July 15 • 10:29 PM

No place like home...

July 15, 2009
It was a year ago today (July 13) that I moved back to Almont from Independence Village in Frankenmuth. Independence Village is a lovely place and I have no fault whatsoever to find with it but, it wasn't home. "You can take the girl out of the country but, you can't take the country out of the girl.'' My apartment next to Don and Carol Heim is perfect, especially with a branch of the Clinton River passing through the edge of the property. Every once in a while I go out and ask the little rivulet what it saw as it meandered across my '45.'

I am still going through 'stuff' and Sunday afternoon came across my scrapbook from high school daze. Yes, those were wonderful dazey days. My Grandmother Miller used to tell me to cherish them because life would become more complicated and not so carefree. Of course, I didn't pay much attention then but, have come to understand what she meant.

The scrapbook is bringing back many wonderful memories. Dr. Clare Bishop was our choir director at the Congregational Church. He and Mrs. Bishop used to give us some wonderful choir parties. Here is a napkin from a weenie roast in September of 1934. Oh, and here is another invitation. This one is a black hand and on it is written in white, "This hand of fate is sent to you, Beware of what it says to do; Witchy goblins prepare a stew, A Hocus-Pocus Party brew.'' On the other side it says, Thursday evening, eight o'clock, Dr. and Mrs. Bishop. Rear Entrance. He taught us so much and ... there was no monkey business as he was a busy, busy doctor.

Another who gave me an appreciation for good music was our high school music director, Mr. Elwell. He took a load of us to the Normal College Conservatory of Music in Ypsilanti on March 22, 1935. It was a concert from the works of Johann Sebastian Bach with Frederick Alexander as conductor. Among the accompanists was Clarence Odmark, violinist, who was our high school band director in the late '30s.

Do they still have Mother and Daughter Banquets? This one was at Almont High School, May 9, 1935. The Toastmistress was Mrs. U.B. Shoemaker. Her oldest son is 4 Star General Robert M. Shoemaker of Fort Hood, Texas. At the last Homecoming Reunion at Lenny Miller's of graduates from dear ol' Almont High, I sat at the same table as younger son Jack. What a character! I laughed until my tummy hurt. Doris Yoder Pittenger gave the toast to Mothers and Mrs. O.R. Terpening gave the toast to Daughters. Terpening had a grocery store in Almont. Oh yes, Almont was quite a self-sufficient village at one time. Three or four grocery stores, two drug stores, a ten-cent store, a Ford dealer, a Chevrolet dealer, a Pontiac dealer and much more.

How about Junior-Senior Banquets? I imagine those are out of the question with such large classes. My graduating class had 24 members. Our class motto was, "Honor Lies at Labor's Gate.'' The banquet that our Junior Class gave the Seniors was June 7, 1935. Their class motto was, "Safe on First, Now Score.'' The Toastmaster was Albert Cochrane, Marjorie Eldred sang a solo, a cornet solo by Robert Stannard, several readings, "Upon Reaching First,'' Mabel Moore (Smith), "In Scoring Position,'' Marjorie Currey (Tower), "Hit That Ball,'' Mary Jean Bishop (Lane), a saxophone solo by Beva Campbell. Our superintendent, Clyde Schickler's speech was "Runner be Careful.'' We sang our High School Song, which I think they still sing today, "Cheers for our High School, Almont Forever,''...and that's the way it was 74 years ago!

— Country Cousin

Gertie Brooks, of Almont, has been a columnist for the Tri-City Times for over three decades now. Gertie's style of reliving days long past in her writing make her one of the Times' most popular columnists.
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