Christmas Twelve –– A dozen little laid-back Appalachian things to savor
—“G’night, Old Lady Wells!” That was me! Sweet, compliant, goody two shoes me – yelling. Aunt Dot never tired of recounting how my school bus driver, Dinky Sheldon, got me to shout out the window as the bus was loading after school. My aunt (my teacher!) didn’t seem all that amused at first. She sure did for a generation afterward. I was forgiven.
—Nellie Voodre for years occasionally changed the prelude she played in church every Sunday . . custodia iphone 6 silicone rosa . very occasionally. Usually it was the classical original of Moonlight and Roses. So when Doug Passage tapped me as organist, he simply said, “You can play anything except The Beer Barrel Polka. I followed orders. batteria custodia iphone 5 But ever since, I’ve played that verboten ditty on every church organ I could find – but not on Sunday. I’m goody two shoes still.
—Eunice Applegate was Newton Theological Seminary’s first female ordained Bachelor (!) of Divinity, and twice pastor of our Tylerville Church, as Eunice Appleton Potter. custodia iphone 5 schermo Her seminary made history with no shrinking violet! Eunice came tooling south to the church from the village center on a tractor one day, aimed the blade at the corners of an ancient rotting carriage shed next to the church, and said to google-eyed spectators, mostly men who’d long been urged to do exactly that – but hadn’t – “Okay, now you can cart that stuff off.” How to earn respect in rural Appalachia.
—I took someone through the Tylerville cemetery once, a tour through several generations of village life. I said we’re pretty darn near all related here in some way so these are my relatives, close or distant.” “What?? They’re all different family names.” Aaarghhh. Curtis. Cramer. Maltby. Gregg. Young. Hodge. custodia bustina iphone x Etc. (Oh, sorry, that last’s not a family name.)
—If Great-aunt Nellie Ruth Cramer was bound to drive her little car anywhere, Tylerville was the only place safe enough. She taught, and lived, in Manhattan, summering with her sister Lou Atwater across from the church. She had a wonderful car. It practically drove itself – it had to! I rode in her rumble seat once. Just once. I’m goody two shoes, and chicken.
—The Tylerville Grange Hall was really big for a tiny hamlet, but people commuted for miles to belong. Turned into a dance floor, it was big enough to save Gerry Gregg’s life when in a square dance I swung her most aw’fly hard and . . . let go. She skidded the whole way.
—My sense of humor failed to connect with some proud citizens. I had been proud of the sign I’d posted in front of our house, “Painful Acres.” A pun. The second word, I mean. I’d thought working ourselves thin (except Mother) harvesting more post-Glacial stone deposits than cattle fodder was often a real pain, but thought the pun would soften the sign’s effect. I’ve heard it bothered some of those happier with petriculture; but I’ve forgiven them.
—You can check this for accuracy – if you can locate one of Copenhagen social studies prof Gerald Woodruff’s notebooks on local history which he made seventh-graders copy. Anyway it seems Copenhagen was founded by Nathan Munger at the beginning of the 19th century, and named Munger’s Mills. Until the British shelled the (whatever) out of Copenhagen, Denmark’s harbor in Europe. Our locals, who were red-blooded anti-Brits, changed the name to Copenhagen, saying “No matter what the Brits do, Copenhagen will be alive here!”
—Rural Appalachians shied away from folks with “pretensions,” like college degrees (well, in the 1940s). custodia iphone 3g Pastors with two degrees had to pass a test – show no discomfort in the stable on a pastoral call while the cows do their plopping right alongside the visitor; use country speech in the barn (not in the pulpit), and so on. custodia juventus iphone 6 So it was only when George Merrill, well-loved local farmer and humorist, died, that some of us learned he was a Cornell graduate.
—I can’t document the following (I bet sister Jan can) but Mother was always highly amused at North Country journalism, using as an example a Watertown Daily Times report (I think) about a celebration in Tylerville. The paper mentioned some prominent people who had shown up, NOT including V. K. Kellogg (of the famous cereal family) who, it was reported, was “of London and South Rutland,” but who had “not attended.”
—Something I didn’t know, even though while still in high school I was preparing to be a journalist, and had journalistic idols . . . was that my sweet Sunday School teacher, Edna Haller, who sometimes had a visitor from New York City, was brother to Ellis Haller — the sometimes visitor, who was a highly-honored front-page by-liner on The Wall Street Journal. I’m sure she never told me who he was.
Later, when I was a global religion writer for a mission agency, at home in the world’s greatest cities and tiniest rural places (I once did a photo story on a hospital right beside the ruins of the Bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand), I decided I knew how Haller felt visiting 75-population, one street Tylerville. How I wish I’d known him.
—Some museum of Americana should reproduce the Tylerville General Store, at one time (but after I’d left the area) owned by our cousins the Greggs. It should be a living history exhibit with guys parked on stools around a real cracker-barrel, playing cards.
Maybe Kraft Foods should do it. They established a cheese factory in Tylerville and they have the same kind of fame-clout that Jell-O has. And I mention that because our cousin Lynne Belluscio, one of a few experts on 1830s America (consultant to the Smithsonian and other worthies) is long-time curator of the Jell-O Museum in Mumford, New York, which gets hordes of visitors. There could be Velveeta on crackers from the not yet famous Tylerville barrel. – Uncle Bob.