Mar 1 2010
08:17 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers,
It seems like I can't get back on schedule at all. With so many of our classmates passing away lately, it seems like all I do is search obituaries and go to funerals. One that is coming is going to be my desktop computer I am afraid. It sure is acting up. I still have my laptop though even though it is slower and more difficult to type on.
I sent out an obituary recently, Ms . Maude Kendred and received a nice email from Jo An Gaines (Class of 1953). Jo An gave me permission to share it with you.

Still looking for the recital photo takes in the forties at First Christian Church.

My story with Miss Maude is that I always wanted to play the piano!!

Finally when I was in the second grade my mother said, "Yes, you can take lessons from
'Miss Maude', the only problem is we do not have a piano and we cannot afford to buy one."

She thought that would be the end of my insistence!!

I went to Miss Maude and asked her to give piano lessons to me. Probably, in a weak moment she said,
"Yes". So, for two years I visited Miss Maude's little room, between the elementary part of the school and
the high school. (Those of you who remember, it was next to Mr. Eutsler's office).

Miss Maude helped me make a keyboard from card board and I practiced on that at home. She taught me how
to visualize playing in my mind. So each week I went to the lesson, never having touched a piano.

It worked. I learned to read music and got through John Thompson's third grade. Then I got a piano.

There was an older couple who lived across the street from the present location of Evan's Mortuary. Brother
and sister. Her name was Miss Juanita Bayless. She had been my dad's teacher and she had a beautiful piano.
When she heard that I was playing the piano 'without a piano', she sold her piano to my dad for a very reasonable price.
It was black with beautiful carvings and real ivory keys.

Then, the lessons went better.

I'll never forget the patience and heart of 'Miss Maude'. By the fifth grade, when the photo was taken I played a
rather difficult duet with Camilla Poole.

I will give with gratitude to the Organ Fund!

Jo An Howard Gaines

Thanks Jo An, always good to hear from you.
And a few weeks ago we had a few hitch-hiking stories. David Sliger sent me one that I would like to share also. David writes,
Ray: Chester's story reminds me of some of my experiences when I was in the Marine Corps in 1957. When stationed at the Marine Corps air station at New River, outside Jacksonville, NC, I hitchhiked to Rockwood on many a weekend. I remember I used to catch a ride with a buddy to Fayetteville, NC, home of the 82nd airborne and would then go into the bus station restroom there and put my uniform on. A body didn't want to hitchhike around Jacksonville wearing his uniform at risk of some disgruntled citizen running you down. In the 50's, all the civilians wanted from the Marines around Jacksonville was your money; not your presence. Anyway, one Friday night I arrived in Fayetteville and put on my uniform and walked back out into the waiting room cafe and sat at the counter to drink a cup of coffee before setting out on the long haul to Rockwood. Another Marine sat on the stool next to me and told he was just out of Parris Island boot camp and stationed at Camp Geiger undergoing infantry training. He was also about three sheets in the wind. Around Fayetteville, like Jacksonville, a half pint of old Yellowstone was 2 bucks, and the bootleggers didn't "card" you or take checks. He struck up a conversation in which in a loud carrying voice he commenced in on how sorry the army was and in particular how one Marine could "whup the ass of five soldiers." I looked around and noticed what appeared to be upwards of a whole battalion of airborne with their trousers tucked in their big shiny boots, and they didn't look at all friendly. In fact they were all staring at the other Marine and me with scowling faces. The Marine kept on running his mouth so I got to my feet and told him: "listen to me General Custer, I don't know if you've noticed but there's a hell of a lot more than five soldiers in here, and if there's one thing the Corps has always stressed its not to act stupid, run your mouth when you should keep it shut or show up for a fire fight with a knife. If you want to whup ass, then be my guest, in fact, you can have ten of these ole boys to whup; your five and my five." So saying I picked up my ditty bag and got the hell out of Fayetteville fast as I could go. I don't know what the outcome of that young warrior's lot was, but it probably wasn't pretty.

Semper Fi, David Sliger- Original Message -----

And we have to have an email from our good reader Chester Taylor to make the column complete...Chester writes,
Hey Ray

Back in 2001 Virginia and I came BACK HOME. Seems like we always say that when we come to Rockwood. We have lived in Michigan now for 46 years, we left there in 1961. I was 20 years old and Virginia was 17. Even though we have lived here much longer than we had lived there it will always be HOME. We came back for Virginia's 40 year reunion. They held it up over the old fire station on Chamberlin St. And by the way we had a great time.

While there I ran into coach Tom Pemberton. While talking to him I told him I knew that I knew he had coached hundreds of players over all the years he had been coaching at Rockwood, and I knew he could not remember all of them. However, I was sure he remembered me, because with each year that passes I get better and better in my own mind. Now that it has been over 40 years, and with me getting better every year, that now I can't remember why we needed those other 10 players out there. The way I remember it I did EVERYTHING!!!!!!

He agreed that we all seem to get better with the passage of time and that he could not believe we did not win a state championship each year with all those great players we had. He thought the old records must have been changed because they did not show us doing all that good.
I believe his memory is slipping because I don't really think he remembered me at all. Now how could he possibly forget a great player like that?
Than about does it for this week, remember that our "BIG RHS REUNION" is being planned and the date is set for July 13 thru July 20, 2010. More details will be sent out so please make your plans to join us.
For now 'Nuff Said............Ray
My books , "Rockwood Memories" Volume 1 and Volume II can be found at "Shacks", O'Those Were The Days Antiques", Gail Score's Western Apparrel, and David Webb's "Rocky Top General Store, or call me at (865) 354-7680.r

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