Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Home

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

Epilogue

Notes

OPEN THE WINDOWS AND OPEN THE DOORS

The two-room school offered perhaps the equivalent of a seventh grade education. Our parents wanted more than that for their children and realized that it meant sending them away from home. The eldest daughter went first to Central College at Conway, a girls' school, then to Quachita College at Arkadelphia. Living with other students did much to open the windows and doors to a bigger world. But she did not want to stay.

Both Lynn and Hugh entered Quachita later. They, too, came home after a few months.

These things were not explained to the younger four. It is reasonable to thing that the preparation given in Alicia was inadequate for them to do acceptable work at a higher level, and all three were happier at home.

They were not idle. The boys found much to do with the various business ventures already established by their father. They had hunting trips (and sold the pelts), sheep raising (and sold wool), hog killing time, and endless chores ( with Arthur at hand to do those they did not want to do).

It was Elizabeth (always called Lizzie) for whom the windows and doors opened wide, not only for herself, but the whole family.

She learned that she could play the piano by ear, transposing any song to any key. This enabled young people to sing who had never been able to sing before.

Visiting in the homes of other girls opened her eyes to attractive furnishings, different recipes, prettier clothes and niceties unknown to the big house where things were comfortable but plain.

The family dinner table was adorned with garden flowers; salads came to the table in individual servings instead of on platters. She changed the way the pictures were hung. She discovered the endless pleasure of the mail order catalogues and ordered curtains and cushions in good colors. She was an expert in needlework and delighted in making or decorating the clothes for her four small sisters all this to the delight of her mother who was always endlessly busy. Lizzie's room was dainty in all seasons.

Alicia welcomed her leadership for the young girls for whom the windows and doors of opportunity were slow to open. Her programs enlisted many girls, who followed instruction in charades and tableaux in the little church our father had built.

It had never been dedicated as a church, never had a pastor. Lizzie's programs were open to the public without admission charge, and all were quietly serious and pretty to remember. She was tireless in her search through magazines and church periodicals for ideas, and could accept the suggestions of others. She was busy, original, and happy. Sometimes she went for short visits with girls in other towns and once took me with her to Gainesville, Arkansas -- opening windows and doors for me.

The big house showed what she could do. When she wanted shelves or more closets, Arthur was there to build them for her.

When former college girls came to visit here we were delighted. They brought mandolins and guitars and sang college songs in the evening on the big front porch. I was lifted to Seventh Heaven. Lynn had a beautiful tenor voice and had his own guitar. He joined them in familiar tunes like "When the Sun Goes Down Tonight, I'm Going to Say Goodbye".


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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."