Sunday, November 6, 2016

Get Me a Switch From the Willow Tree - A Backstreet Song

Get Me a Switch from the Willow Tree

I was playing too hard and strayed from our yard
To the shade of the old willow tree
When a neighbor called out and let out a shout
He’s over here, Esther, with me.

My mother walked over, through the yard laced with clover
And pulled on my arm as she said,
“You’re not s’posed to go, from our yard to and fro
Or your bottom will have to be red.”

“Go get me a switch from the willow tree
And it better not be too thin
Lest I’ll go get another, bigger switch- angry mother
And whip you ‘til you lose that grin.”

Henrietta and Gladys, Mary and Norma
And mothers who lived on our street
Shared from the tree to keep order and peace
And control where we went with our feet

When cold winds would blow with the road deep in snow
Our moms would keep us from the slush
And bypass the willow, still we’d sit on a pillow
Cause then they would spank with a brush.


Jimmy and Danny, Donna and Peggy,
Many others and Mike and Pat
Knew the willow and sometimes the pillow
Our mothers would all see to that.

The switches were blessed with the willow tree’s zest
And the kids knew it stung with each whack
But try as we may, if we cheated at play
We found our moms sending us back.


As we became parents directing our kids
Who begged us for safety and rules
We tried discipline, but they’d do it again
Treating their parents like fools.

Then…We’d look for a tree, an old willow tree
 And tell them to get us a switch
Or stay in “Time Out” and don’t give a shout
And don’t even act like you itch.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bond Issue for New Jefferson School: Interview with Dr. Gates

Hello from Dr Synonymous.  Click here to go to Blog talk Radio to hear the Interview as a podcast any time Interview with Dr. Gates
Dr. Richard Gates, Superintendent of Jefferson Township Local Schools is my special guest on this show.  Your Host for the Dr. Synonymous Show is Pat Jonas, MD, a 1964 graduate of Jefferson Twonship High School, in the country a few miles west of Dayton.  As a Jefferson Bronco for Life, he's excited about the prospect of getting the school replaced to catch up to modern educational standards.  A unique feature of the new school will be an area in which alumni can archive, protect and reflect on the history and legacy of "The Bronco Nation" back to 1836 when Jefferson Schools were established. 
We may discuss these questions and more:  What is expected of school superintendents these days? What is different about educating children now?  What are Jefferson students like?  What about security of students these days?   Cybersecurity for the school system?  Why can't our building from 1966 get the job done?  Why have a school in Jefferon Township instead of just merging with Trotwood or Dayton?  What is different about Jefferson Township?  What is the advantage of having a small student population?  What does the new school cost?  Who pays?  How long will it last?  How does the campaign to get the Bond Issue passed work? (who does what?)
How do alumni relate to a public school system?  What alumni connections might help Jefferson?   
What do you do on election eve?  Day?  Next day?
Thanks to Dr. Gates for his leadership and enthusiasm about Jefferson Township.
 You can download and/or listen to this podcast 24/7/365 for the next two years on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Liberty Flashback: First Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take

God bless Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa Jonas and Grandma and Grandpa Clayton
and thank you for Jesus.  Amen

I flash back on that prayer taught by my mother and father to my brother and I, as my mother is in her last day or so of life (here in my home).

I held her hand and prayed The Lord's Prayer for her with son Patrick a couple hours ago.  She was smiling and looking to the heavens with such contentment, somehow ignoring her body and somewhat labored breathing.  She doesn't seem to need the body any more.  She's about to leave it, per the Master's Plan.
More later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Esther's Friends: "I Love Your Mom"

"Tell her Paula said hello.  I love your Mom."  Sentiments from the receptionist at Dr. Kirkland's office echoed those of many others from the Liberty Church, the Liberty Community, relatives (especially all of our cousins), neighbors, friends and others (continuing through Facebook in the months that she's been declining).

Esther Jean Clayton Jonas, now is "Home with Hospice" at our home near Bellbrook.   She has lived 90 years of loyalty, patience and presence.  She was always there. Her connections through church and events such as the Liberty Church Socials where she donated baked goods, Liberty women's groups such as The Secret Sisters and Home Extension, Dad's activities such as The Liberty Fire Department and Monarch Marking Systems, neighborhood events such as The Back Street Party transmitted her open heart and acceptance of others.

