History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell
Reminiscing of a Chapel Hill Youth
I do not really remember my first time of attendance at Chapel Hill Church since I was a very small child. My mother was of the Church of God faith and she did not attend church at Chapel Hill except on special occasions when the children were involved in programs. She attended Fredonia Church of God when she could, but it was not very often, so my Dad was the one who brought us to church. My mother was a God fearing individual and always made sure we were dressed and ready for church. My first Sunday School Teacher was Miss Louise Johnson who taught us the familiar children’s Bible stories. She was a dear saint of an individual who cared about her students outside of the Sunday School room. As we became older and more rambunctious, we moved to Ms. Claudia Rogers’ Sunday School class. Ms. Claudia was an active person, full of life, and not opposed to good natured humor and fun. She drove a station wagon and always brought a load of kids from Dunlap to church. Ms. Claudia started a yearly trip to Lake Winnepesaukah for her class, which later morphed until a large transit bus and basically allowing any child in town to participate. In those days a lot of children had never encountered anything like Lake Winnie. The rides were a nickel and you could eat a good meal for less than a quarter, so you could have a lot of cheap entertainment for a dollar. The favorite ride was the “boat chute” which went through a dark tunnel, hooked to a pulley system and hoisted to a high point above the water and released down a steep track to impact onto the lake amid squeals and laughter as one usually got wet. There was a rumor, that in the past a person had been bitten by a water moccasin snake in the tunnel, so there was no problem with everyone keeping their hands in the boat. For some of the older boys, it was probably their first life experience opportunity, while in the tunnel, to strategically place their arm around the shoulder of a member of the opposite gender. I think the trip was an event that everyone looked forward to each year. I assume Ms. Claudia and possibly other adults in the church paid for the bus, but even a dollar was difficult to obtain as spending money.
I remember that during the year I would collect empty coke bottles and redeem them at Wade Swanger’s Store for a penny a piece. Sometimes I would spend the night with Uncle Frank Cordell and he would pay me a dollar to mow his yard. I think because I worked for the money, I enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity for a day of jocularity and frivolous fun. Also, I remember one year, for the March of Dimes, we walked from Dunlap to the Hamilton County line. You have to realize that in those days, you might encounter two or three cars as we ascended the mountain on Highway 127. For safety reasons and traffic density, you would not be able to do that today.
We have had some excellent Sunday School teachers who have provided outside activities over the years, but Ms. Claudia was my first teacher at that age level, and I appreciated the time, effort, and money that she contributed. We, the boys, were a handful and personally I do not think I would have tolerated some of our antics and behavior that she had to endure. Ms. Claudia is no longer with us, but I’m sure if there are any raucous rowdy angels in Heaven, she has it well under control.
Last month’s question: Volunteers from this community (Sequatchie Valley) served in West Tennessee Units during the War of 1812. Why were they not assigned to the East Tennessee Units? In 1812 all territory West of Knoxville was considered the West. There was no Middle Tennessee geographic region at that time. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee was considered the first president to be elected from the Western United States.
Next month’s question: What year did Chapel Hill Church organize a youth baseball team?