January 22 • 02:23 AM

Doris fondly remembered

October 29, 2008
Saying a final farewell this week to Doris Ettema, another of the gracious people who invited me over when I was new to Imlay City, took me back in time to another era, really. To quote her daughter Sandy, with whom I had lunch a couple of weeks ago, "It was simpler back then."

In some ways it was, though I suspect there is some amnesia mixed in with the nostalgia when I say that.

Sandy and I were remembering back to when I was the teacher and she was the student. The time frame would have to be somewhere between September of 1964 and May of 1966—the short time in which I taught at Imlay City Christian. The board had hired me straight out of college. I did not have a teaching degree and was hired on the contingency that I continue my education, which I did, for the next two summers.

"She was a good teacher," Sandy said to the rest of the group around the table (including her mother).

"I was very naive back then. I had to have been, to think I could teach 27 kindergarten, first, and second graders."

That's when Sandy interjected, "Things were simpler back then."

I don't think she meant easier. But they were less complicated, more "down home.'' I recalled, for instance, that her mom had invited me over for a meal, and I'd stayed on to watch Bonanza with them. I remember the moms' group had a bridal shower for me before I married Mike. The picture I went looking for (but didn't find) was of them dressing me in a tissue-paper wedding dress and veil. What I did find was a page of quotes I had kept, one of which, from a dad whose child is a kindergartener at Weston (where I now work with one of Doris' other daughters, Carol Quimby) was, "Miss De Boef, where does the chalk dust go when you erase the board? Into the chalkboard?''

I don't remember where that kid sat, but I do remember where you sat, Sandy. And your cousins Randy and Rick. And your cousin Dorothy. A less complicated time which left good memories.

So, Sandy and Carol and the rest of you, know that your mom is fondly remembered.

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