This was printed in The Daily Sentinel [April 2012], serving the Pomeroy, Ohio area where I grew up, with favorable comments.
Rain drops from the overcast skies emptied their contents on our roof. The pit-pat-pitty-pat-pat lazied my mind. Who wants to get up now?
Because of stitches down both hips from replacement surgery, I couldn’t roll over to hug my pillow on this Sunday morning. Retirement is good. I reached for my laptop and keyed in “When You Walk Through a Storm”. As the bedroom filled with the music, my mind raced back to Swackhammer, Husted and Ward.
Those attending Pomeroy, High School in the 1950s would remember these three teachers.
Mrs. Swackhammer, choir/chorus met after school in a second-story back-side room of Pomeroy, Junior High. “E-nun-see-ate each word and I want to hear the ending on words.”
May of 1954 I and other member of the choir stood on the risers facing the audience and sang, ta-tata-ta-tum, “God of our Fathers…” as graduates marched toward the stage. Then in 1958 I along with the graduate class walked to the same beat but sung by new voices.
Mrs. Swackhammer, nurtured my love of music to the extent I continue to hum or beller “When You Walk Through a Storm” and “I Talked to God Last Night.” I also compose my own melodies. Nothing like the ones Larry Tracy scored on his graphs, but none the less beautiful to my ears.
Ms. Husted encouraged her students in many ways in English class. One assignment was to write a humorous piece. +Faye Thomas and I sat on stools in Stark’s Soda Fountain. While we slurped Cokes we wrestled with words until we were satisfied.
Whatever Ms. Husted said about my paper, she heated the ember for writing to a flame. Today I have awards and published articles and stories.
Forest Ward, Senior Homeroom teacher in 1957-58, often chatted with me at lunch time as we were the only ones in the room. One day he asked, “Do you have a boy friend?” I nodded but didn’t give a name “because if I tell you it might spoil what is developing.”
Sly Mr. Ward probably already observed Ron Russell and Anna Murray “eyeing” each other. We still do, 54 years later.
In my cozy bedroom I snuggled back into the covers and silently thanked Lucile Swackhammer, Martha Husted and Forest Ward for their input into my life.