WHAT HAPPENED IN VIDALIA?

THE FAMILY CIRCA 1958; JUDY, GRACE, DEWITT, MARVIN. TYKE IS SO DARK HE DOESN’T SHOW UP IN THIS PICTURE; THE POMERANIAN IS PUFF, WHO BELONGED TO THE DONALD ESTROFFS, BUT CONSIDERED OURS AS HER SECOND HOME.

ONE MORNING, DURING OUR SECOND YEAR IN VIDALIA, ONE OF THE MEN OF THE CHURCH HAPPENED TO COME BY THE PARSONAGE AND FOUND, TO HIS GREAT SURPRISE, THAT GRACE WAS WASHING DISHES AT THE KITCHEN SINK WITH HER RAINCOAT ON! YES, IT WAS RAINING OUTSIDE AND IT WAS ALSO RAINING INSIDE; THE ROOF WAS INDEED LEAKING! HE GOT RIGHT TO WORK AND ORGANIZED THE NEEDED REPAIRS AND RENOVATIONS; TO OUR DELIGHT THE REPAIRS INCLUDED EXTENDING THE KITCHEN OUT A FEW FEET TO MAKE IT LARGER, ADDING A CARPORT AND A LAUNDRY ROOM!

ALSO DURING THIS SAME TIME AND SHORTLY AFTER, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT GRACE WAS HAVING SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES; SHE WAS OFTEN IN GREAT PAIN AND WHEN IT GOT REALLY BAD DR. CONNER’S OFFICE WAS CALLED AND HE SENT HIS OFFICE NURSE TO GIVE HER AN INJECTION TO EASE THE PAIN. GRACE AND JUDY MADE A TRIP TO JACKSONVILLE BY BUS SO THAT GRACE COULD CONSULT A NOTED GYNECOLOGIST AND HE CONCURRED WITH DR. CONNER’S OPINION THAT GRACE NEEDED A HYSTERECTOMY.
THIS WAS SERIOUS SURGERY BUT IT WAS PERFORMED AT THE CONNER-BEDINGFIELD CLINIC THERE IN VIDALIA WITHOUT INCIDENT; GRACE MADE A FULL RECOVERY AND WENT ON EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE!
AFTER GRACE’S RECOVERY THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH CAME OVER ONE EVENING AND INTRODUCED THE FAMILY TO A NEW FOOD- PIZZA! THE FAMILY ENJOYED IT GREATLY BUT JUDY’S BEST FRIEND WAS THE BATHROOM FOR TWO DAYS AFTERWARD AND SHE DIDN’T EAT PIZZA AGAIN FOR MANY YEARS!
ON A HAPPIER FOOD NOTE, ONE SUNDAY MR. AND MRS. E.M .AULD WHO LIVED ON THE STREET ACROSS FROM THE CHURCH, INVITED US TO DINNER AND THERE WAS A REAL SURPRISE-A HUGE BAKED FISH! JUDY HAD NEVER EATEN BAKED FISH BEFORE AND FOUND IT TO BE SUCCULENT AND SWEET, POSITIVELY DELICIOUS! THAT EXPERIENCE WAS TO BE IMPORTANT YEARS LATER SO READ ON!
JUDY REALLY ENJOYED SINGING IN THE CHOIR AT THE CHURCH; SHE AND SEVERAL OF HER CLASSMATES WERE INVITED TO JOIN THE CHOIR AT THE SAME TIME AND THEY ALL LOVED IT! BARRON GODBEE WAS THE DIRECTOR AND HE LED THE GROUP IN THRILLING ANTHEMS EACH SUNDAY. SOME OF THE FAVORITES WERE, “COME, YE BLESSED”, “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD” AND KING ALL GLORIOUS”.
THE CHOIR HELD A FUNDRAISER AT ONE POINT AND SOME OF THE CHURCH MEMBERS WEREN’T TOO SURE ABOUT THE PROPRIETY OF DOING SO. THE PROGRAM WAS HELD IN THE HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM IN THE EVENING AND IT WAS DIVIDED INTO TWO SECTIONS, THE SACRED AND THE SECULAR. FOR THE SACRED PART THE CHOIR WORE THEIR ROBES AND THEN TOOK THEM OFF FOR THE SECULAR SECTION TO WEAR EVENING DRESSES AND TUXEDOS! ALL OF THE YOUNG WOMEN JUDY’S AGE WERE IN THE HABIT OF WEARING CRINOLINE PETTICOATS AND A GREAT DEAL OF DISCUSSION WAS HELD ABOUT NOT WEARING THEM FOR THE PROGRAM; THEIR DRESSES STUCK OUT SO FAR THAT IT MADE THE RISERS ON WHICH THE GROUP WAS STANDING VERY CROWDED! FINALLY, THE COMPROMISE WAS REACHED TO JUST WEAR ONE! THE PROGRAM WAS A HUGE SUCCESS AND THE PROCEEDS WERE USED TO BUY NEW CHOIR ROBES.
JUDY WAS ENDING THE ELEVENTH GRADE WITH THE REPUTATION OF HAVING THE BEST VOCABULARY IN THE HIGH SCHOOL!
IT WAS TIME TO DREAM ABOUT THE JUNIOR-SENIOR PROM AND OH! THE DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN GRACE AND JUDY ABOUT THE DRESS! FINALLY A PATTERN WAS CHOSEN AND FABRIC WAS ORDERED FROM THE SEARS CATALOG! IT WAS MINT GREEN TAFFETA WITH A NET OVERLAY. GRACE WORKED SO HARD ON SEWING IT AND JUDY WAS SO PROUD TO WEAR IT! HER PROM DATE WAS JIMMY BARFIELD, A DOWN THE STREET NEIGHBOR.
THERE WAS MUCH DISCUSSION IN THE PARSONAGE ABOUT A RUMOR THAT THE FAMILY WAS GOING TO MOVE AND NO ONE KNEW WHERE! DEWITT WENT OFF TO ANNUAL CONFERENCE STILL NOT KNOWING WHERE THEY WERE GOING TO MOVE. MONDAY, TUES, WEDNESDAY,PASSED WITH NO DEFINITE WORD!

