The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild
Published 9:17 am Thursday, June 22, 2017
By Linda Barnette
When I went to graduate school at the University of Tennessee back in the 1960’s, very few students had cars, including me. In order to get to come home for school holidays, I would either ride the Greyhound bus or ride with another student in the English department. My parents always met me at the bus station in Asheville, so that made the trip to pick me up much shorter for them.
Riding the Greyhound bus in those days was quite an adventure. I would take a cab from my room on Clinch Avenue to the Knoxville bus station and hope that the bus would be on schedule. Since there was no Interstate 40 then, the bus ride was long, tiring, and curvy. The drivers stopped at almost every house along the way, prolonging the trip more than was necessary. There were no stops to eat or anything else, and we were not allowed food on the bus either. Therefore, when I could work it out, I would travel with a friend.
Luckily, another student and I caught a ride with one of the other graduate assistants for Christmas break of 1963. After we had ridden for about 50 miles, snow started to fall, not heavy snow, but just enough to be bothersome. We were not worried because in those days there was very little traffic. As we were going around a curve outside of Newberry, Sally’s car slid directly into the only oncoming car that we had met on that stretch of road. Unfortunately, we didn’t have seatbelts, and my head hit the windshield and cracked it. Sally and Bob realized that I might be hurt, so they put me in the back seat and covered me with all three of our coats. We could not move because the two bumpers were locked together. Eventually, a highway patrolman came along and helped the guys get the cars apart so we could head on to Asheville. Keep in mind that there were no cell phones or any other way of communicating in 1963. When we finally got to Asheville, my parents were frantic, and my head was throbbing.
We came all the way to Mocksville to Davie County Hospital where the nurse in the ER called Dr. Slate, who arrived promptly, did some tests and diagnosed me with a concussion and a whiplash. He advised me to take it easy, which I did during the holidays. After Christmas, my mother and dad took me back to Knoxville, where it had been arranged that I would go to a clinic across town for treatments on my neck for a few weeks. I was actually in a lot of pain, and when I look back on that episode, I wonder how I was able to stay in school. Finally, I did get better, and now all I have left of that concussion is an egg-sized knot under my bangs. I also have realized as I have gotten older that it was another one of those times when God held me in His hands and did not allow me to panic!
“My Guardian Angel Drinks”
By N. R. Tucker
(a Pindaric Ode)
My guardian angel drinks.
Else why would my tea be all over the floor?
Why did I bang my head on the door?
My guardian angel drinks.
Through my umbrella, the rain did fall.
Soaking wet, I slipped in the hall.
Walking to work, my wallet was lost.
Into the river, my car keys got tossed.
I ran for the train, the door shut in my face.
A little old lady sprayed me with Mace.
The answer is clear, don’t ask the sphinx
My lazy, crazy, guardian angel drinks.
“More Adventures of PeeBee”
By Sandra Vance
Today my daddy and me went to the river to fish this morning. I have learned that light time is morning and dark time is night. So, we went to the river, but it was crowded so we did not fish. I drank some river water and got wet and we came home. And then my daddy and mama got in daddy’s little car and went away. I did not get to go with them, but I did stay in our house and took a nap. In a while, they came home, and they smelled good! Like meat! But I did not get anything out of a white box this time. Mama said no PeeBee, this is for me for later. (But she maybe will forget, and then she will give it to ME later!) Then daddy said come on PeeBee, we’re going to mow. Sometimes I like to help daddy mow. I will walk with him and let him know when he should stop and rest. We will stop and rest and then go mow some more. HEHASSNACKSFORMESOMETIMESWHENWEMOW! But I don’t always eat them right away. I will bury them for later. I once liked to chase the birds, but now I just bark a little and then let them eat in peace. We have lots of birds at our house cause daddy puts out bird food for them. It is ‘way different than PeeBee food so I don’t eat their food BUT THEY EAT MY FOOD! I don’ think that is fair! Yesterday daddy gave me a bath. It is not like a present. It is when I get all wet and daddy rubs some stuff on me, and it gets all white and smells different, and then he runs water all over me and the white stuff goes away. Then he gets a rag that he calls a towel and rubs and rubs me, and I run around the yard and roll in the leaves! And daddy laughs at me. This time when I knew I was going to get a bath, I tried to hide under mama’s car, but I am almost too big to do that now. Anyway, now I am clean, and I bet mama will wash my Big Old Dog Bed and then IT will smell different. OOps! The telephone is ringing, and now mama is leaving so I will say more later!
“A Building, but More”
By Julie Terry Cartner
It’s just a building, they say.
