OAK RIDGE VIGNETTE

By Nolan Bailey
Oak Ridge Vignette

Even though religious sessions were held in our home, on occasion, by
Lura Hennigan, my family was Methodist.  Every Sunday my mother would "take the
family" to church at Minden First Methodist in downtown Minden.  I got to go down in the "basement" to color my bible pages in sunday school while the adults did who knows what. 

Back then, folks had three or four choices of "Sunday Go to Meeting" clothes or fabrics to wear.They were cotton, cotton, and cotton.  Remember that everything of value to the war effort was rationed.  If a family didn't have rationing stamps, they did without during the early forties in Minden, and everywhere else. There must be lots of Minden Memories visitors that remember rationing during World War II.  What are your memories?




Most of the exotic fabrics were used to make parachutes and other such items.  Women were out of luck if they wanted to wear silk hose.  Anyhow, moms of the forties tended to starch anything that even looked like a "Sunday shirt."  I had shirts that could "stand alone" in the middle of the living room floor.  They snapped, they crinkled, they crackled, and they must have popped, when one would put them on.  Boy, did they scratch, too.  Cotton fabrics tended to wrinkle and starch certainly prevented the from occurring.  The back of my white shirt was as smooth and crinkly as typing paper.

When my mom was in a hurry to get us to church, she didn't have enough time to completely dry out the collar of my white shirt.  One had to "sprinkle" a starched shirt with water before they were ironed. Now the pain was twice as great for a young kid, scratchy plus being damp around the neck.  It was enough to make a young miscreant hate to dress up for church.  Now youngsters, there were not colored shirts for men folks in the 1940's.  There was white, white, and white.  And, to get 'em even whiter, there was bluing that could be added to the clothes washing water.  I'm still campaigning against Faultless starch.  Faultless?  Not on your life! 

Even though my mother's father was an itinerant Congregationalist minister when she was growing up, our family was Methodist.  Living in Oak Creek and running with the crowd, and quickly learning cuss words, insured that I would get a daily "mouth scrubbing out" by my mom.  I was nearly a grown kid before I figured out that Octagon soap was not an aperitif.   Why, I figgered that mouth washing must be some kind of a religious ritual that I'd never heard of before.  I'd heard about foot washin in the Bible, so I was thinking that mouth washin must be somewhere in the genre.  In fact, our family was really tolerant of other denominations.  If it was religion, my mother was "fer it."   As I've said before, mom and Lura Hennigan had many religious discussions in our living room at 210 South Roosevelt Drive.  I was fine by me as long as Mrs. Hennigan didn't join in on that mouth washin out liturgy.   Heck, I'm just glad that my mother didn't rat on me about my colorful language.  There's no way that I could have gotten away from two Oak Ridge Octagon apostolites.   Since "little kids and pitchers do have big ears,." some religion must have rubbed off on me.  I was able to quote scripture before most other kids of my age could even read.  Well, I couldn't read either, but lots of scripture had passed through my ears, and with good right, I expect.   My mom, a non-practicing teacher at the time, used to hold school sessions for we children every day.  My sister listened, but I would rather be out playing with Gary Mathews and the other kids in the "South Roosevelt Drive" gang.  By the way, my sister skipped second grade as I result.  I probably majored in first grade...for two or three years....

Anyhow, that's my story for today, and I'm sticking with it...