She outlived the Liberty women from the old days except Pete Hammond, her pal who went out for sandwiches with her.  Gladys, Henrietta, Mickie, Pauline, Helen, Clarbel, Evy, Pearl, Ruth, and others have preceded her to Heaven and may be pleased when she arrives.  A special moment was her hug with Pete on the day she moved out of her home to come live with us due to her medical situations.

Fanny Cappel and William Jesse Clayton raised her well on Orchard Street in Dayton, just down the block from Roosevelt High School, with her older sister Lois (Winge- mother of Jon, Nora and Sara who all live in CA).  They built a home on Back Street (Now Longbourne St.) in the late 1940's across the street from Art, Esther, Mike and Pat.  Esther became part-time caretaker of Fanny when she developed severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and was wheelchair bound (Before the light, slick modern wheelchairs).  Mike and Pat were big winners with both sets of grandparents within 100 feet (did you say ice cream?).  Grandpa Art Jonas had a pastry truck come to  our house on many Saturday mornings just in case we were hungry (as he had been growing up in a tiny home with seven or so siblings and a father they referred to as "The Kaiser"- yes he was from Germany).  Esther may have had to contend with two sons who were a bit spoiled.

She sewed a lot and baked a lot.  Her "sticky-buns" are a favorite in the family and extended family. Mike and I used to love to lick the beaters of the mixer that was supporting the baking of chocolate items.

She is bedfast now with the oxygen support and electric hospital bed provided by Hospice.  She doesn't notice that she's short of breath or extremely weak, like her brain didn't want to be bothered so it turned off messages about the body.  Companions who do personal care from Senior Pathways come daily like angels and help where Mom can't care for herself.  Hospice nurses are a specially blessed group in general and those with The Hospice of the Miami Valley (Beverly and Cheryl so far) are blessed, too and highly skilled.  Mom even hears them when they speak to her, like God translates words through her moderate deafness.   Therapy provided by Buckeye Home Health, which delivered caring nursing professionals and aids before Mom shifted to Hospice of The Miami Valley, came briefly to see if Mom could get strong enough to be able to transfer from bed to wheel chair for bathing and bathroom, but the heart weakened more with the message of impending demise, and she may not be able to regain the leg strength.  Hospice got oxygen for her which provided considerable comfort.

Mike and Pat (me) are supporting her last adventure.  We had  a Jonas Euchre party on Memorial Day to honor the Jonas tradition developed by my Grandpa Art and Grandma Mary Jonas at their home on Back Street in Liberty playing in various combinations with my Uncle Oscar and Aunt Clara Jonas.  OK, Mike and Paddy won over Patrick and I.

Esther is going to be with Scud again soon. Rebecca (Michael Jonas) has gone beyond the call of our marriage vows taken in Liberty Church 12/27/1969 by caring for her mother in law on every shift.  Patrick has helped with making lunch, lifting, greeting nurses, PT's, OT's, aids and others who have provided care to Mom and praying.  The Hospice Chaplain (Harry Stewart, M. Div.) was especially appreciated as he helped Mom with a reminder of God's Peace.

Esther and Scud at their 57th (and final) wedding anniversary in 2001 in Liberty.

God is Good.  His Love is Forever.  Especially through the hearts of Mothers.  The kindness and love is still pouring through Mom's failing heart, but her soul is forever with God.  On earth as it is in Heaven.

Mom is very thankful for the people mentioned above who she's been blessed with, and the God who has always been there for her.  The Liberty Church Bulletin that comes each week lifts her spirits as the people of that church traditionally do for many.  God has kept Liberty Church (B, UB, EUB and now UM) in his love.  That's why so many want to "Set Our Hearts at Liberty."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Two Songs About Loss and Victory

Song words.  The first in response to a sermon.  The second in response to a football team.

