Chapter Three (Autobiography)  FIRST AND SECOND GRADE MEMORIES

Chapter Three (Autobiography) FIRST AND SECOND GRADE MEMORIES

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My mother’s parents, (Grandpa) Frank Porter Burch, and (Grandma) Bertha Marie Burch lived on the corner of West Railroad Street and Telegraph St. In Dowagiac, MI. We lived next door on Telegraph Street in what used to be  Grrandpa’s old grocery store.

My father was a builder and he had a lot to do with making it into a comfortable little place for us to live on Telegraph St. near West Railroad Street.

I attended the Oak Street Elementary school while in the first and second grade.

I  recall many times  we would go someplace or just be out for a drive and Daddy would  point out places he had helped build.  One place that I especially remember was a home that was on the road from Dowagiac to Niles.  The house was round and had two stories and he told us that the rooms were pie shaped.  I alway wanted to see the inside and was so proud, each time we passed  it over the years, to think that my Daddy had helped build this unique home.

Our next home was a few blocks across the railroad tracks to Sherwood St. My mother did interior decorating for a contractor  and it was one of the homes he built. I only remember four events during the time we lived on Sherwood Street. 

Once was when I was very sick with bronchial asthma and I also had problems with constipation so I had a tall glass of prune juice, which I really liked, sitting on my dresser next to the bed.  When the doctor made a house call to check me out and wanted to take my temperature he dipped the thermometer into my prune juice and said, “ Here, Jane, your coke will make this taste better”.   

He was pretty alarmed when I told him that it was prune juice and then he said, with great surprise, “Prune juice! That much!” and looked at my mother waiting for an explanation. My mother explained that I loved prune juice and that it also had medicinal purposes for my chronic bowel problem.

The second thing was the time that some of the children in school had head lice of which I was unaware and needless to say, some of those little varmints lodged in my very curly long hair.  Before we realized what was wrong I thought I would absolutely go crazy with my head itching. I asked Mother to wash my hair which she did, but I still complained  even more and she  was quite disturbed when she realized that I had head lice.  She contacted the school in the morning and they said that I must have gotten them at school because there were several cases of them. Mother was upset about that because of my tangly long curls. We had quite a time getting rid of the lice and eggs. In those days we did not have the preparations that are available to us  these days. 

Mother used a black tarry like ‘gunk’ and it seemed like she washed my hair more times than I could count and each time using a really fine toothed comb to try to remove the eggs from my curly tresses.

Years later when I was teaching school and some of the students who had hamsters came in with head lice so bad that I saw them in the hair of one of the girls while listening to her oral reading.  At first I though she had mosquitoes in her hair and then I saw a lot of them.  That night I went home and gave myself a permanent, not that I needed curl, just thought that would kill them for sure.   For the next few weeks every time that I felt the least little tickle in my hair I was fearful that I might have head lice.  Thankfully that never transpired.

The third thing I remember was when I was doing my home work while learning to address an envelope. When it came time to put the stamp on I remember learning from my mother that the three on the stamp meant that it  cost three cents.  That was when I learned that it actually cost something to send a letter.

Finally, I remember when my mother was at work and daddy was home with us and we had just retired for the evening and my daddy came into our rooms and asked me, my sister, Sue and  my brother, Larry to get up and come to the bathroom.   Went we got there he asked each of us if we had flushed something down the toilet earlier that day. We each look innocently at one another of and then each of us pleaded complete innocence.   My daddy always spoke very softly and he told us that if someone did not tell the truth he would spank all of us.  Of course when each of us denied it continually he finally paddled us and sent us to bed. It wasn’t a very hard spanking that I recall.  Perhaps he felt he would get a confession and since none of us took the responsibility for the deed he had some doubts himself and felt he must do as he said he would.

Then what seemed to me the middle of the night he awakened us and  with tears on his face he apologized to each of us. When mother got home and he told her what had happened she informed him that she was the one who had plugged the stool earlier that day and then thought it was okay when she left for work.

