Sunday, December 18, 2011

Away in a Manger

Today in church (in 2011) as we sang the last verse to Away in a Manger, I was touched with God's message over the many years of people singing that song.  I was a child again asking Jesus to be with me forever, remembering the sanctuary of Liberty EUB when I first sang those words.  The child in all of us longs for the whole world to sing "Away in a Manger" together, feeling the love of Jesus.

In Liberty, I felt safe and secure (as in Leaning on the Everlasting Arms- "Safe and secure from all alarms") which made Christmas all the more meaningful and focused on Jesus and church.  The hymns, the Christmas eve service and the Christmas Sunday service in those special years when Christmas was on Sunday allowed the message of the Savior's birth to resound.  OK, if my mom, aunts or brother is reading this- we were chomping at the bit about getting presents.

Another song comes to mind on the issue of presents, "A pair of Hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots... from "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas".  I do remember cap guns, a toy rifle, a puppet of Howdy Doody or similar ilk, a microscope, a chemistry set, etc.  And books- I loved books.  The dog books were a favorite: Call of the Wild, Lad-Son of Battle, Gray Dawn, etc.  Reader's Digest Books were special since they had three or four books in one.

The children's program at church added to the experience, being one of the Three Wise Men and saying a line or two of scripture as my part in the program brought out all the parents and enhanced the message of God's love through the Baby Jesus.  We Three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts we come from afar...., O Little Town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie...., Away in a manger no crib for a bed...., you know the rest of the first verses of most of the Christmas hymns.

Silent Night is filled with meaning with the usual setting of Christmas Eve service and the added effect of candle light involving the entire congregation.  I wonder how old I had to be before my parents trusted me to hold my own candle?

"Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.  Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there."   E. U. B.  Hymnal 1957 edition

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas in Liberty: Excitement and Expectation

"But most of all, I remember Momma." That line comes from a popular TV show during the black and white era sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee (or could it have been Folgers?  The brain sometimes allows memory files to merge).  At Christmas time, I might say, "But most of all, I remember Christmas."

I remember times of saving all year at the Farmers and Citizens Bank in Trotwood in the Christmas Club, to have $25 dollars available for Christmas gifts.  It was always fun to shop for special gifts for family members.  (It seems that the fun continues, having spent time in Barns and Nobles and the Half Price Book Store drooling over books, movies and calendars last night followed by perusal of  "stuff" and clothing in Kohl's- where I delighted in selecting some Match Box vehicles for Andrew, our nearly two year-old grandson).

Miamisburg was a hotbed of shopping opportunity with the 5 and 10 cent store- Woolworth's, Suttman's, Penney's, and Philhower's.  Highlights of those shopping adventures often included the bakery where cream horns and donuts were always tasty and the famous hamburger wagon where the secret formula for one of the world's most unique burger experiences is still intact (why does the once despised onion now add such great flavor to this taste treat?- aging taste buds?).

Liberty never had a bank or a dime store, but we had Santa Claus at the fire department Christmas party, where he gave us kids a box of chocolate drop candy or hard candy and an orange (my brain sees the orange like it was real- was there really an orange?)  We had Christmas Caroling by the Youth Fellowship group from the church.  It was all we needed, since we had the whole USA through the black and white TV sets.  Milton Berle, I Love Lucy, Howdy Doody, Ruth Lyons (Remember Ruby Wright singing, "Let's Light the Christmas Tree"?) and Saturday morning cartoons nourished our appetites for Christmas entertainment with special shows.

The TV specials all seemed to remember Jesus and reinforce the meaning of "the season" daily.  "Naughty or Nice" was tied into Christian beliefs.  The behavior of children was compared to a standard of expectation that would please the baby Jesus.  Jesus coming was in every Christmas hymn.  A small town without cable TV, cell phones, the internet or texting can do a good job with the Baby Jesus.

The excitement mounted for Liberty children as the day neared when the presents and the tree would suddenly be alive with celebration (the baby Jesus clearly had competition on his birthday- even before credit cards were invented)

What are your Christmas time memories?

More later as the memories float through.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in Liberty II with People & Food Photos

This part of today's post is from my Dr Synonymous Blog titled: 

"Holistic Health: Thanksgiving Health and Eating Plan"

Did you know the Surgeon General has declared (several years ago) that families should review their Family Medical History (FMH) on Thanksgiving weekend?  The Surgeon General's Family History Initiative is the ongoing program to inform and support families in their search for information about their medical history.  Here is a web site that included helpful information for families:  Family Medical History Initiative

I inform countless patients about this initiative by the Surgeon General, also suggesting the day after Thanksgiving for the family focus, to minimize distractions about disease and body parts on Thanksgiving Day, if possible.  "If someone spews incessantly about their intestinal problems while eating the turkey and dressing, it may help to remind them to save their comments for Friday at 1 PM when we'll all review the FMH",  I suggest to them.

Many lose track of healthful eating and disease prevention strategies on Thanksgiving Day.  To them I say, remember Five, Five and Five:  Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables and five colors of food daily. Remember five major prevention strategies:  Control your blood pressure, control your weight, control your cholesterol, exercise 30 minutes four days weekly, and reduce unnecessary stress.

Remember five and five and five and the Family Medical History Initiative of the Surgeon General to have a healthful Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving!

OK, notice the five fruits and vegetables and five colors of food in the photos below taken today.  The candied apples made by my Mom (Esther-included in the first and last photos) are a family recipe of her aunt Emma Cappel, using Jonathan apples soaked in melted red hots and cinnamon then filled with Philadelphia Cream cheese and nuts. The scale says I have a ways to go for my last five of my  5-5-5- plan.

Mom and her twentieth birthday present (me) on Thanksgiving Day 2011.  Best wishes to you for great family traditions, celebrations and memories.

Thanksgiving in Liberty

I'm flooded with thoughts of FOOD and PEOPLE on Back Street in Liberty when I reflect on Thanksgivings past.  My parents- Scud/Art and Esther- and their parents-Art and Mary, Bill and Fanny (our neighbors), Uncle Jerry and Aunt Joy Hoffman, cousins Jeff, Jenny and Joe; Ollie and Clarbel Web, Mike and I were the main group.  Becky Michael was also in many of the family photos (she became Rebecca, my wife, later).

I remember women working in the kitchen and men waiting in the living room or going hunting.  Dad and Jerry went hunting a few times for pheasant and rabbits.  Mike and I couldn't wait to get to hunt, too, after going along a couple times.  I remember when I hit the magic hunting age of 13 (family hunting age?), I got to hunt along with the other three, carrying a 410 gauge shotgun.  I blew a rabbit apart, missed a couple pheasants, and never hunted again. I guess the food and family togetherness had more appeal than cleaning game.

Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, bread, dressing (I wasn't much of a dressing fan as a kid), corn and gravy was the warm up food followed by another serving of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, then another nibble or two of turkey.  "How about some pie?" my Grandma J or C would ask.  A no-brainer- which pie? is the challenge.  "Well, OK, if you insist, I'll get one piece of pecan and one piece of pumpkin" (and cover them with whipped cream).  The candied apple slice with cinnamon and Philadelphia Cream Cheese added a nice touch (Mom called 2 days ago and said she was making that for me this TG- 11/24/2011- a nice surprise- can I wait until the proper time in the meal to eat one of those?  I don't know).

After watching Uncle Jerry strip the rest of the meat off the turkey to refrigerate until supper, we watched football- Detroit played every year, so the men seemed to get a bit of a nap (The Browns was our team- The Bengals weren't invented yet).  Napping was followed by- you guessed it- more pie to further clarify if it was really that good.  Yes, it was- maybe just a small piece to sit by the chair for the next nap.

Thankful for Family was always high on my list.  The photos of TG covering years of family gatherings are one of my treasures.  God (top of the thankful list) has blessed us.  Family and Liberty all in one place.

Thank you, God for these blessings, and the opportunity to serve others and spread the love.  Peace to all on this Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Down in My Heart to Stay

Years and years (okay-decades and decades) of Christian life finds me still questing for more wholeness through my relationship with God, His Word and His People.  Questing is endless, until someone is singing "The Old Rugged Cross" at one's funeral or similar final symbol of life's end.  (God's Grace is a subject for later writings) What is the goal?

