Turning The Pages

By: Paige Cline

We have had a few really warm days. The hot summer days are reminiscent of those long-past times of so many years ago when the troubles of a little kid could be lost in the activities that we looked forward to each day 
As the end of summer came closer and closer, we looked ahead to the school year. Nobody in their right mind wanted to go back to school. But if you were going into the third grade you took solace in knowing that you would be in Miss Lusk’s room. 
Violet Lusk was everybody’s favorite teacher. Ask anyone today who ever went to Pineville Grade and almost all will tell you the same thing. She made learning fun….and important 
When you made it to the fourth, it would be your first year on the second floor. It doesn’t seem like much now, but back then everything was a milestone. Everything was another step to maturity 
Then there was the fifth grade. I’ll have to say if there was any teacher that was well-liked, and later loved, it was Ann Crews. She presided over her fifth graders like a loving parent. She had her rules but her love for her students was always apparent. 
Boys at that time took pride in their marble shooting skills. But, we soon learned it was no disgrace to lose a few to your fifth grade teacher during recess. Mrs. Crews was a player. 
In the sixth grade, you found yourself in the room which doubled as the school auditorium. We thought that was pretty cool. But we didn’t say that back then. We probably said “neat.” 
All the plays and programs were staged there and it became a magical place at Christmas when the story of the birth of Jesus was told and, just as they do today, parents beamed with pride as their kids sing-songed their parts in the play. 
Yes, kids dreamed a lot back then. And much of it was done in the warm sands of the beach at the old Fligger Hole. Yet there was another facet to the to the world of our dreams and contemplations. 
When we camped out by the river, or even swam at night, we would often lie on our backs and look up at the star-filled sky. We could identify the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, but not much more. 
America was at war with Japan and Germany then and, like almost everyone in our gang, we had brothers serving God-knows-where. We thought about them a lot. Every day we tried in some small way to help win the war and get back home. We helped to gather scrap metal, joined paper drives and even tried to conserve things that were needed in the war effort. I think those times did a lot to make people a little more appreciative of their freedom and to be a little bit more unselfish. You would be hard pressed to find a person from that era who is not patriotic and fiercely loyal to this country. 
Anyway, sometimes as we gazed up at the night skies, we would see the lights of a plane as it crossed the sky to some unknown destination. We were all Junior Air Raid wardens back then and had meetings during blackouts. We were messengers and were given armbands with a lightning bolt stamped on it. 
We looked up at the planes and someone would wonder if they might be Japanese or German bombers It was common knowledge that the chemical plants around Charleston were an important part of the war effort 
What if they bombed the chemical plants and had some bombs left over? They might see the lights of Pineville and unload them there. Just part of the lingering fears of a people at war. 
Summers now mean reunions. As families get together to visit and renew old acquaintances, they see kids who are visiting their childhood home. Some have done that and returned for good. 
Randy was a good example. He always dreamed of travel and exotic places. He loved history and visited historical places when he could. He lived in New York and loved it. He lived and worked in Detroit and Miami and other big cities. He worked for an airline and travelled all over the world. He loved it all. 
Still, when the opportunity came, he chose home. He had lived many of his boyhood dreams. He had enjoyed them and learned from them. To Randy, this was not a place to escape from, it was a place to return to. It is the place of our roots. Our beginnings. 
Some of us never left 
Do I regret not seeing some of the things I missed? 
Am I unhappy that I live in a small town in a rural county? 
If you have third-graders calling you their buddy, or if you have fifth-graders e-mailing you about things in their life, or you have kids of all ages wanting to be included in your book of hat pictures…you tell me. Lots of people will go through life and not know what that means. 
Nope. I’m just fine where I am, thank you.