Three interesting weeks it’s been

School will be out in a few days, and for some it is already time for finding fun things to do for the summer or getting a job to pay for some school clothes for next year.

I attended some events the past three weeks that made me realize what wonderful youth we have in our area and beyond.

First, it was the Jefferson County Christian School where a Make a Difference Fundraising Luncheon was held at Zalenski’s Family Eatery & Pub, with the event sponsored by Riley Petroleum.

Walking into the banquet side of the Wintersville restaurant, I was greeted by Camille Childress and presented with a mug with the school insignia and filled with wrapped candies.

There were five other greeters, including Hailey Biro, Jeriah Mantos, Emily Manley, Corey Pearce and James Taylor. All looked very polite and professional in their school sweaters or shirts.

Virginia Young, a good friend and part of the school learning team, invited me to attend, and our table consisted of my friends Liz Matthews, former cook at Smithfield Elementary School; Betty Ruttencutter, former Wayne Elementary School aide; Audrey Kerr, a former teacher at the school; Young; and me.

Liz, putting her cooking skills to good use, ladled out the soup and got me a takeout box when there was more food served than I could eat. As in the society circles, I can announce that Betty poured the tea.

Four students dramatized the birth and life of Christ, with music and pantomine. They were Garrison Mathison, Dustin Wood, Bethany Richardson and Jerome McCoy, with the both of us trying to find a relative connection.

There were bookmarks at each table setting with comments by the pupils. Second-grader Selene said that her teacher was the best. She printed, “My teacher is funny, encouraging, cool, amazing and more things than I know what to say.” Chloe, a first-grader, said, “My favorite subjects are art, library, computers, lunch and recess.”

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Next was our trip to Plain City, where our grandson, Jackson, in a very formal fashion, invited me to the third-grade program to put forth information on “the good old days” for Senior Citizen Month.

It is great to see that the older generation is anxious to enlighten the youngest generation on how our half lived. There must have been close to 50 grandparents, aunts, uncles or older friends present. But there were still lots of children to go around. The class was almost as big as the former Smithfield Elementary School’s first three grades.

I got my grandson, Jackson, of course, and three other boys, Andrew, Nicholas and Anton, and together we walked into the past.

I brought some old and some replicas of old toys to show them. They knew about marbles but were not sure how to shoot them, so we tried a few rounds and retrieved the shooter from the floor a few times.

Jacks was another game they knew about but were really entranced with the “dancing toys,” the animals that are double, triple and quadruple jointed so when you push the bottom of the toy they dance about, bend forward and even collapse.

They asked me questions about my school, my favorite food, my favorite toys, and the answer that intrigued them the most was when I told them that a piece of pizza, DiCarlos of course, was 15 cents and a cold drink was 5 cents. I later learned that pizza was 10 cents during my time.

Elizabeth McDowell, Jackson’s teacher, told us that we had 2 minutes to wrap up with something about ourselves. My mind did a little scream. What could I tell about myself that would last 2 minutes. And then it came to me.

I wanted to relay a message along with my story, and I hope I did that more than impress my four guys about having polio. I told about being bedridden for six months and learning to walk again, with very ungainly steps.

I told how some of the children in our neighborhood would laugh and make fun of my walking if I attempted to come out and play.

There was one girl playmate who would yell at them to stop and even chase them to defend me. Six people laughing at me hurt, but the fact that one person stood up for me and made me feel valuable made it all go away. I wanted them to be that kind of friend for someone if the need ever came up. If nothing else, I hope I impressed them with that. And not those dancing animals.

I met four people with a connection to Steubenville.

This happened when I said I came to the program from Jefferson County near Steubenville.

Three visitors said they were from the Steubenville area as well. I went to talk to them at the end and learned they were Suzanne Polsinelli of Bloomingdale, Terry Polsinelli of Mingo Junction and William (Jerry) Bende, formerly of downtown Steubenville where he went to school, lived for a time and moved. His daughter, Amy Baker, is a third-grade teacher at Plain City Elementary.

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Each year, I attend the Edison High School Future Farmers of America Tractor and Antique Car Show on the school grounds. There have been a few of the eight years when it rained but nothing like the weather on May 17.

It was cold, the wind was blowing the Chinese auction papers away, and the rain had the ground all muddy. I came home with mud 4 inches up on my boots.

The first thing I did was buy a long strip of tickets for the auction, where you deposit tickets and take a chance on winning. I didn’t win but knew it was for a good cause in helping with two FFA scholarships. And the 50/50 fundraiser was for the American Cancer Society in honor of a teacher in the district, Vickie Schaffer, who is a cancer survivor.

Clint Wood asked if I had time to help with the Chinese auction when they started collecting all the bidding ballots. I agreed and served as the monkey in the middle as the sheets came in. I took the money, and Jody Cline handled the payments. Clint kept track of everything.

Chuck Cline, FFA instructor and ag teacher, said there were about 87 students in the organization, with the need to take ag classes as a requisite for belonging.

Regarding the show, he said, “This is a good place in time for kids to enjoy the history behind tractors and how they are used in farming and industry.

“The members do a community service, learn how to plan and organize a show, do the mailing, take charge of games and work in the stands. I supervise if needed, but they are the ones who carry out the show,” Cline said.

It was fun watching the lawn tractor barrel rolling. The purpose was to see who could move it to its destination in the shortest amount of time, without rolling it off to the side where it could not be retrieved.

I didn’t get to see much of the hay bale throwing contest as they stopped for me to snap a shot of the gang. The bales are heavy, and I can’t imagine anyone throwing them far, but maybe they did. Never underestimate a farm lad.

It was an interesting three weeks during the last days of school.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is the food editor and staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. she can be contacted at