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?