or Rip Town to we locals). On Saturday nights, Sammy would pick up his girlfriend then make another stop to pick up my sister June and her friend Bev Whited (his bosses daughter). Off they went to Greenville and the Wayne Cinemas. If you got to the movie house for the 10:30 PM movie, you could stay after it was over and watch the first run of the movie for the next week for free. Two movies for the price of one. A date with two tag-a-longs.

We all have sweet memories of the Wayne Cinemas. Driving into Greenville and down Broadway, we were always greeted by the marque announcing the current movies playing. It was as welcoming as the circle in the middle of town. Greenville was the hub of activity for this area full of farm kids.

Now we have all sorts of theatres. I can go to a movie and have a beer and pizza. Our newest theatre has the Living Room where you can recline and put your feet up. A waiter drops by with your dinner and a glass of wine. It's better than your own living room. But is it really?

Going to the movies as a kid was a real treat. The candy bars in the case. The smell of popcorn in the little bags. A tasty soda with cubes of ice. A new movie...and sometimes an old movie. The hand of a date on yours or sitting in the lap of a parent. We had our memories in that old movie house. Reel to reel memories.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blue ribbon days

The blue ribbon lays in the bottom of a box of papers and items from the past. The box hold lots of treasure. The blue ribbon has been there since I was a child. It's still blue and very flat.

I was in 4-H from the time I could first become a 4-h'er until I started dating.  I was in it because Brenda was in it and her mother was a 4-H leader. Sounded like a good deal to me. Not only did I get to hang with my best friend, I got to hang with my other mom as well. 4-H projects started out with simple projects. It wasn't until a few years ago that I actually got rid of my apron made by my 4-H hands. I gave it up after realizing that I never did wear aprons. I was never very good with the needle and battled with the sewing machine on each project. But part of being a 4-H'er is making something to take to the great Darke County Fair.

We were farm kids but never took livestock to the fairgrounds. The neat kids got to stay at the fair with their animals. I never understood why we didn't get to stay with our sewing. Made sense to me. Still we hung out at the fair as much as possible. Usually I hitched a ride with Margaret and the girls. We stopped to admire our work then hit the rides. We ate junk food all day. Candy apples that should have pulled our teeth out of our curly little heads. Cotton Candy that stuck to everything like Velcro. We ate and we ate and we.....well, you know how it is.

The fair was a state of mind. We cherished the memories from year to year and waited for the next year to roll around with as much anticipation as that we experienced for Christmas. Mom and Dad never said 'no' to our going to the fair. I don't remember them going often. Yet they always managed a little extra money for us to spend on fair days.

Never does a year go by that I don't have a bit of regret that I live so far away at fair time. I don't care so much about the rides. Would still like to eat those goodies that never were good for me. Mostly, I would like to see old friends and neighbors again. I would like to walk through the barns and ooo and ah at the cows, sheep, horses and even the pigs. Maybe I would make it back to the 4-H barn and see what the new age of 4-H'ers are making now.

It's fair time. Yes, I am a bit homesick. Not only that......I can't for the life of me remember why I won a blue ribbon. Guess I'll keep it anyway.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Flavors of the past

"......was wondering if anyone out there has the recipe for the caramel cake that we used get for lunch at the elementary school," wrote Marsha on the Facebook Franklin Monroe page. Within seconds, the conversation took place among past FM students who once stood in the cafeteria waiting for that tasty cake. Jane came to the rescue. With a bit of online checking, Marsha can have her caramel cake.

It is interesting how one conversation can shake loose all sorts of memories. Some are triggered by taste, some by music, some perhaps by just a word or two. I shared this culinary conversation with my sister June.

"Wasn't the cafeteria by the back door?" I asked her.

"Yes. Before that it was in the basement where the band moved after the school started sending grades 9-12 to Monroe. It was the Home Ec Room before the cafeteria moved there."

I was a little kid, probably first grade. I remember pushing that tray across the front of the food case just waiting to eat something a little different than what we ate at home. Canned corn, butter bread sandwiches, applesauce in little dishes. "On Fridays we had mac and cheese." June added.

"Didn't we have fish, too?" I asked. She informed that we had fish because the Catholics couldn't eat meat on Friday. I had never met a Catholic in Franklin Township when I was a kid so didn't know why we had fish. We had Mennonites, German Baptists, Brethren, Methodists, Christians, etc, but no Catholics. Well, it didn't matter. I loved those little squares of fish on Friday, so I guess I owe them a big thank you.

"Ok," I wrote in this Facebook conversation. "Now work on the recipe for the chocolate cake with the chocolate sauce." (Might as well get my two bits in.) Again Jane comes to the rescue.

"That is hot fudge cake!" she said and promptly posted a recipe. Women from difference years at FM coming together to remember days of their childhood. The flavors of the school cafeteria.The desserts we haven't had in decades but remember vividly.

This community we have recently formed, even though we were years apart in school, is drawn together remembering the flavors of the past. A support system that through technology is drawn together in conversation. Do you remember the flavors of the past?