I think the goal is Oneness with God's Love, a state of peace that we used to sing about as kids in Sunday School:  "I've got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.  I've got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart to stay."

Our early learning in Sunday School gave us Jesus who "Loves the little children, all the children of the world.  Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Several songs refer to our heart such as, "Lord I want to be like Jesus, inna my heart, inna my heart.  Lord I want to be like Jesus inna my heart."  You can reflect on the other "heart focused" songs you sang (and hopefully still sing).

"In my Heart There Rings a Melodie" was one of my Grandma Jonas' favorites and it was true of her as all knew who spent much time around her.  Set Our Hearts at Liberty is the title of this blog, named for a line from "Love Divine All Loves Excelling".

I don't remember any Sunday School songs about my brain. "I've got a brain for Jesus" or "I'm smart because of Jesus" were never written.

The heart is the action center.  "As a man thinketh, in his heart, so is he." notes the Bible.  So how do we get there?

Ephesians 6:10-18 be protected first.  Pray from your heart and through your heart.  You may invite the brain later, but it's dependent on the heart for oneness with God's love.  Pray until you notice what you used to sing, "I've got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart.  Down in my heart.  Down in my heart.  I've got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart.  Down in my heart to stay."


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Harvest Home Festival- November 5, 2011

I'm looking forward to another great Liberty Who's Who at the Harvest Home Festival today at Liberty Church, 4-7 PM November 5, 2011.  The Thanksgiving menu starts the "eating" season and warms me up for thinking Thanksgiving.  Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy sound like a good beginning.  Pecan or pumpkin pie could be a nice addition, especially with a scoop of Jimmy Nye's ice cream on top.
The people are actually better than the food.  I hope to see many from the "old" neighborhood, including Donna, Peggy, Sylvia, Brenda, Sandy, Mike, Paula, a few Schenck's, some Strader's, 3 "Weavers, 4-5 Nye's, and lots of Jefferson alumni. Will you be there?

What is your favorite part of the Harvest Home Festival?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fresh Coffee

I just smelled the fresh ground coffee in the bag as I poured it into my modern drip coffee maker.  Suddenly, my smell file flashed me back to Markum's Market in New Lebanon where I, as a child of 4 or 5, "first smelled the coffee".  I was there with my Grandma (Mary) Jonas getting groceries.  She had taken a bag of coffee beans and poured them into the coffee grinder.  The smell was new, fresh and different.  I subsequently enjoyed trips to Markum's more enthusiastically just to smell the fresh ground coffee.

I don't think my parents were coffee drinkers til my Dad's later years.  After his retirement from the Monarch (Marking System, Inc.), he would go to Walt Wilson's where he and some other retired men would drink Rosie's fresh coffee and tell stories.  I went there once and found the whole experience delightful.  Rosie was very attentive to the coffee needs and Walt was the Liberty neighbor who cared and showed it.  Friendship and caring was dripping like the coffee, fresh and rich.  Small town life--hard to beat.

What are your "coffee" memories?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sirens, Bells, Fires and Foxes

I have fond memories of  Mrs. Cannon's sugar cookies, likewise the reassuring sound of Evy Wintermute announcing on the fire radio," This is KQE686, it's six o'clock."  Then the siren sounded from the fire station, audible everywhere in Liberty and well beyond the town limits. The church bell ringing on Sunday morning.  The rhythm of life in Liberty was reaffirmed by the siren and the bell.

When the siren continued beyond one cycle, life's rhythm was temporarily disrupted since the volunteers were being called to attend to a fire.  My dad and many others would hurry to the car and drive to the firehouse for further instructions.  It could be a field on fire, a barn on fire, or rarely a house burning.  I've written before of the worst case scenario when the United Fireworks, about two miles from the center of town, would have an explosion and then a pyrotechnic fire.  We could stand in Grandma Clayton's back yard and watch the fireworks, and so could the waiting, worried wives of the fire fighters. (Yes, folks, at that time no women were fire fighters).

The fire department Christmas party was a special benefit of having a fire fighter volunteer father.  Each child at the party got a box of hard candy or chocolates.

Another memory of the fire department was its serving as the base of operations for fox hunts.  I guess there were pesky foxes around Liberty which needed to be eliminated or thinned out, so the men of Liberty got together for a fox hunt.  The fox hunts somehow disappeared before I was old enough to hunt, so I don't have any stories of the hunt.

Who remembers the fox hunts, fire sirens, church bell or the volunteer fire fighters?

Monday, September 26, 2011


In 1957, Liberty expanded to the heavens when the first orbiting  satellite- Sputnik- launched by the Russians- became visible in its orbit around the earth.  I remember sitting on the garage apron across the street at Grandma & Grandpa Clayton's while Grandpa Jonas pointed out which faint, moving object in the starry night sky was Sputnik.  Wow!
In a simpler world from the view of an 11 year old, the single satellite was easy to know and watch.  Now, it's much more complex to understand the heavenly bodies (satellites), but "there's an app for that".
Sputnik background information.

How Many Satellites In Space?

NASA home site: Space

Enjoy a flashback and a flash ahead, from Sputnik to Space Junk.  Liberty can't hide from the heavens.  It's a small world, folks.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Grade: Reading about Dick and Jane, Spot and Sally

When I think of first grade at Jefferson Township School, Mrs. Bernheisel comes to mind immediately.  MY first grade teacher.  Are they all as special as her?  Are they all saints in the eyes and minds of the former students?  Or just Mrs. Bernheisel?

Younger readers might wonder about kindergarten.  What kindergarten?  We didn't have kindergarten at Jefferson in the "old days".  (Thankfully).

Reading is a big memory from the first grade.  All Falling Down is the first book I ever read- about leaves which all fall down.  The bookmobile was an exciting experience for young readers to have a small selection from a mobile library that moved around with a regular schedule.  Reading aloud in class was a large part of the experience of learning to read.

Everyone used the classic readers featuring Dick and Jane with their younger sister Sally and their dog Spot.  Growing up with Dick and Jane by Kismaric and Heiferman is a delightful summary of the schoolbooks that showed a child's world.  The book "takes us back to the seductive watercolor world wher we learned how to read.  It's a world where night never comes, knees never scrape, parents never yell and the fun never stops."  Forty years of this family, starting in 1927, shaped the minds and lives of millions of children.

"Dick is an all-American boy.  Master of a little world that stretches from his screen door, across the green lawn, to a white picket fence.  It's a world where winter never comes, and the neighbors are nowhere to be seen.... (he) gets top billing in America's best-selling Dick and Jane readers because he is the best a boy can be.  A role model for generations of boys... It's Dick, not Father who keeps order and resolves problems..." He's never afraid and works and plays well with his sisters and friends and respects his parents.

"Jane is ... pretty, bright ..stable ... smart and down-to-earth.  Every time she walks onto the page, she's wearing something new."  In fact, she wore over two hundred outfits in her forty year career, according to Kismaric and Heiferman.  Dick never teased her and she never cried.

Spot was featured more than Mother and Father combined, because "Spot wears two hats...make everyone laugh"..and.. he "teaches Dick and Jane how to be responsible children."  He started as a black-and-white terrier and became a springer spaniel in 1936.  Puff the kitten and Tim the teddy bear rounded out the family.

Father went to work and Mother stayed home.  They were perfect safe and content.  OH, to live in the first grade reader and be six years old again might be fun -for a few minutes.

I have a bigger memory for Ted and Sally than Dick and Jane.  I remember "Run, Spot, Run!"  Were they the kids in the second grade reader?  Or did we have the Ted and Sally series in 1953-54 instead of Dick and Jane?  Who has the clear memory on this?  What do you remember about first grade?

Pat Jonas

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A West Point Glee Club Reunion and Park Restaurant in Highland Falls, NY

At the end of July, I was blessed to get to participate in the West Point Glee Club Alumni Concert at West Point.  Alumni from 1956 to 2002 practiced for 2 1/2 days before all 106 of us sang at Trophy Point with the USMA Band.  Most of the concert was placed on YouTube, but without sound mixing that will make the CD sound lots better and balanced.  Click below if you wish to see the glee Club Alumni and USMA Band, noting me in the top row 9 persons from the left as you face the group.  For the encore, I stood to the left of the group to look better for the camera or because my knee was killing me and I needed a 30 second chair break before the last two songs.

