In This Place: June 18, 2014
The Children’s Hour
This is the time of year when we’re all thinking about graduation, but in doing some research for next week’s column featuring commencements, I stumbled on a custom I was completely unfamiliar with, called “Children’s Day.” It seemed it started in the mid-to-late 1800s, primarily in the Methodist church, although some other denominations also took up the custom. Children were featured in the programming for that Sunday, usually the second one in June, but in our area especially, the date seemed to move about a bit with some flexibility. In addition to singing and recitations, children would often pick this “holiday” to be baptized. While it may be hard for our modern sensibilities to conjure up these old-fashioned theatrics, I was sure many of you would enjoy scanning the names, which I think will include (from the 1940s) at least a few folks we all know...
June 15, 1923 — CHILDREN’S DAY AT METHODIST CHURCH
An Inspiring Service Both Morning and Evening
Children Show Talent and Careful Preparation
Very pleasing programs were given at the Methodist church on Sunday last in observance of Children’s day.
At the morning service the entire program was given over to the children, who presented an enjoyable pageant titled “The Secret Whispered to Children,” which had been carefully worked out and beautifully costumed. The story of the pageant portrayed the aim and purpose of Children’s day in the Methodist church.
Preceding the pageant, the choir introduced the worship period by a processional which was very effective. This was followed by the baptismal service at which time nine children were baptised.
Those taking a part in the service were:
Children’s Day Fairy,
Spring, Susan White.
Summer, Ruth Sanford.
Autumn, Rose Catella.
Winter, Blanche Winnie.
Caterpillars—Curtis Place and Milton Tomlinson.
Leaves—Emery Rowe, Seward VanCampen, Clifford White, George Cook and Edward Tomlinson.
Flowers—Virginia Cook, Roselin Funari, Florence Funari and Margaret Odell.
Breeze— Clyde Kittle.
Snowflakes — Ruth VanCampen, Julia Cattela, Ruth Craft, Margaret Winter, Elizabeth Canavan, Louise Tompkins, Evelyn Morse and Marian Depuy.
Raindrops— Walter Odell, Donald Fenton, John Gorsch and Carlton Day.
Sunbeams — Marjorie DePuy, Ruth VanCampen, Julia Catella and Marjorie Depuy.
Recitation— Lucy Salter.
At the evening service an impressive program was presented by six of the young ladies of the Sunday school. With the assistance of the choir and an orchestra they enacted a didactic story, “The Challenge of the Cross,” from which any individual would draw his own particular lesson. The cast of characters:
Disciples—Julia Austin, Isabel Delameter, Mary Faulkner, Lillian Archibald, Marguerite Ballard and Frances VanValkenburg.
There has been a request to have the service repeated. If you so wish speak to the pastor.
From the same issue:
Children’s day exercises at the Methodist church were excellent, thanks to training of Mrs. Reginald Todd. The only thing lacking was the number taking part, but we are in hopes more will come out now as all danger of scarlet fever is over. Miss Mildred Avery is on the list of ailing ones, not having been able to attend school for the past few days.
June 13, 1941 — Halcottville Children Give Excellent Program Sunday
The annual Children’s day entertainment of the Methodist church was given last Sunday afternoon to a large assembly of friends and parents of the children. The program, conceived and directed by Mrs. Nelson B. Kelly and Mrs. John B. Knickerbocker, was varied and interesting. It follows: A song by all; recitation, “Both Important,” by Betty Purchell; recitation, “The Radio Announcer,” by Harvey Slauson; recitation, “Beautiful Pictures,” by Mary Moldovan; song, by Miss Alberta, Robert and Glen Finch of Denver; recitation, “A Good Place to Be,” by Keith Mead; a dialogue, “The Bible School,” with Mrs. Knickerbocker, Annette Kelly, Francis Moldovan and Louise Purchell; song, “Little Sunbeams,” by all the children. At this point the program paused and Rev. Harry Williams conducted the impressive and beautiful baptism service for the following children: James Kelly, Gordon Mead, Ralph Mead, Ruth Ann Griffin, Walter Griffin, Muriel Griffin and Marie Griffin. The Children’s day program resumed with the following numbers: Recitation, “Bouquet” by Dorothy Purchell; recitation, “Love Like His,” by Minnie Biruk; recitation, “The Robin,” by James Kelly; then the offering; a second song by the Finch children; recitation, “Verse for Little Folks,” by Bobby Purchell; a dialogue, “The Children’s Day Roll Call,” conducted by Miss Emma Hoffman with George Kelly, Glenford Hubbell, Raymond Slauson and Paul Constable; recitation, “A Boy Like Me,” by Walter Griffin; recitation. Give Him Your All,” by Mae Biruk; recitation, “Closing by Marie Griffin.
