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Memories of Union Chapel & Roberson School

Carol Joyce Roberson

I was born in Indiana on a farm in Crawford County near Mifflin, West Fork and Union Chapel in a house with three gables and a view that extended to Pilot Knob, some seventeen miles away. Whether that was straight across or around the winding country roads, I was never told. The house is still there today as is the big half cylinder mailbox with a latch door that I helped my Dad build while I was a small child. I lived on the farm with my father and mother, Oscar Leroy, affectionately known as "Pop", my mother, May Patton Roberson, My four brothers, Laverne, Farris, Farrell and Rex, all of whom are now deceased and my only sister, Betty.

Some of the fondest memories of my young life include:

Making doll dresses out of printed feed sack material. I had to stand up because my legs were too short to reach the pedals of the sewing machine if I sat down.

Mother singing as she worked around the house.

Six to eight ladies sitting around a big old quilting frame working on a quilt as they had their gab session. (Oh, the things that I heard when they forgot that I was sitting under the frame).

Shooing the chickens into the hen house when it was dusk and shutting the door so the foxes couldn't get them.

My Dad, with one arm, shooting a chicken hawk out of the sky with one shot.

Taking my seventeen pet ducks, walking in a single file behind me, for a swim in the pond across the field.

Walking for miles with my sister and friends to swim in a creek with maybe ten to fifteen inches of water in it. (We didn't do much diving).

Riding bare back on my favorite horse, Black Beauty.

Exploring caves at Evergreen Cliffs, (now Hemlock Cliffs).

Listening to my brothers and their friends practice on their instruments for their "band".

Watching from a safe distance the corn cob "fights" that they had in the barn on a Sunday afternoon. (Well.....maybe I did throw a few.)

Hunting for hickory nuts and walnuts in the fall and getting our fingers stained.

Going to English for a block of ice, (which we wrapped in burlap sacks to keep it from melting) to make home made ice cream.

The thrill of turning on a switch and getting light when the electric lines were put up in our part of the country.

Dr. Novy Gobble giving us a nickel each week to buy oranges, but we could get a full sack of candy for the same amount of money, (we always got caught).

Going to town late on Saturdays for a bowl of chili at Cecil Leasors and then to a double feature movie with cartoons in between, (ticket 23 cents, popcorn, 5 cents).

And finally, my sister, Betty and I reading all the books in our Dads library more than once.

I'll think of many more after I put this in the mail.

I attended the Roberson Grade School and remember the fun games that we played during the noon hour and recess. I remember one Softball game in particular. I was the pitcher and the ball was batted right in to my stomach. Winded, I fell to the ground and was completely ignored as everyone looked around saying, "where is the ball?" We took our games seriously in those days. Oh well, I lived to play again.

We all hung our coats on a few pegs in the cloak room, and then we all had to scramble to find our own coats when we saw the bus coming. When Dutch Nash came with his peddling wagon, we bought Smith Brothers cough drops that turned our tongues black and we ate them all afternoon. Finally, Ludens came out with a cough drop that had a cherry flavor. How we ever got by with eating all those cough drops as candy, I'll never know.

We looked forward each Friday to having Roberta Postal come to tell us bible stories and listen to the bible verses that we had memorized from the previous week. For many years I kept the blue card with a verse in silver glitter letters that I had received for learning all my verses. Some of my teachers were Helen Benham, Nellie Jackson, Wallace Myler and Will Jones.

Each Sunday we went to the Union Chapel Church. I still remember Martha Miller (Uncle Nobel Miller's Mother) in her black bonnet and long dress as she taught the children their Sunday school lessons. At the Christmas Program, the men would string up white sheets on wire to be used as our stage curtain. We were so nervous when it came "our turn". The pitch-in dinners were put out on tables set up outside under the trees. Mother usually took fried chicken and my favorite banana cake with Carmel icing.

Vacation Bible was so much fun. We got to see all our friends, make craft items and hear wonderful bible stories. When we had a revival the church would be nearly full and the ladies would fan themselves with pretty cardboard fans with wooden handles usually donated by the funeral home. And then, there was that big old tree in front of the church that was fun to climb around on the big roots.

I attended the English High School and my best friend was Violet Smith from Mifflin. Although I liked all my teachers, two exceptional, unique teachers stand out in my memory, Idena Hobson and of course. Bill Beasley. My first job during the summer while in high school was taking care of Ronnie, the small son of Noel and Helen Benham who owned the grocery and feed mill in Mifflin. It was there that I met her brother Harold. He stayed for dinner one evening and I immediately "fell" for him when he asked for a second slice of the very first pie that I had ever made. Just luck that I made a coconut cream pie, which is his favorite today. My next job when I got out of school was with the English State Bank, taking the place of my cousin, Lowell Miller, until he returned from a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy.