When I go back to West point, I love to go into the Park Restaurant in Highland Falls , just outside the south gate to the Academy.  The New York accents and atmosphere is delightful.  Photos of activities and people at West Point cover the walls and a long shelf is populated with ceramic Elvis memorabilia.  You can gamble on some sort of daily numbers and watch the TV screen in the top corner of the section where I ate supper and breakfast to see if you won and how much.

The Yuengling Lager (from PA) was a pleasant surprise on Saturday night while Tierney, my server kept the water glass filled, comfortably recommended dishes she liked and allowed the eating, writing and reminiscing to happen at my own pace.  The cheeseburger soup was surprisingly tasty and the veggie wrap with the special sauce was as good as Tierney believed.  The orange sherbet and the coffee topped off my taste buds with the right message for the evening.

During supper, the Yankees were on the TV's in the bar (beating Baltimore soundly), and periodically, patrons would cheer when a Yankee got a hit or made a good play in the field.  New York has a special flavor. 

Andrea seemed to be the senior boss in the restaurant eating section.  She was my server for breakfast on Sunday when I had the omelette, hash browns, coffee and rye toast to get ready for the final rehearsals and concert Sunday evening.

Check out the YouTubes to see the group and the band.  The sound is OK, but the CD's will balance everything and tune it up.  New York is great to visit and renew memories.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ice Cream Social at Liberty Church

Last night, we went to the ice cream social at Liberty Church.  The parking lot was full when we arrived just before 6 PM.  The tables were pretty full with people and food, even up on the stage, where I saw Pastor Swigart.  It was a great turnout of old (there were a few walkers and canes) and new (there were a few baby carriers and toddlers) Liberty Church ice cream social fans.

Right away, I spotted Jim Ney the "Ice Cream Master" and Wanda, "Mrs. Ice Cream Master" at the ice cream station then read the list of flavors: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, raspberry, peach, pineapple.  Continuing along the south wall of the dining area/rec room/reception room, etc., I noticed Peggy Alread and sister Donna, who make a habit of working at the ice cream socials.  Donna was cutting pies and cakes and suggested the Texas sheet cake made by her sister.  We opted to go for the main courses first, getting a serving of potato salad, chicken noodle soup, 2 baked beans, barbecue sandwich (for Rebecca) and turkey sandwich (for me) for a grand total of $7.50.  Jean Ney collected the money and we looked for 3 seats somewhere, finding the last 3 just next to the ice cream station.

Looking around, I saw Joy and Glen Weaver, then Ginger Weaver and Aunt Crock.  Ruth Strader was walking by. Mark and Mary Jo Spitler were cleaning tables as people finished, making room for the next wave of eaters.  Rick Gaver (Peggy's son) was another eater/ helper with clearing away trays and dishes, too. I assume he had a piece of the Texas sheet cake, but didn't see him eat.

My brother Mike, his wife Paddy and granddaughter Katie were just ahead of us in line.  As the food disappeared, the ice cream beckoned, but the dessert table beckoned louder.  I went for a piece of blackberry pie, fighting the guilt about not getting Peggy's Texas sheet cake.  Then to the ice cream corner where Randy Ney was the scoop master.  I went for the raspberry, which should merge well with the pie. It was perfect.

Sandy Lodge waved, David Schenck and Margaret spoke with us a bit, and Lowell Schenck was as energized as ever.  Paula Whitaker came over to give regards from cousin Bobby who now lives in Chattanooga, TN. She was connecting emails from Bob and Sylvia Lodge Jacobs.  Next year is their 50th Jefferson High School Reunion, along with my brother, Mike. 

Patty Newsock (I'm using everyone's almost oldest last names, as I relate over several decades) and Dean Foust engaged me in conversation, about the "old" Liberty and the good old times initially.  I knew Walt Newsock from hanging out around the corner station.  When I was 10-12 years old, I remember him pumping gas and being a good talker.  He had an amusing response to many different situations by saying, "Oh, my coddu" that probably had many layers of meanings.

Patty was in the Jefferson class of  '51 who just had a reunion.  She reflected on the town pump, Adam Becker and his impact on the stability of the school system, the current state of the old school building, Louie Speidel and his daughters, the Liberty store and Mrs. Lucas, Ollie Webb and his sense of humor, my dad-Scud Jonas, and life in Liberty when it had a barber shop and telephone exchange.  Each era has its own memories as Liberty changed over time.  What are yours?

Dean had strong opinions about pills, doctors, America and China as we had a good conversion and even shared several differences of opinion about those issues.  I love discussions about core beliefs and the challenges in America and the world.  It's great that people talk with each other and share their perspectives.  That was a fun part of life in Liberty, too.  A lot of different opinions were comfortably, sometimes intensely, expressed about lots of issues.  People learned from each other as citizens of a small town and large nation.

More than a hundred other folks were there and may get mention after the Harvest Home social in November if I'm able to attend.  One way of telling that you're still alive is to attend the socials at Liberty Church.  Everyone sort of takes note of the oldest people who are there and wonders about the elders who aren't.

Emmert and Kathryn (Baker) Michael (my in-laws) came in at the end of the line with son Gary, daughter in-law Renee and grandchildren Makayla and Wesley.  Needing some time to chat with them forced me to check out the desserts again, suddenly noticing a piece of lemon cake (sorry, Peggy, I'll get the Texas sheet cake next time) that seemed to be calling my name, I headed for the ice cream corner for a dip of lemon ice cream to complement it.  It was perfect.

What do you remember most about Liberty church ice cream socials?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sunday Comics: "The Funnies"

Sorry I've been off line for SOHAL. The Jefferson Alumni Banquet is closely followed by my family reunion(s) and Independence Day, so I get distracted.  My Independence Day post (Independence Day) goes to my Dr Synonymous blog, but I sent it to many of you. 

I have many thoughts about the "funnies" as we used to call the Sunday comics with the Dayton Daily News on Sunday (duh).  There were other comics daily in the morning Dayton Journal Herald, many of which I enjoyed.  Sunday was just special, though.  Now, I'm referring to childhood "funnies", not brilliant adult comics that express profound insights about the state of the world or its leaders (although Pogo may have served as both).
If you would like some formal background, here's the latest wikipedia comments on Sunday comics. 
Sunday Comics

Throughout my childhood,  the Sunday paper was located across the street at my Grandpa and Grandma Clayton's home.  I would go over after church and Sunday Dinner, find the "funnies" and take them to Grandpa to read them to me (I was 3 or 4  years old).  His favorite was Pogo which had several special characters who he delighted in. He enjoyed the political humor which jumped out at adults from Pogo, too, but I don't think I ever noticed that part.  The specifics of Beetle Bailey, Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, etc. are enjoyable and spell-binding at times, but the family connections are my favorite part.  The tradition continues in our family where grandparents still enjoy sharing the "funnies" with little ones.

"For most of the 20th century, the Sunday funnies were a family tradition, enjoyed each weekend by adults and kids alike. They were read by millions and produced famous fictional characters in such strips as Flash Gordon, Little Orphan Annie, Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy and Terry and the Pirates. Leading the lists of classic humor strips are Bringing Up Father, Gasoline Alley, Li'l Abner, Pogo, Peanuts and Smokey Stover. There were educational strips, such as King Features' Heroes of American History. In addition to the comic strips, Sunday comics sections also carried advertisements in a comics format, puzzles and single-panel features."...from Wikipedia

What are your favorite memories about the Sunday comics ("funnies" or whatever you called them)?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bronco Pride: Jefferson Township High School Alumni

The Jefferson Township Alumni Banquet is often fondly shortened to just "The Alumni" by older graduates (like my dad, from the class of 1941).  This is his 70th class reunion, but "Squz" or "Scud" as he was known, will only attend in spirit, as he has since his final appearance at "The Alumni" in 2001.  He was pleased to join his class for their 60th and always proud of his Jefferson Township High School origins.  He served as class president his senior year, with Thomas Recher as VP, and Secretary-treasurer Ruth Baker.  Mr. Becker was their class advisor.  Jefferson Pride also abounds for the solid beginnings enjoyed by the alumni who will assemble June 24 at the Miami Valley CTC for the annual celebration.

