Tidbits - May 3 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



BOND OF LOVE...

  Where else but Saluda County would a group of Christians go together and host a Jewish memorial service for their dear friend.
  That happened last Thursday, when Renee Hauser was remembered with a service in the social hall of Richland Springs Baptist Church.
  Renee had no family in South Carolina, and her cousins were scattered all over the country.
  Sheila Hare and friends thought the retired Saluda teacher, who lost a battle with cancer, should be remembered.
  Sheila got her nephew Craig Stevens, the chaplain at Self Memorial Hospital, and Trey Shealy, youth minister at Saluda Baptist, to handle the theological aspects.
  Ann Forrest Watkins shared some Jewish related readings. Craig’s daughter sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World.”
  Sheila gave the eulogy.
  She also asked me to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”
  I explained Simon and Garfunkle wrote that song for their tenor voices, and I couldn’t hit those high notes if I climbed a ladder.
  Instead, I sang “Jehovah is our Deliverer,” which has a Jewish, “Fiddler on the Roof” type melody. I sang it a capella.
  Craig told  a great deal about Renee’s life.
  Renee’s family was from Poland. As Hitler began to grow in power, her father saw the writing on the wall, and convinced his siblings to join him in moving to America, where they located in the Chicago area.
  Many members of their family that stayed behind died in the Holocaust.
  Renee had an interesting life. She hosted a radio show, interviewing many famous people, when she lived in Houston.
  It was in Houston that Renee gave birth to her only child. The little boy lived only eight days. Many say the death of her son propelled her to devote the rest of her life to educating children with special needs.
  When she lived in Charlotte, Renee worked with Jay Freeman. When Jay was hired as principal of Saluda High School, he recommended the district hire Renee. Thus began her love affair with this community.
  There was no synagogue in Saluda, so Renee chose the “biggest temple she could find in the area, Saluda Baptist Church,” Craig said.
  Trey said Renee called herself a “Jew Baptist.”
  Trey brought some rocks with him and explained the Jewish tradition of placing rocks on tombstones.
  “We give flowers, but flowers die,” Trey said. “Rocks last forever.”
  Both Craig and Trey read passages normally read at Jewish funerals.
  Sheila’s eulogy was filled with many funny stories about Renee.
  She recalled the “Pay Day Club,” a group of teachers who went out together on pay day.
  One of my favorite stories she told involved the times the crowd would come to Renee’s house. She would supply Chinese food for everybody, and refused to take payment.
  “So, we all hid money in various places around the house to pay her back,” Sheila said. “I’m sure her cleaning lady enjoyed that.”
  Sheila recalled how Renee’s friends came to sit with her during her final days. Jay Freeman, who brought her here, was there on a regular basis with his wife.
  Renee’s first cousin, Carl, from the West Coast, was at the service, and shared more stories.
  The service concluded with Sheila and Kathy Charles leading the audience in the singing “Thank You For Being A Friend,” the theme song from “The Golden Girls.”
  It was appropriate, as was “Drifting Away” at Renee’s dear friend Brenda Shorter’s funeral.
  I left both services for my  friends with tears in my eyes, but with a smile on my face.
  The service was also a teaching experience. This marked the second funeral I had attended since last June that had some Jewish leanings.
  At the funeral of my pastor Paul Cheezem, his nephew, a Rabbi, read the Old Testament scripture in Hebrew. Craig, also, read some Hebrew Thursday.
  As I wrote months ago, my Ancestry.com  DNA test showed I was seven percent European Jewish. That makes Trey 3.5 percent Jewish, so some traditions he told us about applied to our ancestors.

GOING HOME

  Renee’s cousin Carl shared something  important Renee did for their entire family.
  Since the end of World War II, the family had been under the impression that the hometown of their family had been totally destroyed in the war.
  A few years ago, Renee went to Poland and found out their hometown had not been destroyed. The family had just been spelling the name wrong all these years.
  Not only did Renee go to the hometown, she found the home of her grandparents.
  After hearing this Thursday, it is ironic that I got a story from the Savannah River Site on the town of Dunbarton that was demolished when the Savannah River Site was built. The 300 residents of Dunbarton, and 1200 residents in other towns had to relocate.
  Dunbarton was my late grandfather Ralph Killingsworth’s hometown.
  According to the press release, Dunbarton, incorporated in 1910, had 15 commercial buildings, 35 residences, two cotton gins, a post office, one grammar school, a church, railroad station and saw mill. Although it had electricity, the release said, Dunbarton had only two telephones.
  SRS has erected a sign at the site of the old town that  contains pictures and other information.
  The irony is the hometown of Renee’s grandparents in Poland was not destroyed in war, but the hometown of my grandfather in Barnwell County was destroyed in peace time!

SADNESS CONTINUES

  At Emory Church last week, two of our members, Truman Lake and Wayne Fulmer, lost sisters.
  Truman’s sister Edith Pou died in Georgia, where she had lived for many years, but will come home to Saluda County to be buried. I’ve met her, and was impressed. Her daughter, Lenora Pou, is my Facebook friend.
  Wayne’s sister Evon Maw, I’ve known most of my life.
  She was a wonderful lady, with a warm personality, and was multi-talented.
  She made beautiful jewelry that she sold at craft shows and festivals all over the state.
  Jean Sheppard was another lady I liked a lot.
  She is yet another person associated with The Saluda Players we have lost in the last few months.
  She didn’t act, but she “supplied” her daughter Cindy Willis, and grandchildren Jessica and Jarred, who acted or helped in many productions.
  When the curtain rose at The Saluda Theater, Mrs. Jean was usually there.
  Our sympathy to the Pugh, Maw and Sheppard families.