It was a treat to read Jan Ebert’s column, “The Music Stand.” She spent her three-part series “checking up” on Champaign County’s music educators who have supposedly retired. Fortunately, many of them continue to ply their trade, thereby enriching our community. Thanks to them all – including Jan – for sharing their talents!
I will belatedly thank Leah Ludlow for pointing out an error. A few months ago I bemoaned the change of Memorial Day to a three-day weekend, citing May 31 as the holiday’s original date. Leah called with the correct date of May 30, backing it up with irrefutable evidence: that day is her birthday! I hope May 30 continues to be special for Leah as her own personal holiday.
One fringe benefit of sharing my columns each week comes in the form of reader feedback. Here are a few comments I have enjoyed about recent articles:
I totally agree with fellow Class of ’66 alum, Sharon Fansler Wilson’s reply to my travel article that “our country is a treasure trove of customs and interests.” Susan Butts Traylor, member of my very first student travel group, recalled our “LONG walk to the Eiffel Tower,” for which Ron and Becky Saul Jackson have ample photographic proof! Travel hint: that massive Paris landmark is ALWAYS much further than it appears.
Of course, we can scarcely make it through a month of my articles without some reference to Germany and all the things I hold dear about my second favorite country in the world. First and foremost, I cherish my relationships with so many folks there, which Detlev Ascher, former exchange student from Graham’s partner school, beautifully characterized: “So many feelings I can understand and share from the other side of the ocean. I always miss you, Ohio, and all the great people I met – still connected in friendship.” Few of us would be surprised that Detlev’s words elicited this comment from his American exchange partner, Roxanne Zerkle Shively: “Okay, I am crying now…”
Another travel quote I did not have space to share, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” can be amended: “it’s what you eat.” Zoe McGuire Faulkner remembered the “yummy pastry and breads,” while Michelle Springer Stevens reminisced: “Nutella every morning on fresh Brötchen from the bakery,” with Lisa Siegenthaler Turner, Renee Brown Arnold, and myself in concurrence. By the way, back then I personally observed the editor of a local newspaper eating Nutella right out of the jar!
Not to be outdone, we here in the USA have cake. Bonnie McCullough McGuire shared the disappointment of having no German Chocolate Cake on her tenth birthday: her brother ruined it when the ball he hit sailed through the kitchen window and landed right on her birthday dessert!
Falcon classmate Del Markley described the “home cake factory,” where his mother, Garnet Markley, made cakes for weddings and other special occasions – always “from scratch” with finely-ground cake flour and egg whites. It was the job of Del and his father to deliver the wedding cakes “without messing them up.” Mrs. Markley for a time also made doll cakes, which resembled a hoop skirt, with an actual doll inserted into the center.
By the way, Del also responded to my mention of the Omar Man, who delivered bread to the homes of his customers, with a 1945 photo of his dad, Harold “Casey” Markley, standing next to his Holsum bread delivery truck.
Continuing with the domestic arts, I heard from former 4-H sewers and advisors about the robust program of many years ago. Another classmate, Debbie Vulgamore Clark, recalled “the wonderful times we had”; and my Tennessee sister, Connie Scott Plank, mentioned the “hustle and bustle in the 4-H building on the mornings we modeled.”
Local quilter, Lori Deppen, made this observation: “…home economics classes have been cut and parents both working full-time make home skills like sewing obsolete…I hate that our next generations won’t even be able to sew on a button.”
And from my cousin, Cheryl Scott Siegenthaler: “I still use the dark green wool pin cushion I made my first year of 4-H sewing…I spent 30 years as an advisor, teaching uncounted girls to sew, including my two daughters…however, when they need pants hemmed or something altered these days, they come to Mom!”
My Urbana sister, Barb Scott Sell, has similar experiences but is determined to introduce her granddaughters to sewing, as is Sharon Fansler Wilson: “my daughter never wanted to learn to sew, but I have been able to teach my granddaughter the basics.”
Heidi Gross Hess joined me in complimenting teachers like Jane Sidders, Peggy Bowers, and John Zeilman as outstanding educators, but Sandy Coon sang the praises of a teacher who eventually became my colleague: Nellie Pickering. “She was influential in so many lives…in the years before the JVS, she trained many a great secretary…the skills I learned in her class have served me well through my life.”
I want to sincerely thank anyone and everyone who shares opinions about my opinions. And just for fun, I will close with this cheer-y comment from former student Rita Wallace Green: “The Class of 1974 was your first freshman English class!! We were tough!! We will yell, we will roar! We were the Class of ’74!”
Am I the only one counting? That was almost fifty years ago!
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.