Tennessee Spring, in 1906 and 2008

Susan A. Fletcher

Today is a spectacularly beautiful day here in Cleveland, Tennessee. Coming from the arid West, I am captivated by the lush green landscape of this part of Appalachia. I took a walk in the park yesterday and the scent of honeysuckle floated on the breeze. This is a good time of year to be in Tennessee.

While we are enjoying the peace and quiet around campus this summer, we remain very busy here in the research center. We are working on several major projects including our annual report and our General Assembly exhibit. A few weeks ago Lee University ended its spring semester and the staff of the DRC celebrated the graduation of one of our student assistants.

Thinking about the end of the school year has prompted me to post another entry from Halcy Tomlinson’s 1906 diary. Halcy did not write very often between the first few musings she wrote in March of that year (which you can read in one of my previous blog entries) and the end of May. I’ll sum up the few entries that she did write before moving on to her thoughts about the end of her own school year. In April she and her family celebrated Easter together and father A.J. Tomlinson spent much of that month away preaching in other towns. Halcy and her friend Eva Cramer went to a carnival and rode the Ferris Wheel for the first time and got in trouble for it when they went home.

“Halcy Tomlinson May 18, 1906

O Joy! School is out at last, and oh, how glad I am. I actually passed and that isn’t all, I passed with highest honor. There was another girl who passed with honor too, but I got highest and I am so glad. I praise the Lord for it. My average grade this quarter was 96, and 95 this whole year. My grades for this quarter are: Spelling 94, reading 92, writing 90 arithmetic 100, language 95, geography 97, mental 100. Marea and Homer both passed with high credit that is next honor. Next year Marea will be in the fifth, Homer in the Sixth, and me in the seventh.

This evening, or rather afternoon, us three Tomlinsons and Ora Mileon had kind of a little party in honor of us all passing. Marea and Ora baked the cakes, first Ora ever made, and almost Marea’s first, but they were real good I have returned from the Commencement where ten graduated - nine girls and one boy - and it was just simply splendid. I do hope that if I ever have the privilege of graduating I will do as well as was done tonight. I believe Grace Stamper was the best, but dear, they were all so good I can’t tell hardly which was the best.”