At the end of the school year, it was the custom for many of the different organizations such as the glee clubs, the debating society and the high school teachers, to have a picnic at Mona Lake, a small lake just to the south of the Heights. The city of Muskegon Heights maintained a park on the lake near the ice house which could be reached by the Beck Street car line, the other end of the line being the park on Lake Michigan. There was a concession with canoes to rent in a building by the side of the ice house and long lines of picnic tables painted green set up in the sand. The married teachers brought their wives and those with girlfriends invited them and somehow I became paired with one of the young English teachers, Frances Meader, who apparently found me to her liking. I believe I took her canoeing and in the evening after the bonfires and the marshmallow roast I accompanied her to her rooming house where six or seven other teachers had rooms, one of them her younger sister Laura. At first I found her rather attractive tho she wasn't at all what you would call a pretty girl and neither was her sister. She was very intelligent and planned on teaching another year then becoming a missionary. Her father was a Methodist minister in Battle Creek. During my second year of teaching I would sometimes call on the girls without an invitation when I got lonesome in the evening, not necessarily on Frances tho the rest of the girls treated me as her boyfriend. Twice she invited me to her home in Battle Creek over a weekend. We went canoeing on one of the small lakes near Battle Creek and she read to me from some of the newer novels while we sat in the front porch swing. The last time I went I played a viola solo for the offertory during the church service. Like Nina Coye, she was fun to be with but I was not attracted to her romantically. She was too much on the chunky side. An incident in the porch swing finally caused me to refuse further invitations to visit her tho we continued to correspond even after she had become a missionary and gone to China. We were sitting in the swing about ten in the evening talking about the stars and I got up to show her where Cassiopeia was in the sky. She held up her hands for me to pull her out of her seat, which I did. The movement didn't stop there, however. She sort of fell towards me evidently expecting I would catch her in my arms but I very ungallantly sidestepped and she nearly fell. She wasn't the type of girl I would want to put my arms around. Her mother was rather fat and I think Frances would have grown to resemble her.
Last modified on 03 July 2009 @ 10:25