Sunday, July 14, 2013

This is Home, Part 22 - Darksville school, Miss Evelyn finds her calling, the new teacher, caught by Miss Evelyn, Coal and Art

This is part 22 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Darksville school

Hickory school closed after my fifth grade because there weren't enough children. We had to attend Darksville school.

Miss Evelyn finds her calling

Miss Evelyn joined the service. Can you believe she actually tried to write to Jean and me? She probably became a sergeant and yelled at the soldiers. The idea of a gun in her hands is really frightening.

Darksville school was actually quite nice -- except for the time two of the boys chased me with a dead snake during the lunch hour.

The new teacher

The teacher was Miss Doris. She was young and pretty with dark hair. Best of all, she was nice.

She left me in charge when she went to make a phone call sometimes. She told me to write down names of students who got out of their seats or talked. I wrote down their names, but I never turned them in. The idea that I might probably subdued them some.

Schools were pretty strict in those days. No talking, no moving around, no anything without permission.

Caught by Miss Evelyn

When we were in grade school at Hickory (Miss Evelyn), the boy across the aisle asked me if he could borrow a pencil. I was reading, so I just picked up one from my pencil box and held it out to him. I finally realized that he wasn't taking it.

I looked at him and he was staring at Miss Evelyn. I looked at her and put the pencil back. She made both of us come up in front of the school, and stand with the toes of our shoes touching chalk lines facing the room. We had to stand there until noon, which was over half an hour away. It seemed longer.

I hadn't said one word. I hated standing still worse than anything, except maybe being interrogated in the cloak room.

Coal and Art

There was a coal furnace in the classroom. Miss Evelyn was trying to get it to burn one day while everyone was standing around shivering. I used to get really cold back there unless I was close to heat.

I was shivering and my teeth were practically chattering I was so cold. I said I was so cold several times before Miss Evelyn said that she had better not hear that again. I don't know why she waited until we were all there before trying to start it.

We had an Art teacher who visited all the schools. She only came once or twice a month. It was her time to come that day. She walked in and said, "It's freezing in here. I'm so cold." I really liked her anyway -- after that, I loved her.

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This is Home, Part 21 - Uncle Doc fixed tires, Mom curled our hair, Tangee, the Toni

This is part 21 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Uncle Doc fixed tires

Uncle Doc used to do some repair I thought was interesting. I don't know that this was something that would especially be done during war time. I think it was probably just something necessary when one lived out of town.

Uncle Doc used to take off the car's flat tire. Then he took the inner tube out of it. He put water in one of the large galvanized tubs and put the inner tube in it. He had to keep pushing it down; it wanted to float. When he held it down, there would be bubbles of air from the puncture.

Uncle Doc had a tire repair kit with a light weight metal thing about the size of a flash light. It had metal pieces sticking out on one end that he rubbed over the puncture, then he put glue from a tube in the kit on one of the patches and glued it on. Of course, the inner tube had to be taken out of the water and dried before it could be patched. After the glue dried, the inner tube could be put back in the tire and the tire put on.

Mom curled our hair

Sometimes Mom used to curl our hair before we went to school. She had a metal curling iron. This was before we got electricity, so it was during grade school.

The curling iron was longer than the ones used today. The curling iron had a long rounded (like a pencil) part that the lock of hair was wrapped around, then had a long curved piece that fit halfway around the rounded part. It had handles that resembled handles of scissors.

Mom would open the curling iron and put the rounded part and the part that fit over it carefully into the opposite sides of the lamp chimney. The heat from the lamp flame would heat the iron. It cooled fast, so she had to keep heating it.

My hair uncurled itself in a short time.


We had a very interesting first lipstick. It was called Tangee. It was a small tube like the ones used on the large Barbie faces by Patricia, Sharon, and Christina. However, Tangee was for girls, not dolls.

When we put it on it felt like Chapstick does and had a faint orange tint. We found out that the more we put on, the more color our lips had. However, we still had just a small amount of color.

This was in grade school. In high school I had a medium red lipstick. I think Jean had a different shade.

The Toni

There used to be an ad in magazines showing twin young women with curly hair, with the question: "Which twin has the Toni?"

A Toni was a permanent one could give oneself. Jean and I liked the twins' hair, so sometimes during the summer Mom would give each of us a Toni. We sat out on the concrete top or steps of the well from which they got drinking water, to dry our hair. We loved the soft curly hair that resulted from Mom's work.

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This is Home, Part 20 - Pearl Harbor

This is part 20 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was ten years old. Jean was just barely eight.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had been talking about Hitler's armed forces marching through and taking over various countries. I remember the big black headlines in the Moberly Monitor-Index about him goose-stepping across Poland. There had been headlines for a long time about Hitler. But America was very isolationist then and people were saying, "Our boys will never die on foreign soil."

