Thursday's Memories

Good morning, ya'll. Come on in for a cup of coffee, fresh and hot. Sure is good and that first sip is like nectar from heaven. It's a beautiful day and am looking forward to enjoying it. I am going to the nursing home to see daddy while Roy is having his physical torture, oops, physical therapy. He is doing wonderfully well but I'm pretty sure they are going to bring in the real torture instruments at some point. Think I will take daddy out in the garden for a while. He will enjoy that.

Can you believe that May is almost here? This year is flying right on by and graduation day is fast approaching for our seniors in whatever level of school they are attending. That is a huge day for them for it is either the beginning of additional "schoolin", entry into a job (hopefully), or jumping off place for some more education. All of it is exciting!

Now as you can guess, it was different back in the olden days when I graduated. It was not a big deal, it was an "OCCASION." You know that down here in the South, we can make an occasion out of anything, graduation, engagement, wedding, funeral, birthing babies, drinking coffee, and on and on. It is wonderful, for you get to eat good food, have a party and dress up. I'm not knocking it, just wishing I had an "occasion" coming up.

With graduation there was a certain protocol you followed and it went something like this. You ordered your invitations and compiled your list of those wonderful people you knew would give you a gift. You checked and double-checked the list to make sure you had not left anyone out, for you didn't want to hurt any one's feelings. You began with your family, and in our case, that meant all were out of town. Even though they couldn't come, they would have hurt feelings if they didn't receive an invitation. I'm not kidding, it was a big deal, and you dared not leave anyone out. So you checked the list again for all family, close friends, distant friends, church friends, and business acquaintances of your daddy.

Carefully you addressed each envelope making sure you had the right address, stamped them and mailed them exactly 2 weeks before graduation. This date was important for the "social policies police" would be terribly disappointed in your mama if it went out before or after. Remember, in the South all we do reflects on our mama's raising of us. You carefully put them in the mail, being sure they did not have any smudges to mar the clean, white invitations or envelopes. Again, it was a terrible breach of etiquette to send smudged invitations.

The next step was to prepare a table to display the gifts. Now you think I'm kidding, no way. You put a snow white tablecloth - clean, starched and ironed - on the largest table you had to display the gifts as they rolled in. Each gift would be set carefully on the table with the name of the sender in front or on top of the gift. Hopefully you ran out of room on that table and had to set up another one. Your status in the community was graded on how many gifts you received.

Now, remember, we were "outsiders" or had moved in when I was 9 months old so my relatives and friends base was smaller than some, but I got lots of nice presents. You kept all the names of the senders in a pretty book that came with your invitations, wrote each name down and sent a thank you note as soon as possible. If the note was sent before about 5 days, that was fine, but any later and the social police was a tad disappointed in you and your mama. Needless to say, mine went out within that period for sending thank you notes for any kindness is an unbreakable rule in the South. If I miss one now, I can hear my mama up in heaven just a 'fussin.

You didn't take your gift table down until after graduation and you didn't use any of them until that date, unless it was from family and that would be alright. You were most always pleased with each every gift unless it was underwear. Displaying panties and slips were kind of distasteful, so you only put out the card. Then there was always the gifts you wondered what in the world to do with them but you had to say thank you anyway like books of devotionals, serious books, diaries and note paper. Nice, but a piece of jewelry would be better.

You see, everyone knew you wore underwear, but you didn't flaunt it. You absolutely did not let your slip hang below your dress or a bra or slip strap show on your shoulders. You checked that hemline about 50 times and you pinned those straps with a little safety pin to make sure they didn't show. If they did, some stupid boy would point and say, "ooo wee, I see your underwear." This was totally embarrassing and you would toss your head, turn around and walk to the nearest restroom in total embarrassment and re-pin that sucker. Then you walked past that boy with your nose up in the air, ignoring such a lack of manners, and give him that, "I think you are totally gross" look. They would only laugh, for being "gross" and obnoxious was their reason for being on this earth and they liked to fulfill their destiny.

I will continue the saga of graduation tomorrow for I didn't know I had so much to say. It was a big deal and graduation from Wilcox County High School was a major part of my life. From this small school in rural, south Alabama we have the treasurer of Alabama, Kay Ivey, a United States Senator, Jeff Sessions, a U. S. House of representative, Joe Bonner, and graduates of MIT, Cal Tech and other prestigious universities. There was a "Miss Alabama" several years back and countless other good people who graduated from this little school. It was a good school, with good teachers and a caring community which taught and nourished us well.

See you tomorrow for some more of the story.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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