Few know that Dad's class was the first to enter the first grade in the new school in 1929.   Mrs. Mabel Eberly was their teacher.  They proudly mentioned their status in their class poem (the first two stanzas of which are reproduced below) at graduation time in 1941:

                                  Farewell, dear friends and teachers, all,
                                  Our schooling now is done;
                                  We were the first, so you recall,
                                  To start at Jefferson.
                                  We hate to leave you, Jefferson,
                                  The school of our ideal;
                                  And as we file out one by one,
                                  Our losses we shall feel.

The class of 1961 will be featured as the celebrated 50 year class.  Their stories will be deftly summarized by a class leader as attendees reflect on the uniqueness of the individuals and the traditions of the early 60's.  Tom Kerschner was class president with Sam Powers as VP, Bob Hayward was treasurer and Carrol Foote served as secretary.  Janice Behnken was a leader and athlete whom I remember most as the Head Drum Majorette.  Jerry Schell was an all around person as athlete, leader, singer, scientist and May Day Attendant. Richard Anspach and Dave Barker were leaders in several organizations and scholarly.  Butch Erbaugh was another leader-athlete who quarterbacked the football team. Charles Gau was "Manager of all sports".

Sue Babington and Barbara Carlton both took 7 lines in the yearbook to list their activities, and Liberty native Nancy Adams was a five liner who was super active in everything. Myrna Derringer diversified into sports and science while Janet Bunting was another smart person who did FTA, band, and chorus. Many others such as Nancy Seltzer, Eileen Mooney (Bullet Bob's sister) and Sandra Shank, Judy Heindl, Shirley Marable, Barbara Boling, and the all around scholar-athlete Martha cordell were in activities such as Tri-Hi Y, FTA, GAA, Band, Chorus, class plays, volleyball and the operetta.  Ralph Golden was a band guy who played the sax.  Rex Hunn, Sam Powers and Roger Ogletree were also 3 sport athletes.   Many other athletes come to mind from football, basketball, track and baseball, such as Albert Tucker who could dunk in basketball and went on to play pro basketball in Seattle, Reggie McDaniel, Tom Kerschner, "Big" Jim Coffee who could also dunk in basketball, "Skippy" (Harold) Schenck, David Moyer, Terry Bailey, Pat Shelby, Rex Mitchell, Tom Reich who also worked on the annual staff and others.

Doug Kreitzer and Gail Long were in Hi-Y.  Gail was a very active explorer scout and farmer on the side.  Bud Spitler also was in Hi-Y as well as Chorus, baseball, basketball, class play and class leadership. Kay Stauffer, June Middleton, Judy Bergen and Joy Huber were in Tri-Hi-Y, Chorus and/or Band, FTA or FHA and JCOWA or librarian.  Do you know who did what?  Do they even remember themselves?

Sue Rawlins, Ed Shaw, Dee Slyder, Chuck Reid, Patti Reid, Rodney Stewart, Winsford Sparkman, Margaret Stamper, Janet Stricklin, Marlene Thompson, St. Clair Tims, Phillip Tolliver, Gladys Walton, Carlotta Zaborowski, Donna Wolfe, Jack Witherby, Joyce Wiles, Beverly Quigg, deanna Powell, Michael Petrey, Mary Parker, Nonie Moore, Shirley McKisic, Lee Mccauley, Joe Mann, Michael Mandich, Jacqueline Magwood, Earl Lightcap, Oliver Hudson, Karen Hepner, Lonnie Johnson, Doug Justice, Edward Adams, James Aubrey, Denvie Banks, Roger Barriteau, Barbara Brackett, Roger Brooks, Gwen Carter, Connie Cavin, Shirley Clark, Richard Clayton, Irene Clemons, Portia Dorsey, Tom Eby, Rachel Foust, Sandra Foust, Roy Frock, Eileen Gebby, Pat Grant, Melanie Hall, Hazel Hamilton, William Hauser are members of the class to look for at the banquet to relive old memories and guess what they did in high school if you really want to know.  Wow- big class!

Later in the class of 1961 alphabet come Nancy Weidel, Karl Wardlaw and Susi Wintermute, three solid citizens of Liberty. Nancy was a majorette, May Day Attendant and a member of pep club, FTA and Tri-Hi-Y.  Susi was a cheerleader and played 3 sports as a sophomore. Karl served as AV technician  and class play technician.  Oops, more Liberty people include Larry Stivers and Clara Lightcap, both of whom rode my bus.  Please consult your 1961 and 1962 Jeffersonians to read about more people and learn more about the class of '61 at "The Alumni".

As a youngster from the class of 1964, I enjoy the incredible "Naming of the Graduates" by MC Joy Weaver, who starts by calling out the class year of the oldest attending graduate, followed by naming that person and almost every other graduate who stands just after their class year is announced.  She is a Jefferson "genealogist" with her knowledge of the individuals and families constituting the lineage of our alma mater.  Her performance alone is worth attending the event.

Many of my childhood heroes are Jefferson alums, including Donny Myers, who drilled in a jump shot at the buzzer to win a tough basketball game played at the fairgrounds colliseum, and Maxon Weaver who had an impressive hook shot as center in basketball.  Max  and cousin Stuart Allen also each played one of the male lead parts in H.M.S. Pinafore with Barbara Jean Drake nailing the role of Little Buttercup.  "I am the captain of the sea, the ruler of the queen's navy..." rings in my ears whenever I reflect on that musical and how mesmerized I was by the high school performers.

Stories of Jefferson alumni could go on forever, and they will.  Join them in person the fourth Friday of each June.  Call Jean Ney for reservations each year.  Thank you to the memory of Adam Becker for his leadership over many years to help so many to learn so much.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Memories of Father's Day and Fathers in Liberty

It's Father's Day again.  I remember the Cincinnati Reds played at Crosley Field on many Father's Days when I was young, affording the opportunity for Mike and I to go to the game a few extra-special times with our dad and both grandfathers.  Right after church, we changed and loaded into a car already packed with soft drinks and sandwiches to allow us a lunch en-route to Cincinnati.  We usually had everything eaten/consumed before we got through Miamisburg.  There was no interstate in those days, so we went "the back way" through Middletown.

Frank Robinson (hit 38 homers as a rookie in 1956), Vada Pinson, Ted Kluszewski, Wally Post, Gus Bell, Ed Bailey, Smokey Burgess, Johnny Temple, Roy McMillan, Alex Grammas, Ray Jablonski, Jerry Lynch, Don Gross, Joe Nuxhall, Hersh Freeman, Hal Jeffcoat, Brooks Lawrence,  and others played just for us, it seemed, on Father's Day.

We managed to get hungry before the end of the baseball game to get hot dogs with the incredible stadium mustard that seemed unique to Crosley Field.  The souvenirs were always special, including the little bats signed by a ball player and the photos of the whole team.  We took our ball gloves but never came close to catching a foul ball.  We kept score in the program, with instruction from dad and the grandpas.  We had to race out for the hotdogs during the 7th inning stretch so we wouldn't miss out in the score keeping.  I wanted to put my own mustard on since I loved it so much.

Grandpa Jonas always had a beer at the park, and always showed loyalty by only buying a brand that paid to broadcast the games (Wiedemann's sponsored the radio games broadcast by Waite Hoyt, the former Yankee's pitcher in the 20's, with Burger and Hudepohl being the other main beers supporting the Reds).  All of us marveled at the mustard, the Reds and the fans.  Special memories of special people on Father's Day, my dad and grandfathers, together.

All of us have or had a father.  Liberty had lots of them.  Pete Alread was the father of Peggy and Donna.  They all lived on back Street with Gladys, daughter of Ernie Speidel who lived "uptown" next to the Pure station.  Pete was a special guy who had interesting hobbies and pastimes.  He had a metal detector at one time that found a lot of useful and useless items.  It was fun to look at the various items Pete found here and there, and heartening to hear his enthusiasm for the "Quest" for special treasures.