Truthfully, the thing that I remember most about that incident was the fact that my father felt so badly about it and apologized to us. This caused me to have a great  respect for him and no hard feelings at all about the spanking. I loved my “Daddy”.

My parents both had jobs and were hard workers and provided well for us. I do not recall attending church anytime during those early years but I learned the importance of an apology when necessary and forgiveness when wronged.

Proverbs 25:11-13 (KJV)    “11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”

FIRST AND SECOND GRADE MEMORIES –Autobiography Chapter Three

My mother’s parents, (Grandpa) Frank Porter Burch, and (Grandma) Bertha Marie Burch lived on the corner of West Railroad Street and Telegraph St. In Dowagiac, MI. We lived next door on Telegraph Street in what used to be  Grandpa’s old grocery store.

My father was a builder and he had a lot to do with making it into a comfortable little place for us to live on Telegraph St. near West Railroad Street. I attended the Oak Street Elementary school while in the first and second grade.

I  recall many times  we would go someplace or just be out for a drive and Daddy would  point out places he had helped build.  One place that I especially remember was a home that was on the road from Dowagiac to Niles.  The house was round and had two stories and he told us that the rooms were pie shaped.  I alway wanted to see the inside and was so proud, each time we passed  it over the years, to think that my Daddy had helped build this unique home. 

Our next home was a few blocks across the railroad tracks to Sherwood St. My mother did interior decorating for a contractor  and it was one of the homes he built. I only remember four events during the time we lived on Sherwood Street.  

Once was when I was very sick with bronchial asthma and I also had problems with constipation so I had a tall glass of prune juice, which I really liked, sitting on my dresser next to the bed.  When the doctor made a house call to check me out and wanted to take my temperature he dipped the thermometer into my prune juice and said, “ Here, Jane, your coke will make this taste better”.   

He was pretty alarmed when I told him that it was prune juice and then he said, with great surprise, “Prune juice! That much!” and looked at my mother waiting for an explanation. My mother explained that I loved prune juice and that it also had medicinal purposes for my chronic bowel problem.

The second thing was the time that some of the children in school had head lice of which I was unaware and needless to say, some of those little varmints lodged in my very curly long hair.  Before we realized what was wrong I thought I would absolutely go crazy with my head itching. I asked Mother to wash my hair which she did, but I still complained  even more and she  was quite disturbed when she realized that I had head lice.  She contacted the school in the morning and they said that I must have gotten them at school because there were several cases of them. Mother was upset about that because of my tangly long curls. We had quite a time getting rid of the lice and eggs. In those days we did not have the preparations that are available to us  these days.  

Mother used a black tarry like ‘gunk’ and it seemed like she washed my hair more times than I could count and each time using a really fine toothed comb to try to remove the eggs from my curly tresses. 

Years later when I was teaching school and some of the students who had hamsters came in with head lice so bad that I saw them in the hair of one of the girls while listening to her oral reading.  At first I though she had mosquitoes in her hair and then I saw a lot of them.  That night I went home and gave myself a permanent, not that I needed curl, just thought that would kill them for sure.   For the next few weeks every time that I felt the least little tickle in my hair I was fearful that I might have head lice.  Thankfully that never transpired.

The third thing I remember was when I was doing my home work while learning to address an envelope. When it came time to put the stamp on I remember learning from my mother that the three on the stamp meant that it  cost three cents.  That was when I learned that it actually cost something to send a letter.

Finally, I remember when my mother was at work and daddy was home with us and we had just retired for the evening and my daddy came into our rooms and asked me, my sister, Sue and  my brother, Larry to get up and come to the bathroom.   Went we got there he asked each of us if we had flushed something down the toilet earlier that day. We each look innocently at one another of and then each of us pleaded complete innocence.   My daddy always spoke very softly and he told us that if someone did not tell the truth he would spank all of us.  Of course when each of us denied it continually he finally paddled us and sent us to bed. It wasn’t a very hard spanking that I recall.  Perhaps he felt he would get a confession and since none of us took the responsibility for the deed he had some doubts himself and felt he must do as he said he would.

