TLC logo TLC #42:  August 19, 2002

Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
First, my apologies. It's been a busy summer, and I have neglected my responsibility as your devoted scribe. To those of you who inquired, thank you for caring. To those of you who sent obscene notes, I know who you are and what your email address is.
Major announcement: The TLC collection, entitled "Growing Up in Lexington" is ready! Marilou Edwards has taken each of the previous issues of TLC and divided them into categories, such as "Teachers," "Tabo," "Tonettes," etc. She has done a superb job and even added cute graphics. She has not changed a word, but now our rantings, I mean writings, are organized and referenced. I got a look at an advance copy, and I feel sure you will be happy to have one. It's a nice memento for you, and it would be a great way to tell and show your children and grandchildren what it was like to grow up here in the "olden days."
The price is $15. The book is a quality loose-leaf binder so that pages may be added. Marilou says there will be additional editions, every six months or as warranted.  Future editions will not be as costly since another binder will not be required and postage will be lower.  The major cost of publication is the postage, and this is truly a labor of love because I doubt that Marilou will cover her costs.
You may order "Growing Up in Lexington" through me at or through Marilou at - or you can send a check directly to Marilou Edwards at 53 Perth Dr., Bella Vista, AR 72715. I'm sending mine tonight.
Okay, now down to business. What's new in Lexington? More people are moving here, and some are building big houses. Linwood Lawn is undergoing a major facelift under the direction of new people. We have another new antique store opening downtown, in Block 42. The movie theatre is taking shape. Aull Lane has been resurfaced and "sidewalked." School begins this week, Tuesday I believe. And last week we had a primary election. The most hotly contested position was County Collector. There were nine candidates total, six on the Democratic ballot and three on the Republican.
We all vote, meaning all four wards and the rural areas, at the Moose Lodge on east Main St. If you go back far enough, that used to be the bowling alley.
By the way, I'll be glad to answer questions. If I don't know the answer, I'll research it. Or make something up. So feel free to ask.
I thought we had laid the Tonettes to rest, but: 
From Bette Phipps '59 Thomas
Hi, Susan & fellow TLCers:  Hearing again about the bane of my 3rd grade life--the Tonette--has driven me to "share" my memories of childhood angst induced by this hideous device.  But first, although I've mentioned the Tonette to various SF Bay Area friends (some of whom are non-SF natives), not one has ever heard of it.  Mrs. Gruber (don't think she was "Miss," had gray hair with bangs,  which was cut in what may have been a "bob" style) taught us 3rd graders at Central School.  One day I came to class to discover that everyone else had learned how to play the Tonette  (black plastic I think) except for me.  Obviously this was a vast plot  to make me feel totally incompetent--and it worked!  For the rest of the year, I sat at my desk covering various holes & tootling, knowing that everyone else was playing perfectly while I was making a darn fool of myself.

You might think that this torment was enough for teacher & classmates to have devised to drive me crazy, but you'd be wrong.  In addition, we had to do sight-singing to music, probably singing "do," "re," etc. for the appropriate notes.  I, of course, was the only kid who didn't know what these strange musical symbols/sounds meant.  So, every time we got  to "sing," I "la'd," "do'd," etc. whatever I guessed might be right.  I'm sure I never raised my eyes from the incomprehensible music sheet because I knew everyone else was enjoying the sight of my blush-red face.  You might wonder why I never told sweet Mrs. Gruber that I didn't know how to play or sing or that I was aware of this giant conspiracy.  All I can say is that it NEVER EVER occurred to me.  Clearly I learned at a very early age that you never let a teacher, or classmate, know your weak spots.  Teachers just wanted to teach you stuff; if you didn't understand the stuff, they had failed.  If they had failed, they'd get mad.  When they got mad, they'd get mad at YOU who had just let them know they were incompetent.  Hey, even in 3rd grade, I hadn't just fallen off the turnip truck!

And now, dear 3rd grade classmates (I recall Molly Benson, Jimmy Lorantos, Rosemary Bergland (sp?), Jim Duvall, Judy Lang, Shirley Jiovenale & Marlene Stigall, sorry if I forgot others now reading this), what did you have against me?  What had I ever done to YOU?  If you will all please go to the blackboard & write "sorry, sorry, sorry," I'll graciously & nobly forgive you for helping to ruin, not  only my 3rd grade, but the REST OF MY LIFE! 

