Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 1, 2007
Those rowdy teachers
When Mom received the announcement that long-time friends Lois and Clyde would be celebrating their 60th anniversary, she wondered aloud how they were doing. It had been years since she had seen them.
She and Lois had lived together in the 1940s as single teachers in Burns and occasionally double-dated - Mom with Dad and Lois with Clyde. Mom and Dad married May 19, 1946 and Lois and Clyde married May 18, 1947. They attended the same church and their children, Phyllis and Bruce, and my brother, sister and I grew up together. Bruce was in my class and we have continued contact through the years.
Not long after Mom received the anniversary announcement, Bruce e-mailed me: " . . . Mom has gotten to where she doesn't travel much at all now. I was curious as to if Edla could still travel OK and if there was any chance of her dropping down to visit sometime. Mom would sure like to see her again and I think there is some concern that time is becoming more precious. . . This is kind of strange in that it seems like I'm trying to arrange a play date for our kids . . . If you can grease up this meeting of the rowdy young school teachers, please have at it."
I smiled. I had heard stories about these "rowdy young school teachers." The stories are mild in comparison to today's standards, but I'm sure they raised a few eyebrows back in World War II days. It seems that the two young ladies rented bedrooms in a home in Burns, but the landlord didn't like them hanging their stockings in the bathroom after washing them. Mom and Lois didn't know what to do since they had to do laundry so the school superintendent found them an apartment in another home. When the two teachers returned to the previous house to pick up their things to move, the owner blocked the door and said they would have to pay one year's rent even though they had only been there a week! Luckily, another teacher's husband was a lawyer and he helped them negotiate. They ended up having to pay only two weeks' rent.
I thought about that story and others I've heard over the years, and decided I should definitely get the two ladies together. So Mom and I made the two and a half hour trek down to Garnett.
With much hugging and smiling, Mom exclaimed, "You haven't changed a bit - either one of you!"
"You haven't either," Lois responded.
"You're kidding!" Mom said.
"Well, you are, too," Lois replied, giggling.
After we ate leftovers from their anniversary celebration of the day before - including what was left of their several-tiered "wedding" cake, we sat down to look at Lois and Clyde's wedding and 50th anniversary albums and a scrapbook daughter Phyllis had made.
The wedding album included a newspaper write-up about Lois's bridal shower. It was a typical article, complete with information about tea cakes being served and to whom. But there were a couple of things that caught my attention. One was the fact that the women, including Mom, who organized the shower had decorated a wheelbarrow with green and yellow crepe paper as a receptacle for Lois's gifts.
The other was a poem:
"When Clyde was a little boy, he lived by himself;
And all the bread and cheese he got, he put upon a shelf.
The rats and the mice - they led him such a life.
He had to go to Burns to get himself a wife.
The streets were so bad and the roads were so narrow,
He had to bring her home in a little wheelbarrow.
The wheelbarrow broke and his wife had a fall,
Down tumbled wheelbarrow, little wife and all."
"Who wrote this?" I asked after reading the poem out loud. A big discussion ensued, and Lois said she thought it sounded like something Mom might write. Clyde agreed. Although Mom couldn't remember for sure, she finally agreed that it was probably something she had done.
And so the afternoon went - a lot of reminiscing, laughing and catching up.
As Mom and I drove home several hours later, we both agreed that it had been a good day. Neither she nor Lois had been very rowdy, but I thought how fun it had been to get those two "young" teachers together again.