I married Harold Ray Miller, son of Oscar and Hazel Miller in nineteen and fifty-six at the Christian Church in English. My sister, Betty was my matron of honor and her husband, John, was the minister who married us. He didn't let me forget that I had left out part of my response in the ceremony. I married Ray for richer, but the "or for poorer" part didn't quite make it in my response. I haven't been put to the test so I guess it was okay to leave that part out. We then moved to Louisville where we both had employment. Our son, Dale Allan, was born in nineteen and fifty-seven, then in nineteen and sixty-three, a second son, Bradford Kent, was added to our family. We now have two beautiful daughters-in-law, Terri and Jodi, two grandsons, Jason age seventeen, Cory age fourteen and a step-grandson, also named Jason age seventeen. Being normal idiot grandparents, they have us spoiled, but we love them any way and they are the light of our lives.

I had been trained on NCR business machines and through them had worked on short term jobs for many jobs around the Louisville area while our children were small. In nineteen and sixty-nine, I went to work at Bacon's Department Store, (now Dillard's). In nineteen and eighty-three, I went full time as office manager. I've enjoyed my job, but after dashing up and down numerous flights of stairs each day, the word "retirement" has been creeping into my mind much more frequently as of late.

There hasn't been a lot of change in my life. I've been married to Ray for forty-three years, lived in the same house for forty-one years, attended the same church for thirty seven years and worked at the same job for thirty-one years. About once a year, we revisit Union Chapel and both our old home places and reminisce about the people we knew, the places we used to go and the things we used to do for fun. And to this day, we still refer to Crawford County as "Down Home".

What wonderful memories that have lasted a life time and even now bring back a sense of having lived life to it's fullest in the "Good Old Days". A warm "Hello" to all who helped make these memories.

Crystal Betty Olive Roberson

I was born November twenty-eight, nineteen and twenty-eight to Ernal May (Patton) Roberson and Oscar Leroy Roberson on their farm just north of George and Ena Miller's farm about a mile west of the Union Chapel Church. When I was two years old we moved to what was referred to as "The Myler Place", which my parents bought. This was on a high hill overlooking the Union Chapel community. We were able to see several of our neighbor's homes from there. On a clear day we could Pilot Knob, Indiana which was about fifteen miles away "as the crow flies", whatever that means. I loved living there.

I considered myself as having a very happy childhood. But living "high on the hill" wasn't all that made for a happy childhood. All of our friends, neighbors, playmates, Sunday School, Bible School in the summer time, and other activities such as pie suppers. Teacher's Institutes, little programs that we put on during the holidays, pitch in dinners and the revivals held at the church, also prayer meetings at the church on Tuesday night. In the summer a group of us would walk to church and back together. These things made for a happy childhood.

My sister and brother's names are: Clifford Laverne (deceased); Ferris Lee (Deceased); Farrell Waldo (Deceased); Crystal Betty Olive (that's me) living in northwestern Monroe County, Indiana in a one story brick house on twenty five acres of mostly wooded land; Carol Joyce (Miller), residing in Jeffersonville, Indiana and Wendell Rex (deceased). On March twentieth, nineteen and forty-nine I married John Samuel Drollinger, who was born and reared on a farm in Fountain County, Veedersburg, Indiana. We have three children, Larry Bruce, Sherry Layne and Terry Lana. We've moved five times during the last fifty-one years. Most of those years were spent at the Indiana Boys School in Plainfield, Indiana and The Masonic Home at Franklin, Indiana where John was employed, in both places, as a Chaplin. Other years were devoted to Interim work in different churches in Indiana. John retired after fifty years of service in the ministry.

NOW! - What's this question about, What I learned in the one room school house known as the "Roberson School"? How can I be expected to remember that if I can't remember what I did "yesterday"? But since we are on the subject of the schoolhouse, I remember after dark one night looking out our upstairs bedroom window and seeing the schoolhouse on fire. I don't remember whether someone had called us on the telephone, or if we just happened to see it, but we all quickly got dressed and drove to the school building to see if there was anything we could do. It hadn't burned back toward the cloakrooms yet, and I remember asking my father if I could run in and get my books out of my seat, which happened to be on the back row. (Silly me!) Of course, he said, "NO".

I must have been in the fifth grade at the time. We had a substitute teacher that week and he left before wood had been put in the stove and "banked" for the night by one of the students. This was done every evening, but this particular evening he got the stove too full of wood and it got to burning too much before the damper was shut off.

