By Don Hill
Our Mayor often tells us how wonderful our city is, and I agree with him. But I think of it as a city that acts like a wonderful small town. Mellencamp put it in song, so it must be true.
It has changed over the years but that’s to be expected. However, that adjective “wonderful” comes from way back. I learned about it when I first came here in December of 1958.
Three things come to mind. Three businesses no longer here. Three experiences that bring back memories.
When Mary and I found a house, in order to get out of my bachelor pad, we went to Home Federal and directly to Mr. Keech. He knew of us because we were teachers and people paid attention to who were teachers back then. We told him the price and he did some figuring and asked if we could pay a certain amount each month. I’m sure we must have signed something, but I don’t recall. It just seems it could have been a handshake.
The house was a “fixer-upper” and needed storm windows badly. I went to Farm Bureau, which at that time did their own financing. The gentleman (I wish I could remember his name) came up with a cost, which was out of our reach. I asked if we could pay it by monthly payments. He started filling out the triplicate forms until he got to my occupation. I told him we were both teachers in the school system. He tore the form up and said, “We don’t need this, just pay what you can each month.”
During these times the teachers were paid once a month, nine checks a year. We had to teach the first month before the first check arrived. Often near payday, we (and I know of others) would be short of funds to cover a check we had written. The National City bank would simply hold the checks because as they knew, “They are teachers, they will get paid Friday.”
Yes, teachers weren’t high on the pay scale but in Seymour they were high on the respect scale. During this pandemic they face a room full of children or sometimes do their best by teaching them online. This wasn’t taught in college when they earned their teaching degrees, yet they find a way. If you know one, smile and say thanks. They deserve your respect.
Yes, Mayor, Seymour is a wonderful small town, filled with wonderful people who use their skills to pass the “wonderful” on. It comes from years ago and continues today. Even though the systems have changed, there is nearly always a smiling face across the counter, a greeting at the hospital or classroom door, or simply “have a nice day” when they hand you your change.
Don Hill is a resident of Seymour and has served as a volunteer at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts for more than a quarter of a century. Send comments to [email protected]