Sunday, June 15, 2008

Please, let me have a do over……

By Clarene Evans Nanney
(Second from Left)

The names of the graduating class of 2008 are now forever etched in the annuls of time, in our hearts and probably hidden somewhere on a special wall of the greatest school in North Mississippi. Walking across the stage and receiving my diploma was as special for me as it was for any one of those 51 seniors who recently received theirs and the only difference was the number of graduates.

When my class, the class of 1963 assembled for our last big march down an aisle together as a group, there were only 33 of us. Can you imagine only 33 graduates making up a graduating class? At the time though, we were one of the largest classes to ever graduate from good ol’ BHS.

I miss those days and before you know it, some of you will as well. All too soon, your childhood will be stripped from your being like a limb is wrenched from a tree during a storm. When this occurs, you suddenly have to start acting and thinking like an adult. Now trust me on this one, that time, however welcomed at the moment, will last for a long, looooooooooong time. Never again will you be that carefree, never again will you be that vulnerable.

But, having said that, I still want to go back and be a kid just one more time even if get into trouble for talking, or being late for class, or for skipping school altogether and going off to the fair or even for sneaking into Mrs. Brown’s home economics room and hemming a skirt for my girlfriend who didn’t have a clue how to sew. I think I’ve told you that story already. It really is funny and I’ll probably live to regret sharing that one!

I want to go back in time and be able to climb the bleachers to the very top row and watch the homecoming football game from there and not care how cold it gets. I want to actually learn geometry. Mrs. Vandiver was right, I did need it after all. I want to actually go back and read the "House of Seven Gables" and not just the Classic’s comic book version by the same name. I want to recite the poem about Flanders Field where poppies grow, between the crosses row by row and draw a picture to illustrate it for Mrs. Floy Bludworth . She was the one who first introduced me to poetry in the sixth grade. I want to go back and tell Mrs. Eudora Grisham Kemp that learning to diagram a sentence really does have a place in the structure of a paragraph after all. And last, but certainly not least, I want to finally find Kenya on the globe in Mrs. Hoover’s history class and be able to tell her what crops are actually grown there.

I want to learn it all this next time around. I know now that I wasted so much of what was lovingly offered to me. Eventually the childish games that at the time felt neither childish nor like games, were replaced with adulthood and the many decisions that came with that phase. The gray hairs came and were covered over with chestnut brown hair color for a while but eventually were left alone because they became too many.

The next time around I promise I will actually pay attention in class and realize what is important and what is not.

I know now that I took my childhood for granted and thought my youth would last forever. It didn’t and I want a “do over”…….please………


  1. I totally agree! We didn't realize the richness of life in those carefree days.
    Thanks, good thoughts!
    Bob B

  2. Not from Baldwyn, or ever attended your high school, but I can relate to that. I'm sure others can, also.

  3. Very nice essay, Clarene! I still find myself quoting some of those poems we had to memorize for Mrs. Bludworth. Funny the things our minds and bodies choose to remember after so many years.

  4. Somebody said that it couldn't be done, But he with a chuckle replied that "maybe it couldn't" But he would be one who wouldn't say 'til he tried....

    The gingham dog and the calico cat
    Side by side on the table sat....

    By the shores of Gitchi Gummi....

    Thank you, Mrs. Bludworth.

  5. "It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind"

    Somewhere in my junk I have a picture that I did to illustrate that old poem and Mrs. Bludworth gave me an A+ grade. That class was fun.

    Great story, Clarene! Thanks for sending it.

  6. Like Bobby, I am also amazed at the things we remember from those days long ago.

    Mrs. Bludworth encouraged me to associate dates and places in history.

    Why else would I remember:

    "On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy Five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year."

  7. I would like a "do-over" also. I hadn't thought of it that way before...
    Like your stories, keep it up...

  8. I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, and what can be the use of him is more than I can see---

    In Flanders Field the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row---

    This is my contribution to this blog

    John Melvin

  9. Seeing that backfield always made me proud of being from Baldwyn.

  10. Have only seen your photo, but the grey hair IS you, keep it!

    Loved the article, so true....
    Beth Adams

  11. Clarene Evans NanneyJune 16, 2008 at 9:33 AM

    Thanks Carl for including my "do-over" story on the blog. Baldwyn is the place, in my mind, that never changes, although it has now in so many ways. But when I get real nostalgic, as I often do now that the years are slipping by so fast, I still go home to Main Street and it is the same in my heart. Thanks for reminding us from time to time where we came from.

  12. My first comment and I hope I do this right.
    So many things on this website are thought provoking, and this is the one that grabbed me.
    I really enjoy the stories and poems.
    Peggy Harper

  13. One Mrs Martin read to my class:

    Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in;
    Time, you thief, who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in!
    Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
    Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
    Say I'm growing old, but add,
    Jenny kiss'd me.

  14. Welcome Peg Harper, stick around, we have stories to tell, like you haven't heard before, cause we care about the things we did "back then"

    John Melvin

  15. Your "do over" is a classic. Anyone who went to school in a small town can relate to this well written piece, then carefully unwrap their own sweet memories of a very special teacher who held the golden key to unlock the mind of sometimes unwilling child to joys of poetry and literature. Mrs. Bludworth must have been one of those.

  16. Do you remember those long multiplication problems Mrs. Bludworth put on the board? She gave us a week to solve them. We were busy on Fridays--reciting poetry and learning fractions. Did she have us diagramming sentences or did that come later?

  17. But, let's don't forget what she used to control the class. The threat of a dose of castor oil. I think Charles Fray Cooper drank a whole bottle.


  18. I don't suppose anyone remembers the time Joe Murray tried to crawl thru the book storage area of his desk in Mrs Bludworths' room, he got stuck, Mr Baker came in and took a look, then called for the janitor to go get a saw, he told Joe that all he could do was "Saw off his legs"! Joe got out.
    John Melvin

  19. Don't remember it, JM, but I thank you for the reminder. What a jewel Joe Murray was...
    I would give a month's social security pay to see that happen over again!