Then what seemed to me the middle of the night he awakened us and  with tears on his face he apologized to each of us. When mother got home and he told her what had happened she informed him that she was the one who had plugged the stool earlier that day and then thought it was okay when she left for work.

Truthfully, the thing that I remember most about that incident was the fact that my father felt so badly about it and apologized to us. This caused me to have a great  respect for him and no hard feelings at all about the spanking. I loved my “Daddy”.

My parents both had jobs and were hard workers and provided well for us. I do not recall attending church anytime during those early years but I learned the importance of an apology when necessary and forgiveness when wronged.

Proverbs 25:11-13 (KJV)    “11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”

MEMORIES OF MY PARENTS — Autobiography Chapter Two

I,(Jane Ann Shipley) was born in Cassopolis, MI

http://www.swmidirectory.org History_of_Cass_County.html

 DADDY ‘S HOME Town

My father, Beryl (Bud) Allen Shipley of Buchanan, MI,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchanan,_Michigan   son of Grace Moyer Shipley who raised my father and his sister Wilma alone, after a divorce  when my father was about nine. His father’s name was Ownan Shipley, and lived the rest of his adult life in Glendora, MI.

She raised them in the fear and admonition of the Lord as she served faithfully as a Sunday School teacher in the Church of Christ in Buchanan, Michigan. She also worked for the Clark Equipment company until her retirement.

My father had trusted Christ as his Saviour, I believe, in his teen years (As in the article below).

Daddy was a carpenter and had a hand in many projects over the years in the Indiana – Michigan area.  

MOTHER’S HOME TOWN

While I was quite small we moved to the little town of Dowagiac, MI which was nick-named “Dog – Patch”.  I have looked it up to see why and I have only found a few nick name forums that affirm that fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowagiac,_Michigan

We lived in the former grocery store of my maternal grandfather, Frank Porter Burch who was married to Bertha Marie (Green) Burch. 

I recall my mother telling that her father had the name  “Lottie” put on her birth certificate when she was born to her mother’s grief (a former girls friend’s name).  They had agreed to name her Charlotte Celeste Burch.

A little closed grocery store building was on the same property as my grandparents home. 

My earliest memory when the store was still in operation, was to go see my grandparents and there were large barrels in the middle isle of the store and they would let me stand on my tip toes along with my brother and sister and reach into the barrel and have a few soda crackers or sometimes a big pickle.

 I can remember the very tall yellow and brown Sunflowers and beautiful blue Morning Glories that my grandfather grew just outside the back door of the store.  I do not remember a lot about those days. I must have been very young.

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Some Things My Mother Taught Me

(Written approximately 1960’s by Grace Shipley) My paternal grandmother.

Thinking back as a great- grandmother there are  so many  things my mother taught me it would be hard to name them all. Altho she was not a Christian at the time, she was interested in having her children attend Bible School.  At the age of six, I attended my first year.  I had a perfect attendance record and was awarded a pin by my teacher with  the Scripture words, “fear not I will help thee”, which I have carried in my memory through the years.

When we moved to the country my mother provided a way for us to attend the country church in which we also had an active part in the services.  I knew there were times when we disobeyed her, but she was always kind and understanding and willing to help us with our problems.

I became a Christian in my teens and down through the ages wherever I have lived I found a church where I could serve the Lord in some way.

On Dec 18, 1922, I took fellowship with the Church of Christ here in Buchanan, MI, having been a member of the U.B. Church.  As a member here I have spent some of the most enjoyable years of my life in serving the Lord and having the fellowship of Christian friends. 

On April 27, 1924 my Mother and son were baptized into Christ in this church which made me very happy.

The most important thing my mother taught me is that it was right to go to church and has had a great influence in my life.  In rowing older we cherish the memories of the many things our mother’s teach us and the things she did for us and how richly we have been blessed by having such a mother.

