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.


Anonymous Sharon said...

Cate, I am quite sure you never mentioned your East Lansing childhood while we were swapping. I've lived in Lansing my entire adult now in Holt. Fenner Arboretum has always been a great place for a great walk, and still is.

9:02 AM  
Blogger junior_goddess said...

Yay-I am glad to see you!

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Yeah! Cate's back!

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cate, So glad to see your blog back. I have always enjoyed reading your comments. Nice piece about East Lansing. Thanks!

2:12 PM  
Blogger mimi said...

good to see you back cate

2:18 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Woo-hoo, there she is! I think that's amazing that all students were required to take both shop & home ec. Never heard of that before. My father was a HS shop teacher, so I have a soft spot for shop projects.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Libby said...


Its great to have you back!!! Its awesome that your Sunday School Teacher got a park named after him.


9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to hear from you if you again.

9:57 PM  
Blogger TheYarnLounge said...

No excuse now!!!!

8:09 PM  
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8:01 PM  

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