PS, I think the idea of collected remembrances Is terrific!!!!
Then she wrote again:
...I just want to thank you for designing, implementing, maintaining & administering this terrific newsletter...I noticed that my sister gave an update of her activities so here is mine:

1963 Headed West to the golden streets of So. California.
Taught high school English, destroyed skin tanning on beaches.
1966 Came to senses, moved to San Francisco.
Saw GG Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Sausalito. Stayed.
1967-69 Attended SF State for MA.
1969 SF State student riots; SF TAC squad, noise, helicopters, some blood.....
1970 Began personnel (now "Human Resources") career with City & Co. of SF.
1992 Received MA 23 yrs later
2001 Retired from HR Mgr. job with SF City & Co.
2002 Follow healthy Senior life-style: up by crack of noon; perform seated exercises with help of newspaper & remote control; keep hands flexible by sending constant jokes & funny stories to "lucky" friends & family; almost always get to bed no later than 3AM.

OK, so I left a few things out.  My husband, Bob, is the Labor & Employee Relations Mgr. @ SF General Hospital.  Our son, Pat, attends UC Davis & is currently on campus conducting research in combinatorics (it's a field of mathematics, that's all I know).  Pat has a double major in math & physics & will start his senior yr in the Fall.  Since I retired (June 30, 2001), I've begun working as an educational therapist and am giving HR training classes & workshops at SFs Dept. of Human Resources (my former employer).
Mary Kay Wilcoxon '58 Gooseman
Ah yes, another great TLC.  About the tonettes, I still have mine and every once in awhile when I find it in the drawer, pick it up and play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". Yes, even after all these years it still comes back.  Mrs. Bess Gruber, who taught Third Grade at Central (my teacher) is the one who taught on "Platoon Day" as Barb Tabb Jarman mentioned.  Platoon Day was one everyone looked forward to, at least at our school, when Mrs. Estelle Winkler (5th grade..Central) would teach Art and of course Mrs. Gruber teaching Music.  Platoon Day was an exchange of teachers between Arnold and Central during the afternoon.  I don't recall who the teachers were from Arnold that would exchange with the ones from Central.  Anyone remember?
Speaking of Mrs. Gruber being my teacher in Third Grade.  She not only was my school teacher, but also Sunday School teacher.  Seems I couldn't "get away" from her!  (Ed - I have to interject that I had Miss Margaret Smith for 6th grade and ALSO for Sunday School.) Yes, she had a real nice Alto voice, and sang in the Evangelical (United Church of Christ) Choir as well as taught voice lessons.
Along this line, and I think Bob Ball mentioned it too, remember the "Rhythm Band" in the early grades?  At Central, Miss Marie Mike (who is still living and in her 90s), the First Grade teacher, was the Rhythm Band teacher.  I know we played in that group at least through the first 3 years, but don't remember if we did after that.  Sticks, bells, triangles, cymbal, wood blocks, I think we had a drum as well, and of course Miss Marie accompanied on the piano.  Her favorite we played was "March Militaire".  I always played the triangle.  Miss Marie and my Mother took piano lessons from Miss Carrie Loomis when they were in High School, as they were in the same class.  Miss Carrie lived on the corner of 12th and Franklin, and the house is still there.  Most of us probably remember Homer Taylor who was "night watchman" during the 1950s, and at that time he lived in this house.
Mentioning Homer Taylor should spark some good stories from the guys, as they used to pick on him by turning off the Christmas lights a block behind him as he was turning them "on",  and am sure there are many other stories there as well.
Keep the good memories coming.
Barbara Tabb '55 Jarman:
Just wondering here if Mrs. Waddell ever taught her piano lessons over
on Franklin.  There was a Miss Loomis who had that house on the corner
of 12th & Franklin, and I took my first piano lessons from her.  And,
there were a lot of steps up to that house.  Later, I took from Mrs.
Waddell (sister of Miss Bess), and it was upstairs in a building on Main
Street, between 11th & 12th Sts. - maybe over Reed's or Stier's.
Anyhow, somewhere in there.  But, I do know that Miss Loomis taught in
that house on Franklin. Also, Mrs. Torrence taught piano on Highland,
and had quite a few students. Just touching base with a memory.
Jack Gueguen:

Recent mentions of Miss Lena and Miss Mautino prompt me to present "another side" of those pillars of our high school experience whom I also knew in connection with our parish, Immaculate Conception. Both of them took turns giving us high schoolers weekly catechism lessons at the Catholic school.

