Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homeless not hopeless: Program supports kids who've hit hard times

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Anna thought she'd never see a cap and gown.
She was 15, pregnant and alone after the death of her mother. And she was homeless.
So graduation didn't seem possible. It wasn't even a priority.
'I was just trying to get by,' said Anna, a Belton High School senior whose real name is being withheld. 'There was too much of everything else to worry about.'
Life was hard. Everyday brought the challenge of finding food, shelter and safety.
'That's how it was, and that's how I thought it would keep going,' Anna said.
But it didn't.
Thanks to Project Heartbeat, Anna will receive her high school diploma on Thursday at the Bell County Expo Center. And she'll be wearing a red cap and gown.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Having the life of her time: Woman shares history through her ancestors' eyes

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She goes by several names, but her face is familiar throughout town.
'I'm the log cabin lady at the Bell County Museum,' said Welba Dorsey of Belton. 'I'm part of the exhibit. I dress up as one of my early Texas relatives and talk about what it was like to be a Texas pioneer.'
But the Texas pioneer is not the only ancestor she impersonates. In programs for schoolchildren and civic groups, she also portrays relatives who lived in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and early colonial America.
'It's thanks to research that I'm able to do all this,' Mrs. Dorsey said.

Family faces

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Learning about her ancestors has been a joy for Welba Dorsey of Belton.
'The value in doing genealogical research is in the enjoyment and leaving a sense of heritage for your children,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'It has helped me know more about myself.'
Her work has also reinforced the lessons she learned in childhood.
'I was raised with the phrase, 'You should behave like a southern lady,'' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'With everything I learned about my ancestors, I have a better idea of what a southern lady is. She is polite, well-mannered, strong and capable, and she takes pride in her family and keepsakes.'

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tenacity of tiny Russian congregation inspires local team

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Tears fell at Monday's meeting of the Church Women of the Temple Area.
The heartfelt reaction was in response to the guest speakers, the Rev. Margaret Boles and Peggy Maesaka, both of First Presbyterian Church in Temple.
The pair came to talk about their summer 2008 mission trip to Russia.
'The presentation was very informative, thought-provoking and moving,' said Theda Maxfield, past president of the Church Women group.
Fellow organization member Ruth Hovel agreed.
'I was surprised to learn about the Russian government's attitude toward religion,' Ms. Hovel said.
While in Russia, Mrs. Boles and Mrs. Maesaka learned that because it's the official church of the country, the Russian Orthodox Church has power over churches of other denominations.
'The Orthodox Church can determine where and when churches of other denominations are planted,' Mrs. Boles said. 'As a result, the other churches are often small and far away from towns.'

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nurses salute alumni group's 100 years

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

More than 2,790 people have graduated from the Scott & White School of Nursing.
'And they're scattered all over,' said Grace Labaj, class of 1958, former dean of the Scott & White College of Nursing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. 'They come to Temple to study, and some stay, but a lot move on.'
There's one thing that keeps track of where they go. That's the annual directory produced by the nursing school's Alumni Association.
'It's a very useful tool,' Labaj said. 'It helps us maintain contact with the graduates and keep tabs on their careers.'
The directory is just one reason why the Alumni Association is important.
The 100-year-old organization is always raising money for nursing scholarships, and every term, it hosts a congratulatory dinner for graduating nursing students.

Nursing memories

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

LaVerne McDaniel of Thrall enrolled in the Scott & White School of Nursing in 1949. She was 18.
'The schedule was tough,' she said.
Breakfast was at 6 a.m. sharp.
'And from 7 to 10 you had 'a.m. cares,' Ms. McDaniel said. 'It was a morning round of caring for patients. You washed their face, brushed their teeth and served them breakfast.'
Then it was time for classes.
'Lunch came around but it was only for half an hour,' Ms. McDaniel said. 'Then you were back in class until 5 or 6, when it was time for 'p.m. cares.' That was when you got the patients ready for bed.'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Teacher's retirement sparkles with fun new hobby

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

For English teachers, some habits are hard to break.
'Everything's got to have a theme,' said Jerie Weasmer of Belton, a retired English professor from Southern Illinois University and the Central Texas branch of Tarleton State.
So when Ms. Weasmer delved into her new hobby of making jewelry, she found that continuity and thematic structure are just as important to jewels as they are to literature.
'Everything has got to flow,' Ms. Weasmer.

Stardust dancers see silver anniversary

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Central Texas Stardust Ballroom Dance Club, and plans are underway to make it memorable.
The first special event is set for 8-11 p.m. July 11 at Strasburger Hall in Temple's Cultural Activities Center.
'It will be a military appreciation dance,' said president Nance Travis.
Admission for those with military IDs will be discounted by 50 percent.
'It's our way of saying 'Thank you for serving our country,'' Ms. Travis said. 'The sacrifices they have made and endured have not gone unnoticed.'
Then come Oct. 10, the club will have its anniversary dance.
'I'm very excited about the anniversary celebration,' Ms. Travis said. 'It will be wonderful. We hope to have a big turnout of our longtime members and club founders.'
Club founders will be welcome to attend the Oct. 10 dance for free if they register in advance with Ms. Travis at 254-213-1951.
So plans for future festivities are set, but the present is a time of anniversary, a time for reflection and memory.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Altrusa honors one of its own

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They call her an everyday hero.
Why?
'Because she works so tirelessly and graciously at everything she undertakes,' said Judy Duer from Altrusa International Inc. of Temple.
Those kind words are in reference to Tamara Clothier of Temple, the woman who was named Altrusan of the Year for 2009.

Ladies dance for the fun of it

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They slide, they step and they wiggle. They're the R.S.V.P. Rhythm Rockers.
'And dancing is what we're good at,' said director Kay Short of Temple.
Their faces are familiar all over town. They've performed at schools, nursing homes, Senior Day celebrations, parades and style shows.
Former State Rep. Diane White Delisi hosted the group twice at the Austin Rotunda, once in 1996 to introduce them to the state legislators. The occasion was to honor the Rockers for their win at that year's Texas State Senior Games. In the years they've competed, they've won two golds and two silvers.
'And we've been on TV,' Ms. Short said. 'That was sometime in the late 90s.'
They appeared as guest performers on TNN's 'Wildhorse Saloon Dance Show.'
'We got to travel to Nashville to do it,' Ms. Short said. 'And it was a hoot.'
They also were featured on KXAN's 'On the Porch with Jim Swift.'
It's been a fun ride for the Rhythm Rockers, and they're nowhere near done.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Vocabulary is baffling but beautiful

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

People sing hymns every Sunday at church.
It's a traditional show of faith.
But does everyone know what they mean?
Probably not. Christianity's hymns take root from a massive vocabulary that spans across several cultures and centuries.
'So it's not surprising that people get confused,' said Jane Woodward, associate pastor and music minister at First United Methodist Church in Temple. 'Some words have different meanings today. Others died out.'
Ms. Woodward researched the subject and wrote an article about it for the April issue of The Word, FUMC's news magazine.
'What I learned is that you can't understand the whole meaning of the hymn until you understand each word and each phrase,' Ms. Woodward said. 'You find that the hymn is a piece of literary art, something to be appreciated.'