By: Ann Schrimsher Franklin
We've asked each teacher to take a few minutes and share with us some memories of their time at Rison or Dallas Village or whatever. You may come to the microphone or just stand where you are.
Over the years, I've failed to recognize those from our numbers who never taught at Rison but went on to become classroom teachers. I'd like to recognize them today.
Raymond Falkenberry, Buddy Curry, Corrine Fanning, and Wanda Renegar Wilson each talked about their teaching experiences, as well as experiences while at Rison and in Dallas Village. This writer failed to take notes of what they had to say; it was very interesting and sometimes funny. Many of us could relate to some of the experiences they shared.
Now, for those who taught at Rison:
Joy Fanning Daniel: Joy spoke of her days at Rison and Dallas Village and here again I didn't make notes.
Bill Rice: Bill was introduced and I recalled that last year we learned that Bill's teaching days at Rison were short. Mr. Fain pretty much drafted him to teach for about a 6-week period for a teacher who was ill.
Ann Burleson: While she was not able to attend the reunion, she told me that she taught 7th grade English and Social Studies at Rison in 1963. At that time, C.O. Jones was Rison's principal, and she said that he made her spank her first student. The situation was that she had sent a female student to the office to be spanked and Mr. Jones brought the student back, called Ann out into the hall, handed her the paddle and said that he didn't spank female students. She said that she was terrified because she had never spanked a student. I asked her if there were any repercussions and she said, "No, not at all. At that time you could still discipline kids."
Two other former teachers at Rison, Hazel Ward and Nancy Mitchell Nilsson, also shared some experiences. While I think that this was their first time to attend one of our reunions, we sincerely hope that it won't be their last time.
I talked with Helen Mathison Hooker: While Mrs. Hooker avoids big crowds, she's up and about and her mind is sharp. I'm amazed at how many people she remembers from Rison. She paid us a wonderful compliment: she said that over her 35 year teaching career and teaching at six different schools, the kids at Rison were the most talented! She particularly mentioned our singing, dancing, and speaking. H'mmm - it occurs to me though that she didn't say that we were the smartest - and I won't ask! I think that it's a real compliment to be the best talent! She sends her best wishes and asked that I be sure to call her after the reunion so that I can tell her all about it!
Roscoe Duncan: I talked with Mr. Duncan whose health has not improved. He still has dizziness for which there's now no known cure; and he's just finished radiation for prostate cancer. He seemed very upbeat. (Click here for Mr. Duncan's Rison Memories.)
Mrs. Elizabeth Heflin: After she received her reunion reminder, I got a note from her that said: "Wish I could be with you all for the Rison-Dallas Reunion. Unfortunately, we have plans for that weekend. I would love to see all of you. Probably would not recognize many. I loved being remembered. I still have happy memories of my two years in Huntsville. Fondly, Elizabeth Ann Heflin" I wrote her back and suggested that since our reunions are held the first Saturday in August of each year, perhaps she'd like to put the reunion on her calendar for next year, specifically, August 6th. I told her that of course the Senator (U.S. Senator Howell Heflin, Retired) would be welcomed to come too!
Two of our former teachers died since the last reunion - Mrs. Louise Fain and Mrs. Lillian Pullen. I have fond memories of being Mrs. Fain's student both in the second and eighth grades; Mrs. Pullen taught my brother, Bobby Schrimsher. The last time that I talked with Mrs. Fain I called her around 6:15 in the evening. The phone rang and rang and finally she answered. I told her that I had begun to think that she wasn't home and she said that she was in bed. I asked her if she was sick and she said, "No, when you're my age and you have nothing to do you go to bed!" She always thanked me for calling and asked that I stay in touch.
Teachers, thank you so much - you honor us by being here. As I've always said, you're our treasures.
2004 - REUNION - SPECIAL GUESTS & WEBSITE COMMENTS
Roger Jones - The county commissioner for this area. It's been a pleasure to have you and your wife, Brenda, and hope that you've had fun.
Laura Zeek was here. She was Mrs. Fain's great niece and came to hear some stories about both Mr. and Mrs. Fain. I'm excited about the material that she brought that belonged to them, particularly the life story that Mr. Fain had begun to write. She left the material with me and I'll get some of it on our website.
I hope that many of you got to meet these folks and get to know them. You have a standing invitation to our reunions.
Helen and I have talked about which of us is the happiest about our website. I guess that we agreed that it's a tie.
I can't say enough about my friend who agreed to establish the website for us. His name is Craig Clontz. He had planned to be here today, even had it on his palm pilot, but then he was reminded that this is the day that the family is moving his son, who recently graduated from high school, to Auburn.
In appreciation for his effort, the Association presented Craig with a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant (La Alameda), we made a donation to his church in his honor, and gave him a certificate making him an "Honorary Member of the Rison-Dallas Association." I'm sorry that you didn't get to meet him today. But, each time you visit the website, remember that it's Craig who helped to make the website happen.
Please click on the certificate to see a full-size version. It will open in a new window.
We encourage you to search your files and share with us any documents or artifacts that you have that are not on the website.
Please let us know if you have some ideas for the website.
Click here to return to Page 1 of the 2004 Reunion Coverage.