NEXT TIME: WHERE WILL THEY MOVE?

THE PARSON’S FAMILY MOVES ON!

After two enjoyable years in Perry, Georgia, the family was introduced for the first time to “Chicken Divan”, at the home of a dear friend and Church member. Here is as close to the original recipe as I can get. The dish was an enormous hit with the whole Family and was certainly an unusual way to enjoy chicken!

CHICKEN DIVAN:

1 PKG. FROZEN BROCCOLI- WHOLE OR CUT-UP

4 LARGE CHICKEN BREASTS OR 6 CHICKEN PIECES, BONE-IN

2 CANS CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP

3/4 CUP MAYONNAISE

3/4 CUP SHREDDED Velveeta CHEESE

1/3 CUP SHREDDED PARMESAN CHEESE

1/2 CUP SLIVERED ALMONDS

Boil chicken and cut up, if not already in pieces. Boil broccoli separately; drain. Mix the soup, mayonnaise and Velveeta together well. Arrange broccoli in a 9 x 13 baking dish, top with cut up chIcken; pour soup mixture on top. Add Parmesan and almonds. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, ENJOY!

(see; The Perry Years in :peoplewith4legs.com for information on the Family dogs of this time)

Long before Vidalia, Georgia, became famous for its onions, it was invaded by the Parson and his Family. On a typically hot June day in 1957, the Shippeys and faithful dog Tyke arrived at 709 Durden Street, the Parsonage of the First Methodist church in Vidalia. The Parsonage was a pleasant brick structure, and seemed to reach out and beckon in the itinerant Shippeys.

A large crowd of congregants was on hand to greet the new parsonage family and soon they were immersed in the grip of meeting new church members and beginning to put names with faces.

The Church bus pulled up in front of the house and the youth leader, Mrs. Elise Rattray, got out and told Judy that the young people were going to a local roller rink for an outing. She eagerly accepted the invitation and got on the bus.

The next few days were filled with hectic unpacking and setting out the family treasures; once the antique lamps and church-leaving silver were put out, and familiar pictures were hung, the new house began to feel like home.

Next time: MORE VIDALIA ADVENTURES

1955-ON TO PERRY!

In the last chapter I related that we were finishing out Ministry in dear old Quitman, and had been reappointed to the Methodist Church in Perry, Georgia.

We were excited about the challenges of a new church, a new congregation and a new house, but bittersweet all the same as we were reluctant to leave Quitman; in the five years we had lived there it had begun to feel like home!

One of my Uncles had a large farm truck and it was into this that all our world possessions were packed for the move.

We were going to go by Tifton for a visit with the Grandparents, spend the night and journey to Perry the next day. We were happy to be moving back to Middle Georgia where we would have Macon as our shopping city, not too far away.

