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This page will feature articles I have written for the Greenfield Vedette. The Vedette is the local newspaper of Dade County and has been in operation since 1866.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Well I am back, so to speak. You see I am really not back. Oh I am in spirit but not in body. Actually, I am pretty far away. About 7,000 miles away to be exact. You see I now live in Jeonju City, South Korea and teach English at Jeonju University. Last summer I visited Greenfield for a week and this got me to thinking about my life growing up in Greenfield. I have to confess that I am a very sentimental person and I look back on those times with a smile. Greenfield has changed since I graduated 15 years ago. But in my heart it is still a special place. Each week I hope to send you an article about some of those special times and special people that I remember.
For example, when I was a kid there were two clothing stores, two grocery stores, two newspapers, two hardware stores, two pool halls, Jimmy Adams had the Sears catalogue store, Siders Shoes Store was in business, Hadly Poe had a barber shop (where my brother got his hair buzz cut every summer) and Jack Gamble had a soda fountain in his drug store. I remember when the Lewis Store and Rubensteins went out of business. I also remember walking down the sidewalk next to a pool hall and my mother getting a call from someone telling her that they had seen me do that. I got in trouble for even walking on the same street as a pool hall. My parents, especially my dad, were pretty strict.
I also remember a lot of the people. Today I was thinking about Laverne Jones. My mother always shopped there. Laverne was almost always there and he always greeted us with a smile and talked with us too. He was always kind and I remember the layout of that store as if it were still there today. I remember all the high school boys who bagged groceries, Greg Friend, (Dr. Friend now if I am not mistaken), Greg Killingsworth, Roger Freeze, Brent Sullivan and Phillip Montgomery (Coach Montgomery now). I remember the two great ladies who ran the check out but I must confess I am a little blurry on the names. I believe one was Mae and the other was Mary.
People are what make small towns great. It is not just businesses or government. I learned how to treat people by watching these people and people like you the reader. Nest week I want to talk to you about some of the great teachers I had while going to school in Greenfield. People like Princess Reeves, Roy Ellen Poindexter and Andrea Cross. People who changed my life. Until then God bless and keep you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading last weeks article. Some of you remember me and some of you are scratching your head and wondering who I am. So lets get reacquainted. I was a not so great basketball player for four years. I felt an incredible sense of duty to not only warm the bench but to also entertain the bench. I created such wonderful characters as Ricky Retardo and other a sundry personalities to help pass the time for myself and my fellow bench warmers (you know how you are). I never did quite figure out why our coach did not like being called Sybil. Ah, such mysteries are too great for me. Anyway, I think my greatest exposure came from the plays. My friend Scott Long and I enjoyed playing bit parts and comic relief. These smaller parts were actually good because it meant we could goof off more while everyone else was rehearsing. I developed such a love for theatre that I graduated with a BA in theatre and produced some shows while living in St. Louis. I also auditioned for shows making the final cut of production of Steel Magnolias. I had a screen test and they offered to sign me that week. I prayed about it and did not have peace so I put it on hold. I still have the letter of acceptance and they told me I could start when I am ready. I do not follow the expected path, I never have. I prefer the adventure. Now some of you are starting to remember.
I also hope you do not think I over glamorized life in a small town. Sometimes it was boring. Trust me even living in another country can be boring. At least you can go and visit people and you do not have to worry about trying to communicate in two languages. I am learning Korean but they say it takes 20 years to master the language. Right now I am happy being able to tell the taxi driver where to take me. The Korean language uses a unique system called Hangul. It is not the Roman alphabet that we use in English.
I like being a teacher and I think it has to do with the teachers I have had. Like many of you my kindergarten teacher was Princess Reeves. I remember her for her kindness. I have to confess I was quite shy. I remember very few awkward moments in her class. There are teachers who really do not like what they do. They should not be in the classroom. I had one of those teachers for a brief period while my family lived in Mt. Vernon. I believe Mrs. Reeves (I still cannot call my teachers by their first names, it does not seem right) really loved her students even though there probably were days she wanted to pull her hair out. Thank you Mrs. Reeves. When I was in kindergarten the classroom was where the library is now. I remember it vividly. I loved the days we played inside. There were so many creative toys. Plus it seemed like such a big room.
For seventh grade I had Miss Roy Ellen Poindexter. I liked her because it meant no research paper! All we had to do was keep a journal. Now that I am a teacher, I think that is a great idea, easier to grade. The world lost a great person when they lost her.
Finally I want to mention Andrea Cross. I think she is a hidden treasure in the Greenfield school system. She really impacted me as a student. She was so real and honest. I spent a lot of time talking to her when she would sell tickets at the ball games. She really is interesting. She is very logical and yet she understood me as a teenager. Her sense of humor is wonderful. If you do not know her, take the time to get to know her, especially if you are her student. I had a couple of teachers who seemed to specialize in telling me what I could not do or be. When I wanted to study journalism, a substitute teacher told me it was too tough and I could not make it. I had a counselor who told me I could not become a psychologist because it would take 11 years. My answer to those people are quite simply, do not underestimate your students potential. Maybe my becoming an English teacher sends a clear message, people who are inspirational do not have to do anything except be. Thank you Mrs. Cross.
Thanks to all of you who read last weeks article and said hello to my mother. I have one small correction to make. Thankfully the memory still works. After some thinking I remembered the correct names of the women who worked for Laverne Jones. It was Mae and Betty not Mary.
Well, folks, so ends another chapter in the sentimental journey of my life. Thank you for taking yet another ride with me and I will see you next week when I tell you about my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde Purdy. Until then God bless and keep you all.
by Tammy Fisher-Heldenbrand
Of all the things that make a place great, people are the greatest resource. This week I want to talk about two great people I know. Their greatness does not come in the form of fame or fortune, not in politics or science. Their greatness simply comes from being. They are who they are. I am talking about my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde Purdy. Aunt Hazel is my grandmothers sister so I suppose that makes her and Uncle Clyde doubly great as a result of relationship as well.
Most of you know my aunt and uncle. They have cleaned the banks for years. They are two of the hardest working people I know. Only after Uncle Clydes health weakened did he stop working. Knowing Uncle Clyde I am sure he would be working if he could.
My Aunt Hazel is the frankest person I know. If you want an honest opinion, ask Aunt Hazel. I like that about her. She calls it as it is.
My Uncle Clyde has a signature greeting and you will know it when you hear it. As long as I have know him he always greets people with a warm “Howdy, Howdy” and a handshake. There is nobody like him.
I have only seen my uncle angry one time. It was when my brother, sister, my cousins and I went into a pasture we should not have. When Uncle Clyde found out he was fuming. The reason he was angry was not so much because we disobeyed but because little to our knowledge that pasture was governed by a very angry and dangerous bull. We had put ourselves at great risk. I can still see Uncle Clyde approaching us with that angry look on his face.
That was a long time ago. Over the years my aunt and uncle have given me so much support and help. My senior year of high school I lived alone. There were times when there was not enough money for food or gas. Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde were always there to help me. If it snowed they took me to church. They have always been there for me and I can never say thank you enough.
Over the last few years Uncle Clydes health has weakened and he has not been able to get out as much. When the weather is right and Uncle Clyde is feeling well you might see him and Aunt Hazel having lunch at “The Cross Roads." Be sure to say hello and I bet he will greet you with his famous “Howdy, howdy!”
Finally, I would like to thank all of you for reading my articles. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. If you would like to contact me I have set up an email address just for those of you who are reading my articles. I would love to hear from my old friends and acquaintances. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week my article will be about what I call “genuinely nice people." It is about some more of the people I have met in Greenfield who are truly a joy to know. Until then God bless and keep you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Have you ever met someone who was genuinely nice? There is just no other word to describe them. That is how it is with Karen Hudsbeth-Gardner. I have to confess I have only met Karen once or twice and it was a long time ago. I remember Karen as a cheerleader and a homecoming queen. She was ahead of me in school by about six years.
There was something else about Karen that I remember. It was her kindness. One time I was at a basketball game and I had a bad headache. I was in the bathroom with a friend of mine and I was complaining about it. Karen was also in the bathroom and before leaving, she asked me if I was okay. She really cared and I am sure she would not have left if she were not convinced I was okay. I was so intimidated but flattered. Here I was a junior high kid and this big important senior cheerleader cared about me. For a second I forgot about my headache and tried to look cool even through I was scared to death.
That memory has been with me my whole life. Her kindness made me feel like maybe when I made it to high school I would fit in.
That is not all I remember about Karen. Karen has always been beautiful and has a great smile. But there is an inner beauty and peace that governs her life. It is not forced or awkward. It is simply who she is. I think if you ask Karen about it she can give you a hint to her Source.
I like people who are real. That is how I live my life. What you see is what you get. After graduating high school and going to university I learned a few things about people. The first thing I learned is that the world I lived in while going to high school was small. There are so many people in the world and you have to remember this is not all there is. I learned that most people accept you just the way you are. In high school we so want to fit in. We buy the right clothes, listen to the right music, make sure we have the right friends etc. and for what? Most of us never make the “in” crowd and we end up miserable by trying so hard. I never worried whether or not I was popular. I stayed with the people I liked, regardless of their social status and I had a lot of fun. I still laugh about things that happened during high school. I still have a couple of friends that I treasure because of my willingness to accept people the way they are.
I have some special people that I briefly want to mention. There were some girls that I knew in high school and have, over the years, often thought about. I remember them because they were real and I always felt I could talk to them.
The first one is Angela McGuire. There was so much more to Angela than most people ever knew. Many people saw the exterior but few people really knew what was going on inside. Even though she was a good athlete, popular and our senior prom queen, she never seemed to feel deserving of the things she had. She did deserve them. She was never hurtful or cruel. She never made people feel like anything less than they were. I enjoyed making Angela laugh; she was one of my best audiences. So many times over the years I have thought about her.