July 1, 1949
The annual Children’s day program was presented at the Methodist church in Halcottville Sunday. The program, conceived and directed by Mrs. Ralph Eignor and Mrs. Scott H. Clark, was as follows: “Welcome” by Carolyn Ackerly. “I’ll Do My Best,” by Marie Ackerly; “Our Lights,” Christie Eignor; “Little Friends,” Iris Mead; song; “Jesus Loves Me,” by Barbara, Carolyn and Marie Ackerly, Gary Ruff, Christie Eignor. Iris Mead, George Spielman, Stanley Mead, Danny and Nancy Eignor.
The next numbers were recitations: “My Little Prayer,” by George Spielman; “It’s Children’s Day,” Stanley Mead; “Forget Me Not,” Evelyn Knapp; “Come Children,” Danny and Nancy Eignor. A congregational song, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” was followed by more recitations: “A Prayer for Children’s Day,” Gary Wickham; “Pictures” by Wayne Stahl; “I Have a Job to Do,” by Ronald Stahl; “I Like Children’s Day,” Barbara Ackerly; “The Angel,” Ruth Griffin; “Jesus Hears,” by Richard Knapp, and “Thank You” by Gary Ruff.
The Intermediate class sang “Little Sunbeams.” Those taking part in this were Ruth Griffin, Ronald Stahl, Wayne Stahl, Gary Wickham and Evelyn Knapp. “Farewell” was given by Evelyn Knapp to close the Children’s day program.
Rev. Henry N. Muller, pastor of the church, baptized the following children: Christie, Nancy, Merry and Danny Eignor, Richard Mead, Gordon Stahl, Richard Shultis, Lawrence and Linda Fitzgerald.
Rev. Muller presented Sunday school attendance pins to Mary Ann and Virginia Peck, Certifying perfect attendance at Sunday school for eight years.
The program was closed with the congregation singing “I Would Be True.” Mary Ann Peck was the pianist for the entire program.
A choir is being organized and a rehearsal will be held at the church at 8 p.m. each Wednesday.
I promise more commencements in the next issue; I’ll concentrate on the “fours,” starting here with 1914. The classes were often so small and students so well known that sometimes it is hard to find an actual list of graduates. However, modern graduates can breathe a sigh of relief that one tradition has disappeared — printing the scores of every pupil on every Regents’ exam they took! Ouch!
May 29, 1914
Local High School Preparing For End of School Year—Class is Small—The Class Officers.
Regents examinations will be held the week of June 15th to the 19th. Commencement will begin Friday evening, June 19th, when appropriate exercises will be rendered by those students who are completing their course in the training class. Saturday will be alumni day; meeting of the alumni association. Ball game at the Fair grounds between the alumni and the High School. The Baccalaureate sermon will be preached in the Methodist Episcopal church Sunday evening, June 21, by the pastor Rev. G. C. Fisher. The final commencement exercises will be held Monday evening, June 22 In the M. B. church. Since the class is small the class day exercises, awarding of the prizes and conferring of diplomas will occur on the same night.
Professor R. H. Wheeler of Cornell University will deliver the address of the evening. Music will be furnished by the Margaretville orchestra. The program will be announced later. The class officers are as follows: President—Karle Osterhoudt, Secretary — Grace Allaben. Treasurer—Hazel Sanford, of Margaretville. Salutatorian—Evangeline Jones. Valedictorian—Hazel Sanford.