I also liked to hear Pete tell of his trips to Indiana to Lake Webster and to the Connersville Smorgasboard.  He and Gladys would often stop in to chat in the summer with those of us sitting on the porch of Grandma (Fanny) and Grandpa (Bill) Clayton. They came via the alley between our house and the Riches after passing the Lodge's and crossing the Liberty creek on the way back from the Speidel's.  They shared the "uptown" word with the Back Street folks, among other shared stories.  Neighbor to neighbor, sharing was reassuring.  Fathers were present and visible in the community.  We learned from them and by their examples.

Please remember in addition to those mentioned above, on this Father's Day these Liberty Dads:  Lowell Lodge, Bob Weidel, George Wintermute, Charles Whitaker, Jim Whitaker, Ed Whitaker, Bill Knoll, Thurman Rich, Bob Friend, Roy Strader, Everett Ashworth, Louie Adams, George Speelman, Jerry Hoffman, Henry Bussey, Earl Rieger, Roy Michael, Vernie Michael, Bob Holtzman, George Heeter, and Bob Stivers are a few names that come to mind when I think of Liberty fathers in my years of childhood.  There are many others whose first names I never knew including Mr.'s Longhenry, Thompson, Landrum, Hill, Peek, Toms, Mays, Wyant, Adkins, Eller, .  Apologies to those I forgot or never knew.  Feel free to comment about these and other fathers in the comment section below.

Have a meaningful Father's Day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bazooka and Dubble Bubble Gum in Liberty

Chewing gum and bubble gum were always favorite purchases "uptown" at the grocery or filling station in Liberty.  Speaking of gum, who can forget Bazooka and Dubble Bubble Gum?  Remember Bazooka Joe and the little comics included with Bazooka Bubble Gum?  Do you remember the comics with Dubble Bubble?  They featured Dub and Bub, replaced by Pud in 1950 (I don't remember them).  I chewed Bazooka.  It was a rectangular package.  The Dubble Bubble had the wrapped ends and was round like a Tootsie Roll.

The two bubble gums are competitors, so thinking back 50 or more years may yield some fog, but I remember both brands and the comics/coupons in Bazooka.  I collected them for some reason, but don't remember if I ever mailed in the coupons with or without money to get stuff.  (I do remember redeeming coupons for a decoder ring that kids could use with a TV show- that was slick- but I forgot the show).

Blowing bubbles was more fun with a good sized piece of gum like these two favorites.  The gumballs from gumball machines were a bit weak for bubbles.  We kids enjoyed brief bubble competitions to see who could blow the biggest bubble.  I don't remember any super champions in the neighborhood, but the competition was gender neutral with Sylvia, Bobby W, Mike, Donna and I doing our best for the biggest bubble.  Other Liberty eras probably had their own bubble traditions.  What were yours?

Topps and Fleer were the competitiors making the bubble gum and, later, the baseball cards that included their gum to entice us into becoming card collectors.  Ever buy a ten-15 year old box of  sports cards with gum and actually chew the gum?  It was like cardboard gum (since I did it -too cheap to throw away the gum initially).

Fleer invented bubble gum years after they were a leading chewing gum company.  Later, they were bought by Tootsie Roll Company.   Here is a history of Double Bubble Gum from Wikipedia:
"Dubble Bubble is a brand of bubble gum invented in 1928 by Philadelphia-based Fleer. Walter E. Diemer — an accountant at Fleer — enjoyed experimenting with recipes during his free time. In an interview a few years before his death, he said, "It was an accident". In 1937, the gum went on the market nationally. It featured a comic strip that came with the gum starting in 1930, featuring twin brothers Dub and Bub. They were replaced by a new character named Pud in 1950.

Dubble Bubble was distributed in military rations during World War II until 1942. Due to war efforts, latex and sugar became scarce, briefly putting a halt to bubble gum manufacturing in the U.S. By 1951, Fleer was again able to manufacture Dubble Bubble, and in 1954, the company began sponsoring bubble gum blowing contests, which grew in popularity and were eventually televised. In 2000, this spirit was resurrected when Concord Confections, which bought Dubble Bubble in 1998, began a nationwide bubble gum blowing contest for children aged 12 and younger in Wal-Mart stores across America. The contest ended after 2005.
Dubble Bubble was introduced as the first five-pack of gum in 1957, and began selling gumballs in 1999. Fleer eventually extended the line to apple, grape, cherry and watermelon flavors.

When Concord Confections bought the Dubble Bubble name from Fleer in 1998, they did not use Fleer's original 1928 Dubble Bubble recipe, and comic strips were discontinued; Pud remained mascot. In August 2004, Tootsie Roll expanded its presence in the bubble gum category by acquiring Concord Confections. Today, Dubble Bubble continues to grow, with Tootsie adding product extensions like Dubble Bubble Mini Tubs and Halloween Combo packaged gumballs and expanding distribution globally. The gum is sold in 50 countries.
The bubble gum creation process was shown on an episode of How It's Made."

From Wikipedia about Bazooka Bubble Gum:  "It was first marketed shortly after World War II in the U.S. by the Topps Company of Brooklyn, New York. The gum was packaged in a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme. Beginning in 1953, Topps changed the packaging to include small comic strips with the gum, featuring the character "Bazooka Joe". There are 50 different "Bazooka Joe" comic-strip wrappers to collect. Also on the comic strip is a fortune and an offer for a premium and a fortune.[1] The product has been virtually unchanged in over 50 years."

The comics with the bubble gum have an interesting history that is reviewed here:
for Bazooka Joe
for Dubble Bubble

Which one did you chew?  How big were your bubbles?  Do you still chew it?  And blow bubbles?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bikes, Pea Shooters and Gumball Machines

Once the school years started, summer became a special time in Liberty.  We could ride our bikes every day.  Around town, up and down Back Street- as far west as Freda and Ronnie Hill's house (Doc Hall's office) or east to Lloyd and Alvena Michael's farm, depending on how tight a rein Mom thought we needed.  The town grocery and the Pure oil station, both at the four way stop that defines the center of town, were favorite stops when I was 7-10 years old (and later).

I remember one summer we had a pea shooter fad that started at the grocery with purchase of straws or a soft drink that came with a straw and a bag of tapioca.  The tapioca was the best thing to shoot from a straw, but the traditional ammunition was the pea, hence the title of pea shooter.  Now I note at craft fairs the making of awesome marshmallow shooters from plastic pipes, but plastics weren't part of life in the "old days".  Mike and Bobby Whitaker and I would shoot each other with the pea shooters.  We also shot at tin cans, milk bottles, balloons, paper targets, etc. I think other kids were involved but can't remember exactly who.  My wife, Rebecca (Michael) used to shoot beans through a straw at her siblings on the farm on Liberty Ellerton Road.  They still sell plastic versions of the pea shooter with plastic pellets now if you need a cute gift for your grandchildren.  If you ever shot a pea shooter, feel free to comment with stories at the bottom of this post in the comment section.

Parents weren't prone to enjoy the fun of blowing tapioca across a room at each other or us, so they were excluded from the fun.  They did warn us to "be careful" to not shoot someone in the eye, because "so and so got shot in the eye with a BB gun and is blind in that eye".  Each community seemed to have a mandate for inclusion of someone who had been shot in the eye with something so parents had a real example for warning their children.  Doug Cannon had a BB gun, but we never got one due to the parental "shoot someone in the eye fear".