Judy and Marvin were excited about the new parsonage- it would be their first time living in a two story house!

The Parson and his little family (including Tippy) arrived in Perry in the afternoon;there was no large welcoming crowd on the porch to greet them this time, but there were the ladies of the Parsonage Committee waiting inside.

The ladies showed us through the house and we saw how hard they had worked to get the house ready; there was even a bedroom done in pecan Drexel furniture with a four poster bed and olive green taffeta curtains. There was a wicker chaise longue with matching pillows! Surely the room of a young girl’s dreams! It was observed that the walls of that room were painted deep chocolate brown and the upstairs bedroom walls were painted forest green! That was the latest trend but the Parson’s family didn’t know it then!

The house was beautifully decorated throughout and that had presented a problem; all of our moving boxes had arrived long before we did and the ladies would not let them be placed in the house. Instead they were placed on a screened in back porch and, you guessed it, the weather decided to let loose with a torrent of rain! Our packing boxes were wet and we rushed to bring them in before the contents were ruined; we were too late! Later Grace wept as she survey items that were precious to her, ruined beyond keeping!

After a few days of unpacking and adjustment, the little family began to venture forth to find out more about Perry. They discovered that it was an old, cultured and historic town and the Church, made of white wood, fit right in!

One set of residents that were very unwelcome were the gnats! On the first Sunday in the new Church the gnats nearly took the hymnbook out of Grace’s hand and every time she opened her mouth to sing a swarm of gnats flew in. The poor Parson had struggles of his own- there was no air conditioning and the only breeze was created by two large fans the size of airplane engines, and just as loud, standing on two tall posts!! The hum of the motors was so loud that he had to shout to make himself heard. He finally stopped and asked that the fans be turned off so that he could be heard and the rest of the Service was in the heat! That was a far cry from the cool, dark Sanctuary in Quitman!

It was not long before air conditioning was installed!

One of the great treasures in Perry was the New Perry Hotel! It was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Yates Green. The first time we were taken there to eat by our dear friends Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gray, Grace disgraced herself by telling Mrs. Green on the way out, “That was another green dinner Mrs. Good!”She never lived that one down!

We loved eating at the New Perry Hotel, but at first Judy and Marvin only wanted hamburgers to eat! The Parson and Grace tried to shush them, telling them that he Hotel didn’t serve hamburgers, but they persisted. Mr. Gray turned to the waitress and asked that the Hotel please prepare hamburgers for the children. They did and they were greatly enjoyed!

A feature of the Hotel was that they served cream of mushroom soup to every diner, whether ordered or not, at the beginning of each meal.

Judy and Marvin and the Parson and Grace came to look forward to beginning the meal this way and that soup became a lifelong favorite!

Next Time: CHICKEN DIVAN!

OUR VACATIONS!

Before we bid farewell to Quitman and head on to Perry, we need to backtrack a bit and experience two of the memorable vacations we had while living in Quitman.

In the Spring of 1951, I overheard Dad talking on the phone with his Minister friend, Rev. Frank Nalls. Brother Nalls had been named by the South Georgia Conference to be Superintendent of the newly created Conference Center, Epworth-By-The-Sea on Saint Simons Island, near Brunswick, Georgia. The Center had opened in 1950 and Dad was talking about our family going there for a vacation! We had never had a vacation- the only times away from home had been visits to grandparents and Dad’s brothers and sisters.

Dad got all the information he needed and a time was set for us to make the trip!Pets were not allowed so we had to leave Tippy and Tyke at home; our faithful Custodian, Mr. George Gunter, would feed them.

When we arrived at Epworth, the scenery was breathtaking; it was on the banks of the Frederica river and there was a new drawbridge just to its left end, connecting the Island to Brunswick.

We were to stay in the newly completed Layman’s Lodge, a long single story motel-like structure, paid for by contributions of the laymen of the Conference. It did not have air conditioning, but at night there was a great breeze from the river. All night, the raising and lowering of the drawbridge was just about the only sound heard. It was serene and restful!

Of course, Marvin and i were not there to rest; no! we made friends with Donald Nalls, the son of the Superintendent, and he happily showed us all the interesting places to play; the Tabby house, and my favorite, climbing down the river banks and squelching barefooted in the mud, hunting fiddler crabs and also collecting rocks of various sizes and colors. Dad was none to thrilled with a trunk full of rocks, but he bore it well!

