Monday, July 17, 2017

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

July 17, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

I was five years old when I started to school.  A few years earlier my family had moved to a fairly new community (East Ridge) on the outskirts of Chattanooga where we had lived since I was one year old.  My twin sisters who we referred to as "the babies" didn't have a babysitter at that time.  So, a neighbor's daughter who would be entering the sixth grade agreed to walk to the school with me.  On the big day, I wasn't scared as I was eager to learn to read and write.  In my earliest memories my daddy would read the "funnies" to me as well as little articles I enjoyed.
The name of the school was Anna B. Lacey, a school I loved.  According to the internet the school is still open.  A picture on the internet of the school still looks like I remember it.  I have fond memories of the six years I was a student there.
I had been a student for a few weeks when my mother arranged to have a sitter so she could visit the school and talk to my teacher.  Each afternoon when I arrived home mother had a snack for me.  While I ate I told her about my day.  I told her my teacher's name was Miss Tribban and the principal was Miss Growl.  When mother visited the school she discovered those weren't their names.  She recalled when I was older, the day she visited I was sitting in the teacher's lap.
I have always been a finicky eater but I loved the cafeteria food at that school.  I remember the school having elaborate plays and festivals.  Once, I was a Shirley Temple doll in a play set in a toy store.  I had a Shirley Temple doll and mother, who was a needle artist made me a dress like my doll.  On the day of the play, she arranged my blonde hair into Shirley's classic style.  I have a photograph of myself made that day in my bedroom/sitting room.  I was fortunate to have had good teachers in elementary school.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited & typed by Tam.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

CAPTIVATING ELVIS

July 10, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

Now that I'm a frail 89, it tires me to write.  I've always been a compulsive writer and I guess I'll dictate a blog to Tam on my death bed.  I don't feel too good today (Sunday), but I have writing a blog on my mind and won't be able to relax until it's written.  I've been writing a blog since 2003, so I've probably written on this subject.  If I have, bear with me.
I've been thinking for several days that I've been fortunate to have seen some famous entertainers perform live.  Today, I'm going to comment on what I think was the best show and the worst show.
It won't be a surprise to my long time readers that my favorite show was Elvis Presley.  The show was in 1973 at the Atlanta's old Omni.  The demand for tickets was so great it was sold out for four performances.  Ralph and I and young Barry saw the fourth show.  I've never been able to explain the atmosphere in the Omni.  It was like an electric current in the air.
At the time of the show to begin the lights went out.  A smooth, loud voice announced, "Elvis has entered the building".  Then the lights came on and a still slender, incredibly good looking Elvis was standing on stage.  Then, he began to sing with his orchestra and backup singers.  Barry recalls that the show we saw was his Vegas act.  The security was tight.  I briefly stood up at an exciting moment and security tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to sit down.  When the show ended, the lights went out and the voice announced, "Elvis has left the building"
On the drive home, I remembered the day when I was driving home from work in 1956 and I had the car radio on when the DJ announced he was going to play a new record with the title, "Heartbreak Hotel", by an unknown singer with the name, "Elvis Presley".  I was captivated!  The next day I and millions of others who heard it, bought the record.  (I still have it in my office.)  The song won every award and the rest is history.
The most disappointing live performance was the comedian, Bob Hope.  It was held at an outdoor theater in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He had all of his "sidekicks" and a beautiful young blonde on stage.  I didn't find him the least bit funny.  Actually, he was pathetic.  When his jokes "laid eggs" he started telling off color jokes.  The people in the audience started leaving.  One young man seated near us laughed hysterically and we decided he was a "plant".
Barry read on the internet recently that Bob Hope relied entirely on "scripted jokes".  He also read that Johnny Carson didn't think highly of him.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

RADIO IN THE 1930's

July 5, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

For the radio, the 1930's was a golden age.  At the start of the decade twelve million American households owned a radio.  By 1939 this total had exploded to more than twenty-eight million, according to research I've done.  I had the privilege of growing up during this period.
As technology improved radio's became smaller and less expensive.  They became the central piece of furniture in the average family's living room, with adults and children alike.  Most crowded around the set to hear the latest installment of their favorite show.  We had a large radio in the living room and a small radio in the kitchen.  I remember when I was an elementary school student and would listen to Chattanooga's Luther Massingale's program early in the morning while I ate my breakfast.
Radio provided a great source of entertainment with much loved comedian's such as Jack Benny and Fred Allen.  It marked the advent of the soap opera, a running story that people could return to, with characters they could sympathize with and love.  I remember returning home from school in the afternoon, eating the snack my mother always had waiting and listening to the radio soap, "Stella Dallas".  That poor woman had more to bear than any person should have to endure, but somehow she always overcame her troubles.
Radio programs provided a source of inspiration with heroes like the Lone Ranger and The Shadow - "who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men."  Ha Ha!
News broadcasters influenced the way the public experienced current affairs.  I remember during World War II listening to newscaster, Gabriel Heater, giving his "good" and "bad" news while we ate supper.
Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chats" helped the population feel closer to their president than ever before.  One of my greatest thrills was when I saw FDR in person, in Chattanooga when I was a child.
By the end of the decade radio had exacted quite an influence on the American media.  Advertisers capitalized on the radio's popularity and the idea of the "sponsor" was born.  Radio also helped establish the national broadcasting networks such as NBC and CBS, still present to this day.
An after thought; In my last blog, I wrote about my strange family.  I neglected to mention that often at night, my daddy would stroll through the house, quoting scary passages of Edgar Allen Poe's epic poem, "The Raven".  It didn't scare me, it just caused me to be interested in the poet.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

