In And Around Hannibal: March 31, 2012

by Rita Hooper

This going to be a slightly more disjointed column than usual — it just happens that way sometimes.  It has been good to receive so many positive comments on my travel tales. It’s really great to get feedback. I think these have been the most commented on columns since I wrote a column on the “famous spud” — otherwise know as the mighty potato — written when my children were still in school and I was a natural redhead!

Last week I had the privilege of being invited to Ole Fashion Days at Fairley School to play some ole fashion games with the students.

I think I aged 20 years with the invitation, but I surprised myself by climbing to the second floor and settling into the one-room schoolhouse that they had set up.

There were about seven or eight of us under the guidance of the school marm Louise Kellogg that helped the children learn about games played in the good ole days.

I played a picture shape game (good for eye-hand coordination) and a solitaire game – a great tool for learning some math facts.

Mrs. Prosser played Pokeno, similar to BINGO; Mr. Phillips played on the Carom Board; Mrs. Chillson had fun with Pick-up-Sticks; Mrs. Hughes played Racko; Mrs. Gifford; and Mr. Kent worked the morning shift.

The three hours went quickly and it was good to see how receptive the children were. I liked some of the teamwork exhibited, too.

I remember when I was a camp counselor years ago, the children were to build a castle that could withstand a flood. The boys started building immediately and were finished early.

The girls thought about it, discussed it and almost didn’t finish their castle. When the flood came, the girls castle survived and the boys went back to sand. Human nature is so much fun!

I understand they had an overflow crowd at the Historical Society’s Ghost Hunters meeting. I plan to go to the one next month on Amelia Earhart. Did you hear this week that they have a new clue to where her plane went down. If you don’t know who she was, Google her –  she has a fascinating story. See the end of column for more info!

Speaking of fascinating – have you been reading the recent articles by Jerry Hogan Kasperek? She’s been doing a short series on characters of Fulton.

It got me to thinking, Hannibal and its environs has had a few characters of its own over the years.

And I have only been around for near 40 years now and I can mention a fast dozen.

More men than women seem to fall into this category. Now to be a character, you don’t necessarily have to be odd – but that does seem to help – although many of our characters don’t fall into that category.

Folks may be perfectly normal and have a particular quirk that would land them in that category.

What is it they say? “Everyone’s a little strange, except thee and me, and sometimes I wonder about thee!”

I mentioned this character idea to a friend of mine and she laughed and mentioned Sun Bonnet Sue. I didn’t know her by that name but by the name of Velma Jean.

Then there was my neighbor, Stella Livingston. Stella was a good soul who grew up in Hannibal Center. She used to stand on the street corner or on especially cold days, in the Post Office quietly observing — people watching is one of my favorite hobbies too!

In her younger days, I believe she cleaned houses and took care of children. The thing that put Stella on my character list is that she very rarely, if ever wore a coat, no matter how cold it was.

Let’s see Owen Draper would make it on my character list. When we were renovating the Baptist Church into the Community Center, Owen would go all over town collecting glass. Then on Saturdays, he’d go down to the old library and spend hours breaking that glass in metal barrels. When it was full, he’d see to it that it got to a recycling center where they would pay him for the glass.

I don’t think Owen had piles of money, but he believed in the idea of a Community Center and worked hard to bring it to fruition.

I think of Frank Fields and the horseradish man, Ed Blythe – both of these fellas would walk into the village – a good distance from where they lived. Somehow I associate long winter coats with these men. Do you remember two bits? He’s the fella that sold sugar bowls as two handle coffee mugs!

Let me know what you know about these characters of Hannibal and who you would add to the list and why. Perhaps you have a merchant or school teacher you might add.

Roger Reniff comes to mind for me. Roger always had a joke or story – which he told in his slow, country way. Never a bad word to say about anyone; everyone who knew Roger, liked him.

*  *  *  *  *

Stella James has been selected as Hannibal Library Woman of the Year. She will be honored in the Senior Center in the library from 2 to 3 p.m. today. Please join her in this celebration.

April 1, the Hannibal Fire Company Auxiliary will be hosting its breakfast buffet. They will be serving from 8 a.m. until noon. The Easter Bunny will be there from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. He’ll have his smile on if you would like to have your picture taken with him!

Granby Center United Methodist Church will be holding a chicken barbecue Sunday, April 1 from noon until sold out.

Our Lady of the Rosary will be holding its chicken and biscuit dinner April 1, too. Serving begins at noon. Our Lady of the Rosary is across from Hannibal High School

The Enoch Thomas Cluster Methodist Lenten services continue. The final service will be held this Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Bowens Corners. There will be a choir fest at Bowens with each church invited to send their choir. If you haven’t been able to come to any of the other services, this is your last chance.

Here’s what’s cooking at the Senior Center in Hannibal this week:

Monday, April 2: Homemade soup and sandwich, juice, fruit cocktail.

Wednesday, April 4: barbecued pork rib, baked beans, beets, pineapple tidbits.

The center will be closed Good Friday.

Call Rosemary and make your reservation now at 564-5471.

The Senior Center is on Oswego Street across from the Fire House. I understand they are in need of a driver for their Meals on Wheels Program – if this is something you can do, please give Rosemary a call for more information.

The Jammers meet at the American Legion this Monday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. If you like country music or play an instrument, come on over and join in the fun!

The Hannibal Ecumenical Key Council is sponsoring soup and bread suppers each Tuesday throughout Lent. This is a joint effort of the three churches located in the Village of Hannibal. This week they will be meeting at Our Lady of the Rosary with God’s Vision Church hosting.

The free chili/soup lunches are continuing Thursdays at the Hannibal United Methodist Church from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. Come enjoy good food and fellowship.

Sterling Valley Community Church will hold its annual Men and Boys Dinner Tuesday, April 10 at 6 p.m. Jay Sawyer will present a program on Maine Moose. Call Judy at 564-5386 to make your reservations.

The Methodist Church in Hannibal will be holding a craft show April 21 with a bake sale and luncheon. Crafters are needed.  Call Debbie at 591-8621 for more information.

Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Hannibal United Methodist Church, Eleanor Stearns from Geneva will portray Amelia Earhart, one of the ladies she represents in her “Women of Vision” series.

Stearns will come dressed as Amelia Earhart; she has been to Atchison, Kansas, where Amelia was born and was able to view letters, clothing and artifacts of Amelia and her family.

The Hannibal Community will hold a community-wide Yard Sale Saturday, May 5.

If you are interested in having a sale on that day and would like the event listed on the community-wide master list, call 564-6410 before April 29 and leave your house number and street address. Copies of the master list of participating sales will be available for distribution beginning at 8 a.m. at the Community Center (Library) May 5.

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