I also want to mention Allison Payne. She is another person on my list of real people. She has a great laugh and I really liked talking to her. Allison was a year behind me in high school but she was ahead of me in basketball (alas, like so many others). The school mascot was ahead of me in basketball now that I think of it. By the time I was a senior, I was demoted to B team. Partly because we finally had enough girls to have a B team. I spent more time at the ball games taking pictures for the school newspaper than actually playing. As I have told you before, I was not exactly a stellar athlete. Anyway, Allison was so real, even though she moved ahead of me in basketball she seemed truly humble about it. She was always approachable and fun. Allison new exactly who she was and she did not get swept away by the popularity hype. Like Angela, I have thought of Allison many times over the years.
I truly considered these two women my friends and over the years have never forgotten them. As God has put them on my mind, they have been in my prayers as well.
Well folks, it is time to say good-bye for another week. Last week I gave you my email address, this week I want to give you my snail mail address. It is long so you might just want to clip the article. I would love to hear from you. I am horrible about answering snail mail but am pretty good about the email. Here is my snail mail address. (Girl Scout cookies can be mailed to this address as well).
Tammy V. Fisher
Language Educ. Center
1200 Hyoja Dong. 3-ga.
I go by my maiden name in Korea because it is easier to write in Korean etc.
Next week I will be writing about things to do in Greenfield and tossing out some ideas for new and fun things to do. If you are not having fun, you are not living.
God bless you all.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I know it has been a while since you have heard from me. There was a problem with my sending articles via email. I either did not do it correctly or the information would not reach its destination so I am trying this one more time. I am re-sending the last eight of the original 12 articles I wrote. This article was originally written February 26, 2000.
This article is about fun things to do in Greenfield. I would like for you to bear in mind that I do not think like your average person so you might question my sanity on a couple of these.
Lets start with the cemeteries. Greenfield and the surrounding areas are full of interesting tombstones. For example, in the Greenfield cemetery there is a tombstone with the photograph of a civil war soldier on it. That may not sound so remarkable but what is remarkable is that the picture is in mint condition. Usually photos left in the sun or the weather will quickly ruin but not this one. Also, there are beautiful epitaphs on many of the older stones. Some are badly deteriorated by weather and age but still they should not be forgotten. There are poems and lovely words dedicated to the memory of a loved one. If you do decide to visit the cemeteries remember to show respect. Do not walk on the graves or be too loud. It is one of the saddest places on earth and it houses many memories. Do take some charcoal and some paper and do some rubbings of some of the beautiful writings. Preserve them before it is too late. If you are sincere, be prepared to spend an afternoon or a whole day at one cemetery. There is a lot of reading to do. If there is a funeral going on stay away from the area. Allow the grieving to have their privacy. Some of the more industrious people might want to study about preservation of tombstones and do something to insure the future of the stones. Cleaning off moss and lichens does not always mean you are preserving the tombstone so do your homework. If you do decide to clean off a tombstone make sure you are gentle and that you use the correct procedures. You are supposed to be improving and protecting these memorials not destroying them.
Next I recommend creating a history tour for yourself. For example, walk around the square and look at all the buildings. Try to visualize what they originally looked like. What kind of business did they originally house? What were people doing on the day that building was dedicated? If you look inside some of the older buildings you will notice that the electrical wiring was installed along the outside of the interior walls. That is because there was no electricity at the time the building was constructed. It was added later. Also, notice the ceilings. They are beautifully done. You will not find that kind of work in newer buildings. I love old buildings and think it is a tragedy when one is destroyed. It broke my heart to see the condition of the old Washington Hotel. It was once a building of splendor and now it is left to ruin. My great-grandmother lived in one of the apartments at the back of the building and I remember as a child visiting my grandfather in one of the rooms.
After you have asked all of these questions about the buildings, go to the library and try to find the answers. It may not be easy but you should try. Also, the courthouse has some records about these buildings. Do not forget the Historical Society, which is a valuable resource. After you have done your research, write an article about each building. Put it in a journal or take a photo of the building and frame the two together.
If you are a native of Dade County you might enjoy doing some research on your family history. Last summer I spent a week doing research on my family and found about 400 names in the archives of the library. I was surprised to find that the last entry for my family was at my great-grandfather. I have many answers for that branch of the family and am in the process of compiling the information for the Genealogical Society. Upon completion, I will send a copy to them.
The Library also has decades of the Vedette and Advertiser on file. Try spending a day reading old articles or looking at how cheap the prices were. There is much interesting information in those old newspapers.
Here is a little trivia for you. Did you know that in the 1930’s there was stoplight on the square between the Rubenstein building and the opera house? The adventures you have are the ones you will create. Enjoy your history tour.
Next I would suggest interviewing some of the long time residents of Greenfield. I am sure they can tell you stories that no one else knows. I took the train from St. Louis to Kansas City a couple of years ago. I wanted to experience a passenger train ride before the opportunity became extinct. I met a nice elderly couple at the train station and they appeared to be seasoned train passengers. I was right. They were very surprised to find it was my first ride. It did not take long before we were in full conversation about their lives. They told me how they had been refuges in Europe during WWII. They told about being separated and finally reunited. It was wonderful to talk to them. We talked all the way to Kansas City and other passengers were listening and asking questions as well. I never would have had such an enriching experience if I had not have taken a few moments to say hello and to get to know them. Is there someone you are wanting to get to know? Introduce yourself and get to know them. I love elderly people because they have so much to offer and to say.
I hope that you will try some of these things for yourself. You never know what you are over looking. Life goes by and then when you are far removed from a situation you realize what it is that you wish you would have done.
Until next week, take care and God bless.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
In recent months I have heard from six former Greenfieldians. It has been good to reminisce with them. If you want to find old school friends you might try a web site called highschoolalumni.com. You can go and register your email to the high school you graduated from and then you can connect to your fellow graduates. It is a great way to renew old friendships.
This week I want to “tell on” my brother. I have one sister and one brother and both are older than I. Because my brother was the lone male child he had to play with me. We would play baseball and basketball but it was a little difficult with only two people. We also like to play “cowboys and Indians." We had holsters, cowboy hats and best of all cowboy boots. We were always on the same side so we had imaginary enemies. That was so like my brother, to put me on the same side. My brother has always been very protective of his sisters. I remember one time around 1974, we were going to get into a Saturday morning BB gun fight with Mark Butterworth. We did not have a BB gun and we were scared but my sister, brother and I all showed. Mark showed up with his gun and a couple of friends. The only was problem that he did not have any BB’s. I guess that would constitute a forfeit.
Even though my brother was my protector, he was also a pest. He used to tell me there were mice in my cowboy boots so I was afraid to wear them. On one occasion he tied me under the covers of the bed and started hitting me. When I asked him what he was doing he told me it was the arrows from the Indians. You get the idea.
I was very introverted in first grade. I preferred to walk around the playground and watch everyone play verses participating in the activity. I enjoyed people watching. Well, my brother took it as no one wanting to play with me so he decided he would play with me. So every day for about a week my brother would find me at recess and we would play together. Then one day he approached me and told me that he could not play with me because the other kids were making fun of him. Now that I am older I get a chuckle from that but I have never forgotten that event. He was and has always been the kindest and best big brother. My brother and I have always been close and I am so thankful for that relationship.
Living overseas and not being able to have those times with people has caused me to appreciate the time we do have together. People do not know what they are missing when they do not get to know each other. In high school we classify people, in, out, nerd and so forth. We decide whom we will and will not socialize with but then five years later we find ourselves talking to those same people at the post office or in the grocery store, etc. We sometimes realize too late what we have missed. I used to be intimidated by people who were only a year or two older than I. Ironically, in my 20’s and 30’s I found myself supervising people 10, 20 or 30 years older than me. I always felt in my heart of hearts that I was the same as my older classmates but never crossed the barrier to get to know them. It was their choice as well as mine. It is difficult to see whom we really are when we are in the heat of the battle. It is only later that we realize how ridiculous the in/out system is.
Funny how retrospect teaches us so much.
Until next week, God bless you all.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Having grown up in Greenfield and gone to Southwest Baptist University, in Bolivar, I was more than ready to move to the city after graduation. I moved to St. Louis in January of 1991. When I first moved to St. Louis I left my car behind because it needed a major repair. I had gone from being a poor college student to being a poor civilian. As a result of not having my car I found myself riding the bus to work. My first day on the bus I was nervous. I sat next to the drivers seat on the passenger side as a precaution. I immediately started to speak with the driver. After a few minutes of conversation he said to me, “You are not from here are you?”
I was a little surprised and answered, “No, why do you ask?”
His answer, “Because you are so friendly.” He warned me to be careful because in the city it can be dangerous if you are too friendly. He then proceeded to ask me where I was from and I told him. He could not believe I had left southwest Missouri to live in St. Louis! As he put it, “Why would you leave Gods country to live in St. Louis?” Although he had been in St. Louis most of his life he could not wait to retire and move to the Branson area. We both had wanted to leave our worlds behind for another. Both envisioned the other to be better. I have often thought about the irony of the situation. We both made decisions that were right for us even though they were opposite in nature.
There are many differences between southwest Missouri and St. Louis. For example, people are friendlier in southwest Missouri. You can drive down the road and a complete stranger will wave. You can strike up a conversation with almost anyone and not have to worry. There are a lot of private schools in St. Louis and the school you attend tells people how wealthy your family is. Therefore, a common question is “What high school did you go to?” It also causes a problem because St. Louis is very closed. Outsiders find it difficult to make friends. I went to a wonderful church and did not just find friendship, I found a family that loves and cares about me. Whenever I met “outsiders” like myself I always encouraged them to find a good church.