FINAL NOVEL

June 29, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

My final novel will be published soon by Amazon.  I may have mentioned before that it is set and originally written in the 1980's against the backdrop of the multimillion dollar carpet industry in North Georgia and a cattle farm.  The theme is divorce and how it affects the entire family.
Barry has said he remembers when I worked for the newspaper, was a wife and mother and kept our home, then stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning working on my novel.  I had a literary agent who almost had the novel sold when the senior editor rejected it because it was "too Southern".
After several years of heartbreak, I decided to try Amazon.  It had to be re-typed on the computer.  Tam has worked on it when she has time.  She told me today that she only has one more chapter to type.  Even if you publish through Amazon you have to have publicity to sell the books.  I plan to print the first chapter of the book on this blog and hope my readers will buy it.  If it just sold reasonably well, I think I could die happy.  I'll let you know when the novel is ready.
Barry and I were talking last night about some people thinking my sisters and I are weird.  Actually, I think our whole family is.  I prefer to be called eccentric.  When we were small, our fun loving daddy would slip outside about once a week with a white bedsheet and while we were busy playing in the living room, he would put the sheet over his head and make a ghostly sound.  We knew it was him, but we were still scared but loved it.
Our mother was also strange.  One night Frank Sinatra was the featured singer on the old radio show, "Hit Parade".  My sisters and I were listening to "Crooner" Frank Sinatra on the program.  He was a teenage idol whose fans would "swoon" at his concerts.  While he was singing, mother rushed into the room and fell on her knees and yelled, "Oh, Frankie, you make me swoon".  We thought she was ridiculous.
What precious memories I have....  See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam)

Friday, June 23, 2017

NUMBER 744 & STILL WRITING

June 23, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

The reason I'm late in writing my blog is that I have been suffering from a bout with IBS and other old age ailments.  It's not easy being old.

Does anyone remember S&H Green Stamps?  They were popular from the 1930's until the late 1980's.  They were distributed as part of a loyalty rewards program operated by the Sperry & Hutchinson Company (S&H).  Customers would receive stamps at the checkout counter of supermarkets, gasoline stations and department stores among other retailers, which could be redeemed for products in the catalog.

I saved the stamps for years and earned some very nice items.  One was a brass floor lamp which we still have in our den.  We have several nice kitchen products Barry still uses.  He is the family cook now, and I might add, a very good one.

On another note, Barry and I were discussing when I started writing this blog in 2003.  He checked and told me I had written 743 blogs since then.  The most popular blog I've written is the one about Sand Mountain.  Go figure....

See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Monday, June 12, 2017

RECENT VISITOR

June 12, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

I had a delightful and inspiring visitor recently.  She is Rev. Tamlyn Collins, pastor of Chatsworth (GA) First United Methodist Church.  For a number of years I was an active member of this church.  I taught the Kindergarten Sunday school class and enjoyed it very much.  Rev. Collins was interested in my ties to the Methodist Church.  My maternal grandfather was a horse riding circuit Methodist Church preacher.  My daddy and father-in-law were also Methodist ministers.  Rev. Collins prayed an inspiring prayer for me.  She then sang in a clear, beautiful voice the hymn "How Great Thou Art".  It brought tears to my eyes.
Awhile back, with Tam's help, I made plans for my funeral.  There was only one thing missing and that was who would officiate my funeral.  As I talked to Rev. Collins, I knew she was the one I wanted.  I asked her and she said she would be honored.  Years ago, I asked our friend, Kym, who has a beautiful voice, to sing "In The Garden" at the opening of the service.  I also want Rev. Collins to close the brief service with the song "How Great Thou Art".
The main reason I've planned this service is for my only child, Barry.  We are very close and he would like to believe I'll live forever.  Tam has promised to stay with me until the end and help Barry.  I've also written my obituary which Tam can revise when the time comes, which I hope will not be for awhile.  Hopefully I have everything in order.
I have been in a lot of pain due to IBS and arthritis this weekend.  I hope next week is better.  Any prayers would be appreciated.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)

Monday, June 05, 2017

OLD MEMORIES

June 5, 2017

By Olivene Godfrey

The nurses that come to see me twice a week always ask me to evaluate my almost constant pain on a scale of one to ten.  Today (Sunday), it has been a ten all day.  I had planned to write this blog so I'm going to try.  Barry says my COPD is worse which makes me feel bad almost constantly.
I still have many stories of the past to share if I can just manage.  When I and my twin sisters were young, we were local entertainers.  I started taking piano lessons when I was six.  My daddy heard a woman play the accordion so he decided to buy one for me.  I wasn't interested in it but I wanted to please him.  I was a tiny girl and could hardly hold the large accordion.  He found a music teacher who taught several musical instruments.  She sponsored a program on a Chattanooga radio station each Friday afternoon.  She soon taught me to play several songs.  The most requested song was Beer Barrel Polka and the church hymn, Whispering Hope.  Later, I took lessons from a woman that played the "new" gospel songs.  Some churches called it "fast devil's music".  Later, Jerry Lee Lewis made a career playing it.  I used the method for popular music of the World War II years.  I was often asked to play a list of popular songs at community events.  Later, a "show biz" pianist taught me to play boogie woogie.
My twin sisters, Joan and Jeanette liked to sing when they were young.  I taught them to use gestures with their hands when they performed.  They were in demand to sing at school and church functions.  Today Jeanette says, "We couldn't sing. You all made fools out of us."  That wasn't true.  They were cute little girls with a delightful act and the audience loved them.
I like to think of the days when all of our family was alive.  Our parents have passed away and so has Jeanette's twin, Joan, and also our baby sister, Dianne.  Now there is Jeanette and me and we're both old with health problems.
See you next time.  Comments welcome.  (Edited and typed by Tam.)