But it’s not. It may be a building, but it’s so much more. It’s the first students who stepped through the doors in the fall of 1956 with eyes gleaming with pride in their new school. It’s the students who painted murals on the walls; in C building the depiction of many of the activities and classes that occurred during the early years; in E building nature scenes, and of course in the gym a war eagle. It’s the banners and trophies all over the school. It’s the concerns of students choosing their classes and the fun of students voting for homecoming queen and senior superlatives. It’s the thrill of new teachers starting their first jobs and writing their names on the board for the very first time. It’s the bulletin boards painstakingly created by a myriad of personnel. It’s the graduates coming back to visit their favorite teachers and hangouts. It’s the bittersweet smiles of students as the leave campus for the final time on the last day of school in June of 2017.
It’s just mortar and blocks, they say.
But it’s not. It’s laughter and tears, pride and discouragement, love and hate, work and fun. It’s all that and so much more. The halls echo the joy of students reuniting after long, busy summers, and they echo the grief of students when their classmates passed away during their tenure at Davie. They echo the shouts of joy over winning seasons, conference championships, state and world championships and victories against arch rivals. They echo the tears of defeat when each athlete thinks that he or she was the one who lost the game. They echo the gasps of relief when the grade was passing and the shrugs of discouragement when the grade was not. The halls reverberate with the drum beats and brass of the pep band marching down the halls before major games, the excitement of annual signing day, and the shout of SENIORS! on graduation day.
It’s just concrete and paint, they say.
But it’s not. It is bells ringing, thousands of feet walking or running to class, chairs scraping across floors, voices talking, teachers instructing and pens and pencils gliding across paper. It’s markers on white boards, smart boards, and projectors, calculators, and rulers. It’s beakers being filled and emptied, meter sticks measuring, guidance counselors helping, and history being taught through facts and literature. It’s the roar of engines, mortar going on bricks, skill saws and sandpaper. It’s JROTC marching, chickens clucking, paint being applied, and computer programs processing work. It’s the conglomeration of music from band and chorus, and the slip-slide footsteps of dancers practicing their routines.
It’s just a building, they say.
But it’s not. A school is a home for people, for students and teachers, administrators and office personnel, for guidance counselors and campus police, for teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, and custodians. Wherever these people join together, you have a school. The school is not the building; the school is the people. But as the doors close for the last time at 1200 Salisbury Street, after the last graduates have walked into the stadium to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” after the teachers and administrators have recorded the last grades and packed the final boxes, after the guidance counselors have finished the last transcript and packed up millions of file folders, after the doors have closed for the last time, it’s okay to mourn the end of an era, but then remember that the school is the people and celebrate the excitement of starting a new page in the history of Davie County High School at 180 War Eagle Drive!
“Learning to Type”
By Stephanie Dean
Little did I know at 13 years old how much one skill would benefit my life in years ahead.
In June of 1968, I took a Typing I class during the summer session at a public high school in my hometown of Nashville. The idea was my mother’s, from whom most grand opportunities during my youthful years, originated. Now too old for camp, she believed a typing class might be a perfect solution for staying busy.
It was the summer after my 7th-grade year. I was excited about attending a public high school if only for a couple of months as I attended a female, private school. There would be boys!
Cathy was my 16-year-old friend who lived across the street. She had been given a brand new sage green Camaro for her birthday which was promptly wrecked the day after she received the car. Even so, the damage had been repaired, and my mother allowed me to ride to school with her each day.
Three years later, I was taking Typing II from Sister Loyola, one of the nuns at the Catholic school where I attended. With about 25 girls in my class, the constant sound of clicking filled our ears as the single character on each key press struck the ribbon and transferred ink to our paper. Having played the piano for years, my fingers were strong and nimble so my typing advanced quickly. However, I was much more proficient in speed than accuracy. Finally, achieving a higher level of accuracy as well as speed, I banged those keys upward, above 70 WPM (words per minute).
When I turned 16, my father gave me a new, turquoise Royal electric typewriter for Christmas. I am happy to report that I still have it and have had the vintage machine cleaned and refurbished. I was a typing fiend. Still am. Now, my 6-year-old grandson loves to peck around on the black keys and type out phrases. Just as I have rekindled emotions for my old typewriter, he too was instantly enamored by the machine.
The thing I didn’t realize at the time was how valuable keyboard skills would be to me when I began to use a computer keyboard since the QWERTY keyboard of the typewriter was the preferred user interface for the modern day computer.
Who knew that the vintage typewriter would one day experience a resurgence of adoring typists? But, as we see many things come full circle, what is old really does appear to be new once again.