Manners are different also. In 1996 my grandfather died and I returned to Greenfield and southwest Missouri for the first time in five years. As we were going to the cemetery I noticed people were pulling off to the side of the road. I ask my cousin Conita what was happening, why were they doing that? She simply answered, “It is because we are in a funeral procession.” I had forgotten this fact. In St. Louis people are supposed to stop for funeral processions. Each car in the procession has a sticker in the window. The sticker is supposed to tell people to get out of the way and to allow the members of the procession to go through red lights. Unfortunately people in St. Louis just do not practice the same good manners that we have learned in southwest Missouri. Even being in traffic and wanting to stop you cannot because everyone will get angry and it can cause a mess. You have to be cautious because of road rage, etc.
I am truly thankful for my heritage and experiences growing up in southwest Missouri. That is really what this article is about. Its about all the things that have effected me and how they formed me. It is also about how those things are still a part of my life today.
When I left southwest Missouri I was so happy to be going to a city. Although I enjoyed the convenience of the city I can honestly say there are more important things than drive through dry cleaners and pharmacies. People are what matter. I hope you appreciate those around you and the heritage you have.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
It is good to feel the warmth of spring coming. Winter is so stark and cold. It seems more so in Korea. The weather pretty much stays the same here. We do not have much snow. We seem to have plenty of cold. Korea does not have central heat or air. They have modern digital heaters but you have to carry your heating oil in a jug and fill a tank in order to use the system. Most of my classrooms do not have heat and I wear my coat to teach. In many ways, Korea is today where the United States was 50 years ago. In other ways, the country is very advanced. I used to compare Korea to the US and Korea always came up short. Then it occurred to me. The United States is the only first world country left on the planet.
People often ask me, “What is spring like in Korea?”
The answer, “It is a beautiful two weeks.”
Spring is very short here. The humidity you experience in late July begins to show itself in Korea in early to mid-June. I was thinking about the seasons in Korea and it reminded me of how beautiful things are in southwest Missouri.
When we are children, we are not governed by the regular calendar but rather by the school calendar.
The other day I was thinking about how the seasons looked from the perspective of a child at Greenfield Elementary. I remember how the elementary school looked before the renovation in the mid-1980’s. It had these wonderful big windows that you could use to look out at the playground and see everything starting to turn green in the spring. When I was in Mrs. Godfrey’s first grade class, we had plants growing in those windows and we would check on them every day. Those windows seemed so high then.
It was also through those windows that we would watch the fall rain and winter snow arrive. If it was raining, it meant one of two things was going to happen. Play in our room or face going to the gym where you might have to run relay races. I hated relay races. I was always the slowest kid and I knew it. I could care less about running, logrolling or doing the wheelbarrow. Give me a book and let me be. Sometimes we had a choice; relay races or Four Square on the stage. I think there is some kind of cruel seed living in the heart of any person who thinks to have children run relay races. Maybe that is what Hell is, one big relay race. I do not plan on finding out if this is true. The thought makes me run to the altar and repent again, just in case.
The school calendar was always on the heart of children. Every holiday meant a party. One year for our Valentine’s party my mom made her and me matching silver pantsuits. I was mortified. I was in third grade and being humiliated was not on my list of fun things to do. I was sure everyone would make fun of my mom and me. The big day came and no one said anything about my pantsuit. I knew my mom would be coming that afternoon and that would surely seal my fate. I waited in nervous anticipation. When my mother did arrive, to my surprise, everyone thought it was neat that my mom had made us matching pantsuits. The day was saved and that was probably one of the best holiday parties I attended.
We also looked forward to Open House and the Christmas program. We lived for Christmas break and by mid-break, we could not wait to get back to school. I think my best memory was of the spring weather. It gave us so much hope. We knew that everything was coming to life. We could not wait to get outside. We also knew that it meant summer would be coming and we would again be out of school!
I really enjoyed elementary school. It was such a simple time. All I had to do was have fun. I enjoyed my schoolwork and remember when Mrs. Patsy Pierce gave us math homework in the third grade. It was the first time we had ever had homework and we could not believe it was happening to us. It was long addition problems. I remember the book was gold and black and well worn. I loved it. I loved the homework because I was always good at math (until high school). When we had math relays, people always wanted me on their team. Maybe it was God’s way of making up for the misery I suffered through running relay races on those rainy days.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I have recently been reflecting on my life and the things that have formed it. I remember the most strongly, my high school days. I went through a lot of changes at that time. Two major things happened to me. First I became a Christian and second my parents got a divorce. Those two things totally changed and shaped my life forever. They also went hand in hand. I could not have gotten through my parents divorce without the church. Both events happened around the same time.
I went to Glad Tidings Assembly of God on Main Street. The old timers will remember it as the “Rock Church". Even now, when I return for a visit, I attend there. My mom will ask me, “Are you going to the Rock Church?” Without blinking I will answer, “Yes.”
How did Glad Tidings Assembly of God get the name “The Rock Church?” Before the existing building was erected, there was another older sanctuary built out of, you guessed it, rock. I do not know how long that church stood there but I do remember Howard Bennett teaching Sunday school and the basement walls leaking when it rained. My parents did not attend church very often but George Bennett and Diana Shepard would come and get my brother, sister and me. My dad was a non-practicing Catholic. On the days my mother went to The Rock Church and we did not choose to go he would make us sit in a chair until she returned. It only took one Sunday for me to realize church was definitely a better alternative.
Eventually my mother stopped going to church and for several years after we did not attend. Except for brief stints in 1976 and 1979 I never went to church. God never gave up on me and He kept calling me. I started to read a family Bible the day after Christmas 1981. Finally in the spring of 1982 I could not deny His call any longer. I knew I was going to hell and I did not have a chance without Him. I went to church a few times but each time the preacher gave the altar call I sat in the back with white knuckles.
Finally I made the step and before I got halfway to the front I burst into tears. I had no idea how to pray or what to say. There at the altar I met Jesus Christ and realized what a woman of prayer Evelina Bennett is. I remember her saying, “Did you get what you came for?” I said, “Yes.” Her answer, “Then thank Him.”
That was the beginning of my life as I know it now. Shortly after I became a Christian my parents marriage fell apart. It was a terrible and dark time in my life but somewhere in the midst of all that I found joy. I could really laugh and enjoy life even though I should have been walking around in a dark cloud and tears. After I became a Christian I started attending church regularly and in a few short months I started playing my flute and saxophone for every service. I went from a C in band to an A. I found joy in living and I wanted to get up and get started every day. I had purpose and meaning in my life. The church was a haven for me. That is exactly what the church should be. You get out of church what you put into it. The church can give you friends and relationships that you crave. It gives you something to do so you can fight boredom. It teaches you about the strength available to you through Christ. I did not take a drink of alcohol in high school. I did not need it. I had a lot of fun in high school and was really involved. I did not worry about what people thought. I was living the life that I wanted and having a good time. That is what it is all about, finding joy in living.
I have a lot of fond memories of living in Greenfield. My lifestyle was different from a lot of peoples. I still made it even though I chose to be different. I was not an outcast or a freak that walked alone. I had a lot of friends. I was myself and people usually liked that person. There were enough people who liked me for who I was that I did not worry about those who did not like me. I know this is not my typical article but I want people to know the secret to really enjoying life. Living in a small town can be difficult. There is a lot of pressure. It can be boring if you do not figure out how to make life fun. It is so easy to become stuck in a rut and do the same thing day in and day out, week after week. You need an alternative to existing, you need to live.
Well, this is my article for this week. If you have any ideas or things you would like me to write about you can send me an email at email@example.com or send me a letter at the following address:
Tammy V. Fisher
Jeonju University L.E.C.
1200 Hyoja Dong. 3-ga
Until next week I hope you have lots of beautiful spring sunshine and warm days.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Last summer I spent about a week in the Dade County Library doing research on my family tree. I have found over 550 descendants as a result of that search. I want to take a moment and tell you about one of those people, my grandfather, Clarence Conard Jones.
People measure success many ways. They measure it by fame or money, the car they drive or the house they own. My grandfather was not a rich man in that sense. He was rich in other ways. He was a good man and his heart was in everything he did. He was always so kind to his grandchildren. He was really good at coming up with nicknames. My Aunt Connie Jones-Daniel was “Catsup," my Aunt Joyce Jones-Campbell was “Joy-bell” and my mother Mae Jones-Fisher was nicknamed “Tree Frog." He also called my sister Theresa Fisher-Tonasket “Baldy” because she did not start growing her hair until she was about a year old.
He worked for Mr. Howser who used to own the Western Auto in Greenfield. My grandfather used to feed cattle on Mr. Howser's farms. On Saturday morning my grandpa would come and get my brother and I and let us go along. My brother was help to my grandpa but I usually sat in the pickup because I was afraid of the cows. I enjoyed watching them work with the cattle but the real fun came for me after they were finished. You see, my grandpa would stop off at the Neola grocery store and we would get an icy cold Coke and a candy bar. They had one of those old fashioned coolers that held ice and you lifted the top to pick your Coke. Usually, by the time we got there, the ice was well on its way to being melted. It was so cold reaching into that cooler and so much fun. We would always wipe the bottom of the bottle on the edge of the cooler to remove the excess water but we still got it everywhere. Grandpa did not mind. My grandfather did not achieve much worldly wealth but I believe he enjoyed his life. There truly was no one like him.
The research I did last summer helped me find out a lot about my family. I have researched back to Burkett Jones, 1 (1807-1897) and his wife, Fances D. Edge (1811-1894). I found a lot of information and now have a lot of questions. I plan to return to the library this summer for more research. If you have any information on my family I would love to hear about it
The library is a great place to go. I want to do a lot of research on Greenfield and hope to publish some articles in the future about the history of Greenfield and Dade County. I have found a few miscellaneous things on the Internet and have enjoyed reading those articles. I really miss the freedom of going to the library. 98% of the library books in Korea are in Korean. There is some English text but not enough.