It was early days at the Center; it had not yet found the popularity it now has and so we had the run of the grounds in perfect safety, day and night.

There was a rather small frame house on the grounds which was called the Bishop’s House and Bishop Arthur J. Moore stayed there when he came to the Center. Behind that house was a swimming pool and we were allowed to use and enjoy it since the Bishop was not there at that time. And enjoy it we did!

There was a brick office and dining hall close to the Lodge and in it we encountered some of the best food before or since! Mrs. Cason, the Dietician, really knew how to cook to please! This was our first experience with melt in your mouth yeast rolls and Dad kept asking for refills! But oh, the shrimp, the fried shrimp! This new taste sensation thrilled us all! I don’t remember what else she served during that trip, but those shrimp really stand out after all these 60 years!

Church members in Quitman, the Coopers, offered to let us vacation at their Carabelle, Florida, cottage, Kinfolks Hill; we joyfully accepted and packed the car with bed linens, food, the dogs, Daisy, our nursemaid and set out.

When we arrived we discovered that the cottage was one large room with several small sleeping nooks along one side, a large screened porch used for cooking and eating and rainy day activities, and the bathroom was outside! Another new experience! But that cottage was situated directly across a paved road from the Gulf Bay and there was a paved walkway leading down to the road and then to the water. The Bay was not deep water; we could wade out a long distance before the water was more than ankle deep.

The only creatures with whom we shared the beach and Bay were the crabs! We loved chasing them over the sand and into the water; in short, that area was perfect for small “city” children and their nursemaid!

Later, we got poles with nets on one end and ran around scooping up the crabs and dropping them into a bucket. On one such trip, when my Grandmother Shippey and her Sister Zellie Bush were with us, they worked to prepare the crabs that we brought in and at one point there were 100 deviled crabs spread out on the drainboard, waiting to be enjoyed!

Those were truly halcyon days!

Next time, ” On To Perry”!

FAREWELL TO QUITMAN!

In 1954, the Parson and Grace had the old Parsonage beautifully decorated for Christmas! In face, DeWitt entered the door decorating contest held by the local Garden Club and won second prize, an azalea bush, for his door decoration. He was thrilled!

Since the house look so pretty, DeWitt and Grace decided to have a Shippey Christmas Reunion; All of his Brothers and Sisters came from everywhere (he had five Brothers and two Sisters) and Grandmother Shippey and her Sister, Aunt Zellie, were also in the group.

The weather was mild for December and the crowd, for such it was, could spill out onto the wide front porch and the yard.

Sawhorse tables were set up down the middle of the twelve foot wide central hall and the visitors were accommodated in great style.

Each of the families had brought their special dishes; all of the aunts were wonderful cooks and the good food was plentiful!

DeWitt made his special dessert creation-his own recipe- “CHARLOTTE”;

the basic recipe calls for: 1 ( or more depending on the amount needed) cans Carnation evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, large boxe(s) cherry or strawbewrry Jell-o, ( make up the Jell-o ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Freeze the can(s) of milk until ready to serve, open the can(s) and put the frozen milk into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the bowl of refrigerated Jell-o and sugar. Turn mixer on high and let blend until smooth and fluffy. Scoop into dessert dishes and enjoy!

The Parson knew that his work in Quitman was finished. He had spearheaded a Church building project in which a lovely U-shaped wing of Sunday School rooms, a chapel, a wonderful church kitchen and Minister’s Office were completed. The educational wing was directly in back of the old Parsonage and Judy and Marvin and their friends loved to run and play in the grassy area in the middle of the “U”!

He was prepared to move, although he could have stayed on, if he had chosen. At Annual Conference, the Bishop read out the appointments for the Macon District (as it was known then), “Perry, Rev. L.D. Shippey”. Now the job that lay ahead was to pack their belongings (all those books!) and prepare to leave their friends and the Church and the old Parsonage which had served them so well during their years there.

The Church had just bought a lovely new brick parsonage on North Court Street. The Parson and his family would be the last minister’s family to live in the old house, which would soon be, heartbreakingly, torn down to make room for further expansion.

Now the cry was, “on to Perry”!

Next time: read about the sad introduction to Perry that awaited the Family!

A NEW FOOD DELIGHT AND ITS RECIPE!

While we were living in Quitman we were introduced to another new food by our dear friend, Miss Hazel (Mathews).

