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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

  Mary Chandler called our attention to the fact that David Bailey and Billy Cook, pictured in last week’s paper, while playing with the NWJC Rangers in 1963, were from Oakland and not Coffeeville. They were schoolmates of hers. I knew this but let the error slip by me—don’t think Coffeeville had a football team when these boys played high school football.
  Was good to meet Brian Ward Monday morning. He came by to see David and introduced himself. Told him I’d seen him on stage with Steve Thompson several times, but just had not met him. Both these fellows are excellent musicians. Brian shared that he and Liz Reynolds do the Jail Ministry in the Valley and that he also had a prison ministry. These are wonderful programs and I promised to pray for him and to continue to pray for Liz.
  Received a note from long-time subscriber John Oaks. He was stopping their paper because Mrs. Oakes has dementia and they are both 86 years old. He says, however, that he is doing pretty good. Mr. John says they left the Valley in 1948, but came back many times while his wife, Martha Hudson Oakes’, mother was in the Nursing Home. They have been married sixty-six and one-half years.
  Thanks for writing, Mr. John. It’s always sad to loose a long-time subscriber, but we certainly realize that eventually you no longer know anyone left here.
  Mom had several bad days last week, but as of Sunday she was improving. Health is still fine and the surgery wound is healing nicely, but the drugs have messed up her mind. She was moved to Golden Living Rehab on Thursday.
  It was strange not to have Sunday lunch at her house. I went over and began cooking gumbo for a church lunch next week and soon Ginny and Rance came in then Carolyn and Bo came up. I remarked, “You know I didn’t cook lunch last night, the cupboard is bare”  They did, they just came to keep me company—wasn’t that nice? Rance did eat a piece of my special cornbread, I’d cooked to go with some left-over peas from the freezer. Forgot the house is not stocked with food anymore, so when I started to  make cornbread I had no milk. Just mixed up a couple of tablespoons of Hellman’s mayonnaise and some warm water, used it in place of milk and the bread turned out fine. Rance said it was the best I’d every made—he may have just been hungry.
  Rest of my week was spent in a hospital or NH room or sleeping.
  End of Ludie’s Letter
  The years between 1934 and World War II were lean—jobs were scarce and money was more so but the learning process is unending.  During this era two children entered the scene and between substituting and preparing those two for entrance into school, time sped swiftly by.
  School changed, consolidation brought about by various circumstances gave us a larger enrollment but also made lots of folks bitter and it was hard to find one to put the blame on. Poor Mr. Bell caught his share. Since we were no longer a city school and  large numbers of the students had farm obligations and educational monies were scarce we were reduced to eight month sessions instead of the usual nine.
  When the older of my two started to school, I did whatever task the school called on me to do and the every loving P.T.A. offered several extra curricular activities.
  The need for a school cafeteria was finally recognized (most all schools already had a food program) and three people with strong backs and weak minds were selected —one lasted one year, one nine years and I survived fifteen. During those years we rose from a primitive operation in the space in the nineteen twelve Grammar School, known as the girls toilet to the facility we now occupy. (The thought just occurred to me that I have alpha-ed and omega-ed in school rest rooms!)
  In those early years we fed between three and four hundred hungry bodies delicious food with second and third servings.
  One of my favorite memories of stupidity in the early cafeteria years was of a very busy day, with above the average daily interruptions, when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, what I thought was a student waiting for a second helping of food. Without turning around I said, “Just a minute.” When I got ready to take care of the situation I was talking to a large enameled pot.
  When we were trying desperately to get the food program off the ground U.S.D.A. donated foods were scarce, since we had not completed our request in time for delivery. One day, smack in the middle of the serving rush, we were having apple halves for dessert when Herman White (County Superintendent of Education) stormed in shouting as only he could do, “Gather up the apples!” Thinking all the stuff we had been hearing and reading about insecticides being poisonous to fruits and vegetables had merit, Marcella Bell and I started snatching those coveted apple halves from a group of startled youngsters, only to hear the rest of the story—”I  brought you some pears.” I was thankful for my position as dishwasher that day (we washed all the dishes by hand) otherwise I might have become violent.
  When the music department could go no farther down through carelessness of one kind or the other, Mr. Steele and Alfred Reed, Jr., offered me the job. Job it was and now fifteen years later with all of my long range plans and goals (with the exception of an auditorium) mature, it is time to close the book, opened so long ago that September day. There must have been some bad times and disappointments, but today I can’t think of a single one that didn’t challenge and spur me on to the task ahead.
  I am glad that our paths crossed in this saga of education in the Water Valley Consolidated School System. Working with you  has been a pleasure.
  And so ends a rainy Sunday,
  With love,
  Was glad to learn Sunday morning when I arrived at church that the Blue Devils had defeated Sardis. Those attending also reported that the security was excellent and that they felt very safe.
  When Mom’s night sitter arrived I considered going on up to the game. However after a 40 hour day, I decided that I might fall asleep driving and that I’d surely sleep through most of the game, so I went on to my bed in Courtland. Got there, brushed my teeth, got into my PJs and hit the sack—didn’t even shower. Felt much better Saturday morning.
  Congratulations Devils—keep up the good work.
  Saw a deer this morning (Monday) on the By-Pass median just north of the Highway 315 intersection. There are lots of deer out there, so be careful as you drive, especially early morning and about dust in the afternoon.

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