Also, while I am Greenfield I would like to renew acquaintances with many of you.
A few weeks ago I gave my email address and as a result have established contact with several of my friends from Greenfield. I would like to leave that with you one more time and hope to hear from some of you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather that southwest Missouri is famous for and until my next article, God bless and keep you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
It is funny how I come up with the ideas for my articles. Usually the basis for my articles are memories. I will see something that makes me think of something from my past or maybe I miss something. From those thoughts come most of my article ideas.
Today I was walking to class with my husband and another teacher and I was thinking about lunch. I am getting tired of the same thing all the time. It is a typical thing for us to experience. Then I remembered that I had a 16oz. package of bologna in my freezer. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you and definitely may not sound like much of a change. For us, that is a big deal. You see, they do not have bologna in Korea. This bologna was imported, probably to the military base in Seoul, and then I bought it. When I say it was probably from the military base, I mean I bought black market bologna. The “black market” is a real grocery store in Seoul. I did not sneak around at night or fear for my life while obtaining this bologna. The Korean people buy the bologna from the military base and then it is sold again for a much greater price to civilians, Korean or otherwise.
I have to take a bus three hours to Seoul and then spend about 45 minutes on the subway and in a taxi to get to the store. We have stores in our city but they do not have a lot of western things. It is getting better and I am thankful for what we have. After I finish my shopping I take the same trip home. So in order to get things like bologna, refried beans, Kit Kat bars and tortillas I take about a seven and a half hour trip (and you thought it was inconvenient to go to Springfield). Not only is it a major trip to get these things it is also expensive. The bologna cost me about .00 and a can of refried beans cost about .00.
Most of you eat potatoes on a regular basis, at least once a week. You can buy a 10lb. bag of potatoes for a few dollars. Rice is the main food in Korea and many people do not eat potatoes so I have to select my potatoes and put them in your basic produce bag. I buy 7 - 10 potatoes each time. It cost about $1.00 for a potato. I get them in our town. We also have a hard time getting salad dressing. The Koreans mix catsup and mayonnaise together and use that for salad dressing. They also use cabbage instead of lettuce. I stock up on dry mixes when I am in the states. I buy things like salad dressing and quick mixes.
Before I got married I rarely cooked. Right after I got married I joined my husband in Korea. While we were on our honeymoon in New York we bought a cookbook. I am so glad we did! My husband is too! When I got to Korea it did not take long for me to realize they did not have the spices I needed. Thankfully we had to go to Japan for my work visa and I was able to pick up some spices there. In the last year and a half of marriage I have learned to cook from scratch. I make many things from scratch because they do not have mixes, especially western mixes here. I learned to make things you take for granted, things like chocolate cake or cream of chicken soup. Most of the time I meet with success.
My husband was sharing with me his memories of going to the store in Cameron, Missouri as a child. He talked about how the butcher always wrapped the meat in white paper and wrote on the package in red pen. We all have those memories. I can go to a place in Seoul and get cheese and deli meats but I usually buy most of the meat in the town where we live. We go downtown to one particular department store that has a grocery in the basement. That is where we buy our cheese. We can get mild cheddar or sandwich slices from America. We pay about .00 for a small brick of cheese and a little less for a package of 16 slices of sandwich cheese. This weekend my husband and I will treat ourselves to a picnic. The delicacy of the day will be bologna sandwiches and a good salad with ranch dressing courteous of the United States.
The next time you enjoy a bologna sandwich, be thankful for what you have.
Until next week God bless and keep you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Well folks, it is true. I am a dreamer. My latest dreams have again turned to the future of Greenfield. You see I have a vision for Greenfield. I believe it can be a haven for families and people who truly want the “good life”. I see so much potential. Most people look around and see empty buildings and what once was. I see what can be. If I were a millionaire I would invest my money in Greenfield. I just went to a realty site and found an empty business building on the square for ,500.00! That is a steal. I see so much potential.
I love history, I have shared that in the past. Did you know that on October 6, 1863 the second courthouse was destroyed in a civil war battle? Do you know what I would like to do? I would like to have a Dade County History Festival. It would have booths that make all kinds of old-fashioned candies and food. I would have old-fashioned games that people could play. There would be a costume booth so people could dress up and have a tintype or modern picture made. There would be horse drawn buggies and wagons that would take you on a history tour of the town. I would have a narrator at every home and building over 100 years old to tell about the history of that particular location. They would be dressed in period clothing. I would invite politicians to have old-fashioned tree stump debates. To cap the festivities off I would invite the ladies for an old-fashioned bake off. The deserts could be sold afterwards.
I would hold the festival on the square and I would challenge every town and city in Dade County to have a booth to tell about their towns history. I would give a big blue ribbon for the top booths. Every year a different era or time period could be the theme. You could start with the Civil War, another year you could do the “Roaring Twenties”, etc. You get the idea.
You would need volunteers to do research and prepare dialogues for the narrators as well as volunteers to serve as narrators for the buildings. Finding the costumes would require calling Springfield and arranging for rentals. The volunteers would need to be willing to pay for their own rentals. You would need volunteers to bring their wagons, buggies and horses into town. There could be blue ribbons for the best team, wagon and/or buggy. The cost would be relatively low with the goal being people willing to volunteer for most of the work and getting most of the supplies donated. The food booths, photo booth, etc. would charge for their products but also pay the city for the privilege of having a paying concession.
Unfortunately I am not in Greenfield or even in the country. So I need some one else to take my dream and run with it. My only request is that you hold the festival during July or early to mid-August (unless it is too hot) so I can attend. If you need to hold it at another time send me photos. I am proud of Greenfield and you should be too.
If you want to know more about Dade County history, please, log onto my web site at http://dadecountymissouri.20m.com. This page is dedicated solely to the history of Dade County and you can find old photos and links to other Dade County pages.
In the still of the night the phone rings and I am awaken from a deep sleep. I hear my husbands voice and after a few moments I am awake enough to know that he is grave. I get up and go to his side. Still on the phone, he looks at me and says the World Trade Center has been hit by a plane. One has fallen and the other may go too. We turn on the TV. Although the voice-over is in Korean, the footage is CNN and if we turn the TV up enough we can hear the CNN announcers.
We are so shocked. My blood runs cold and I begin to chill even though the night air is warm. My heart beats quickly and I tremble. It seems the whole world is shaken and I will be shaken with it.
The scenes are fresh. The middle of the night Tuesday in Korea was Tuesday morning in New York.
Our thoughts go to our family and friends and we are thankful that all are away from the area. In moments like these you want to be with your family, you want that human contact.
For an hour we watch TV. The next day all I can think of is coming home and watching TV, listening to live broadcast over the Internet. I stay glued to the computer for three days, only answering email now and then.
This feels like fiction, like Orson Wells and the “War of the Worlds.”
On the weekend I called my family and they were so relieved to hear my voice. I found comfort in hearing theirs as well.
My mother seems radically changed by the events. She has a renewed awareness of God and speaks so boldly of Him. My sister seems about the same, but as a mother of five sons, she is not. My brother tells me a day or two later three Stealth Bombers flew over his house while they were outside.
The world is different now. My generation has its Pearl Harbor. It is another day for Infamy.
I do not know what the future holds but today I am more aware of life than ever before. I do not know what size this war will be or who will be involved. I pray for all the leaders of the world, not just America. I had hoped that we would not see a great war in this life. Our forefathers saw wars and we have seen wars.
A friend of mine told me that attendance in her church was up the Sunday after the attack. I would dare say that is true of most churches. God has sounded the alarm to our hearts. We must pray and seek Him in this hour. We need His help and His guidance, above all else we need His peace.
My God grant you His peace now and always.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Jeonju City, South Korea
About a week ago we had a very cool and beautiful day. With all that is going on in the world I had forgotten that autumn was coming, and there it was. The day was cool and although the sun was bright is was not hot. The sky took on that beautiful rich blue hue and you wish you could snuggle up in it and then wrap a warm blanket around yourself and sleep peacefully. I love fall.
I love the colors of the leaves and cool crisp mornings and evenings. I love all the excitement in the air as football season gets underway. I remember those cool Halloween nights.
My memories surround me like a warm blanket and I find comfort in them.
Although I am half a world away, in my mind I am there with you. I love those beautiful southwest Missouri autumns. The city in autumn always seemed rainy and cold, not like my beloved Greenfield. Life was always full in the city, but the simplicity was gone. I grew up and had to take on those adult habits. I got home around 5:30 p.m. when the sky had grow dark for the night. There were no walks through my parents big yard, no wondering around and daydreaming.
Being in school was also fun on those days. When I was in seventh grade we would all get to school around 8:00 a.m. and have to wait in the foyer area in the far corner of the school. I remember Brian Stack and Gayle Shouse, but my memory fails me as to who else stood there with us. I remember making wise cracks and all of us laughing. How simple it was and yet how I looked forward to seeing everyone.
I rarely missed a day of high school because I wanted to see those people, I wanted to laugh and have fun. It is funny how we had all those laughs but rarely talked. We all had our reasons for not getting to know people…each other. We had different circles and groups. I think Gayle was a really nice person. When we were younger we both had really great Barbie collections and my mother would allow me to go to Gayle’s and play. I only had two friends that my mother would allow me to spend time with in their homes, Michelle Wilkerson and Gayle. I was not always kind and have one memory to apologize to Gayle for. We were riding the bus back from a ball game and it was late… I think you remember what I did, I am sorry. I miss understood the situation and your laughter. I thought you had spit on me intentionally. You get the idea.