The pastor, Msgr. Dibbins, was anxious that we keep building up the
knowledge of our faith which the nuns had imparted in grade school.  Our parents, too, saw this as a good thing for us as we advanced "in age and wisdom."  Miss Lena and Miss Mautino realized that CCD is not exactly the most compelling element of teen-age experience, so they let us "distract" them by asking "real life" questions.  The down-to-earth practical advice that followed showed those dear teachers at their best. 
We even played games now and then; Miss Lena's favorite card game, I think was called "bunko."  She also directed our church choir by simply waving her arms back and forth in front of her, side to side.  I don't remember her actually singing (I doubt if she did), nor did she seem very far along in musical arts. But she was always there along with organist Helen Beretta in the choir loft Sunday after Sunday in her longish drab-colored dresses. I was probably the youngest member of the choir; my dad (who had a nasal, whiny voice) liked me to accompany him, and his younger sister, Aunt Clemie, who did have a pretty voice.  (She recently turned 80 and has lived for years in Carbondale, Ill.)

We were always told that the
Mautino sisters, Angela and Jennie, were
"distant cousins" of ours, and we occasionally stopped for short visits in
their grey stucco house far out on South St.  Angela was a sprightly,
engaging hostess and had interesting stories to tell us young-uns.  There
were many small curios in the living room which she sometimes explained to us (mostly family-related).  In summer we'd sit on the small front porch, and often her married sister, Mary (Worsham) was visiting from the City with son Stevie.
Jennie worked for years and years as a bank teller on Main St. When I was trying to scrape together enough for college mid-way through, she
was one of several solid citizens of Lexington who gave me small personal
loans (interest free)--which was the best way we "poor kids" could finance
college because we simply repaid the principal "when we could manage it."
(Another generous patron was Hugh and Cecelia Mattingly; she was also a member of our parish. Their home on Franklin was next door to the
Coming back to Lexington in later years, I recall being at a testimonial
dinner or celebration in honor of Angela Mautino, no doubt on the occasion of her retirement.  It was a very big affair, and she was so grateful. Others of you surely recall it, because the "real woman" behind the legends was so well revealed and appreciated by everyone there.

So there's "another side," which is really the main side for me, as I was
never in any LHS Latin or Spanish classes, and nothing stands out in my
memory of Miss Lena's study halls or her service as librarian.  I hope this
helps to "fill out the picture."

As for "tonettes," they don't ring a bell for me, but at the Catholic School there was something called the "rhythm band."  My sisters will know more about that, as I think it was for girls.  I spent my time drawing and painting, hiking and exploring the environs of Lex., and studying geography on my own.
The repeated mention of Mainstreet Theater memories calls this one to mind.  Somehow I got to know the manager (anyone remember his name?), who may have given me a couple of sketching lessons. I applied to make some posters of coming attractions for him, but it turned out that the printed ones were much better.  Not wanting to disappoint me, he offered me another part time job, which I think I enlisted Mike McDonald, or it may have been Kent Hicklin in as well--probably summer after freshman year at LHS (1948).  That was repairing the theater's seats--a task at which I was less than adept.  At least there was the perk of free admission; I remember being entranced (the budding philosopher in me?) with the musical Brigadoon and watching it half a dozen times the days it was playing.
By the way, where is Kent?  He helped me adjust to the cultural side of attending h.s. in a small town. He and I were the middle voices in the "famous" boys quartet which our typing teacher, Mary Saxton, put us up to, along with Mike McDonald (tenor) and Larry Marcks (bass).  We loved rehearsing in the boys lavatory because the acoustics enhanced our sound.  Don Simmons was our chief critic.  We picked up the name "Four Roses" once when we were dressed in grey suits and wore roses from my dad's garden in our lapels.  It was much fun, and we got to perform several places in town and at music contests, as well as in the minstrels.
I close by sharing Howard's reflections (and earlier Marian's) on their unforgettable parents.  I remember being deeply impressed with Mrs. Johnson's cello recitals, during which she wept continually.  There is something about those mellow tones that evoke emotion in the audience as well.
Ed. - Jack said something else that struck a chord with me: "...why everyone's past is still such an important part of all of our lives because it enriches what we ourselves experienced without fully appreciating at the time."
Janice Jiovenale '57 Tubiolo:
Regarding tonettes:  My best memories are being in the 'Rythym Band' at Central School, starting in 2nd or 3rd grade (maybe 4th?).  So many things came back to me: the chewed ends on a few of them when the teacher handed them out, Mrs. Gruber patiently counting time as we played at dirge speed.  I excelled on both tonette and triangle (my personal favorite) but then the songs were not challenging as I remember.....
Diane Gibson '58 Conger:
Do you remember getting cigar boxes to keep our supplies in?  I made a game of making everything fit and look tidy.  One kept their crayons, pencils, erasers, etc.    Do you remember that school paste? I ate my weight in school paste.  It would be given to you on torn paper towel.  We would often do pictures called mosaics.  One would tear off little tiny pieces of colored construction paper and fill in outlined pictures. 
The next big memory is those inkwells and pens we used, with removable points.  We were taught the Palmer Method of penmanship.  I wish that was still taught.  I guess people don't write much, now that we have email.  I know my handwriting has deteriorated from lack of use.  Maybe it is age that has caused the problem.  Nah!!
From Donna '58 Dye:
I have a recollection of someone in need of a safety pin in Miss Mautino's class one day.  She just reached in where the hankies were stored and pulled out a string of safety pins (must have been at least 10 of them hooked together).  I wondered what all she had stored in there!  Diane O'Malley and I were in her Spanish class together.  We decided to practice our Spanish by listening to a Spanish station on the shortwave radio.  Unfortunately, about the only phrase we understood was the time announcement.  At the appointed time we would proudly chime in with, "El tiempo es!" I don't know about Diane but I never became fluent in the language.        

