Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday School circa 1958

I can't remember the name of the church I attended when I went to Junior High. (It was Presbyterian and met at the East Lansing Junior High in the auditorium.) But I remember my Sunday School teacher vividly.

His name was Carl Fenner and he was the director of the Lansing, Michigan city parks. Sometimes he brought baby animals to Sunday School and taught us about them. I remember a goat, a fox and a bear whose mother had been killed by hunters. Sometimes we would go on nature hikes, have a cookout and he would recite The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service. I loved his wife's homemade pies and he promised me a whole pie if I memorized the 23rd Psalm but I never did.
When I went online to do some research about Mr. Fenner, I found that there had been a large gift of land to Lansing around the time I was in his Sunday School class. That must have been where we went on those hikes. I'm sure he must have given religious instruction although I have no memory of those lessons. What I remember are those walks in the woods, learning to identify trees, birds, and evidence of wild animals. I also remember ordering a very special Christmas present for him that I found in a catalog - a ball point pen with a tiny lense in the clicker. If you looked through the lense, you saw the text of the Lord's Prayer.
Here I am. I'm wearing the skirt I made in Home Ec. I loved the fabric. It had black, gold and white stripes. Not exactly flattering. The next semester, in Shop, I made a wooden lamp base. At East Lansing Junior High, the boys and the girls were all required to take both Home Ec and Shop. I remember that the boys made pyjamas for their sewing projects. We used some pretty serious tools in Shop. I imagine that safety considerations wouldn't allow them now.

Yes, I'm back. For now anyway. I'm not promising anything.