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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Brazil Buzz

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fifty-five years ago, May of 1957 my classmates and I were busy wrapping up our senior year at good old BHS. Those moments in time are indeed worthy of remembrance.

Truth is, that year was very eventful, not only for us, but for our nation. The Space Age began with the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik I, the first Earth-orbiting satellite.

It was an important year for health breakthroughs, notably the invention of the external transistorized pacemaker. An artificial heart developed by William Kolff was first implanted in an animal. Both devices have saved many lives since.

Everyone feared the Asian flu that year. It failed to find our place. We complained about other things.

In 1957 Sweet 'N' Low substitute was introduced to many empty sugar bowls.

Those boys that were lucky enough to have access to the keys of a new retractable hardtop Ford Skyliner convertible had no trouble filling the passenger seat with females.

Riding double on a Schwinn Deluxe Hornet could fit fanny and fancy just as well!

Everyone owned a new Frisbee. Junk food was classified as garbage or slop. I sang, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" Once or twice.

Gas was a little over two bits a gallon. No one worried much about pump watch. No mouth flew open when the driver said, "Fill her up!"

The movies were a bargain. No need to share drinks or popcorn. Dutch wasn't brought up much, either.

I saw "The Bridge on the River Kwai" with Alec Guinness and William Holden twice that year, once at the Corral. Imagine that! Yep, I have the late Bob Johnson and his family to thank for that, a long ago, but much appreciated treat.

"Dope" meant a dummy, and tattoos were rarely seen on the ladies. Sailors cursed, nice girls didn't do that. Mini skirts were not in vogue. Bobby socks, starched can-cans were in, and not many people were coming out.

Hair extensions could be bought cheap at Murphy's. I owned a ponytail that came in a plastic tube. It matched my hair, including the roots. This girl of the '50s was so proud of that long, tethered swishing tail of blond blend of silky saran attached to my head. I wore my find to school. It made the grade and passed with flying colors, but failed me later when I took my skinny frame to lunch at the old bus station to get one of their super-sized tenderloins and a piece of Goldie's cream pie.

Goldie and Althea loved the hairdo. Everyone, including Dagwood made favorable remarks. Then a friend of the family, a young city patrolman, Norval Pickett Jr., walked in and came over to my stool to say hello. He gave that fake ponytail a quick yank and that hairpiece moved away from the neatly tied bow, detached and landed in his hand. Laughter filled the room. I put it in my shoulder bag and never wore it again. Norval and I laughed too, for years, about that time he pulled out my hair, back in '57!

From first through twelfth grade our teachers were great. Miss Dorothy Killion was my first grade teacher at Alabama Street School and taught history at Brazil Junior High School. Mae Tribble, Helen Riddell, and Beulah Smith are remembered fondly as well!

At Meridian, Bessie Hendrickson and her sister Ethel Whitmarsh and their no-nonsense approach to teaching was noteworthy. I could never forget our principal, Johnny Whittington, Dorothy Fisher or Mildred Bucklin.

Katie Howald Myers was sweet beyond the call of duty. The many kindnesses she extended to me will never be forgotten. Her shoulder was there for me in those days -- more than once.

She appreciated my early interest in reading and writing. She was certainly worthy of more than an edible apple a day from the Winesap Basket and a gapped tooth smile. But, in those days, there were no better rewards available.

Junior High and Senior High teachers were wonderful framers too. They did not have the sophisticated teaching tools that educators have at their disposal today, but they taught us well and gave their all, to our advantage.

Our principal and teacher at Brazil Senior High was Mr. R. James Risk. He and his lovely wife Rosemary live in the Chicago area today. They are our grandsons, Michael and Dan Risk's paternal grandfather and grandmother.

Ralph Egloff was an outstanding teacher, Phyllis Hess and the late Kathryn Moore taught me homemaking skills that I have applied what I retain ever since my marriage back in the fall of 1957. Lucia Pierce was most revered for her math skills and teaching methods. Miss Hicks and I enjoyed a lot of good conversation late in her life. She was a reader of Brazil Buzz and a special mentor back in the day.

No, I did not name all of my teachers but all have a special place in my store. I am so grateful for schooling!

WTHI recently named five more recipients of their Golden Apple Award. Congratulations to Joanna Thomas Connors. You are richly deserving of the honor.

My eldest granddaughter, Lindsay Terry, is a teacher at Delaware Trails Elementary in Brownsburg. She teaches grades 2-3. Mrs. Terry's gifted students remain in her charge, a guiding influence on both grades. Recently she received a grant of $1,000 from the Brownsburg Education Foundation. The grant title is "iPod in Everyday Math Classroom!"

It is a Golden Apple to honor Lindsay's commitment to her students. Two iPods were purchased with the grant.

How blessed we are for all teachers, past and present and more -- the greatest teacher ever known.

It is time to tuck in my kids and thank God for another good day.

I can be reached by phone at 812-446-4852 or by email at pamsarq@frontier.com.