Friday, August 09, 2013

Alberta, Alberta

These are two emails from to me from my 5th grade teacher Alberta Shouse Kinney's daughter.

Hello Eddie,
While doing some research online today, I came across the article that you wrote about my mother, Alberta ShouseKinney.
It was a very nice piece, and I appreciate the care that you took in writing it. 
She loved teaching fifth grade and shared stories about her days at Waterman Street School with us. In fact, I believe she told me a version of the pigeon tale. 
I don't know your full identity, Eddie, but  I just want to thank you for writing a nice article about my mother.
Pat Kinney Barner

Certainly you can reprint my e-mail, but let me share with you what may be "the rest of the story."  (And you can print this.) As both of them tell the story: Mom was walking in front of the old courthouse when a pigeon sent its droppings down the middle of her face and onto the front of her dress. This insult could not go unpunished. So when Daddy learned of this indignity, he secured the aid of a young boy who captured a pigeon, placed it in a box and delivered it to her with a note saying "The culprit has been apprehended."  So Eddie, It is possible that you were the recipient of the miscreant pigeon, though we will never know for sure. 
Thanks again,

And here is the pigeon story that was on a few years ago:

(tooting my own horn)

Miss Shouse My 5th Grade Teacher

The first female I had a crush on was laid to rest yesterday. Miss Alberta Shouse Kinney was my 5th grade teacher. I wasn't the only boy in class that watched every move she made. I think there were about five or six or us, and it was very secret - we didn't even tell each other we belonged to a secrete Worship Miss Shouse Club.

One time in class she asked me would I like to have a pet pigeon. “Would I ever!” I said something of that effect.

After school that day I walked with her to her apartment. We went down Waterman Street to Atlanta Street, up Atlanta Street, through the downtown area, and after we passed North Park Square the street named changed to Cherokee Street. About four or five blocks down we turned on to Forest Avenue, where her apartment was. Her apartment was in an old two story house, I think that specialized in renting to teachers.

I felt proud walking with the pretty perk lady by all the old and drunk men that seemed to always be in hanging out front of the courthouse.

The night before, somehow she rescued the poor pigeon from being drowned in a downpour rain. She had the bird in a cardboard box with little holes punched in it.

I carried the box with the pigeon home, which was probably close to a two mile walk. We lived in an older house on Manget Street, across from Larry Bell Park, with my grandfather. There was a little bathroom on one end of the back porch. It was the first bathroom before the house was upscale to a inside bathroom. Since no one used the back porch bathroom any longer, I considered it my den.

I put the pigeon in the old bathroom with some bread pieces and closed the door for the night. The next morning I rushed in to feed and water it again and there was only a bunch of feathers. Either a rat or my grandfather’s cat managed somehow to get in and ate it or maybe it escaped.

That morning in class Miss Shouse asked me how the pigeon was doing. I told her the pigeon was doing good (if you consider the pigeon no longer with us as “good”). I felt if I told her the real fate of the bird she would think less of me.

Thinking back I think Miss Shouse reminded me Jane Russell. She was graceful, glamorous, and dark headed, just like Jane the Goddess. Maybe that had something to do with my thoughts.

Either before the pigeon or after it that year, at recess the late Van Calloway shoved me against the fire escape.

When my forehead hit the metal rail or something of the fire escape blood gushed. The impact cut a gash in my forehead. Miss Shouse helped me walk to the second floor to the teacher’s lounge. There she had me lie on a cot and she had some kind of towel on my cut and applied pressure. She sat holding it until my daddy could come and carry me to the old hospital. If I remember correctly, Doctor Haygood closed the wound with five or six stitches. After the bandages were removed my forehead looked something like the Frankenstein Monster, which wasn’t bad for an attention-getter.

With me getting the full concerned attention of my teacher made my pain go away. I knew when daddy came in quickly the pleasure was over.

At the time Daddy was the Chief of the Marietta Police. The Marietta Daily (except Sunday) Journal had young male reporter by the name of Bill Kinney. Daddy took Bill with him on the biggest moonshine raid ever in Cobb County. The still was about where Wal-Mart, just north of Windy Hill Road, is now. I heard rumors that Bill got tipsy by the smell of the shine. Bill Kinney was courting Miss Shouse and she soon became Mrs. Kinney.

Not long ago, I emailed Bill Kinney and told him about the pigeon episode and confessed his wife thought the pigeon was well cared for and I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise. He understood.


Back in Another Time

The other day I thought of Bill Kenny. Bill Kenny writes for the Marietta Journal. Bill Kenny has his eyes on all of Marietta and Cobb County. He knows its history well and all the latest of what is happening behind the scenes. He is on the editorial page with his reports just about every day. He calls himself “This Old Scribner”.

When he was a young reporter my father supervised a raid on what was then the largest still in the history or raiding stills. Bill went along to report. That Young Scribner got intoxicated by the fumes.

He was dating my 5th grade teacher Alberta (?) Shouse. They married right along then, and have been married since.

I went to Waterman Street Grammar School in Marietta. That year in the 5th grade a fellow student named Van pushed me against the fire escape and cut a big gash down the center of my forehead, from my hairline down my forehead to in between my eyes. Until my father could get there to rush me to the hospital Miss Shouse had me use her soft lap for a cushion to keep my head up. I was getting attention from her I only dreamed about…. It was enjoyable, even if it was painful and messy. Luckily, for me she kept an ice pack against my cut.

After it was all over with, with the scar and the stitches scars it looked something like a little railroad track running down my forehead – but most importantly, it looked something like Frankenstein’s Monster’s head. I was sporting something of a status symbol.

Later that same year in class one day Mrs. Shouse asked me if I wanted a pigeon and I said yes. She told me the night before a pigeon almost drowned at her boarding house when it rained so hard, she took the pigeon in and put it in a cardboard box and put holes in it. That afternoon she and I walked together through down town, up Cherokee Street to Forest Avenue to her boarding house.

She opened the box easily and we peeped in. The pigeon looked up at us. We quickly closed the box and I went on my way.

My parents wanted to know where I was going to keep it, I couldn’t keep it inside the house they said. 

It just so happened, that the old house we lived in had a bathroom as a room on the back porch. Until we move there that was the only bathroom. My mother had her brother build us an new bathroom in part of the biggest bedroom. 

I used the old bathroom as a clubhouse. I said that would be a good place to keep the pigeon. That night, I left it water and bread crumbs.

The next morning before school I slowly opened the door and looked around. I did not see the pigeon. I opened the door and stepped in and closed the door. No pigeons feathers were all over the place. Apparently, a rat or a cat found a way in and had a midnight snack.

A couple of years ago we were in line to vote at the Voter’s Registration Office and Bill game in. He looked very frail. Not as I remembered him. He seemed to appreciate people lined up voting.

Several years before that our son Rocky interviewed the Old Scribner for a project of his Journalism studies at UGA. Rocky said he was looked frail.

I understand Mrs. Shouse/Kenney is not doing too well these days. Time slips up on us all.



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