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Down Memory Lane

Arlena Smith Hasel

I had just finished reading our copy of the Hearn Herald when the phone rang in our home in Clermont, Florida. It was my sister, Mary Ruth Brew, and I told her I had just read her "I remember when. . ." contribution. She pleaded with me to share my own memories with the family. They began in May, 1945 (yikes–nearly 50 years ago!) after I graduated from Blue Mountain College and went to Nashville to work at the Baptist Sunday School Board. The Claypools had recommended the Hearn home as my first "home away from home." I lived with you until I entered the WMU Training School in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall of 1946. In 1947 John Hasel, a seminary student, and I were married. I did not live in Nashville again, but our friendship with the Hearn family was ongoing through correspondence, phone calls when we were visiting in Nashville, and occasional visits.

These are some of my memories of living with the Hearns–listed in random order, not in importance. I remember:

. . .Mary Alice, age 8, saying the table grace at breakfast (the children often took turns). She prayed (I exaggerate a bit) for every leaf, every blade of grass, every relative, every playmate until Mai Holt, Dorothy Campbell, Josephine Pile, and I were sure we'd miss the last city bus that would get us to work on time.

. . .Florence's leftover toasted biscuits, which Josie always declared were far better than the original biscuits. They made breakfast special.

. . .learning to ride Charles' bike. It must have been a 20- or 24-inch wheel, and as I tried and tried again, the pedals hit the back of my legs so much they were blue and black. Charles, Mary Alice, and Nancy chased after me up and down Westwood, cheering when I stayed upright for several turns of the wheel. Bless my support team, I finally learned–after a fashion!

. . .Florence's sausage biscuits, which she served on special occasions when she was entertaining. She used biscuit dough rolled thin, coated with pork sausage, rolled up like a jelly roll and liced into thin circles. When baked they were yummy!

. . .That funny laugh Aubrey had.

. . .Florence serving cantaloupe halves filled with sherbet to one group she entertained on the front lawn.

. . .Aubrey bringing in some kind of fresh fruit given to him, expecting the very busy Florence to gladly bake a pie. She was not overjoyed with the idea, nor would I be!

. ..Florence making the first Nestles chocolate chip cookie I had ever tasted. When she opened the package, she gave me a few chips to eat.

. . .Nancy saying when she married someone rich, she was going to buy some pretty shoes.

. . .Florence offering to give me free piano lessons in exchange for pinning up her just-washed hair. I almost learned "Silent Night," and I almost fixed her hair okay–but not quite. (Honest, Florence, I really tried.)

. . .Mildred, younger, very quiet and very pretty.

. . .Aubrey coming home from the Board and helping out by sweeping, sweeping, sweeping (with a broom). Then he'd sit in the rocker, holding the smallest children, while the older ones climbed all over him as he rocked and led the children in singing while Florence prepared supper.

. . .Aubrey consoling me when, on my first day at work, I left for the day and later remembered I did not turn off the electric fan in my office. He assured me that a custodian would find the fan and turn it off.

. . .Aubrey's many letters of complaints to companies whose advertisements on billboards and in city buses were a bit unsavory to a Christian's way of thinking. He certainly got an A for effort.

. . .Marcia coming to seminary with Aubrey in '47 because he was determined to give each of the children a free airplane ride before the cut-off age for paying. We babysat her while Aubrey lectured on campus. One male student made the comment, "Boy, when I get married I'm gonna' have a dozen kids like her."

. . .Aubrey taking a telephone message for me that said: "Jeremiah's grandmother died." This was shocking news, since I thought the prophet Jeremiah died eons ago. Then it occurred to me, "Oh! He means Jerry Myers–not Jeremiah."

. . .Washing the dinner dishes for the meal so I could eventually pay my dad $200 on college expenses he spent on me. One night Aubrey's visiting younger brother helped me by drying the dishes and then invited me to walk to the drugstore and back with him. Wow!

. . .Aubrey's thousand and one ways to save a buck (with Florence's help). They taught me a few things!

Maybe I could write a book about other things I remember, but mostly I remember a caring, giving, compassionate Christian father and mother and their five (Suzanne was born after I left) very talented, versatile, beautiful children. They took me into their home and hearts, and I love them all!