 I love it when people send their bio's. Here's one from Howard Johnson:
After graduation at LHS, I spent one year at Wentworth (that's all I could take), one year at Kansas University and finally graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor's in Music Education - Major in Piano in 1957.  I spent one more year at WSU and got my Master's in Music Ed. and during that time, I met and fell in love with the girl I would later marry in 1962 - Patricia Jean Saunders.  I spent a summer in France in 1959 where I studied piano and music theory with Nadia Boulanger.

My first teaching job was in Springfield, Mo., where, for 7 years I taught Band and Orchestra in Elementary and Jr. High.  From 1961-1963,  I was at the University of Illinois working on an advanced degree in Music Ed.  At the end of that time I received an Advanced Certificate in Music Ed.  (60 hours above the Master's)
Susan, if the time frame of all this seems confusing to you - I don't blame you
To clarify:  I taught in Springfield from 1958-'61, went to the U. of I. from '61-'63, returned to Springfield from '63-'67.  Then, in 1967, I accepted a position as Orchestra Director at the newly opened John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Well, it sounded good and looked good on paper, but it turned out to be a dead-end job and I was looking around Iowa for a better position.  I found it in Davenport, IA.  So, in 1968, with our new-born baby in hand, Jean and I moved to Davenport where I was Orchestra Director in a variety of schools from 1968-1997.

During that time, I was fortunate to be able to develop some outstanding groups - many of them winning State and Regional honors.  Many of my former students are now professional musicians playing in Orchestras in such places as Oklahoma City, San Francisco,and New York.  Included in that group is my own daughter, April, who is a free-lance violinist married to a world-class cellist and both living and working in NYC.  (Our other daughter, Valerie, is a computer programmer in Madison, WI - with whose help we have just recently been brought into the computer age).  

During the time we have lived in Davenport, my interest in theatre has been reawakened.  In 1976, on a whim, I decided to try out for a production of Oklahoma.  Much to my surprise, I got the part of "Curly" and I have been hooked ever since.  Since 1976, I have been cast in over 50 productions here in the Quad-City area - doing both plays and musicals (yes, even some dancing).  My roles have usually been character parts but once in while I get the lead.  What a thrill that is!  In 1985, I reprised my role as Mr. Gilbreth in Cheaper by the Dozen that I did at LHS in 1953.
That brought back some memories with Mary Jo Smith, Sarah Ann Moore and Enner Jane Kendrick in that cast - and directed by Ernestine Seiter. 
Since my retirement from Public School teaching in 1997,  I teach piano privately (with some 15 rather good High School students) and I have gotten more into professional acting.  I have done some TV commercials, had a bit part in a Docu-drama about the life of Bix Biederbeck, and for the past two summers I have been employed as an professional actor at Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, IL.  So my life is good!  I'm getting to do what I really want to do, our two daughters have happy lives (so far) and Jean and I are getting ready to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on June 16, 2002.

So, Susan, there you have it.  Feel free to use any or all of that (there are no copyright restrictions).  I look forward to receiving the next installment of TLC.
Thanks again for all that you do to keep us informed.   Howard
Everybody! Send more bio's!!! - Ed.
And finally, Joe Parks takes us into the world of fantasy:
Dear Susan:  As I went to Central School with Barbara Tabb, I have to tell you that her story of the "Rear Snapping" (see TLC #41) is not quite accurate.  She was always looking for a way to flirt with the boys and one of her favorite routines was to fake a boy hitting her and then making a big deal about it.  She was very untrustworthy.  Gordon Wright and I figured that out very quickly, so we would make sure the teacher knew that the boys were really innocent. In fact, we were Miss Torrence's pets and she always asked me to keep an eye on Barbara.....Ha!
Ha is right. And now, good night from Lexington. Write soon, all of you!
Your devoted scribe,

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