Saturday, May 03, 2008

May 3, 2008
Nice Saturday at home. I was supposed to deliver the Exits Exit video materials to Bryan Nuemeister this morning but he is sick so we rescheduled for next week. Terry Mitchell sent me an 8mm film his parents took of the Exits in 1964, so we'll have two authentic films of the band (the other was taken at a USO show east of Yucca, also in 1964, complete with Go-Go dancers, Jan Palmer and Emily Quintana. Sexy footage (of course it's silent because this was pre-sound), but it should make for a historic DVD.

Kathy is at a Red Cross training session all day.

Meanwhile, here are selected passages from my mother's Schoolday Memories book:

The earliest dates are 1934 and she evidently carried the book to Kingman, when her family moved there, and continued adding passages. The last entry appears to be in 1937. One of the first pages is a listing of class mates and they include, Jesse Foote and June Sherman of Duncan and Della Stokes and Harrietta Paup of Kingman, and Leroy Guess (her cousin) from Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Here's an example of how a typical entry looks:

The pages are full of poems that were evidently "all the go" at that time:

"Dearest Bobbie: When you get married and live across the see (sic), put on your specs and think of me."

"Think of George Washington, think of Lincoln, but think of me when your a drinkin'."

"Remember me erley (sic), remember me late, remember me as your old school mate."

Evidently, the salutations had to run along these lines:

"Yours till pussy willows have kittens."

"Yours till butter flies."

"Yours till the cat-fish has kittens."

"Yours until the negro turns white."

"Yours till the roosters lay hard boiled eggs."

"Yours till hairpins get sea sick riding over permanent waves."

"Yours till the cowboy rides the kitchen range."

Now back to the entries, which are in order of appearance:

"Dear Bobbie: Flowers may wither, leaves may die, some may forget you but never will I."
—Your Best Friend, June Sherman

"Dear Bobbie, When you get married, and your husband gets cross, Pick up the broom stick and show him show him whos (sic) 'boss.'"
—Your friend Arleen Stowell, Duncan Arizona, January 30, 1934

"Dearest Pal of mine, You ask me to write in your book. Pray tell me how to begin because there is nothing original in me except original sin. Now for a little poetry. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if Mr. Simme's little boy (or box?) don't get you, someone must."
—Leroy Guess

"Dear Bobbie, When you get married and live over the river, kill a hog and send me his liver."
—As B.4. Lurline Patten, Duncan, Ariz. Jan. 30, 1934

"Dear Bobbie, My love for you will overflow like lasses down a tater row."
—Jo Francis Smith

"Bobbie now, Bobbie forever. Guess now, but not forever." [very clever. Her maiden name was Guess and she would be marrying and changing her last name.]
—Helen Stover

"Lock up your heart in an old tin trunk and give it to the boy that don't get drunk."
—Lucille Armstrong

Ouch! My father was an alcoholic. And speaking of boys, notice how the boys aren't half the wordsmiths but their communication is clear:

"Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you."
—Ben Simms

"If you see a monkey climbing a tree, pull its tail and think of me."
—Gilbert F.

"Over the river, over the lake, remember me as a dear class mate."
—Edwin Cleas

"If the sea was whiskey and I was a duck, I'd dive to the bottom and drink my way up."

"As sure as a vine grows around a stump, you're my darling sugar lump."
—Bobby Cochran

Now we get a teacher:

"Dear Bobbie: I can truthfully say that I have never had a pupil whose friendship I valued more than I do yours. Friendships with such nice boys and girls forms the most happy memories of any teacher. You have the ability to go far in life. May I hope that I have had a part, a vital part, in your life."
—Your teacher and friend, Mr. Casey

And, of course, what would a small town be without the religious zealot:

"To Bobbie—Heed how thou livest. Do not by day which from the night shall down thy peace away—In months of Sun, so live that months of rain shall still be happy ever more. Restrain evil and cherish good so shall there be another and happier life for thee."
—Your friend, Edda Ayers

Here's an entry from Bobbie's oldest sister, Sadie Pearl, who took three pages (this is funny to all of those who loved and knew her):

"My dearest Bobbie, I hope that you will always be as sweet and unaffected as you are now. I hope that you will always be something fine and I know that you will not disappoint me. 'Hitch your wagon to a star.'; keep your high principals, and no good will be unattainable. But don't let the curse of taking life too seriously make it bitter for you! [I edited out a page and a half of existential expostulation] Bobbie I wish you a happy and a beautiful life, crowned by success."
—Love Sadie Pearl

And here's Bobbie's mother's page: both Sadie Pearl's and my grandmother's entries were written from York, which is the tiny settlement on the Gila where the Guess family had its ranch:

"My Dear Bobbie, It's such a pleasure for a mother to know that she has a Dear Sweet little girl like you have always been. I have often wondered if you being my girl made me think that you were as fine but I don't think that is so. Bobbie we have been such good pals all your life & let us continue to be for I love you so much I hope that you'll always be the same as you are now & that each year brings you happiness."
—Love Your Mother

"Dear Bobbie, When you get married and live on the flats, come to see me but don't bring your brats."
—Dora Ruth Lovette

Now Bobbie moves to Kingman (first entry Feb. 19, 1937). Let's see if the humor improves:

"I don't write for fame, I don't write for fun, I just write merely to sign my name."
—Francis May

"Upon this book you look, upon this book you frown, But remember the dirty crook, that spoiled your pretty book, by writing upside down."
—Lillian Crabtree (who indeed wrote her inscription upside down, ruining my mother's pretty book. That is so Kingman.)

"I never went to college, I never went to school, but when it comes to kissin' I'm an educated fool."
—Harriette Mae Paup ("But I'm savin' my kisses for buddy"), May 21, 1938, "I am 13, almost 14."

"Dear Bobbie, I'm not a northern beauty, I'm not a southern rose. I'm just a Western girl, with freckles on my nose."
—Frances May Miller

"This world that we're living in is mighty hard to beat, you get a thorn with every rose, but don't the roses sweet." [say what?"]
—Allen Dutton [who became a well known Arizona photographer and published a book on "Arizona: Then And Now," which is highly collectible]

"I wish you luck, I wish you plenty, I hope you get married before you are twenty."
—Edna Shelton

"P.S. So you won't have to join the old maid's club organized by Minnie C."

The final entry is from my mother's grandmother:

"May you live in this valley of contentment where Joy for ever will overtake you. Will you then think of me, your grand mother."
—Dolcie A. Guess

I know that my mother often did.

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