The Parson’s family were all invited to come to lunch with Miss Hazel. Now, at that time and in that place, coming to lunch certainly did not mean sandwiches, paper plates or paper napkins. No, it meant eating in the dining room with the best china and silver on a damask cloth. It meant using cut glass glasses for iced tea. it meant being served by Tom. In short, it meant enjoying the best that a home steeped in Southern tradition could offer; elegance!

When we were seated and Dad had asked the Blessing, Tom began to bring around the food. I don’t remember (I was only a little girl) what else was served but I certainly remember the main dish: CHICKEN SPAGHETTI:

I was not at all familiar with spaghetti of any type, Mother never cooked it and I had never eaten it. But made with chicken?

Needless to say, it was wonderful and Mother quickly added the recipe to her collection.

I still have the recipe in the original written by Mother; it is in a scrapbook i made years ago containing all of the original handwritten family recipes (but that is a story for another time). Here is the recipe for CHICKEN SPAGHETTI:

1 5 POUND HEN, BOILED TENDER

1 MEDIUM BUNCH CELERY, 3 GREEN PEPPERS, 2 MEDIUM ONIONS, 1 CAN TOMATO SAUCE, 1 8 OUNCE JAR MUSHROOMS OR USE FRESH, SLICED THIN, 1 SMALL JAR PIMENTOS, DRAINED, SALT TO TASTE

CUT UP CHICKEN IN BIG PIECES. CUT CELERY, ONIONS, PEPPERS AND MUSHROOMS IN SMALL PIECES. COOK IN BUTTER. ADD TOMATO SAUCE, PIMENTOS AND CHICKEN AND COOK FIVE MINUTES. ADD A LITTLE STOCK AND TOMATO CATSUP AS NEEDED. COOK THE SPAGHETTI IN CHICKEN STOCK AND MIX WITH THE CHICKEN.

Let me know what you think!

THE WEDDING VEIL WENT AWRY!

As promised, today’s blog will concern a formal wedding, the bridal veil and what happened after?

When Judy was in the fourth grade, she needed an evening gown for a program at school. One which had been outgrown by a friend’s daughter was given to Judy and she thought it was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen; it was pink net over taffeta on the skirt and smocked taffeta on top.

Shortly after this one of Miss Mary Bowman’s Granddaughters was to be married in a formal wedding at the Baptist Church. It was to be at 7:00 in the evening, which meant in those days that every one of the guests would be dressed for the evening. Of course, Judy would wear her evening gown with the addition of a net stole. DeWitt borrowed a cutaway coat and a shirt with a wing collar from the District Superintendent, Rev. Morris P. Webb. Grace’s outfit was a bit more of a problem until Beth Powers remembered that she had a long pink linen dress with matching linen shoes. Grace wore this with pride and thankfulness. The dressed up Parson, Grace and Judy journeyed to the Church. The ceremony went as planned until the time came for the Father of the Bride to give her away. After performing his function, he turned to step back and join his wife. In doing so, he stepped on the train of the bridal veil and it tumbled to the floor and lay there! She became the first bride in the history of that Church to say her vows bareheaded!

After the Ceremony all of the guests adjourned next door to the Bride’s aunt’s home and the elaborate and elegant reception which had been laid out. Having never experienced anything of this magnitude before, Judy was greatly impressed and definitely enjoyed the food!

In 1954, Grace entertained the Women’s Society of Christian Service (the women of the Church) ladies with a Christmas Tea. The old Parsonage was really putting its best foot forward with festive decorations, including the unique candles DeWitt made late at night in the kitchen. Grace often remarked that she wouldn’t be surprised if the breakfast scrambled eggs had candle wax in them!

For refreshments for the Tea Grace asked for help from the school Economic Teacher, Mary Cawley. The made meringue pastry shells which were very delicate and tasty, and stored them in an airtight five gallon lard can. Grace filled the pastry shells with vanilla ice cream and topped the ice cream with bing cherries. Oh, how delectable and delicious!

Judy remembers that they made the pastry shells, which were very delicate and easy to crumble in batches and dropped them by spoonfuls onto creased brown paper bags, then spread them out to create an open shell.

A recipe for pastry shells found recently uses:

3 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 3/4 cup sugar;

Let egg whites stand in small bowl for 30 minutes. Add vanilla and cream of tartar; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff, glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

Drop eight mounds onto parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Shape into 3 inch cups with the back of a spoon. Bake at 225 for one to one and one-half hours or until set and dry. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven for one hour, cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container until ready to fill and enjoy!

I would be thrilled to learn if any readers have made anything like this before, and what this blog made them remember!