Another fad that interested me was collecting tiny light bulb shaped gumball prizes that glowed in the dark after being exposed to light.  The penny gumball machine had the small gumballs and these glowy items at the corner grocery.  After using my few available pennies, I resorted to jimmying pennies out of my piggy bank (literally a glass pig about 7 inches by 10 inches) with a knife to get more light bulb prizes.  I had to chew a lot of gumballs to get each prize.  This obsessive focus resulted in minor damage to the hole in my piggy bank, which probably gives it diminished worth if anyone ever sells it on E-Bay.  Gumball machines have the same effect on children now as then, but no prize could be as cool as those little light bulbs.  The history of gum and gumball machines is very interesting.
History of gumball machines
History of chewing gum and bubble gum

Pat Jonas


Monday, May 30, 2011

Decoration/ Memorial Day in Liberty & Cemeteries in Montgomery County

Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day.  On that day, those fallen in service to the nation were honored with flowers on their graves.  The holiday eventually was called Memorial Day, eventually becoming one of the federally recognized Monday holidays that created our now beloved three day weekends.  In the "old days", my mom, Grandma Jonas and some of the female relatives would put together flower baskets in weather proof containers to trek out to the cemeteries.  There they sought out the graves of everyone in the family, Ankney's, Jonas', Clayton's, Cappel's and a few others like the Shiverdecker's and the Hole's.  The genealogy people at the Ohio genealogical Society are mapping all the cemeteries and cataloging names of the deceased.
 Cemeteries in Montgomery County, Ohio

I rode along once or twice, but I was bored and didn't understand the concept of honoring the dead in my early years.  I did get the message about the importance of Family, though.  And I got familiar with the location of several graveyards.  Now, many of the persons mentioned in my blog posts are buried in those cemeteries.  I think of Mrs. Cannon's sugar cookies (and Doug and sledding down the big hill on the Cannon farm on Snyder Rd.) whenever I go north on Diamond Mill Road north of Mile Road and see the cemetery on the West side of the road next to the farm with the spring where she is buried.  Rex Cannon is also buried there as is Don Lenk (Aunt Crock's husband, in 2010), related to all the Lenks in Liberty Church (Mary Jo Spitler , a former Lenk, still is a member).

The Liberty Church graveyard hasn't been used for decades, having become a problem when ancient headstones began to crumble and the parking lot expanded.  So no one gets buried in Liberty.  Many are buried just north of Route 35 on the east side of Union Road while a few, including Charlie Baker ("Bake", as wife Catherine and everyone else referred to him, and, I assume, Catherine herself) are buried just west of the intersection of Union and Rt. 35 on the north side of  Rt 35 in a mausoleum.

My Grandpa Jonas (Arthur Harry who died in 1966) is buried in Dayton Memorial Park north of Dayton off North Dixie Drive next to Grandma.  Aunt Crock will eventually go there next to her first husband, Rev. Jess Goodheart.  Grandpa Jonas was unusual in that he said he never wanted to know where his father, August, was buried since his upbringing was a very harsh, disciplined, stressful experience.  His brother Oscar referred to their dad as "the Kaiser", reflecting on the German origins of August and his brothers who came here on a ship in the 1880's.  August eventually got a job as a stonemason and lived with his wife and 8 or so children on Steele Avenue in East Dayton. He got pneumonia in 1908 and died within days, according to cousin Steve Christian who grew up in East Dayton, graduated from Stivers High School and Wright State, then went to MI for his accounting, teaching and coaching career.

Cousin Steve, grandson of Great Uncle Oscar Jonas, was in Dayton a few weeks ago to lay his mother Vera Jonas Christian's ashes to rest in the Woodland Cemetery Mausoleum with his father Will.  After the service, Steve asked Mike and I if we wanted to see where August Jonas, our great grandfather, was buried.  "Yes," we answered and in 4 minutes 103 years of estrangement of the Arthur Harry Jonas clan from August Jonas was ended. Trans-generational forgiveness is refreshing.  Here's Mike and I with August Jonas grave.

Memorial Day has a lot more meaning for me now as an adult with awareness of life and death and issues of Freedom and Peace.  What price Freedom?  My dad's cousin Gordon Ankney, a pilot in WWII was killed in service of our country.  The emptiness still hit his siblings and cousins hard whenever he was mentioned at the Ankney Family Reunions.  The sense of loss never ends, but the meaning of the loss evolves.

As a Vietnam Veteran, I reflect on the meaning of the losses in Vietnam, including 20 of my West Point 1968 classmates in my post today on Dr. Synonymous (The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall - Silence Beyond Words).  Freedom isn't free.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victrola's, RCA Victor, Records and Johnny Appleseed

The earliest music I remember was the church pianos playing children's Christian songs and the church organ playing hymns.  We had a radio at home, but I don't remember listening to music on it in the early years of childhood.  I have fond memories, though, of records.  Grandma Mary Jonas had a Victor Victrola (or, if made after 1929,  RCA Victor Victrola) that you cranked, delivering turntable revolutions for the effort.  A certain amount of cranking allowed the machine to play a 78 RPM record.  Grandma had a huge collection of records that we rarely listened to at her home next door. Children didn't mess with the Victrola (click on this link for more detailed information about Victor Records, Machines and RCA)
 Victor Talking Machine Company

When I was 5 or 6, we got an electric record player which played 78's and allowed stacking of waiting records fora multiple play feature.  I played records over and over if I liked them.  There were lots of 1940's songs and many WWII songs that I loved.  "This is the Army Mr. Jones" sticks out as one I heard repeatedly.  "This is the Army, Mr. Jones, No private rooms or telephones.  You had your breakfast in be before, but you won't have it there anymore.  This is the Army Mr. Green.  We like the barracks nice and clean.  You had a housemaid to clean your floor, but she won't help you out any more.  Do what the buglers command.  They're in the Army and not in a band.  This is the Army Mr. Brown.  You and your baby went to town.  She had you worried, but this is war, and she won't worry you any more." This is the Army, Mr Jones

When we started to get our own records, I played the Johnny Appleseed album from Disney with Dennis Day over and over. "Get on the wagon rolling west, out to the great unknown.  Get on the wagon rolling west, or you'll be left alone.  We made a home before. We're starting out again.  We ain't afeered of man or beast or stout hearted friend, so Get on the wagons rolling west out to the great unknown.  Get on the wagons rolling west, or you'll be left alone."  And he was left alone in the Disney story, so he had to make do with what he had. Shoeless with a pot for a hat and appleseeds to offer. And he did what he knew, becoming famous, but still wearing rags.  So he sang, "The Lord's been good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need:  the sun and rain and the appleseed.  The Lord's been good to me." And that's a lesson for kids.  The Lord's Been Good to Me

Later, I learned more about John Chapman, a fascinating nurseryman and religious man. 

From Wikipedia:  Johnny Appleseed (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), born John Chapman, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.
He was also a missionary for The New Church, or Swedenborgian Church, so named because it teaches the theological doctrines contained in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Life in Liberty was musical in many ways.  Was it for you?  What are your musical memories?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and The Mothers of Liberty: We Love You!

Happy Mothers Day!

Esther, Fanny, Mary, Ruth, Gladys, Evy, Pauline, Mickey, Joy, Norma, Bessie, Alvina, Pearl, Henrietta, Dee, Clara, Clara, Catherine, Corrie, Ruth, Ruth, Hilda, Hester, Margaret, Aunty, Lois, Jean, Evelyn and on and on.  These were some of the first names I remember of the "Mothers of Liberty" when I was a child.  Please add more and stories as you see fit in the comments section at the end of this entry.

It seemed to me that the Mothers of Liberty shared a lot with each other about home life and raising children.  They also learned formally together through Iris McCumber, the Home Extension Agent who shared the latest homemaking insights with these women.  On Back Street, the women also shared the knowledge about using weeping willow tree branches for switches to keep the neighborhood children in line.  "Go get me a switch from the weeping willow tree, and it better not be too small," I remember my mother saying when I stepped over the line with my behavior.

They could bake, sew and command as needed.  They could wait, pray and spew a bit of anger when their volunteer firefighter husbands went into United Fireworks to put out an explosive, dangerous fire.  They attended Women's Camp in Clarksville sometimes in the summer (My Grandma Mary Jonas loved to lead the women in singing at camp).

These women were present in our lives and in our community.  They taught us by example what mothers are and what they do.  They helped us to understand who we are.

On Mother's Day now many of these women are remembered through stories and photos and in graveyards.  I just had lunch with Mom (Esther), Mike and Paddy, Patrick and Spencer in Springboro at the China Cottage.  Mom wanted to make sure she got vegetables.  That's one not so subtle way to get a chance to be 85, eat your vegetables, Folks.  Thanks for the example, Mom.  Her mother, Fanny Clayton, was wheelchair bound as long as I knew her with severe rheumatoid arthritis but used her swollen hands to make all sorts of crafty items including Christmas ornaments from Meadowgold Dairy tin foil bottle caps and handmade greeting cards.  She crocheted doilies and painted knick knacks and a few pictures of her surroundings, including one still hanging on my mother's kitchen wall of Henry Bussey's cows and the IV tree, as we called it.  Grandma Clayton always ate vegetables, too.

