Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Memories on Parade

Meet the Family

A Town is Born

The Growing McCullough Family

A Church Becomes a Reality

A Closing Word

The Man Called Guelcksie

A is for Arthur

The Coffin House

Poet and Philosopher -- Aged Seven

The Two Room School House

Open the Windows and Open the Doors

Sixteen Girls in White

Four Girls and Five Boys

The Poet in Hot Water

Windows Open for Edith

The Great Decision

Bo Peep




Typical of the programs Lizzie directed was "Sixteen Girls in White" which was presented in the church one Easter season. Sixteen girls in white dresses formed a cross by standing in formation, one behind the other, hands at their sides, so that each was exactly one head higher than the girl in front of her. As they took their places each girl said four lines of an Easter poem.

The first girl had to be very small and I was chosen for the part. I was told to walk down the middle aisle of the church until I reached the front pews, turn to face the audience, repeat my lines, and sit down cross-legged on the floor, fold my arms and look.

My lines introduced the theme of the tableau:

"In the cross we symbol of atonement, full and free,
And other thoughts, the cross beholding,
Backward turn to Calvary."

My heart weakened with stage fright. It was my first appearance before an audience. I did not understand the words "symbol" and "atonement", and did not like to say things I did not know.

The second girl came, said her lines and took her place directly behind me kneeling, so that her head was directly above mine. Then the third girl came, then the fourth and fifth, and so on until there were ten, all selected for height, the tallest standing last.

Then six girls, all the same height, formed the cross bar, standing to the right and left of number eight in the first line.

Signalled by a chord from the organ, and joined by the audience, we sang the well-known hymn "In the Cross of Christ I Glory".

All the girls in the cross wore white stockings, provided by my mother. They reached above our knees and were held in place by round garters. We wore no shoes and walked silently. Our dresses were long enough to cover the garters.

The girls in the cross could not see the effect but we felt that we had rendered a special service.

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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Gladys McCullough Alexander: Looking Back At The Long Ago is published here with the permission of Ellen S. Wilds and transcribed by her, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."