We are twenty in number in our family group.  I have a sone, a daughter, six grandchildren of whom for are married, and five great-grandchildren.

Out of this number we have two ministers, a choir director, a youth leader, four pianists, and others serving the Lord in many ways.  From the youngest to the oldest these twenty are in the Lord’s house every Lord’s day, which makes a very happy great- grandmother.

In Proverbs 22:6 we read, “Train up a child in the way de should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

MEMORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD –Autobiography Chapter One

MEMORIES of My Childhood

By Jane Ann (Shipley) Pierpont

Fearful Days

Psalm 118:6 “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear:  what can man do unto me?”

The earliest place that I can recall living was in Muskegon, MI.  There are a few things I recall about living in Muskegon which were quite memorable.

We lived in a large white house, not very many blocks away from Lake Michigan.

My mother worked and we had a baby sitter which will remain unnamed, but I am sure that neither I, my brother, Larry, nor my sister, Sue, will ever forget her.

She was very mean to us and did things to us to scare us into obedience.   When my siblings and I talked of it in later years we decided that my brother, Larry Lee (three years my senior) and I must have been naughtier than my sister, Sandra Sue (fifteen months my senior). The baby sitter seemed to favor her over us.

But then according to my recent discussion with Sue, she felt equally picked on.

The only thing I can remember doing wrong was not making it to the restroom in time, so she put me up on a shelf in the closet and it was a very hot summer day and a wasp or bee was buzzing around me and I became frightened and fell off the shelf and skinned my back.

Another time she had my brother throw a bucket of water on me when I came around a corner in the house or several times she stood me in the toilet and scared me by flushing the toilet so that I would think I was going to go down.  

In later years when we talked about some of these events, my mother was very distressed and asked us why we did not tell her and told us that she would have dismissed her. 

We were fearful because  the baby sitter had threatened us that she would do worse things the next day if we told and we were afraid (not realizing that there would be no “next day”).

In recent years I have wondered if she was an unhappy person and just needed someone to care about her and I pray for her that somehow in God’s grace she found Christ as her Saviour so that she could have joy in her life.

Tonsils Out

I believe that was also the year I had my tonsils out after having many sore throats, bronchitis and whopping cough.  I can visualize being carried down stairs someplace and waking up with a very, very sore throat. I also had severe asthma and remember waking in the night having difficulty breathing.

The Fire

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…..” Proverbs 22:15

One day I was playing  and I heard this loud siren coming down our street and I went to the window to look out and they were coming to a stop in front of our house and then I noticed smoke coming from the front porch area.

My brother, Larry, had decided to burn the leaves under the porch which got the attention of the baby sitter and neighbors right away.  I am sure that Larry must have been rewarded for his deed because I do not recall that he ever started another fire in anything but the burn barrel. 

Snacking from the Cupboards

Another memory I had was climbing up on a chair to the kitchen cupboards where mother kept the baking supplies.   Today to my horror I recall that I would stick my finger in the lard and lick it off.  I also remember  helping myself to the baking nuts that my mother used to bake cookies and sometimes the chocolate chips.  In later years she said something about the fact that she had trouble keeping nuts in the house because I would get into them.  I do not recall getting into them in later years, perhaps she persuaded me somehow not to do that, I don’t recall any punishment though.

My parents were strict and I was very anxious to please them. So it probably didn’t take much more than a firm word to obtain compliance from me. (In a later chapter I will share about the only two spankings that I can remember.)

Most of these memories are very brief because of my age, but somehow stick in my mind as big events.

New Shoes for Kindergarten 

This event has a much more pleasant memory.

That year I started kindergarten at Moon Elementary School. 

Not long after school started Mother asked my “daddy” (as I called him) to take me to buy a new pair of school shoes. I can remember that special occasion like it was yesterday. 

First going shopping with daddy sounded like fun and getting new shoes was pretty special to me.

When we got to the shoe store a salesman came to us and offered his help as we looked at the shoes on the shelf. 

