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!

TOYS FOR LUNCH? ! !

As promised, here is the true story of how Toys For Lunch? happened!This is another exerpt from my book, “The Parson’s Pot”.

As I related in my last post, we were living in Quitman, Georgia and enjoying making new friends, especially Mrs. Wallace Mathews (Miss Hazel). Now Miss Hazel had a little Grandson named Frankie who was just about Marvin’s age. They were great playmates, but they also knew how to fuss! Frankie’s family was more affluent than the Parsonage family so Frankie had more and better toys . Marvin loved to pay with Frankie’s toys and ended up bringing some of them home from time to time. One day Grace gathered up a sackful of Frankie’s toys and carried them back to Miss hazel’s house. She left them on the porch in one of the rockers.

Now it so happened that Miss Hazel’s nephew, Joe Bowman, was in the habit of coming by Miss hazel’s to pick up his lunch and carry it to the construction site where he was working during the summer. Now, here it comes: Miss Hazel was in the habit of leaving the lunch in a paper sack in one of the rockers on the porch! You guessed it! Miss Hazel had not yet made it to the porch with her nephew Joe’s lunch that morning. Joe breezed by and picked up the sack he found waiting in the rocker! Joe took a lot of ribbing and went hungry when he opened his sack for lunch and discovered that his “lunch” was a sack of toys!

Now another cooking tidbit: On a Saturday morning in winter, Grace was cooking breakfast (grits were on the menu). The only phone in the house was at the opposite end of the long, 12 foot wide hall from the kitchen.

Church member Mr. Dewberry called early that morning and talked and talked and talked. Grace knew that he would never miss her, so she hurried back to the kitchen to stir the grits and returned to the phone. Dear Mr. Dewberry was still talking and never knew she had been gone!

DeWitt (the Parson) soon saw to it that they got an extension phone for the kitchen!

Please let me know how you enjoy reading these hilarious true tidbits by commenting on the site, and clicking “like” on the page.

Join me next time for “The Wedding Veil That Went Awry”.

PB&J TO THE RESCUE!

In the late 1940s (1946-1950) my Methodist Minister Father was assigned to the Lynmore Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia.

One evening my Parents invited Mother’s cousin Felix Johnson (who was stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base there in Macon) and his family to have supper with us.

Mother and Dad had planned a nice meal but all of it had not yet been cooked, as this was to be done at the last minute.

However, nature intervened; a thunder booming thunderstorm such as only can happen in middle Georgia, rolled in and knocked out the electricity.

The food that was already prepared was served, but it wasn’t enough!

Billie Johnson, Felix’s wife, had the answer. In a twinkling, by the light of candles, she introduced me to the joys and delights of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Remember me? the picky eater? I had never had such a sandwich before and I definitely thought it was the best thing ever. I kept Billie busy for quite awhile making more PB&J!

THE SCALLOPED EGGPLANT DINNER PARTY!

WHEN MY PARENTS WERE BRIDE AND GROOM , SERVING THEIR FIRST PASTORAL APPOINTMENT TOGETHER, THE AMERICUS CIRCUIT, DAD HAD BEEN WORKING WITH MOTHER ON HER COOKING SKILLS AND THEY DECIDED SHE WAS READY TO PREPARE A DINNER PARTY.

THEY INVITED ONE OF DAD’S MINISTER FRIENDS AND HIS WIFE TO JOIN THEM AND SO ON THE APPOINTED EVENING, THEY WERE READY TO ENJOY THE MEAL THAT MOTHER HAD PREPARED.

MOTHER HAD WORKED AND WORKED TO CLEAN THE LITTLE PARSONAGE AND MAKE IT SHINE FOR GUESTS. SHE PLACED WILDFLOWERS IN THE TWENTY VASES SHE HAD RECEIVED AS WEDDING GIFTS AND SET THE TABLE WITH HER WEDDING CHINA AND SILVERWARE.

SHE HAD DECIDED TO SERVE A SOMEWHAT EXOTIC DISH AS THE MAIN COURSE AND SHE HAD CONSULTED THE ONLY COOKBOOK SHE HAD AS TO HOW IT SHOULD BE PREPARED. IT WAS CALLED SCALLOPED EGGPLANT.

REMEMBER, THESE WERE THE LATE 1930S AND FEW, IF ANY, APPLIANCES AND LABOR SAVING DEVICES INHABITED THE KITCHEN.

HOWEVER, MOTHER DUTIFULLY MADE A WHITE SAUCE AND POURED IT OVER THE EGGPLANT IN THE BAKING DISH AND TOOK IT TO THE TABLE.

WHEN THE MINISTER FRIEND SERVED HIMSELF AND TRIED TO TAKE A BITE HE DISCOVERED THAT THE EGGPLANT WAS STILL RAW! GENTLY HE ASKED, “GRACE, HOW LONG DID YOU COOK THIS IN THE OVEN?” PUZZLED SHE REPLIED, “IN THE OVEN? I DIDN’T COOK IT IN THE OVEN, I THOUGHT POURING THE WHITE SAUCE OVER IT WOULD COOK IT!”

THE MINISTER AND DAD NEVER LET MOTHER FORGET THAT MOMENT THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!

LOVE AMONG THE PANSIES

“They courted over the pansy patch. . .”

We are taking a few steps back today to provide more backgound for cooking and eating.

When my Parents first married, in 1936, my Mother could not really cook.  Her Stepmother preferred to do the cooking herself so Mother was reduced to being able to make fudge on a hotplate on Friday afternoons.  That was fine with my Dad; he loved to cook and had done a lot of it being of of the oldest of his eight brothers and two sisters.

Before they married Mother was teaching in a small town outside of her hometown of Tifton, Georgia, and living in a teacherage with several other teachers.  Dad was the Methodist Minister and lived by himself in the Parsonage.  The Parsonage yard adjoined the schoolyard.   She and Dad had already started courting (every Friday night Dad drove the teachers into Tifton to see a movie and Mother had started always sitting on the front seat with him.)  Every day Dad made it very convenient to be hoeing his flowerbed of pansies when Mother brought her students out to pay at recess!  They courted over the pansypatch!

The teachers took turns cooking the evening meal for them all to eat.  This spelled trouble for Mother; she could not cook!  Dad said comforting words; he had a solution:

when it was time to cook supper for the group he slipped into the kitchen at the teacherage and cooked a fine meal!  THEN, he went out of the back door and came in the front door to eat with them!   cooking and