Miss Tillie Tittilates the Heathen

imageMiss Tillie, my Sunday School Teacher held my attention like no other before or since, giving the class candy, bubble gum, and tiny little paper umbrellas if we learned our Bible verses. Mother thought she ought not to bribe us to do our lessons. I thought Mother ought to mind her own business. Miss Tillie had already taught Sunday School for thirty years by the time I had her in 1956. She still wore lacy dresses left over from her daughter’s high school days when she didn’t opt for gabardine suits with oversize shoulder pads from the forties. She showed up once a month with robin’s egg blue hair that faded over the next three weeks to a pale lavender. We always complimented her when it was at its brightest and she’d shyly say, “Can you believe I don’t even have to color it?” I couldn’t. She still wore seamed stockings long after the other ladies wore seamless. I always looked forward to seeing a special one with a mended run she wore every third Sunday. I got to know Miss Tillie before I was old enough to know she was a little wacko, so I admired all her differences.

Miss Tillie was so sweet I wouldn’t have wanted to misbehave. The naughty words in the Bible caused her a big problem. She couldn’t bring herself to say the bad words like lie, sin, Hell, and ass, so she made modest substitutions such as fibbing, doing wrong, the bad place, and donkeys. The lesson of Samson versus the Philistines was a challenge for her. Starting out fine, she described Samson’s great strength and glorious hair, reminding us of his obedience to God. Things were going well until the battle reached its zenith. With her modesty, she couldn’t possibly say, “Samson slew ten-thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass,” so after a great deal of obvious preparation and practice, she concluded the lesson with a flourish, “and so Samson picked up the assbone of a donkey and slew ten-thousand Philistines.” That lesson is still burned in my brain.

How Miss Tillie Tittillated the Heathen

imageMiss Tillie, my Sunday School Teacher held my attention like no other before or since, giving the class candy, bubble gum, and tiny little paper umbrellas if we learned our Bible verses. Mother thought she ought not to bribe us to do our lessons. I thought Mother ought to mind her own business. Miss Tillie had already taught Sunday School for thirty years by the time I had her in 1956. She still wore lacy dresses left over from her daughter’s high school days when she didn’t opt for gabardine suits with oversize shoulder pads from the forties. She showed up once a month with robin’s egg blue hair that faded over the next three weeks to a pale lavender. We always complimented her when it was at its brightest and she’d shyly say, “Can you believe I don’t even have to color it?” I couldn’t. She still wore seamed stockings long after the other ladies wore seamless. I always looked forward to seeing a special one with a mended run she wore every third Sunday. I got to know Miss Tillie before I was old enough to know she was a little wacko, so I admired all her differences.

Miss Tillie was so sweet I wouldn’t have wanted to misbehave. The naughty words in the Bible caused her a big problem. She couldn’t bring herself to say the bad words like lie, sin, Hell, and ass, so she made modest substitutions such as fibbing, doing wrong, the bad place, and donkeys. The lesson of Samson versus the Philistines was a challenge for her. Starting out fine, she described Samson’s great strength and glorious hair, reminding us of his obedience to God. Things were going well until the battle reached its zenith. With her modesty, she couldn’t possibly say, “Samson slew ten-thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass,” so after a great deal of obvious preparation and practice, she concluded the lesson with a flourish, “and so Samson picked up the assbone of a donkey and slew ten-thousand Philistines.” That lesson is still burned in my brain.

Mean Girl at the Pearly Gates

imageBrenda was a mean girl.  We were thrown together because we were all Sunday School together.  She was snooty but tolerated me the best she could in Sunday School because I was preferable to Mary Bragg, an overweight girl who constantly complained other girls were “talking” about her.  We usually weren’t, because we’d already done that and moved on.  I guess I was a mean girl wanna be.

At any rate, Though Brenda could tolerate me at Sunday School, it was a different story at school.  Sometimes I tried to buddy up to her, only to be rebuffed when a real friend came along.  The thing about Brenda was, she was mad about horses.  I had a horse.  From time to time, her yearning to ride a horse got the best of her and she’d ask to come ride my horse.  I was would have played with a rattlesnake if it hadn’t bitten me too many times, so I was glad to have her. We doubled up on Ol’ Frosty and plod along being good friends as looming as the ride lasted.

Once in a great while, Brenda and her older sister Sandy, also a mean girl, the age of my older sister Phyllis, would invite Phyllis and me over.  One Sarurday, we all climbed on the honeysuckle-covered fence in their backyard and slid all one long, glorious afternoon.  I remember Phyllis asking if they were sure it was okay.  Sandy answered , “Sure, we climb this fence all the time.”  We rode that fence to the ground. The next day in Sunday School, Brenda was mad at me.  It seems they’d gotten a “whuppin” for our afternoon’s shenanigans and Mr. Davis “wished he could get his hands on us!”  I never cared to go back over.

Several years ago, I saw Brenda’s obituary in the paper.  I wonder if she’ll talk to me in the unlikely event I meet up with her in heaven.  I know for sure I won’t be swinging on the Pearly Gates with her.

Miss Tillie’s Troubles With Samson

Miss Tillie, my Sunday School Teacher held my attention like no other before or since, giving the class candy, bubble gum, and tiny little paper umbrellas if we learned our Bible verses. Mother thought she ought not to bribe us to do our lessons. I thought Continue reading