TLC #42: August 19, 2002
Dear Hearts and Gentle
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
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 email@example.com or through Marilou at firstname.lastname@example.org - 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
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.
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
...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:
West to the golden streets of So. California.
Taught high school English,
destroyed skin tanning on beaches.
1966 Came to senses, moved to San
Saw GG Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Sausalito. Stayed.
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
2001 Retired from HR Mgr. job with SF City & Co.
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
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
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
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.
the good memories coming.
Barbara Tabb '55
Just wondering here if Mrs. Waddell ever taught her piano lessons
on Franklin. There was a Miss Loomis who had that house on the
of 12th & Franklin, and I took my first piano lessons from
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
Anyhow, somewhere in there. But, I do know that Miss
Loomis taught in
that house on Franklin. Also, Mrs. Torrence taught piano
and had quite a few students. Just touching base with a
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
pastor, Msgr. Dibbins, was anxious that we keep building up the
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.
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.)
were always told that the Mautino sisters, Angela and Jennie,
"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
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.
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
(Another generous patron was Hugh and Cecelia Mattingly; she was also
a member of our parish. Their home on Franklin was next door to
back to Lexington in later years, I recall being at a testimonial
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.
there's "another side," which is really the main side for me, as I
never in any LHS Latin or Spanish classes, and nothing stands out in
memory of Miss Lena's study halls or her service as librarian. I
helps to "fill out the
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
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
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
Janice Jiovenale '57
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
Diane Gibson '58
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
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
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
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
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
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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