3- 1965 February Part 1, a Trophy & Valentines Day
Sometimes, as I reread my diary entries from over 50 years ago, I am astonished at the amazing flooding back of memories.
I can almost feel right now in 2017 what it felt like to be 12 years old in 1965 Georgia. The human psyche is wonderful and complex. I am privileged to live in this era when the sharing of those years is possible because of our online interconnectivity.
“1 Feb 1965, Mom wrote again for me: Aunt Gladys was here today. She is leaving for Germany tomorrow for a three week visit to see her daughter. My fever is gone, but am covered with little red bumps all over. Talked on phone with Laurie awhile. 2 Feb 1965, Finally I can write for myself again. I still have to be careful with my eyes. The measles seem to be ‘going in’ just a little. Today, our junior high had a play at school. 3 Feb 1965, I feel a lot better. Claree (our housekeeper) didn’t come to the house today, because she had an eye doctor appointment. My fever is now below normal. I missed another junior high basketball game.”
These February writings begin with my finishing my bout with the measles. Just contemplating being out of school for nearly three weeks is unimaginable. How did I ever catch up again? Thanks to that small town community where friends brought over assignments and teachers conferred with parents, I survived.
Remember when preparing and putting on a school play was part of every school grade’s responsibility! Classmates auditioned for parts, but most often teachers had in mind who would best be cast for this or that part or character.
One of the things I remember most about Claree was that she was such an amazing cook! Since my mom worked outside the home, she had hired Claree to come to our home in the afternoons, just as school let out to be there when we got home. Claree would start preparing our evening meal between 4:30–5:30 and would have supper ready when my mom and dad came in from work.
“4 Feb 1965, I made some chocolate fudge! It turned out great. I have felt a lot better. I wish these little red bumps would disappear. Daddy has had bad leg cramps tonight. He’s pacing the hallway. Adie went to boy scouts tonight. 5 Feb 1965, Today is Friday. I was home again. Will I ever get well? We rode over to Richland. School was already out. Uncle Rody is back from Texas. He brought me a little leather overnight weekend bag from Mexico. It’s so pretty!”
The sheer joy of just the “everyday!” How lucky so many of us were to have had aunts and uncles who were often like second sets of parents.
My poor daddy and those leg cramps. They haunted him throughout my childhood. He could be heard pacing that hallway on many a night. In warmer weather he’d go outside and walk a couple of laps around the house or the neighborhood.
As I look through the mention of others in these writings: my mama, my dad, my brother, former teachers, and adult friends, I notice that most are no longer on this earthly journey any longer. Most of my peers from this era are still here, but even a few of them have departed. I’m grateful to have so many wonderful memories.
“6 Feb 1965, I wrote Debra W. a letter yesterday. I felt so much better today. I made some divinity candy. It didn’t turn out especially good. Dad and Adie went to Columbus. It rained all day long. 7 Feb 1965, I didn’t go to Sunday school. We ate in Richland at the Steakhouse and I saw Mrs. Lee (my English teacher). Daddy has been feeling bad all day. He went over to Mr. WB’s and recorded some stereo music.”
Rainy days in Georgia. The sound of the rain pinging on our back tin patio roof still echoes in my ears to this day. No wonder that rainy nights in Georgia have been commemorated in songs through the years.
I can still see images of my brother and me in our kitchen making candy, either divinity or chocolate fudge; we’d have a small cup of cold water to drop the hot-cooking candy concoction into, to test for a hard or soft ball consistency. A lousy call on that consistency could result in a candy mess.
Writing to and receiving letters from friends living elsewhere, an important part of being a teen. Waiting on a letter to come through the mail was a ritual unto itself. I had a friend who moved to Oklahoma and one who moved to Alabama. There could easily be two to three weeks between exchanges. Also, it was unheard of to phone a friend who lived several states away. Long distance calls in our family were reserved for family, since the rates were relatively expensive to call out of state. I remember being super excited to get a phone in my bedroom sometime along the way. It was a little ‘princess’ pink phone, with a dial, of course. We could make local in_town calls by just dialing the last four numbers
“8 Feb 1965, I stayed out of school today just to make sure I am well from the measles. Ms. Lorraine fixed my hair today. I had my piano lesson at 2:30. I feel fine. I’m going to a missionary meeting with Mama, maybe. 9 Feb 1965, I returned to school today. We had a basketball practice. Mr. Cox asked me to come, but I didn’t. He was very understanding. My eyes are still very weak. I did take a math test.”
This era was one in which many of the town’s women had weekly hair appointments at one of the local hairdressers. Several women around town and even one gentleman ran ‘beauty parlors’ as we called them. I recall as a young girl I looked forward to a hair wash and roll at my friend, Sandra’s mother’s beauty parlor. Ms. Lorraine had converted a room in her home into her little business spot.
“10 Feb 1965, I went to school. Mr Cox was really nice to me. I went to our junior high basketball tournament, but I just watched; didn’t play. We won for the first time this season 40–21. I wish I could have played! 11 Feb 1965, We played basketball against Georgetown tonight and they won 37–33. We got the 2nd place trophy. Everyone played well. I met Ramona’s mama. Adie made some divinity candy. It turned out yucky. Not much luck with that candy!”
I’m amused at the mention of the first game of the basketball tournament as our junior high girl’s team’s first win of the season. The loss of the second game in the tournament resulted in a 2nd place trophy! Kind of cool for a young group of girls who had had a slightly disappointing season to still get a reward.
My brother didn’t have much luck with that batch of divinity. Sometimes we had fun competing with each other to see who could make the best batch of either divinity or fudge.
“12 Feb 1965, Friday hurrah! We had a Valentines party in school. I went to the Valentine dance. I danced with Neal, but lost a chance with Sambo. I don’t know what is wrong with Mama tonight. She said something about being sad. Wonder what’s troubling her? 13 Feb 1965, I went to the Junior Garden Club meeting this morning. Our family went to Columbus later. I bought some hose to wear this winter. Mom let me buy a garter belt to wear with the hose. Dad and I went to the Drug Store and bought Mama some Valentine candy. 14 Feb 1965, Today is Valentine’s Day. I gave Mom, Dad and Adie Valentine cards. They each gave me one. Hal also sent me one. Laurie did not give me one. I went to Sunday school. Kay and I were the only ones there. 15 Feb 1965, I had my regular piano lesson. I wish I could see Hal. I wish he really liked me. I heard that Mike S. has the measles. Poor thing.”
Mid February brought the excitement of Valentine’s day and a dance on top of it all. As I read names of childhood friends, I am grateful that many are Facebook friends all these years later. I renewed my connections back to my hometown over these last couple of years. Having lost my mother in 1968 and my father in 1980, I have not had a family dwelling to go back home to in Lumpkin in so many years. My dear Aunt Carolyn in nearby Richland always welcomes me ‘home’ for a few day whenever I can come. It’s hard to believe that I have lived in Colorado for 32 years.
As a young girl, I along with so many of my friends, began experiencing some of those firsts of adolescence! Wearing heels “required” that we had to have a pair of hose. Getting a garter belt was a right of passage, as well.
The middle of February brings notes of missing a ‘boyfriend’ who lives in Atlanta and feeling sad that Mike, a friend just down the street has come down with the measles. I find it sometimes overwhelming that those details of life are captured in pages from a lifetime ago. The journey of reminiscing is so enriched by being able to share with others.fami