I remember a song we sang in  Liberty EUB choir on Mother's Day, 1960.  I reflect on these words every Mother's Day, since Frances Wolf, our director asked me to sing  the first part as a solo, which I nervously did. The chorus swelled with love and honor as we thought about the meaning of Mother for each of us.  I couldn't find the name or rest of the words on the internet.  Who knows the name/ rest of the song?

Mother, Oh let me tell it once more
Tell it that all may know
Tell it, oft though I've told it before
All that to Mother I owe
Tell it gracefully.  Tell it tenderly.
Tell how I love you so.

Mother, What other name could there be
Mother, so full of meaning to me
Tend'rest, Dearest, Blessings Divine
Oh how I Love You,
Mother of mine.

God Bless the Mothers of Liberty and the meaning of their love and example for the Children of Liberty. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Childhood Easter in Liberty

Easter Hymns have always been an important aspect of Easter in Liberty.  My childhood favorite was, "Low in the Grave He Lay",  "Christ The Lord is Risen Today" was a close second and is my adult favorite Easter hymn.  These hymns resonnated well in the Liberty EUB Church on Easter Sunday.

The community often got an early start at the Easter Sunrise Service sponsored by the community churches in the township (Bearcreek Church of the Brethren) and villages of Ellerton and Liberty.  This service often was held at the Jefferson High School stadium, with 3 crosses propped on the field in front of the bleachers.  This was a great time to see school friends like Donnie Smith, Mike Maxwell and Dan Maxwell and their families, appreciating the community pastors gifts and enjoying the Easter breakfast together in the school cafeteria.

We went to early service followed by Sunday School where we sang more Easter hymns and, in later years, went to late service, too.  The choir, which I later joined, would sing at both services on Easter Sunday, affording four sessions of worship and singing.  This was uplifting and fulfilling.  It felt right. 

Jesus Lives! was the message for all.  The story of the Resurrection was powerful.  The empty tomb and Jesus appearing after "He arose the victor from the dark domain" were joyous testimony that "He lives forever with His saints to reign".  Children could understand that and Believe! We would sing together in the closing hymn, "Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!  Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!  Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!  Hail the Resurrection Thou, Alleluia!"  Amen.

The specialness of Easter was enhanced by the childhood delights of Easter Eggs and Easter Egg hunts.  The chocolate Easter bunnies added to the tastiness of the day.  Were the hollow ones better than the solid milk chocolate?  The yellow chickies were made of marshmallow like material, pretty but not as tasty as the chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs.  Candy pleased us, but we also got new clothes for Easter.  Nice tradition, well supported by having both sets of grandparents living next door and across the street.

The whole family got together at one of the grandparents homes after church.  Art and Mary, Bill and Fanny, Esther and Scud, Jerry and Joy, Mike and I gathered for an amazing feast and conversation.  Ollie and Clarbel Webb were often included as members of the family, too.  Grandpa Jonas made the most incredible mashed potatoes and Grandpa Clayton could make delicious swiss steak.  The ham and green beans were great, too.  But the pies were a special delicacy.

The Easter message for children in Liberty was magical for me.  It wasn't the candy, the egg hunt or even being with family, all of which I enjoyed.  Jesus died and rose from the dead for me.  And you, too.  We are forgiven.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Esther's Birthday. Stories of Jesus in Stained Glass and Music

Esther Jean Clayton Jonas celebrated her birthday one day after the event with her sons, daughters in law, several grandchildren and great grand children on Sunday April 3rd by worshiping together in Liberty. When she was born in St. Ann's Hospital in 1926, her future husband Art ("Scud") Jonas,  already lived in Liberty on Back Street.  Growing up in Dayton on Orchard St. just down the street from Roosevelt High School, she might not have dreamed of a life in the country, but Liberty called and she's still there.  As her 20th birthday present (one day later on April 3, 1946) I was happy to grow up in Liberty, and pleased to celebrate my 65th birthday on April 3rd with family in the Liberty Church.  It is a church with a great history and hopefully a unique future, as God wills.

In the sanctuary of the Liberty United Methodist Church, two beautiful stained glass windows enhance the meaning of each service on the sides of the worship area and one more looks over the congregation from the back.  On the right window labeled to honor the donor, "The Ladies Aid Society", Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gesthemane. In the garden, Jesus prayed alone, then was betrayed and arrested.  

Among other thoughts as I looked at that window last Sunday, I recall that one of my Grandma Mary Jonas' favorite songs was "In the Garden".  (Words and music here) It was in the United Brethren Church hymnal but not in the Methodist Hymnal until they merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB, which came after UB) by the way.  The chorus of the song proclaims, "And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known."

The second verse includes, "And the melody That He gave to me, Within my heart is ringing."  There was always a melody ringing in my Grandma's heart, in fact she really enjoyed singing, "In My Heart There Rings a Melody".  (words/music here)   It could be the title of her biography, should it ever be written.

The stained glass window on the left as one faces the alter is the image of Jesus knocking on a door, carrying a cane in His left hand while knocking with the back of His right hand.  I had forgotten the cane, but remember, "Behold I stand at the door and knock."  The door has no handle since we're supposed to open it from the inside for Him when He knocks at our hearts.  In the lowest part of the stained glass are the words, "By the Children of the Circuit".

The image in the rearmost stained glass window is Jesus holding a lamb in the crook of His right arm. The story is found in Matthew and Luke:
Matthew 18:12-14 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The story is beautifully depicted in the window and the hymn is in the United Brethren Hymnal (and not in the Methodist Hymnal, where the Wesley's rule).  (words/music "The Ninety and Nine" Here).  This song has some awesome recordings on YouTube if you want to hear other versions (e.g., Tennessee Ernie Ford).
Who knows the donor names on the bottom of this window?  

When you come to Liberty United Methodist Church, check out the beautiful and meaningful stained glass windows.  They will tell you  a story when you're ready to listen.  May God continue to bless this church, its people, it's windows and their message.  Peace.

Pat Jonas

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Red Wagons, Church Softball ("Eye for Eye") and Concession Stands

Children's Sunday School Songs:  The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock , The B-I-B-L-E

"That's cuter than a little red wagon" was a phrase I heard my Grandma (Mary) Jonas use a lot.  Little red wagons were common in the world of children and they did look cute.  Their history via the Radio Flyer Wagon manufacturer is here.

One of my childhood photos is four boys in a wooden wagon with the slats removed in front of Grandma Jonas house.  In back is Mike, then Bobby Whitaker, Bobby Ogle and me (about 18-24 months old) in the front.  It's not a red wagon, so maybe not so cute, but we guys were cute. (OK, I'll start scanning in some of these photos in a few weeks).

Church softball games were special treats as a boy.  Our church had a few families with lots of athletic men (the Schencks had 9 or so and the Whitakers had several, the Wolfs and Weavers had so many relatives they aren't countable- I go to the Wolf reunion now having married a Michael).  The dads would play and we kids could run around and get soft drinks such as Nehi Orange Soda or Cream Soda and Dreamsicles, Creamsicles, fudgesicles or popsicles.  There were also chewable or lickable items such as Double Bubble Gum, Tootsie Roll Pops and gummy things.  They played at Farmersville, I remember slow pitch softball there and fast pitch at New Lebanon, each one with a unique concession stand and play areas around and under the bleachers.  Once we got ball gloves with S & H Green Stamps, Mike and I could throw the ball around behind the bleachers.

It might have been church league softball but there were some intense disagreements at times caused by the Liberty players.  We apparently had some young men who had extra intensity and a low threshold to disagree with umpires or members of the other team.  I don't think trash talking was included, since that would have been un-Christian.  But "an eye for an eye" was more important than "turning the other cheek".  I don't know if we also pressed for "a tooth for a tooth", but older Liberty Church members and former members could tell the stories.  The important part was that all the players had to attend church to be able to play.  I wonder if any sermons focused on love and forgiveness in athletic endeavors.

My dad, "Scud" Jonas (see photo at left) was a unique player since he had no left hand.  He played right field and had a fast movement to catch a ball in the glove on his right hand, quickly trap the glove -which now includes the ball in its pocket- in the crook of his left arm, take the ball in right hand and throw it.  He batted left handed and was a "slap" hitter.  I don't remember him ever being in the fights mentioned above.  He also played for the Monarch Tags softball team through his work at the Monarch Marking System Company.