Many of my classmates have left the area, some are in Arizona, Texas, some in neighboring towns or cities, and some have stayed. We did not have a 15-year reunion but I would like for us to have a 20-year reunion. If you are interested in doing so, please contact me. I want to do something special. I still have our senior prophecies. Lets read them and see how we did. We do not look the same. I have gained weight and the wrinkles are starting to show (just a little). Do not worry about your successes or failures, lets just talk and get to know each other, again or for the first time. We came from a very special world and no matter where we go we are still affected by it.
If you are interested in a 20-year reunion, drop me a post card. Perhaps we could do something less normal and have a 17-year reunion. Why wait?
My email is email@example.com and my mailing address is P. O. Box 122, Greenfield, MO 65661. Let me know if you want a 17-year or 20 year reunion and send me an address and phone number.
God bless you all,
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Greenfield High School, Senior, 1985
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I had the pleasure of returning to Greenfield this summer and I really enjoyed myself. Of course I did research for my family tree but I also did research for a history book. You see, I am writing a new Dade County, Missouri history book. I know there are other Dade County history books, old ones published in 1889 and 1917 by Goodspeed and newer ones written by Mr. John Hulston. So why am I undertaking such a project?
I received my inspiration from the Goodspeed editions, for you see, they were written by everyday folks like you and I. The book, “The History of Dade County and her People” (1917) is on file in the genealogy reference area of the library. In reading it, I found many of my ancestors and a lot of information that I need for my research. I found the book to be very useful, however, most of the information is from the mid to late 1800’s. A book like this needs to be written about the twentieth century and I need your help. In the original, there were many biographies and articles written by the citizens of Dade County. This included Arcola, Corry, Dadeville, Everton, Greenfield, Lockwood, South Greenfield, etc. I need you to write articles concerning you and your family. I would like to know how you came to Dade County. Perhaps you have been here for many generations or perhaps you are new.
The old edition listed many organizations, such as the Odd Fellows. I would like to hear from all the organizations and clubs of the Dade County area. Also, the local churches were included. Since that time there have been some new churches arise such as “Faith Fellowship Outreach” and “Glad Tidings Assembly of God” just to name a couple. I would like to hear from all of the churches. Some will be updates from the original text, all are desired.
I took photos while in the area. I have pictures from Arcola, Dadeville, Everton, Greenfield, Neola, Pennsboro and South Greenfield. When I return I will visit Lockwood and some of the other areas for the purpose of more photographs.
There is store in St. Louis that is interested in selling the volume once it is completed. I will publish it independently and then try to find a publishing company. There are many genealogy companies that publish this type of work and I have no concern about getting it to the public. What I do need is many contributions from the citizens of Dade County, not just Greenfield, but all of Dade County. I will do the editing and give credit (by Joe Doe, for example) for each submission. You will have your name in a published volume and you will be able to purchase a finished edition for cost, no mark up. Honestly, I do not plan to profit from this book because there is a limited audience. What I do hope to do is to preserve our Dade County heritage.
Also, I would like to feature the top 20 news events of the 20th century, for example Stock Lake is formed and so on. If you ideas or memories to share please write those up as well. This summer I asked permission to leave guidelines and examples at the library and permission was granted. You can get examples from there starting next week.
The biographies should include birth and death dates of the featured person. Family members such as husband/wife and children should be mentioned. Occupation, education, religious and political affiliation were included in the Goodspeed editions and are well in this addition as well if you desire. Please, write a biography for each person you want to feature. No one will be turned away, even if it means having two volumes.
The original had some blaring omissions. For example, there was no mention of any African Americans and Joseph Rubenstein, who was a prominent citizen of the day, was barely mentioned. Mr. Rubenstein was Jewish and I cannot say for sure, but I wonder if this is why there was no biography for him or his family members. This is only speculation, perhaps he wanted to protect his privacy. Regardless of the reasons, the absences will not happen with the new edition.
The twentieth century brought many changes to Dade County and I hope to hear about those as well. I hope to hear from many of you, Hilda Wallace, Bob Jackson, Laverne Jones, just to name a few. These people are from Greenfield, I want to hear from every town and area.
You can contact me at http://dadecountymissouri.20m.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, P. O. BOX 122, GREENFIELD, MO 65661 or at:
Tammy V. Fisher
1200 Hyoja Dong, 3-ga
Wansan-gu, Jeonju City
Visit my web site to learn more. I hope to hear from many of you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Today is Sunday, a day of rest. I rested in front of my computer. I have spent most of my afternoon writing articles. I enjoy writing and remembering. These articles are a source of joy for me as I look fondly back at my childhood.
I am wondering if any of you have a suggestion or two for this column. If you would like to send me a suggestion I would considering writing about it. Let me know.
A few weeks ago my husband and I moved to a new apartment. It is in a small town of about 150-200 people. It is not far from the university where we work. In some ways it reminds me of living in Greenfield. The exception being that I live on the 12th floor and that the apartment complex is big enough to have tripled the population if not quadrupled it!
Life here is pretty quiet. We must go to the neighboring city to do our grocery shopping (like of some of you who go to Stockton or Springfield). The people smile and say hello when they are greeted (sounds familiar), however, they do not greet us. Most Korean people do not greet each other on the street unless they know each other, whereas, we greet complete strangers as we pass by.
The air in our new town is much cleaner. We are surrounded by fields and there is a gold fish farm as well. The crops are a bit different. We have rice, lotus and grapes growing in our area. There is little livestock that I know of, a few cows. We do not see cows very often in any of Korea so last winter when we visited the Greenfield area my husband took some pictures of cows. The pictures are hanging on the bulletin board in our office.
Funny how we take things for granted. Seeing a cow is an everyday happening for most of you and yet for us it is a treat. Maybe when you are milking your cows (if you have some) in the morning, you will think of this article.
Last week we went on a Sunday drive. That is the first time I have done that in Korea. Usually we have a destination when we go someplace. I remember going on Sunday drives with my parents. The roads were gravel and dusty but we really enjoyed ourselves. I travel those roads sometimes when I visit. After all these years I still remember the way they feel and usually where they go.
Life is a journey and along the way we find comforts. Comforts of home or comforts that remind us of home. For me, I bring many things with me for comfort. For example I bring books from the U. S. They are concerning my hobbies or the things I love.
This summer I bought things to make a Victorian dollhouse. Ivory lace, mauve and burgundy fabric, small silk flowers, miniatures, and gold ribbon. In many ways I feel like I have gone through a time portal. All the things that I want for this house I had to bring with me much like those people who lived in the 1800’s and moved to the frontier. I knew that I would not be able to find those things in my new surroundings. They are raw materials waiting to be crafted into a useful purpose. Our ancestors brought few things with them when they came to Missouri. They worked the land and carved a life for themselves. I do not have the hardships that they did but I do remember them when I undertake something like this. I think about the spirit that was behind what they were doing. I wonder if we still have that same spirit. The spirit that does not fear but welcomes a challenge that will change and enhance our lives. Stepping outside of ourselves and trying new things is always a challenge. Are you ready to be challenged? I know I am. I want to seize every moment of every day and live like I have never lived before.
I hope this is a good and challenging week for you. I hope you have new and exciting experiences whether they are big or small.
Until next week, be blessed and as Aunty Mame says, “Live, live, live!!”
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
It has been a while since I have sat down and written some articles. My articles serve has “filler” for the Vedette so they appear as space permits. This is good for me because I do not always have time to write. I usually write about four articles at a time and submit them.
Anyway, moving on. Winter is here. We have had snow twice in our province and it is so cold! I am looking forward to returning to America because I have heard that it is warmer than South Korea. We will be flying into New York. It will be our first time in America since the World Trade Center was attacked. I am wondering what the feeling of the nation is like. We are so far away from the situation. We do not get evening news with emotion behind the voice. We get non-feeling news from the Internet. We read what is written and make our judgments based on that. I do not know if that is good or bad. We do not comprehend the tension that is in America or the fear that some may have.
I have Christmas cards to mail but am unsure which post office to use. I was going to mail them in New York yet I am not sure. We will be in New York on December 18 and I want to get the cards to people’s homes before Christmas. New York will be our first stop in America. I think I will wait until we get to Missouri. This generation is not the first to experience this type of situation. War has come to our country more than once. It is my prayer that there be no more wars. We have lived in surreal peace for a long time. May God restore peace and comfort to us all.
I will be in Missouri soon and hope to be in Dade County. If I do not meet with you this winter then I will see you this summer. God bless you all.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Ah, winter! It is back with us. Winter gives me mixed feelings. I am glad the hot sticky days of summer are over and am thrilled to wear my winter clothes. I love the colors and the styles that I can choose from. On the flip side there is the layering of clothing before we go anywhere or do anything. The classrooms in Korea are not heated so we do not teach in January and February. We do go back into the classroom in March but still with no heat. It takes longer for spring to come and so the rooms can be cold as late as the end of May.
Even though I am an adult I still have a winter and summer vacation like I did when I was a kid. I want to spend a few moments and take you back to my childhood winters.
Snow, wonderful snow. How we longed for, prayed for snow. We would sit my the T.V. awaiting the good news that school was canceled for a snow day. My dad was very strict with our bedtime and at 10:30 lights were out. We would use the commercial breaks to change into our bedclothes and prepare for bed. At the sound of the announcers voice we would rush to watch the school closings. As the music played on and each name rolled by we waited for the G’s to roll by. On that wonderful glorious occasion when we would see the Greenfield R-V closing we would give a jubilant cheer and of to bed we would go. Dad did not care if there was school or not, 10:30 was 10:30 and that was final. It was the following day that mattered to us!
