Feb 4 2008
07:22 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collet

Hello Readers, This week's email bag sure brings a lot of mail. One thing about it, if you want to know the answer to any question, from lead pencils to Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" just print it in "Rockwood Memories."

Our good friend Buddy Lorimer explained how the lead in pencils is numbered and #2 is the best and most practical to use. And David Sliger also said that the #2 designated the hardness of the lead with #1 being the hardest and thus the softer #2 was preferred. David also wrote,"At the old Pine Hill school, we used the old "dirty-white" soft page lined tablets. David remembered the pencils came without erasers best as he could recall. Their desks had the inkwell holes in one corner and David shared a double desk with a buddy, who happened to be a tobacco chewer (at age ten, no less) and he kept a can inside the desk under the inkwell hole. When the teacher's back was turned, he would lean forward and spit on through the hole into the can.

Talk about hard core... I used to hear about a kid who would dip a girl's pigtails in the inkwell. I guess she sat in front of him. It might have been "Miss Sarah Sherrill's" class. She really taught a long time didn't she? She taught my grandfather at the old Beech Springs school, my dad at Rockwood, and taught me also in Rockwood. Three generations! I wonder if she taught "Miss Roxie". Now there is an icon! She is certainly deserving of a Miss Roxie Day, in fact Rockwood should be named "RoxieWood" for that day.
Lloyd "Buddy" Morris, also sent me a lot of information about the history of the pencil. Tom Scott told me that he had to use slate tablets. Just kidding Tom. He is our local historian and "Hardee's" coffee club president. Tom is always willing to help with genealogy and is really well versed in the history of Rockwood.
I remember using the "old fashioned" fountain pens with the tube inside and the small lever that you had to pull down to fill them. Our desks had the inkwells in the upper right-hand corner, and we even had some classes in penmanship, which seems to be absent from most school curricula these days. I never could write too good and somehow the pen's nib would manage to catch in the paper's surface causing the ink to splatter in all directions. And when the ball point pens arrived on the scene, the ink was no friend to left-handed writers, for the ink didn't dry fast enough to avoid getting some of it smeared on the fleshy part of the back of the hand. And the ball point pen, being an interesting novelty, had a technical problem with the ball picking up lint from the paper, or not functioning at all. But today's ball point pens work well for most people. And if a return to yesteryear and fountain pens are in your thoughts, there are no more bottles of ink to replenish the supply. Now it is all inside a convenient cartridge, even specially designed pen nibs for all of you lefties.
Or really go retro and return to the quill pen. This tool of the scribes was in use for a thousand years and produced some of the world's most beautiful examples of illuminated manuscripts. What about the famous signature of John Hancock? Can you imagine John making the flourishes of his hand with a ball point pen? How about it Tom Scott, did you ever use a quill pen?
Enough ramblings for this week...Don't forget David Sliger's book that he has written, talk about some funny, entertaining stories...His email address is . Send me some of your memories gang, the local library is closed for inventory and the pickings are slim....until next week, Ray

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.