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Number of posts: 9
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By Diane Rooks:
the lessons I learned
While reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom years ago, I immediately thought of Mr. Randolph. He was my Morrie Schwartz—the most memorable teacher I ever had.
Grady Randolph frequently spoke about his rural, humble beginnings in Possum Trot, Alabama. Because of his intense love of learning, he read every book in the local library and started a journal in his early teens that he continued his entire life. This spirit led him to the University of Chicago, where he earned a law degree. He married, joined the Atlanta Bar in 1954, and practiced law in Atlanta with his wife. But he also taught history at Henry Grady High School.
In 1998 my husband Wilton and I decided to take a trip to Kenya, which fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams of being able to see wild animals in their natural habitats. I had read so many books about life in the jungle and loved Isak Dinesen’s book and the movie Out of Africa. I enjoyed trips to the zoo to see elephants, lions, and giraffes, but always longed to see them in Africa as they were in Born Free.
A week after I became engaged to Win Mothershed on my 19th birthday in June of 1961, he left to begin active duty as an ensign in the Navy aboard the U.S. S. Yorktown, home ported in Long Beach, California. So I continued taking classes at Georgia State College, which became Georgia State University in 1971. I got a part-time job as secretary of the maintenance department at St. Joseph’s Infirmary located on Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta…
beauty, peace and healing
Our entire family has always been drawn to the water and boats and dolphins. We went to Marineland years ago, when David was four years old and Kathi was only one. David immediately fell in love with Nellie – the main performing dolphin in the late sixties. (Nellie was born at Marineland in 1953 and lived there for 61 years. When she died in 2014, she set a longevity record for the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins – free and in captivity. She loved to perform and interact with people until the last few months of her life!) We bought David a leather dolphin, which he named Nellie and slept with for years.
getting through it
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way.
You probably recognize that verse from Jingle Bells — But it’s those last two lines, O’er the fields we go, Laughing all the way, that have always been for me a powerful image for having fun and living life to the max.
Red and yellow, black and white
The summer I was fifteen, my goal in life was to get a good tan. In those days, you were nobody if your skin wasn’t bronzed beyond belief. That was before we knew how much the sun harmed our skin. Everyday at the public pool or in my own backyard, I’d slather up with a mixture of baby oil and iodine – trying to encourage the maximum exposure. No wonder my skin looks like sandpaper now and probably explains why, last Mother’s Day, my daughter looked at my arm in a sleeveless dress and said, “You look like a lizard.” What more could a mother want?
fear and panic
America was waging a war, a war within a war, a war against fear. As the panic from the big war gradually subsided, another enemy attacked our country from within. By 1950, every town in America was affected. No one could guess who would be the next victim as the number of casualties climbed steadily every year. Signs went up on houses – Quarantined – Do Not Enter – Polio.
By 1952, most kids in America thought we had polio – every time we had a headache, sore neck, aching back, or growing pains in our legs. The whole country was terrified – especially during the summer months as new cases of polio increased rapidly.
my big chance
One day when I was six years old, a huge truck pulled up in our driveway, and two men struggled to get something really big out of it. They dragged it up our front steps into the living room–a beautiful, brand new upright grand piano. The wood was shiny and the ivory keys looked like they had been polished. I immediately sat down and begin to play as if I knew what I was doing, which I did not. My mother quickly bought several beginning books and taught me a few simple songs.
times were a’changin’
In a recent writing class, we discussed the power that invoking the senses has to aid in memory recall. The instructor said the sense of smell gives our memory the biggest jolt and asked us to share some vivid smells from our past. Folks brought in Jergen’s Lotion, Old Spice aftershave, rosewater cologne, cinnamon buns and coffee. And then someone mentioned tear gas and Boom! I was immediately jerked back to January 1961 when I was a second quarter freshman at the University of Georgia, living in South Myers dormitory with my best friend from high school…