"More Than Words, More Than Us"

I thought it was over, I thought life was done 
So empty I shook with despair
I asked God to help in the name of His Son 
But I couldn't tell He was there

 I shared my dilemma with some of my friends
 They listened and prayed for God's Love
 To soften my heart and then never to end
 Below can be just as above

 I prayed and I listened and listened some more
 The peace in the silence shone through
 My heart beat was thankful for all He had done
 God showed me just what I could do

 Chorus:    The Heartfelt Joy of understanding 
                   Deepest Peace that we can trust  
                   God will touch us as we gather 
                   More than words, More than us

 - See more at:

"Buckeye Free"

Jesus or the Buckeyes,
Which one is your lord?
Which one gives you hope,
Through the shouting of their word?

Do you need a touchdown
To know that you're alive?
Or prayer and praise and worship
To know how you should strive?

Jesus or the Buckeyes
Which one makes you whole?
Which one gives you hope
For the healing of your soul?

Chorus:  Jesus is the one for me.
                 Jesus made me Buckeye free
                 His love has won my heart away
                 I cheer for Jesus every day.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Jefferson Township Alumni and School Leaders Break Ground for Monument

"Where's the Bronco?" seemed to be the only unanswered question at the Jefferson Township Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Alumni sponsored Monument and Brick Garden at newly named Alumni Corner.  This event on Saturday November 14th, at the corner of Union and Dayton-Farmersville Roads was another step in unifying the "Bronco Nation" of the "Old School" and the "New School" (now referred to as the "Old Golds" and the "New Blues", aligning with the school colors of Gold and Blue).  Alumni from 1948, '59, '61, '62, '65, '66, '73, '75, '76, '84 attended

The Monument, Brick and Scholarship Committee members led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by prayer and a moment of silence from Rex Hunn '61.

Pat Jonas, MD '64 was master of ceremonies, introducing each of the speakers and songs.  He also is "The Brick Man", in charge of the brick and paver program that will surround the monument.  He introduced several of the bricks and the person that is being honored with each brick, such at Mildred Baker Kilheffer- class of 1932- our oldest living graduate.

The Alumni Association President, Joy Weaver, from the Jefferson Township High School Class of 1948 spoke of her father, Russell Wolf- Class of 1925 and his baseball prowess, including pitching a double header to win a national championship for a local team.  She also reflected on Superintendent Adam Becker and "the good old days".

Superintendent Dr Richard Gates enthusiastically endorsed the purpose of the monument, brick and scholarship projects, reflecting on the strong Board of Education suport he received for the projects. He had been surprised by all the alumni concerns about what would happen to the "old building" before it was finally torn down, and pleased to have the Alumni Association connect up with the "new school " and solidify the history of the lineage of Jefferson Township Schools.  Mr. Orr, from the Board, added his thanks to the alumni for the message this project gives to the "Jefferson Story".

Mike Jonas '62 the contractor for the Monument and Brick Project gave an overview of the 8 x 5 x 12 foot structure that will have some of the bricks from the "Old School" in it and be surrounded by a concrete slab with Bronco Bricks on the slab.  Preliminary drawings were reviewed with those present and on the Facebook announcement for the groundbreaking ceremony.  "Where's the Bronco?", came the question from the a class member of 1984.  We have thought about it and discussed the possibility of a bronco on the monument, but didn't add it- yet.

We should be working on the final design of the monument in January and February 2016.  The Bronco should make it into the design.  It just seems like the Bronco thing to do.  And it's an important symbol of what it means to be from Jefferson.

Gary Bailey '64 spoke about the meaning of the monument.  "Why have a monument?"  He asked and answered.  It will hold the memories and remind us forever of what we stand for and where we came from.  The friends, the teachers, the lessons, the staff, the cafeteria workers, the bus drivers and even the swings on the playground have left lasting memories.  Gary pointed to a tree that he felt challenged to touch with his feet when he was swinging as high as he could.  Another Jefferson search for excellence in a long line of searches.
Love had a lot to do with Gary's message.  Gary noted that, "The love we felt for Jefferson continues beyond buildings."  The monument and brick program will assure us of another way to tell the stories and connect to the Jefferson Legacy.  We haven't lost the dream or the meaning of our Jefferson experiences.

The Board of Education members joined Dr. Gates and Alumni President Joy Weaver in applying blue and gold shovels to the earth where the monument will be constructed.  It looked like fun.