We lived at 210 East Wells and our house sat at lower part of a hill. Everywhere around us were hills. Needless to say there was some pretty wonderful sledding. I was always a chicken. I never did anything without my brother. He always had to share the sled with me. We would see how far down we could go without stopping. I guided the sled a lot. My brother was generous to me in that area. We always wore coveralls and my mother would go with us sometimes. Once my cousin George Bennett went too. It really was great fun. I would like to go again. Afterwards we would have hot chocolate. My dad would not allow us to watch T. V. during the day so we had to find our own entertainment. Once my brother built a snow fort but it is not much fun when there are only two of you.
On the days we did go to school we would sometimes come home to the most wonderful smells. My mother would be making fudge and other goodies. The whole house smelled of peanut butter, cocoa and coconut. The table would be covered with aluminum foil, which had all the goodies sitting on it to cool. It was amazing.
We did not visit with people as much in the winter so going to the grocery store was a highlight for getting out of the house. My mom always went to Laverne’s market. It was close to the house but that was not why she went. He had better prices and the people were so nice. It seemed to me that that store was so big. Later when I was an adult, it seemed so small. When I drive by the empty lot where the store once stood, I feel a little sad. There are so many memories there.
One Christmas (or Thanksgiving) the turkey we bought was bad. My mom called Laverne and he met her at the store and she picked another turkey. Only in a small town can you find that kind of service. We have seen a lot of businesses come and go in our small town and it is a shame to see so many empty stores in what was once a thriving public square. Sometimes, I cannot believe Greenfield is the county seat. Even on a weekday the square looks empty. I hope for the future of Greenfield. I hope that the life she once new will return. I hope that some day the Drum and Bugle Corps (the oldest in Missouri) will be brought back to life. If not by the current students then perhaps by the alumni. An alumni Drum and Bugle Corps would be awesome! So many of the Women in the Greenfield community have been in that Drum and Bugle Corps. Would it be great if they got together and reunited to start a new Drum and Bulge Corps? Something to think about.
Winter meant parades. I remember marching in Springfield, Greenfield and Lockwood when it was so cold. I still cannot believe we did it! I think it would still be wonderful to do all over again.
We also had basketball season, which kept us busy in the winter. How many times did I come home late after an away game to find my mother or my father sitting in the warm car waiting. I am sure they hated it but they never complained. My parents allowed me to do whatever I wanted in school as long as I watched my grades and did as they said. Life was pretty easy. I never realized just how easy until long after I had left.
I hope this winter you stay warm and safe. For students, I hope you have a few snow days. For parents I hope your children have few snow days (you know what I mean). Stay warm and healthy and I will see you this summer.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Who is Amos Helphenstine? Do you really care about Amos Helphenstine? If you drive around the square, you will see a silver painted building with a sign for a restaurant on the awning. If you look above the second floor you will find the inscription A. Helphenstine and a year. Amos Helphenstine was a man with a pioneer spirit and vision. He came to Dade County because of what was happening there.
The following information was taken from the book, “HISTORY OF HICKORY, POLK, CEDAR, DADE AND BARTON COUNTIES, MISSOURI, 1889, by Goodspeed Publishing. pp. 815 - 816. (You can find this book on file in the Dade County Library, I did.) Amos was a hardware merchant, originally from Greene County, Pennsylvania. His grandfather was from Holland. Amos and his wife came to Greenfield in 1867. His wife’s name was Sarah Jane Newton and she was from Iowa. They had two daughters, Mary E. and Annie E. You can find Amos and his wife buried in the Greenfield cemetery. I have photographed their grave plot marker and sent it to one of their distant descendants. You never know what is around you if you do not take the time to look around.
Dade County is full of history. When people think of history they think of great events that have shaped nations or all of mankind. People do not realize that there is a lot of other history that is just as important. Local history is an amazing part of everyday life. Every county, city, town and family has a history. We need to keep that history in memory and realize how important it is to each of us. We need to preserve and share that history.
I am preserving local history through my web page and by writing a book of memories from my childhood. A way of life had disappeared. The young generation will see their way of life disappear just I saw mine and you saw yours. Things change but heritage stays the same. It is our heritage that will affect us until the day we die.
Amos Helphenstine died a long time ago but he left his mark, his heritage. I do not know what happened to his family but I do not believe there are many Helphenstines, if any, in Dade County, Missouri. I may never have a building with my name on it and like Amos, I will be obscured some day. I hope that the heritage I leave behind, in my writings and my children will live on. The Helphenstine building looms like a ghost from the past. There on the square, is a apart of Amos Helphenstine. Amos was in Dade County at an important time. He saw the boom and exploited the potential. Greenfield still has potential. We need men and women like Amos Helphenstine to invest and make a mark, to bring new life back to Greenfield. Are you one of those men or women? Do you have a vision and a heritage to leave in Dade County? If you are then make your move. Greenfield and Dade County need you. Leave your mark like Amos.
By Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
It has been sometime since you have heard from me. After I returned to Korea from Christmas break I was in an accident on January 25th and have not been able to do all the things I had planned. I was riding in a taxi that had no seat belts in the back seat and we were hit by the Korean equivalent of a delivery truck when he ran a red light. I was thrown from the passenger to the driver’s side and my head hit the window. My shoulder smashed into the door. I did not know my shoulder was hurt until after my x-ray and I was trying to put on my coat. I had to go see the doctor again and have an x-ray of my shoulder.
It is really interesting here. The doctor never physically touches you to examine you. He merely interviews you and does a diagnosis. How can he possibly know what is wrong with me? I do wonder. He puts me in “physical therapy” which means heat and electrodes for numbing the affected area. The symptom in treated but the problem is not. My recovery is slow but my head healed in three days. The window did not break and there was no cut. The doctor actually checked for a cut but that was the end of the “examination”. There are no chiropractors here and yet I know there is something wrong with my back. The pain is daily. I saw my x-ray and my neck still has the natural curve so that is a relief. I learnt about that from a chiropractor in America when I was in an accident in 1996.
Anyway, I am on the road to recovery. The university is closed from mid-December until after March 1 so I have had time to relax a bit. I refused to stay in the hospital for several reasons. One is basic sanitation is not as high as in America. For example they do not change the bedding on the physical therapy beds but once a week. Also, there would be about eight of us in room and because I am a foreigner I would be stared at by visitors of other patients. Finally, I would starve because I do not like most Korean food.
In Korea, people are required to stay in the hospital for long periods of time. They can leave during the day and take their I.V. with them. It is not uncommon to see someone out and about in their hospital pajamas. You see them on the street and in the grocery stores. Some people lay their I.V. on their heads so they do not have to take the I.V. stand with them.
It is quite odd but now I laugh as I understand this is accepted practice for Korea.
I am sorry to have been away from writing for so long but just could not find the energy to write. I live in the most deadly and dangerous city in all of Korea when it comes to automobile accidents. I am alive and recovering. I think I shall make a full recovery even though it is slow. I have seen several patients at the hospital that are now almost vegetables because of automobile accidents. I pray every morning before I leave my house for safety and God to keep us protected. He always does. What happened to me could have been much worse.
God bless you and do not forget to visit my Web page as www.dadecountymissouri.20m.com.
By Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Every day can be the same if we allow it to be so. I never wanted each to be the same. I wanted more, always more. I wanted to live more and experience more. I dreamed of it from my preteens.
As a child, we pretended and created our world so every day was different, yet, it was the same. We escaped day after day. The we grew up.
At a certain age we are expected to stop pretending and stop escaping. That is when the trouble starts. Now we are expected to act and be a certain way.
Where is the fun? The joy of living is in the variety that life brings. I would encourage you to “shake up” your life, to step out of the normal.
If you are unhappy or discontent you do not have to give up your dreams. “Life is for the living or else you would be dead!” That is my personal motto and I use it for pursuing the things that I love.
Since coming to Korea I have learned the value of surrounding myself with my “comfort things.” These things are items that bring comfort and joy to me. They remind me of the things and places I love. They remind me of my dreams and that I desire to see them come true. They tell me that things are possible and I can live. I have books on history, Victorian living and fashions from the past. I have novels and comic books. Each item gives comfort to living.
I do not pin all my hopes on all these things, but I do use them to help me remember who I am. They tell me it is okay to be me in a country where I am so different and where media has caused me to be a stereotype that I am not.
I am a firm believer in maintaining one's individuality. That individuality consists of many parts. Each part is formed by who we are, where we come from and the people who touch our lives. At the same time we must remember that we also touch other lives.
I like knowing that I can encourage or alter that person's life. I like the responsibility of sharing my world with others, opening their minds to new thinking, new languages and a new world. That is why I am a teacher. I understand the power of the individual and these words I write are designed to share and encourage. I hope you see the world a little differently as you read and thereafter.
Surround yourself with comfort things that remind you of who you are and continue to challenge you to grow. Let your knowledge or abilities touch other lives. You do not have to be a “teacher” to teach. Your life and your experience will serve as a valuable teacher to others.
The old can teach the young and the young can teach the old. Let us learn freedom and enjoyment of life. Let us share encouragement and agree together.
By Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I grew up at 210 East Wells. When I was a kid that place seemed huge. Sometime ago, when it was between renters, I looked in the windows and was shocked to find how small the place was. There were five in my family and the three kids each had their own bedroom (before my father took out a wall to make two small rooms into one big one).
When you walk into the house you enter the front door. To your right is a big open double door. I think that that was intended to be the parlor when the house was first built. My mother put curtains over the door and it became my parents bedroom. The other three bedrooms along with the parlor changed tenants between my brother, sister, parents and I.
It was also not uncommon to come home and find the house rearranged. Once while away on a band trip I came home to find that our house in complete disarray because my mother was switching my room with her and my father’s room. We had the two biggest rooms at that time and I was a pack rat. There my father sat in the living room. He and my mother had been moving furniture all day and they were trying to decide what to do with everything. They rearranged because I was gone because they new I would never want to throw anything away!! They were wise.