Sparks flew out the little holes in the side of the stove onto the wood floor. At least, that's the way I remember it. All of my books went up in smoke. Another school building in the county was not in use at the time so it was taken apart, piece by piece, and brought it to where our school had been and put back together. While the new building was being put back together, we had school in the church. The windows on the old building had been on the south. The windows on the "new" building were all on the north side. There was one door in the middle of the old building to enter. The boy's cloak room was on left side and the girl's cloakroom was on the right side. We entered the school from the each of these cloakrooms. In the wintertime and on rainy days we would sometimes play in the area between the two cloakrooms. I think there was bench there to sit on. One of the games that we played was "Seeing Stars through a Coat sleeve". We didn't get to play that one very often, unless someone new came, because, who wants to get water poured in their face through a coat sleeve while looking for stars? It only took once. You catch on pretty fast if you are the ones looking for the stars.

My best friend was Norma (Mills) Woolems. One day at school in the "new" building one of the younger boys (who shall remain nameless) told our teacher, Nellie Jackson, that Norma and I had been running in the schoolhouse. She made us stand in the comers of the room. To my recollection, I don't ever remember running in the schoolhouse. But whether we did or not, that's what he told her. At recess we got him down and banged his head on the ground a few times. He must learn not to do that anymore! I think that must have been the only time that we ever got "violent". I think we felt sorry for him after we did that. It was supposed to have been a lesson taught.

Two other games that we played at school were, "Red Light-Green Light" and "Drop the handkerchief". I loved the ciphering, geography and the spelling matches when we had some time left over from the classes in the evening before the bus came. I was fortunate enough to be able to represent our school at the County Spelling Bee at the County Court House in English when I was in the fifth grade. When we were small I'm sure we all remember the big oak tree in front of the church house and playing on the large roots that came out of the base. The tree looked so big to me then. When we went back, years later, it looked so small; and then, later still, it had been cut down. On Children's Day a platform was put up on the west side of the church. This was where the children would "say their piece" or sing a song. It was an all day affair with a pitch-in dinner at noon. Wonderful memories.

Most of you would probably remember Johnny Pennick, a little short man about three feet tall, who would come to the Chapel and preach sometimes. I was pretty small at that time, but one thing about him that I do remember was that he would be preaching, pretty loud I might add, and then he would run up and down the aisles and yell, "Glory, Glory, Glory"!! That's about all that I remember about him. But THAT certainly impressed me.

Noble Miller's Mother, Martha Miller was our Sunday School Teacher for the primary class. We called her, "Miss" Martha. She always wore a black starched bonnet that hung long in the back and I think that about everything else that she wore was black including a pretty, black, starched apron. When we were small, our lessons were on small 3"X4" cards with a bible story on the back and a picture on the front depicting the story. I still have some of them.

My three older brothers attended and graduated from the Leavenworth High School. During the big nineteen and thirty-seven flood of the Ohio River, everything in Leavenworth was covered with water. I was nine years old at that time. Our family was curious to see, so we drove to Leavenworth to see the river. We drove part of the way down the hill toward the river. I shall never forget seeing three story houses floating down the river. After this happened, I don't know if the high school in the old town was ever used again, or if it was at this time when the new school was built on the hill. Probably Norman Goldman would know. The new school was already built when Norma and I attended our first two years of high school there.

During our sophomore year, the powers that be decided not to bus us to Leavenworth any longer, so we started our junior year at English, Indiana. We graduated from the English High School in nineteen and forty-seven. Our first High School Class Reunion was held in the spring of nineteen and forty-seven. I had a wonderful time, (as I always do). When it was decided that the next Reunion would be "FIVE YEARS LATER"! I thought, "we could all be dead by then!!" But here we are, "a half century later", still having a good time. I must confess, its been a while since I've played Green light-Red light, drop the handkerchief, marbles or a game of jail base. I just have a good time in a more grown-up way. Ha. Ha. I guess it would have been a hardship on some that would have to travel a long distance to have a reunion more often.

Another interesting thing about the two-story brick high school building in the old town of Leavenworth, I only learned recently. It had no inside restrooms. So, even though it was a nice brick building, the rest rooms were on the outside indicating that it was an old building. I'm sure there are a lot of stories that haven't surfaced in my brain while I've been writing this, but this will have to do for now. I will close by extending a warm greeting to all my friends that will read this. Betty Roberson Drollinger

This page was last modified: Sunday, 27-Oct-2013 11:24:56 MDT
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