St. Elmo News

Friday, April 17                                                                                                                                                  
• Canceled-Fayette County HCE program on bees.
Sunday, April 19
• Church services will most likely be canceled.
Monday, April 20
• American Red Cross blood drive, 2-6 p.m., St. Elmo Elementary School. More information follows in the news.
• Canceled-Historical Vandalia Inc. Board.
• St. Elmo Board of Education usually meets at 7:30 p.m. on the third Monday. This meeting may or may not be held.
Tuesday, April 21
• Canceled-Veterans’ luncheon at St. Elmo Christian Church.
Closed Daily Through April 30
• The Fayette County Extension Office in Vandalia.
• St. Elmo Public Library.
• Brownstown Branch Library.
• Beecher City Branch Library.
• Fayette County Museum in Vandalia.
Important May Announcement
The American Legion Post #420 has canceled the meetings through May, and there will not be a Veterans’ Memorial Day service this year.
Blood Drive
St. Elmo Elementary School is hosting an American Red Cross blood drive next Monday for the St. Elmo community. Those donating can do so in memory of Haley, a loving person who was always willing to be there for others.
At the blood drive, all precautions concerning the COPID virus will be taken, i.e., separating the donors.
Because there is a need for blood, those physically able to do so are encouraged to do so, and with events and activities canceled, there should be more potential donors who have time to give. Each pint donated saves three lives.
Rhodes-Side Gleanings – Chapter II
Age 3-Fifth Grade
I remember living in Seminole, Okla., when I was 3, and, in my mind, the house faced south. The next place we moved to was the Carter camp at Fittstown, Okla., and I am sure the house faced west. I do not remember the town – I think it was very small. Mom belonged to a sewing group at the camp, the only organization Mom ever joined.
One time, the next-door neighbors were outside fighting, and Mom told Dad to go stop the fight. When he went over, he was hit on his shoulder, I think with a board, and he came home cussing and said he would never go back to help them.
I do remember that down the road from the camp, there was a little grocery store that my Mom would send me to. One time, when she sent me for something, I noticed that there was a broken place in the glass in front of the candy counter. I put my hand in and picked up a small piece of candy that I didn’t pay for and ate it on the way home. The person in the shop never told me he saw me, and I don’t know if he did, but my conscience bothered me and I never stole anything again!
Dad loved to go fishing and sometimes we went with him. I remember one time, my Mom thought I was going to fall into the river, and ran after me and broke one of her toes.
One time, we were at the Deep Fork River when mosquitoes bit me and I came down with malaria fever. The folks took me to a doctor who started giving me shots in each arm. My right arm became infected (did he use a dirty needle?) and the infection would not heal (still no antibiotics at this time).
After about six months, the folks took me to another doctor, who punched a hole below the infection to let it drain. It soon became healed, but I have a bad scar clear to the bone – glad I did not lose my tiny arm.
I was about 6 or 7 when I got a permanent – an electric machine (one of the first ones) was hooked to each of the curls on my head and I ended up with a curly perm. A picture of the machine connected to curls looked like the person was being electrocuted.
I started the first grade at Fittstown. The town didn’t have a grade school and we had to go to the Baptist Church (that faced east) for school for six weeks until the new grade school was finished.
I think I was a little talker, because I remember the teacher was going to read “Little Black Sambo,” and I made the comment that I had heard it several times, so she had me go to the front steps and sit outside until she read it to the group. My teacher’s name was Miss Bush. (I wonder if she is a relative of President Bush.)
The new school (I am sure the entrance faced north) had six rooms, one for each grade. In the 1930s, there was not too much indoor plumbing, so we had outside bathrooms for the boys and the girls.
I remember a Halloween incident. One of the toilets had been knocked over and when we went to school the next day, some of us would jump over the open pit, and I lost a shoe.
When I went home, my Dad asked where my new shoe was and I said it was back at the school. When he took me back, I remember he swore when he saw where it was.
Most of us took our lunches in lunch buckets. One day, when we were eating on the lawn, the man, who was either a teacher or the principal, went around the area to talk to the children to ask who threw paper, etc., on the school lawn. When he asked me, I said I didn’t and I don’t know if I told him who I thought did. He had several of us get in a line and when we went through, he paddled our behinds. Some of them cried, but it didn’t hurt and I laughed.
Another thing I remember, it was probably in the second grade – we were going to have an outside event that would include Indians. I saw the teacher look my way and I thought I would be chosen to be an Indian princess – I had dark hair and dark skin. But guess what? The blonde girl in front of me was the one chosen, and I don’t remember her name.
I do have pictures of the school classes and most of us looked the same, not expensive clothes in the depression era, but there were two girls who had pretty dresses. They probably had dads who earned more money than most of our dads, and maybe the blonde girl who was chosen to be princess had a well-to-do dad.
One day, some of us were taken on a bus to the Hardin City, Okla., high school. I think the reason for us going was because some of us weren’t too dumb, but I don’t remember what we did.
Shortly after I started the third grade we moved to Ada, Okla. (I am sure the house faced east). We didn’t live in a Carter camp. One time, a tornado hit Ada on the other side of town (I think it was northeast of where we lived), and I remember my folks took me to see the damage. Mom was always very afraid of storms because of living in tornado areas.
One thing I remember about the Ada school is that we had our hearing checked, and if a person did not pass the test, a teacher would teach lip reading. Well, I wanted to have lip reading, so I pretended I didn’t hear correctly. Lip reading was interesting.
Carter Oil Co. was thinking about sending Dad to Venezuela South America, but he didn’t want to go. I think they wanted him to be moved somewhere, because we did take a trip to Mississippi or Louisiana for a few days.
That was the first time I had seen black people, called Negroes back then. I just remember their color and that I did not dislike seeing them. When we stayed in a hotel, there was no air conditioning and the windows were open. To keep us from getting mosquito bites, we had to have a net over our beds.
I don’t remember if I was in the third or fourth grade when my Mom’s sister, Hattie, who married my dad’s brother, William Bates, died. We went to Wichita, Kan., to Aunt Hattie’s funeral, the first funeral I ever went to. At the funeral home, Mom took me to Hattie’s casket and had me touch her face.
We moved back to Seminole in 1938 and I was now in the fourth grade. When we moved into a house in the Carter camp (I think it faced east) and Mom was unpacking, I put on my skates and skated on the sidewalk, down a hill that came to an end. I fell and skinned my knees very bad. I was always injuring my knees and for years I had scars on them.
I remember we went to Tulsa, Okla. (I think that was where the main Carter office was). I remember seeing the tall buildings before we got there, but the best thing I remember is a car in front of us on the highway threw out paper and I didn’t like them doing that. Glad that stayed with me, because I have always detested people littering on the highways.
Did I inherit neatness? I know my Mom wanted everything clean and neat.
For instance, when we moved into a house in a Carter camp, she scraped gum from the doorways, painted everything and, though we didn’t have expensive furniture, everything was always kept really clean.
The fall of November 1938, Dad quit Carter Oil Co., after 16½ years, and joined the Sun Rig Oil Co., a construction company, so we could move to the oil boom in Illinois. I think he quit the company, because they wanted to transfer him to one of the Southern states.
Continued Next Week


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