Anyway, off of the living room and to the right you entered what seemed at the time, like a big bedroom. To the left of the living room was the kitchen. My mom had saloon doors but dad had them fixed to where they would stay open and they were in that position most of the time. Off of the kitchen was the two smaller bedrooms to the left and to the right was a hall that led to the basement door. Once in the hall, to your left was the basement door and on down on the left, at the end of the hall was the bathroom. It sounds huge when I describe it but it does not seem that way at all now.
I have so many memories of growing up there. My father built the basement door that is still there. We had an old one with a window that was broken out when my sister wanted to get in and no one was home. Dad decided there was going to be not only a new door in its place but a door that no one could break into. Dad put an outside light on the side of the house that faced the biggest part of the yard. Now the hackberry tree has grown so big the yard must surely be shaded.
On the back corner of the house there is a rock bed where my dad grew exotic lilies. He ordered the bulbs from catalogues and went to work. On the other side of the house under the kitchen window is another rock bed.
When we bought the property the land was covered with little trees that stood about six to eight feet high and only the small yard area was cleared. My dad cleared that whole yard my sitting on his bottom and scooting along the ground and clearing the land with a hatchet. My brother, mother, sometimes my sister and I would come and get the trees and put them in a big pile for burning. My parents worked hard on that land. We were not exempt. I remember picking rocks from the garden with my brother, father and mother. The garden fell about three inches that year because there were so many rocks.
The amazing thing about all that my father did was that he was a double amputee. He lost the lower part of both legs during WWII. He had wooden legs and he could run or if he took them off he could swim. It was easier for him to sit and scoot along the ground when clearing the land because it hurt to stand for long hours in his prosthesis. My father was a product of the Great Depression and he knew hard work and he expected it of his family. I have never forgotten the work ethic that he and my mother taught us. That work ethic has caused my brother, sister and I to always work our way to the top of our jobs in record times. We have been the trainers more than the trainees. We are indebted to our parents and the only way we can repay them is to pass the same work ethic and way of life on to our children. The moral values that I learn in a small town in Missouri has more than carried me through this world and to all the people who lived out the “hard life” in front of me and gave me an example, thank you. May new generations learn from you and what you have given us and our world.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Dear friends, it has been a long time since I sat down to write and article. The recovery from my automobile accident is on going. It has been five months and slow going. I have not felt like sitting at the computer for an extended period of time and that is why you have not heard from me.
Anyway, as most of you know I get my inspirations from my past experiences in my favorite small Missouri town, Greenfield. My latest inspiration came from an email that I sent to my brother. I was apologizing for getting so many packages lately, and for causing the inconvenience of his having to go to the post office once a week to check for my things. It was in that moment that I remembered how much we loved going to the post office as children. Summertime is always so looked forward to and then within a few weeks we are longing for school to start so we can see our friends. We had to find distractions to fill the hours. My father would not permit us to watch TV before 5:30pm on any given day including Saturday’s. This meant much creativity on our part. However, that creativity can run a little low and we would whine about needing something to do. My father’s answer, read a book. It is not easy growing up with a literal genius.
Anyway, the one highlight that we knew would come everyday was that of going to the post office. Now you have to remember that we lived at 210 East Wells. That is less than a minute by car to the post office. You go up the hill to Main Street turn right and there you are. The one good thing about going was that of getting out of the house. There was another benefit. If mother had to go in to mail a package we would go in with her and enjoy the air conditioning, something we did not have at home.
It may seem simple but that was the highlight of the day.
Even better than that was the trip to Laverne’s Market. Mom would give us a quarter. That was 10 cents for a Hershey’s bar, 10 cents for a bottle of coke and a five-cent deposit for the bottle. That was a pretty could day for us. Again, there was air condition. I wish someone would rebuild a supermarket on that same site. To me, it just does not seem right that it is a parking lot. Oh well.
Another special thing about these trips was that of being able to go to the post office in style. What do I mean? One lucky person got to sit in the front seat!! My mother had three children and the way we dealt with who would ride in the front was simple. We would each have “our day”. On “our day” one person got to ride in the front seat no matter how many places we went or what we did. That person also got to decide what we would watch on TV. We had to watch the news from 5:30-6:30pm and at 10:00pm but the rest was up to the person of the day.
Well friends, it is time to go but until we meet again, take care and enjoy your trips to the post office.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
Summertime was always so much fun as a kid. It did not matter so much that it was hot if you had a cool place to go and play. For us, that was our basement. My cousin Frankie (a girl by the way), my brother and I would play in our basement. We would get all of our stuffed animals and line them up on the wall to be our audience and we would play in our “air band”. This was musical trio lip-syncing to the record album “20 Electrifying Hits” put out by K-Tel. This was a record company that often sold records on TV and my mother had bought a set of song from the 60’s and 70’s. We knew most of them by heart and we each had songs that were “ours”.
We also played other things. We often reenacted TV shows with our own original plot lines. When it was myself and my female cousins we played “Charlie’s Angels”. When my brother was involved we played military stuff or the Bionic Man. We had plenty of resources and we enjoyed our reenactments.
One person that was usually always around in summer was my cousin Frankie Alaine Jones. She and I were very close and spent five or six summers together. She came to our house during this time because my parents were very protective of us and my father liked his children to be home at night so he did not have to worry about us. Frankie’s parents sometimes lived in Texas or California and that was too far away for my mother or father to feel comfortable.
Everyone should have a cousin like Frankie. She was a wonderful friend tome and filled many hours that would have otherwise been lonely for both of us. She was easy going and creative like me. We both had a big crush on Shawn Cassidy and loved to watch the Hardy Boy’s Mysteries on ABC. We often saw each other on the weekends when her parents lived in Missouri in the summers.
Frankie and I have grown up and she has three daughters. She and her husband live in Iowa. We go long periods of time without seeing each other but when we do reunite you can here those stupid girl screams of joy (at seeing each other) for miles. We pick up where we left off and live are as it was. The last time I saw Frankie was in 1996 when my grandfather died. I think of her often and trust that God is watching over her.
Family is so special and I come from a big one. At one time I had 95 cousins in five towns, Lockwood, Greenfield, Lamar, Golden City and Mt. Vernon. I have many more now but we are not as close. They say the world is getting smaller every day but somehow it seems bigger when it comes to today’s families. Because the world is “smaller” it is easier to go far away and somehow we just do not communicate like we once did. I hope that we can all improve on this as time goes by. We must understand how important people are and how much we still need family. I call my mother, sister and brother more now that I live in Korea and our visits together mean more. It should not take 8,000 miles to make us appreciate our family, friends and heritage, but somehow that is what had to happen for me. Today I hope you do something unusual, take time to write a letter or call a relative that you have not seen in a while. Let them know that you are thinking of them and that you care. It will make their day and yours.
I will be in Greenfield in mid July and hope to see some of you. I look forward to visiting Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde, to dropping by and seeing Rosalie and Lois and to attending my first home church, Glad Tidings Assembly of God. Although I am half a world away, my heart is there with all of you.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I cannot believe it has been over 10 months since I last wrote an article. It took eight months to recover from my accident and then I just could not get motivated. Then the other morning I woke up at 6:30a.m. It was still dark out and I thought to myself, “If I were in high school I would be at basketball practice! Funny how those memories just come back.
Basketball practice at 6:00a.m. is not an easy thing. I remember near the end of the week I thought I was not going to make it! I would sleep in my shorts and tee shirt so all I had to do was get up and get going. My dad always had to take me because I was not driving at the time. I was not a good athlete. One of the advantages of going to a small school was there was more opportunity to participate in different activities. I tried them all.
After practice ended we had thirty minutes to get ready before the 8:30 bell rang for class. One day my friend Marie Reese was running late and had the misfortune of being locked in the girls locker room all morning. Jerry Raymond was just doing his job. I seriously doubt she was late again.
Misadventures is the best part of growing up. One time during play practice my friends Jerry Cooper, Susan Stone, Scott Long and I went to Casey’s for a quick snack run. Susan pulled up in front of Casey’s and let Jerry out. Scott and I were in my car so we were somewhere on the side. Meanwhile, Susan had to move because other cars were coming in. Unfortunately for Jerry a car just like Susan’s pulled up and he did not know it. Imagine the look at the woman’s face when Jerry ran out, hopped in her car and exclaimed, “Let’s go!”
There were other times. Once when we were coming back from a speech tournament my duet-acting partner had an unfortunate mishap. We had gone on one of those long trips to some school that took an hour one way. We went past all those winding roads through Lockwood and beyond. When we came back it was late at night. We came up to the railroad tracks just outside of Greenfield and the bus came to a stop to check for trains. In the still dark night we heard and thud and a groan. After miles of winding roads and hills, it took a slow dead stop to dislodge my sleep friend and roll him into the floor. I must have been really tired because I was laughing so hard I had to crawl to the person to see if they were all right. I still laugh at that one. I guess you had to be there.
It seems that the only activities for high school students in Greenfield and Dade County are “partying”, sex and drugs. It was happening when I was in school and it is happening now. I did not take a drink until after high school and I have never tried any form of drug. My parents were involved in my life and they were strict. Today’s standards tend to cause parents to let their teenagers do what they want. Parents are still parents and they do have the say as long as their children are living in their home.
Teenagers never feel like there is anything to do. So they take the above-mentioned alternative. You may think your child is not doing it but even the best athletes and students were doing it when I was in school and they are doing now. Dade County has a reputation for drugs and that is sad.