Tracey Tripp Edwards '76 then presented ideas about "Why have a Brick Garden?"  She had a large list of possibilities, many of which were represented in the Bronco Brick display at the ceremony. "Tracey Tripp Edwards, 1976 Class President, JT Fiscal Officer" constitute the three lines on her Bronco Brick.  Other Bronco Bricks honor relatives, teachers, leaders, veterans, and the list goes on.

Sam Dodson '64 and Rickey Poole '64 next described the Jefferson Township Alumni Scholarship Program which Sam set up with the Dayton Foundation.  We can get matching funds of $9000 if we have $16,000 by December first.  Rickey stated that he'd like to see the fund get to $100,000.  Alumni and other members and fans of the Bronco Nation can donate online at the Dayton Foundation site is they wish.

Rickey provided a special "Jefferson Reflection" about his life in Carver Village, his mother and the meaning of his Jefferson experience.  He got a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin for track and came back to teach at Jefferson.  His story is inspiring as is his commitment to the scholarship program for Jefferson students.

What better way to round out a Bronco Day than to sing the Fight Song and the Alma Mater led by Joy Weaver and pep members Tracey Edwards and one youngster from the class of 1984.
School Board Member Rev. Cuttino Dargan offered the closing prayer and we mingled to round out a Great Bronco Day.

See more and order your Bronco Brinks at
Board Members Present at the Groundbreaking November 14
Mrs. Johnnie Kimberlin
Elected: 1990
  • Board President
  • Education Committee
  • Human Resources Committee
Term Expires: 2017
Rev. Cuttino Dargan 
Elected: 2008
  • Board Parliamentarian
  • Finance Committee
  • Facilities Committee
Term Expires: 2017
Mr. Emmett C. Orr
Elected: 2010
  • Board Legislative Liaison
  • Finance Committee
  • Community Relations Committee
Term Expires: 2017
Mr. C.V. Mitchell, III
Elected: 2009
  • Board Member
  • Education Committee
  • Facilities Committee
Term Expires: 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jefferson Bronco Memorial Coming

The Jefferson School Board has approved construction of a memorial on the site of the "old school" building.  This will honor the people and processes involved in the history of Jefferson in the era of that building and help to "Tell the Jefferson Story".  It will include a brick and paver component which allows honoring of individual Broncos or groups with something like an alumni grotto.  A couple of memorial benches may be included depending on design and funding.

(Lest we count poorly, the "new school" building is now older than the "old school" building when it was vacated.  It may soon merit a memorial as discussions about its demise are already happening.  Broadening the thought, one might ponder a two component monument honoring persons and phenomena from 1928-present.  Many students, faculty and staff had experiences in both buildings.  Even a three sided monument may appeal to some.)

OK, back to reality.  A committee was appointed by the Alumni Association President, Joy Weaver to design and build the memorial/monument.  Rex Hunn is leading the committee with Gary Bailey, Gil Parrish and Bill Osborne.  A finance committee is to coordinate the funding.  Sam Dodson, Rick Poole and Pat Jonas currently staff that committee.  We recently met with Dr. Gates to discuss the project.  The class of 1964 proposed the project and raised $565 to start it.   Other Bronco Alumni are needed to get it done.  Dr. Gates is excited about the project and the possibility of a scholarship aspect of the project.  He even said,"I'll carry the bricks with you." Photo


This project offers the opportunity to develop a financial plan that will enable Broncos to contribute to it or similar projects as well as memorial/scholarship funds for students or the school.  We hope to include an opportunity to contribute to the "old school" monument or a scholarship fund with online and snail mail invitations to alumni functions.

This year there is the Annual Alumni banquet the fourth Friday in June (26th) with several class parties on June 27th and also a Mega Reunion later in the summer from July 31- Aug 2 which has happened every three years since 2005.  Organizers for each of these events will have an opportunity to connect alumni and other invitees to the fund raising process and to each other.

This alumni funding strategy may help to unite "old" and "new" school alumni to help students and the school and reaffirm the pride of The Bronco Nation as we tell "The Jefferson Story".  A Facebook page is coming to allow continuing online connections about the project and alumni endeavors.