Monday, October 3, 2011

Lovington Days - 1955 - 1961 - Part 2

We moved to Lovington, Illinois, population 1,200, when I was five. We moved into a yellow house that my parents called "The Asherman House". I guess we rented it from the Asherman family. We also lived in another house there later that my parents bought -- "the Bailey house". It was a white house on the edge of Lovington with a cornfield on one side and a big field behind it. My dad bought and operated a weekly newspaper in Lovington, "The Lovington Reporter". I have many fond memories of living in Lovington.

When we lived in the Asherman house, we had neighbors next door, Bill and Lucille Booker and their son, Scott. Scott was several years older than I was and I think I probably had a little crush on him at one time. They were wonderful neighbors.

Cindy and I played well together when we were growing up and we loved to play paper dolls most of all, I think. We'd sit for hours after school in the school desks down at the newspaper shop and draw, color and cut out paper dolls that we had made ourselves. Sometimes we would cut them out of the old Sears catalogs. I remember a very small paper doll that I made with quite a large wardrobe that all fit neatly inside a Lipton Tea Bag envelope.

One time my dad took my sister with him on a day trip to Sullivan and Arthur and I was very jealous of her. I thought he loved her more than me. Actually, I think it was because I was in school and she wasn't. I don't think that any more. I know my dad loves me best! Just kidding!

I don't have but a few memories of my elementary school days in Lovington but I'll tell you about the times I do remember. Barbetti's grocery store was next door to the school and I'd take my milk money and spend it on candy at the store. That's when you could buy one or two pieces of candy for a penny!

I got a new bicycle for my birthday one year and rode it to school right before a long vacation like Christmas perhaps, but I forgot to ride it back home. It sat at the school in the bike rack and when we got back to school from vacation it was in pieces. It was a long time before I got another bicycle.

And I remember the time that Debbie Donaldson turned my nose black and blue by twisting it when I was in kindergarten -- Mrs. Fleener's class. Debbie was kind of a tomboy. I was kind of a pushover.

Then there was the day in 3rd grade that Eddie Mockabee told me he wanted to marry me and we had a mock wedding in front of the Catholic Church after school.

In fifth grade I liked Johnny Bailey. One day around Easter the class made a very large paper maché rabbit and I took eggshells in for the eyes. My dad the newspaper reporter came to the school and took a picture and I got to be in it. I chose Johnny Bailey to be in the picture with me.

In sixth grade two events stand out in my mind. One was a choir concert. I was very tall, one of the tallest ones in the class, except Debbie Brown and Laura Lee Burcham, so the three of us stood in the back row. We sang the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and I belted out the chorus and sang the descant, "G-l-o-r-y H-a-l-l-e-l-u-j-a-h". Someone fainted during that concert and had to be carried out. The other event was our class trip to the Crane potato chip factory, Coca-Cola plant, and Chap's Amusement Park in Decatur. I liked Stanley Patrick and Eddie Mockabee liked me and followed us around all day.

I even remember all of my elementary school teacher's names but only one or two in the grades after that. I had Mrs. Fleener in kindergarten, Mrs. Edna Taylor in first grade, Mrs. Kitchen for second. She was really mean. I never got in trouble with my teachers though. For third grade I had Mrs. Ping. For fourth it was Mr. Van Hook. He was interested in art. Mrs. McDonald taught my fifth grade class and Mrs. Eadie and Mr. House, the principal, taught my sixth grade class.

I just had another memory of sixth grade. One day they combined both sixth grade classes but all the boys went to the other sixth grade room with Mr. House and the girls stayed in the room where I had my class with Mrs. Eadie and the other sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Morgan. We had a "health" class. I think that's when I learned about womens bodies.

Nancy Riley was one of my best friends when I lived in Lovington. She moved there when she was in fourth grade and lived on a farm on the edge of town with her parents, brother and sister. We had some fun times there on the farm. Nancy also liked Barbie dolls and we played with them for hours. We'd put blankets over the clothesline outside for tents and played with our dolls under them. I remember one time when we pretended we were chemists and we mixed some of her perfumes and other things her mom had in the kitchen.

The Riley house didn't have a bathroom indoors for several years and we'd have to use an outhouse or a pot that she'd put inside her closet at night. I remember how excited they were when they finally got a bathroom indoors!

Nancy had her "chores" that she had to do every day such as feeding the pigs and chickens and I'd help her when I stayed overnight. In the summer of 1967 we watched a pig have her babies. That was the first and last time I'd ever seen anything being born, other than when I had my own children.

We attended the Lovington Christian Church where Larry Beebe was the minister. One Christmas I remember going to a church service when Steve Trainer sang “Silver Bells”. What a beautiful song! To this day whenever I hear that song, I think of him singing it.

When we lived in the “Bailey” house, there was a cornfield next to our house. One Halloween, my friend, Laura Lee and my sister and I shucked corn kernels into a bucket. We took it with us and dumped the whole bucket on someone’s porch. I don’t even remember whose porch it was or if we got caught.

The Christmas when I was ten, my sister and I got our Barbie dolls. We also got the Ken dolls but I think we got them for another Christmas later. We played with them for years. We didn't have the fancy furniture or houses or cars that you can buy for them now but we would use boxes and drape them with handkerchiefs and pieces of material for the beds and furniture. What fun we had! We’d use Mom’s material scraps and make clothes for them too.

I have always loved dolls. Grandpa and Grandma Smith took a trip to Europe in February 1959 and brought back a doll for me from each country they visited that year. This started the collection I now have displayed in the bookcase that Grandpa kept his medical journals in.

On July 24, 1961, my brother, Ken Mitchell, was born. We were at Grandpa and Grandma Smith's that day and my mom's ankles were very swollen and I remember her sitting in a chair with her feet up on a stool. I don't remember the rest of that day or night but Mom told me that she went to the hospital that night and Cindy and I stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Smith. I don't remember a lot of when Ken was a baby. I was nearly 13 when he was born and I met David, my first husband, when I was 15 so I guess I was busy with dating and my own interests. He's a terrific little brother though and I love him very much!

Being in 4-H was fun and I belonged to a club for 3 years when I lived in Lovington, and to one in Springfield for the first year we lived there. I loved to cook and bake. I won several blue ribbons on my Snickerdoodles that were entered in the State Fair. I also learned to sew but didn't like it as much as cooking and baking. I also went to 4-H camp in 1961 and 1962 at Allerton Park in Monticello, IL. My friends Nancy Riley, Peggy Binder, Laura Lee Burcham, and Sandy Clark went too. One year I got poison ivy. I always seemed to get it when I went to camp.

If you want to see more of my pics from when I lived in Lovington, here is the Shutterfly link --

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