How does Dade County plan on rescuing itself and its sagging reputation? I have said it before and I will say it again, I believe in the future of Dade County. Still, we have to face reality. Greenfield is in trouble in more ways than wrong. Every time I search the Internet for Dade County I can find negative things. I find positive things but the negative are government reports and other things that carry weight. We have to get new businesses on the square. We have to get the students involved and give them a reason to stay in Dade. So many people have left because there was no future for them. We have to find a way to give people a future in Dade. We have to call wrong and stand up for what is right. There is a better way to live and people have to be committed to it. Dade County needs to advertise the fact that property prices are low. They need to let investors know how they can get their money back through the economy. Companies need to wooed. I wish I were there to help do this. I can only help by being your champion and remembering the good things about living in a small community.
Businesses that are strong in Springfield are not to be competed with. Greenfield and Dade need to find businesses that have a future in the small town and attract those companies. Many people do not like change. That has to change or Dade is going to be swallowed up by progress.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
The heat of the summer makes us long for cooler days just as the cold of winter makes us long for the warmth of spring. I remember my summer days as a time of freedom and play. On very hot days, you would find my brother, my cousin Frankie and I in the basement of my parent’s home. We would put on a record and perform in an “air band” for our stuffed animals. The basement was cool and we filled many hours.
As we grew up, our entertainment changed. When we each hit our teen years, we pursued different things. My brother was three years ahead of me in high school and my cousin was two or three years behind me. As adults that does not seem like much time but in high school it does.
When I entered high school, my life changed in many ways. One change was that I spent less time at home and more time at school. One nice thing about going to a small school is that you have opportunity to participate in many activities. I was on the volleyball, basketball and track teams, as well as in Drum and Bugle Corps in eighth grade. I was also in band, and that meant pep band as well. From eighth grade, things just got more hectic. Basketball practice started at 6:00am and I finished play practice at 10:00pm. I had school and other activities in between. These activities were my choice. Anyone can have an active life, if you want it. For me, the best part of those activities was the people. I enjoyed getting to be around people and that human contact made my life full.
People are what make life interesting for me. I like getting to know the odd ball (usually that was me so I did not mind looking for others). In high school, especially a small one, life is all about fitting in. No one wants to be on the outside looking in. Personally, I never concerned myself with fitting in as much as I did with having fun along the way. I did not mind being the unusual one (see my year books and read the comments from my classmates). Of course, I wanted to be apart of things and not be the one left out, who does? The difference for me was that I knew what I wanted. For example, I knew there was a bigger world than what I lived in and that I had to get out and see that world. I also knew what I did not want. I did not want to drink. I never had a desire and as a result, I did not see much social activity on Saturday nights. It did not matter because my dad was strict and I had to be in by 10:00pm. I would have just arrived and had to have turned around and went home.
One night I did go to a party with my friend Shelly Stav. As we arrived an underclassmen came stumbling down the drive to greet us and flung herself across the car. I knew right then that I did not want a drink. It was ridiculous to see someone that popular looking so out of control. I knew there was not a lot for teenagers to do, but surely there had to be more. I realized that more for me was Christianity. I was a Christian when that event took place and my heart went out to that girl. When Christ said He came to give life and give it more abundantly, He was right. I had days when I was bored, everybody does, but I found ways to deal with that boredom. I never took a drink in high school but briefly tried it after graduation. I still do not understand the attraction and yes, I did not make drinking a lifestyle. I rarely find myself bored and wish I would have had more time while I was visiting in Greenfield because there is so much to do. (Younger readers are gasping in disbelief.) I have said it many times before in this article, you have to create your adventure or, yes, you will be bored out of your head.
School is getting ready to start and those of you who just graduated and did not go to college need to find something else to do. Life has moved on and you are not the hero. Decide now that your life will affect others in a positive way and that you will find your adventure and your success. Go to the football games, and cheer on your former teammates. Make some plans for yourself. Try something new, meet some new people and live! Life is not over after high school, it is just beginning.
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
I really enjoy writing this article. I like remembering the past and looking to the future. While on a recent visit to Greenfield and Dade County I heard a lot of commentary on the large number of welfare recipients and drug manufactures/users. It saddens me and it made me wonder, what can be done? It seems that everyone wants to talk about it but no one wants to get involved. People need to have hope. Hope eliminates failure when those hopes become reality. A fractionalized community will never grow nor see change. Instead of looking down on people for how they are, try to understand them and what makes them function. How can you bridge the gap?
At the same time, we cannot ignore certain truths. Most of my articles are fond reflections and memories but sometimes we have to look at reality. What I am about to say may not be received as the popular attitude and some readers may opt to stop reading this article. I applaud The Vedette for publishing this. I am not a politician and even if I were, I would still call things as I see them. Here goes.
The last time I checked it is still shameful for the able bodied to live off the government. Having an illegitimate child is not a bragging rite. It merely means you lack self-control and do not take responsibility. Beating a woman or a child confirms that the abuser is indeed in dire need of help. Beer is not breakfast. Hard work will not kill you.
Years ago, Dade County had a “Poor Farm”. It was a place where the mentally deficient and other hardship cases were sent to live. I propose Dade County (and the rest of the US) get a new Poor Farm for the lazy. If you are able to work and you do not then you go there and grow your own food. If you do not work, you do not eat. Dade County is losing its tax base because of the high number of welfare and government aid cases. No tax base can only mean the free ride is over. Eventually the resources will dry up. It is something to think about.
I have been on my own since the fall of my senior year of high school. It was not always easy. On occasion, I had to ask my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde for help to buy groceries. It never occurred to me to ask for welfare or other aid. After I graduated, I put myself through college. I am still paying for my loans but I am glad I went to school.
Before marrying, I moved to St. Louis and eventually became head of internal bookkeeping for one of the top 10 CPA firms in the United States (I majored in Theatre and it had nothing to do with the business world). I had some rough times and I drove an old car. I made it. I finished my Master’s in Korean Studies last June. If you think you cannot make it, you will not. If you believe you can make it you will. There is plenty of opportunity in Dade County and the surrounding area. You have to be original and think of new ways and things that people can use. You have to decide that your self worth and dignity are important enough to fight for. You cannot listen to people who tell you no. I had a high school counselor tell me not to become a psychologist because it would take too long. I had a substitute teacher who had some newspaper experience say I could not become a journalist because their daughter was in journalism school and it was too hard. These people forgot that I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. They forgot that different people have different intellectual capacities and talents. All they saw was a kid they thought had unrealistic goals. I do what I want because I know I can. I achieve because I know that with God on my side I can do anything. If you really want more from life, it is up to you to work for it.
I still love Greenfield and Dade County. I am not a “nay sayer” but really believe that anyone in Dade County can be successful if they want to be. If you cannot make it in Dade County then go somewhere you can. Leaving your comfort zone is never easy but what you gain mentally will be worth it.
My next article will return to reflections and found memories and I hope that I have given someone a bit of hope for their future. There really is a wonder life worth living if you will go get it!
Tammy V. Fisher-Heldenbrand
The warm hot days of summer are on us again. I have been on vacation for several weeks and have enjoyed being in Greenfield for the better part of two weeks. Along the way, I kept busy by spending many of the daytime hours in the library doing research for my family history and the new Dade County Missouri history book I am writing. I also had the pleasure of visiting with family and friends. That is what this article is about, visiting.
It is funny how as we grow older we realize how important the simple things are. When I was a child my parents would take us for a visit to different friends and relatives. I cannot tell you how many times we visited Blanche and Waldo Stapp. I remember their home. When you went to step into the living area there was this wonderful hardwood floor. The house was a double-roomed “shotgun” style, meaning that it was three rooms in a row and two rooms wide. We would find a seat and wait for our parents to visit.
Sometimes we sat outside in those big metal chairs. For a while, Blanche and Waldo pastured our horses there so we would go and ride. Waldo set up a turnstile that the horse would walk around in a circle. That turnstile reminds me of the old farm equipment men used to harness their horses to in order to work the threshing floor. As we grew older, we were allowed to ride the horses on our own. I can remember on the days when we would stay inside Blanche and Waldo would watch Lawrence Welk. I cannot tell you how many times we watched that but I do know it was more than once.
Visiting had been an integral part of growing up in rural America. Victorian days brought visiting to a fine art. Rules governed what time of day and how long one should stay. Those rules told you how to dress and where to sit when visiting. The calling card was a big part of a visit, for if you did not see the person visiting you could leave your card. By folding down the corner of the card, you left a message for all of the women of the house not just the person named. Even though you did not see the person, you had paid an “official” visit.
Of course, things were much less formal on the frontier and in southwest Missouri where immigrants were passing through or just settling in. People brought food instead of something so impractical as a card. People worked together and visited out of necessity as well.
These days, people do not visit like they used to. My parents would get in a car and we would drive by someone’s house. If they were there, we stopped without an appointment. My parents always timed their visit so that it was not at mealtime. Courtesy and manners were the governing force. Now days, people do not visit as they used to. One of the things I enjoyed while in Greenfield this summer was going to visit family. I enjoyed sitting and talking with Rosalie Berry. I spent time with my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Clyde and other family members and friends along the way.
I would like to propose that Dade County, specifically Greenfield, would start to observe a “Visiting Day” once every three months or so. It would be a Saturday or Sunday and people from different parts of town would be in charge of that days visit. For example, the first day all the people north of the square would do the visiting. People on the south, east and west parts of town would be prepared to have guest. The next time, those from the south of the square would go visiting. If you wanted to do two days instead of four, then east and west would visit north and south. You could also have an out of town day where you invited family and friends from out of town to come for a visit. You might need to air out the guest room for those traveling. The day could be capped off with some sort of get together on the square or at the park.
I like visiting. One thing I miss about America is being able to visit with family and friends. This article is a visitation in it’s own. Each time I write one of these articles I think about all the people who have touched my life. Even though I do not see each one personally, I remember them fondly and with love in my heart. Blanche and Waldo Stapp have passed on but their memory lives in my mind as I reflect on my childhood.
God bless and keep you until next time.
If you see some strange markings it is because something happens to apostrophes when I work from Korea to the U.S.