Uncle Doc, Daddy and Mom thought we would eventually be in the war. England was being bombed and wanted our help. I thought how awful it must be to be bombed and to have blackouts at night. Uncle Doc said if we didn't do something to help them, we would be bombed in the future -- and our allies would already be defeated.

President Roosevelt thought of something. He started a lend-lease program with England and sent them military equipment.

We heard about Pearl Harbor being bombed while we were visiting Frank and Valere Rice, at Renick, Missouri. I remember how upset everyone was. They were saying that it wouldn't take long to beat the Japanese. Thus we were at war.

Everyone really hated the Japanese. None lived around where we were. People are having a problem now with the removal of Japanese in America to special areas for security reasons. They should remember that during the time Pearl Harbor was being bombed and all the American lives lost, two representatives of Japan were in Washington talking peace. They were at the very least sneaky and untrustworthy. How were we to know that Japanese living here weren't also helping Japan? They had relatives there.

I also know of another reason they should have been moved. With so much hatred in America, I don't believe they would have been safe mixed with the general population. They should have been moved for both reasons -- especially the first.

All of a sudden, neighbor boys were joining the service. Maudie and Irwin Williams' son, Denver, joined. Mary Ellen's boyfriend, Lawrence Burris, went and Bea met and fell in love with a sailor, Bob Bolton.

Mary Ellen and Lawrence got married, and so did Bea and Bob. Bea had been saying what I thought was a strange thing. She had been saying, "I have to get married and start my family now." In view of future events, maybe she knew.

Anyway, there were a lot of war time weddings. Suddenly, the streets of Moberly had a lot of soldiers, sailors and Marines walking around.

There were military planes flying over the farm. I think there were bases at both Kansas City and St. Louis.

Movie stars toured the United States selling war bonds. Some movie stars joined the service. Others entertained. We bought war stamps at school.

Some items were rationed all of a sudden. Just off hand, I remember coffee, sugar, shoes and tires being rationed. We had to have coupons to buy them. The men gave Jean and me their shoe coupons because our feet kept growing. We couldn't get silk stockings (hose). I think silk might have been used in parachutes.

New factories were created, old ones converted into turning out military equipment. Wives and single women got jobs there to help with the war effort and to feed their families.

There was one man in our neighborhood who got a draft classification that permitted him to stay and work on his farm. Farm work was considered vital. The armed forces had to be fed. But people in our area weren't too happy with the man. They considered him a "slacker."

The man was young and had little children and might have lost his small farm if he had gone. Although, he could probably have got his father to farm for him. He had a well-known last name.

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This is Home, Part 19 - The times improve, Miss Evelyn plays detective

This is part 19 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

The times improve

President Roosevelt had reopened the banks soon after he took office and instigated a number of different work programs to put people back to work. When it was time for one of his fireside chats, we were all in front of the radio listening. There were no more soup lines. The tramps stopped coming by, and business executives were no longer selling apples on street corners.

Miss Evelyn plays detective

Miss Hazel only taught during my first year at school. We managed to get through three more years of school in spite of the fact that we had Miss Evelyn as the teacher. She was absolutely unbelievable. I kept telling Uncle Doc that I wanted him to get rid of her. He just said, "I have to hire whoever has the best qualifications."

Every winter Jean and I managed to come down with bad colds, heavy croupy coughs, sore throats and sometimes lung congestion. Mom used to use something similar to Vicks on our throats and, if need be, chests. Then she tore a flannel cloth into a square, held it around the lamp chimney to heat it, and put it on us. The heat felt really good.

We even managed to get flu sometimes. Then the doctor came.

One time when we got back to school, Miss Evelyn interrogated us separately in the cloak room. I think Mom had sent a note. She wanted to know why when one got sick the other one did. She wanted to know why we had missed school. She wanted to know where the one she was talking to felt sick and where the other one felt sick. She asked what the family said about it. She also wanted to know if a doctor had been called. Those are just some of the questions. She thought of more.

We went home after school and told Mom, Daddy and Uncle Doc.

Next day, Mom and Uncle Doc went to school with us. Mom was really mad and Uncle Doc wasn't too happy. Mom told her that she (Mom) didn't understand what she had been trying to do and that when she was told that the children had been ill, she should accept that and not question them about where they had felt bad and who in the family had said what. Mom said that she had never heard of such a thing.

Uncle Doc told her that she had been hired to teach and that was what he expected her to do. He sounded quite calm and firm. He also said questioning any of the students in the cloak room was not part of her job.

I really couldn't stand that teacher. I used to have dreams that I was flying just out of her reach and she couldn't catch me. I used to swoop down toward her in the dreams and fly back up when she grabbed for me.

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