I’m thankful for the traditions that survive

By Linda Emley

The world as we know it changes every day. I’m one of those people that does not like change so I’m always sad when I see old traditions that are lost with each passing year.
Thanksgivings is one of those holidays that is just not the same  any more. I loved the good-old days when it was all about family dinners and not about football or black Friday sales.
We all have our favorite dish that our mother cooked when we were young and no matter how hard you try, it does not taste like it did when she cooked it. My grandmother always cooked the best oyster dressing. I have one of the dishes she used among my most prized possessions. I don’t use it any more because it is too precious and I would hate to break it.
As we lose some of our old traditions, it’s time to start new ones and I want to share one of the new ones that started on Nov. 1. Someone decided that it would be a nice idea to post on Facebook everyday something we are thankful for to honor a whole month of giving thanks. Some of the “thankful” choices have been nice normal things like family and friendships and some are everyday items like, “DAY 3, I am thankful the sun came up.”
One of my favorite ones was, “DAY 7, I am thankful the elections are over.” Everyday there is something we need to be thankful for and it has been very interesting to see what all my Facebook friends are thankful for each new day.
On Nov. 15, I posted, “DAY 15, I am thankful that I have family to share Thanksgiving dinner with. My mother is 84 years old and can still cook a fantastic dinner. I’m very thankful that she can cook because I’m one of those girls who hates to cook.
My mother is Betty Lou Martin. She was born north of Richmond in 1928 and was a member of the RHS class of 1946. On Oct. 6,   I got to visit with her classmates as they attended their yearly reunion. Those pictured here are Mary Julia Groce Merrifield in front, Bob Ed Swafford, Betty Lou Schooler Martin and Sue Robinson Davidson in back.
The reunion was also attended by my father, J.B. Martin, Krista Merrifield Salyer, Bob Ed’s wife Virginia and Joann Lewis, whose husband Jimmy was a member of the class of ‘46. I asked them some questions about their high school days and was shocked to hear they didn’t have a homecoming queen. When I got back to the museum I found the 1946 Echo and found only one queen, Marjorie Hall, who was the queen of the box supper. Jimmie Fitch was the king.
There were 49 seniors listed in the class of 1946. It was fun looking over their ECHO yearbook and trying to imagine what life was like when they were in high school.
The yearbook staff was creative and arranged this ECHO as, “A typical Melodrama of American High School Activity in Four Acts.” The four acts were “Faculty and Administration Staff,” “Classes,” “Junior High” and “Activities.”
In the forward, that year’s ECHO gave us a small glimpse of what it was like at RHS in 1946. “This past year of school has been a year of reawakening. Education has been somewhat shrouded by the gloom of a war-torn world for several years previously. When the banners of peace were unfurled all over the globe shortly before the beginning of this term, that marked the start of a new era. We are beginning a rebirth of education. This renaissance is destined to be as great as the one following the Dark Ages. This drama of life in a typical American high school as presented herewith, shows our part in bringing about this educational age.”
As a child, I remember many times seeing my parents talking to someone and I would ask them how they knew the person. Sometimes the answer would be, “We went to school together.” A few years later, I found myself giving the same answer to my boys when they asked me “How do you know them?” It’s good to know that some things never change.
Day 16, “I’m thankful that I grew up in a small town like Richmond and got to attend the same school that my parents and my three sons attended. I’m very thankful that some traditions have not changed over the years.”
May everyone have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Treasure your old traditions and save some room for new ones that will become the memories of tomorrow.

Have a memory for Linda? You can contact her at

Mary Julia Groce Merrifield, front, Bob Ed Swafford, Betty Lou Schooler Martin and Sue Robinson Davidson were classmates. (Submitted photo)

2 Responses to I’m thankful for the traditions that survive

  1. Robert Schroeder

    November 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for the comments about being thankful daily for something.
    I’m also thankful for growing up in the small town of Richmond. I have many fond memories of there. Unfortunately (for me) we moved away when I was in my early teens.
    Thanks also for the photo of Bob Ed Swafford. I have not seen him in many years, even though we are distantly related. I remember his Dad, Jimmie, and tried to find a resemblance in Bob Ed’s face. I guess my memory isn’t as good as I had hoped, since I’m not seeing the resemblance.
    Keep those postcards coming!

  2. Linda Emley

    November 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hello, I’m so glad you liked my story about being thankful. Growing up in Richmond was really wonderful. I’m glad to enjoyed it too. Please drop me an email sometime and share some of your memories with me.I would love to hear them. Thanks again, Linda Emley

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