As Daddy explained that I needed new school shoes, my eyes began to wander around the store until I discovered the children’s display.  As I looked at the different styles my eyes kept going back to a pair of shiny, black, patented leather shoes with high tops which also had about six buttons and loops for fastening them.

My daddy pointed to a couple of styles and asked the gentleman if I could try them on for a start.

There was a row of chairs and the  salesman asked me to  climb up into one of them. He then sat down on a short stool which had a slanted place with a black rubber mat on it like I had seen on people’s stairways so that they would not be slippery. 

He also had me place my foot into a metal tool on the slanted place which had a slide with numbers on it, like a ruler. He placed my heel against the end toward me and then pushed the other end toward my toes until it fit my foot comfortably.  This was how he measured my feet to determine what size I needed.  Then  he went to the back of the store to see if he had my size.

While he was gone I jumped down and went over to the shelf and once again I looked at the favored black high tops. 

Soon the salesman came out with the shoes my daddy had selected. To this day I do not recall what those shoe looked like.  He reached in his pocket and took out  a metal object from his pocket and used it to help slide the shoe onto my feet one at a time.  This object I learned later was called a shoe horn.

After trying on the first pair of shoes the man showed me a  little slanted mirror which was on the floor where I could  walk over and view my feet. Then  I returned to the chair to try the other pair and jumped down right away and surveyed the next pair and quickly went and jumped up onto the chair so the man could remove the shoes.  He then placed them back in the box and looked at my daddy and said, “Would you like to look at another styes?”

To this date I cannot remember anything about either pair of those shoes.  All the time I am wondering  which pair will daddy get for me.  

Evidently my daddy noticed that I had admired the black hightop shoes and to my great joy and surprise, Daddy said as he walked over to the shelf, “I think Jane would like to try this pair on too if you have them in her size.” Then he looked down at me with a smile and pointed to the only shoes I had really wished for.

The man was gone just a few seconds and returned with   a box that had a picture on the end of the box just like the shoes. When he had finished painstakingly buttoning each button on the first shoe, he picked up the second shoe and with the shoe horn put my foot into the shoe. 

All the time I was thinking that we would probably get one of the other pairs that I had tried on and Daddy was just letting me try them on for the fun of it. I figured that would also be too expensive. I really did not understand how much they were.

When the man finished buttoning the other shoe he took my hand and helped me step down from the chair and I walked over to the little slanted mirror on the floor and looked in the mirror. They were just beautiful. I turned to look  at the sides and then twisted around to see the backs. Then I looked down at my feet and walked slowly back to the chair while watching Daddy’s eyes. 

I was elated when he smiled and said to the salesperson, I think this is the pair we would like,” and turned his face toward me with his quiet smile.  

I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get home to put them on and show everyone.

When we arrived home I was so excited and hurried in  to show them to my mother who had just returned from work.

I held up the box to her and Mother looked at the shoes and then at my daddy and it was obvious that she was not very happy about our choice of shoes.  

She looked at daddy and with great indignation in her voice she exclaimed,  “Bud, (daddy’s nick name) What were you thinking?  Those are not school shoes! Do you have any idea how hard it will be for her to button those every morning?” 

I held my breath in fear that we would have to take them back and return them for more practical shoes, but Mother also had a little flair for pretty things and understanding a little girls heart, finally consented to keeping the shoes and turned and walked away trying to show a little disgust in her demeanor.

Mother’s disapproval did not affect the great joy that I had the next day, when I wore them to school. I was looking forward to “show and tell” time (as they called it in kindergarten). Students were allowed to show a new item or an item of special interest.  If one had new shoes or a  new item the teacher would let that child stand on a chair and the class would sing a little song together.

Something like this:

“Janie has new shoes. 

Janie has new shoes.”  

I don’t remember anything else about that school or anything that I learned or was supposed to learn, but I certainly loved my daddy for buying those beautiful, new, shiny black, patent leather, button up shoes – just for me.