Many of you have similar memories about life in Liberty and  thereafter.  Feel free to comment.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dogs, Cowboys and Ice Cream

Childhood at Liberty Church- More Sunday School songs:  Let the Son Shine In
Rise Shine- Children of the Lord
Play:  Many of us had a dog to play with.  Bobby Ogle's dog was Chi Chi, a brown mutt.  Bobby Whitaker had a small collie named Skippy .  Ours was Blackie, sister of Grandma Clayton's dog, Dixie, part Fox Terrier and part mutt.  Later dad got us a Pure Bred Boxer which was named Peanuts.  She had "papers".  She drooled a lot and occasionally blessed our home with aromatically unpleasant flatus.  But she was a good dog for kids who needed to wrestle and play "fetch" with the dog.

Mike and I played special rules football in the house at night when Mom and Dad were at the neighbors for a card game or whatever.  I don't remember exactly how it worked, but I do remember a broken lamp that got us into trouble.  On occasion, Mike, being the older brother by 2 years, would hold me down until I said uncle or gave him a toy or let him play with my six guns or toy rifle. Outdoor football consisted of one kicking off and the other running back trying to score.  This was full tackle, no pads football.

Since cowboys were so important in those days, we both had a double holster for our six guns that shot caps if we had any.  We got the toy rifles one year for Christmas, complete with rifle holster suitable for tying on our bikes just like Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey and Hopalong Cassidy did on their horses.  I remember playing on a dirt pile where Aunt Joy (Jonas Hoffman) and Uncle Jerry (Hoffman) were building their house, through our yard and Grandpa/ma Jonas back yard, still on Back Street.  One day, Mike and Bobby Whitaker were there and we had our toy rifles ( I loved mine) but somehow got into an altercation with Bobby as we threw dirt clods at each other.  I was excessively angry about the results of the dirt clod throwing and losing "King of the dirt pile" repeatedly and suddenly broke the stock of my toy rifle over Bobby's head.  I then began crying because I broke my rifle (no remorse apparently at trying to harm a friend).  I never got another toy rifle (consequences).

Brenda Lodge (Stone) baby sat for Mike and I, maybe to protect the lamps from our football, but certainly for safety and control purposes.  She was surprised when we announced that it was time for ice cream and Mike and I both reached in the refrigerator to get our personal pint of ice cream.   Yes, we were given too much ice cream, but it was great from the kids perspective.  I think it related to my Grandpa Jonas growing up in East Dayton with a very stern German-American father.  In their house, if you didn't eat all your food, you got it at the next meal.  Since there were 8 children or so, money was tight and food was scarce.  So Mike and Pat get some extra food and ice cream in their childhood to make up for Arthur Harry Jonas' life in East Dayton.  I can't remember if Brenda got ice cream, too.  Certainly we must have shared?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jesus, Loss, Death and a Goiter

More classic Sunday School songs from age 3-8:  Tell Me the Stories of Jesus   Zacchaeus

There was a woman in Liberty church with a huge goiter.  I stared at that a couple times, trying to figure out what was wrong with her neck.  "Don't stare at people, that's not nice," my Grandma Jonas would say.  That became a childhood rule since, "some people aren't as fortunate as we."

We had a parakeet and it flew away (I wasn't so good at closing doors) so we felt bad, getting our introduction to grief.  Then the neighbor man, Mr. (Tom) Atkins died and they had his viewing in his living room.  I remember walking down the street and into the Atkins home.  Suddenly, there he was lying in a casket, very still and peaceful.  Someone explained death to me once we got home (about 90 feet from Mr Atkins porch.)  I didn't understand the loss and grief part, yet.

I did understand the food part, though, at a young age.  "Wow, we're having pecan pie!" I would exclaim as I noticed a pecan pie (usually two) being made in our kitchen.  "No, it's not for us, it's for the so and so family, Mrs. so and so's mother  suddenly died last weekend."  We're making the food to take to the church after the funeral service is over so the women in the family don't have to cook.  When someone dies, there is a lot of food.   

We had a few hogs in a crumbling barn just behind our house, until the family had a big butchering session at Grandma Jonas house, next door.  I remember blood everywhere in Grandma's kitchen.  She had a favorite butcher knife that got a workout on those former hogs.  Whenever we had fried chicken, the killing of the chickens happened in Grandma and Grandpa Jonas' yard.  Someone like my Uncle Jerry (Hoffman) would tie the chickens on the clothes line, then quickly cut off their heads and get out of the way.  Mike and I would each get a chicken's foot to play around with.  It was interesting how you could pull on the tendons and see the claws move.  I have a vague memory of scaring girls by sitting the claws on their shoulder and pulling the tendon to make the claws contract.

The wishbone was the other prized item with butchering turkeys and chickens on special occasions.  Make a wish and pull.  It would come true, allegedly, for the person with the longest part of the bone.  One thing I prayed for with the wish bone and my birthday cake candles was for my Mom to get better.  She suddenly got polio and couldn't walk for a while.  She used to go to the hospital for therapy to get her legs strong again.  It worked.  (The prayer and the therapy).  I'll tell you later about Mike hitting me in the head with a baseball bat (accidentally) when Mom couldn't walk.

We'd learn about Jesus and sing about him and pray to his Father  in small town Liberty.  We felt safe.

We're working on some info about the Liberty town pump for another post on this site.  If you have stories about the town pump, get ready to comment, or send me a note about it.  Thanks.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Liberty: Filling Stations and Beer Joints

Liberty UM Church service February 27, 2011 was another opportunity for the Pastor, Rev. Glenn Sweigart to lead the flock with prayer, preaching and songs.  The service was held in the upstairs gathering room where we used to go before Sunday School in elementary and middle school ages, to save on oil costs.  The room wasn't quite full when son PRJ and I entered late into the second row.  I was touched by the prayer for those with needs as it included our granddaughter, Natalie Rose, who God has held in His hand since birth.  Joy Weaver did a wonderful job at piano and the women's choir quartet blended well on "Love Lifted Me".

After the service, I discussed bus drivers (and the history of Liberty) with Jim Nye, who corrected me about the driver of bus 4- it wasn't him.  Fortunately, PRJ and I lunched at Red Lobster with Mom (Esther) and Petie Longhenry Hammond, who lived up town Liberty and knew everybody.  She came up with Webb Marker as the correct driver of bus 4.  She also gave some background about two "beer joints" in Liberty, one started by her grandmother, Hattie Fisher. We'll review the other one in a later entry.

We discussed the filling stations of George Heeter, George Wintermute,  Rozzell (?1st name).  I remember the Pure Oil Station and Texaco but not remembering brand on George Heeter's.  I used to enjoy watching the men play cards at the Texaco station.  Mike and I had a "charge account" (no kidding) at the Pure station and the grocery for ice cream cones at one time or another.

Petie places the first TV set in Liberty at the Broadbent home (where they had a cleaning business) and she recalls watching Friday night wrestling on that TV, as well as some western shows.  She shared some comments about life up town (as the Back Street folks referred to it) in Liberty including the town pump, which will be the focus of another entry.  Anyone with town pump or other stories is welcome to chime in or contact me and I'll slide your comments into a blog post.

Who lived where is always fun to hear about.  Esther recounted that Ben Ankney and Aunt Mattie apparently built and lived in Pete and Gladys (Donna and Peggy's parents) home.  George and Norma (Ankney) Speelman (Sam, Suzie, Elyn, Sally and Mary) were the first to reside in the Bill and Ruth Knoll (Freddie and Billie) house before Jim and Henrietta Whitaker (Jimmy and Danny) who became the Florida vacation hosts for many of us when they ran a Ft Myers, FL motel.  Size of family after the twins came along drove the Speelman clan to larger digs where Leslie joined the team.

Lunch with Petie and Esther provided a rich backdrop to life in Liberty before I was around.  The people were active in all sorts of community and supportive ways.  So there was lots of life before TV and the internet.  More later.  As all you Liberty people read these, speak up when you see inaccuracies.  Our brains may not file as well as we wish.  I hope your hearts were set at Liberty, too.