Welcome to Becca's Heart for HEarts

From many years ago as member in 4-H and FHA clubs, my love grew for Home Economics-arts and teaching.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sharing human feature article written for past issue of The Bugle, Pontiac, IL

Mrs. Godden, a former Home Economics teacher

Article #9                     by Rebecca Sadler                   9/21/2010
CHS Commemorative Markers and Faculty Tribute to Mrs. Godden

The planning committee desired this upcoming event to be an annual public appreciation to honor faculty, staff, and alumni of Cornell High School.

This year’s dedication on Saturday, October 2 will include a tree planting and granite stone marker placement at the old high school site starting at 1 pm, a special tribute to Mrs. Jean Godden at the grade school gym at about 2 pm, and a refreshment social hour afterwards.

Cornell residents, alumni, and visitors are encouraged to stop and see a mini-museum of Cornell, Amity Township, and CHS memorabilia displayed in the Amity Township Building. Gale Donze wants to share this passion of hers with the public from 10:30am-12:30 pm and also from 2:30-4:30 pm.

“There are many interesting pieces but one I find fascinating is a 1926 Chicago Tribune article stating that Al Capone’s hit man’s girlfriend/future wife was from Cornell,” contributed Mrs. Donze.

The October 2 event is due to efforts by a group deciding to follow through on talk that occurred at an all-school reunion in June. Jo Morrison, 1967 CHS alum, living in Bloomington, says “We are just getting started.”

Morrison said the phrase ‘gone but not forgotten’ kept coming up in different conversations.

Besides Morrison, the committee members include: Brenda Smith Bollhurst, Pat Pleasant Ewing, Sandra Husted Knight, Janice Dodge Alsdorf, Nancy Reynolds Ruhlander, Jo Ellen Barger Murphy, and Don Taylor.

Taylor is in charge of receiving donations for the CHS Tribute Fund, rsvps for attendance, and any non-attendees greetings or memories to share with Mrs. Godden. Correspondence needs to be sent to: dtaylor@hotmail.com or Don Taylor, 610 Michael Court, Washington, IL 61571.

Donze transferred to CHS as a junior, so she didn’t have Mrs. Godden for home economics class, but she remembers her then from the hallways and now as a fellow Red Hat Lady. “Her hairstyle and appearance seem so unchanged from my high schools years to now. She’s a remarkable, pleasant, and likeable person who doesn’t talk about anything negative or even mentions illness. I credit our prize-winning Red Hat Society float in last year’s Threshermen’s Parade to her. She made a little red hat for each of the stuffed dog animals we had to go along with the Wall dogs theme,” reflected Gale.

Now that she’s been retired for more years than she taught, one would think at 94 years of age that Jean Godden would be sitting at home almost 24/7. Nope.
“I have quilting every Tuesday morning.” Godden shared. Tribute committee member Jo Morrison thought calling Jean at 7:30 am recently would be a good time to chat with her.

“Mrs. Godden quickly informed me that she couldn’t talk because she was about to leave to go quilting,” Morrison remembered.

Throughout each month, Jean also has monthly meetings and activities with Red Hat Society, local DAR chapter (this year’s General Defense Chairman), Rooks Creek Home and Community Education (e.g. Extension Homemakers; currently Vice-President), and Pontiac Woman’s Club as well as volunteer work at the library.

Jean’s still optimistic in making future plans. She’s blessed. “I come from a line of ‘long-livers’,” Godden explained.

“My mom lived to 99. Father was 90. One of father’s aunts lived to 103 and two of mother’s aunts were 102 and 104,” shared this well-deserved honoree.

Mrs. Jean (Antrim) Godden’s early years of her marriage were spent in Virginia. Having been farm-reared north of Rooks Creek and graduated from Pontiac Township High School, Godden was excited when the opportunity for her husband came in her home area.

“We moved to Cornell in January 1946 and paid $3600 for our home and 2 lots,” proudly noted Mrs. Godden.

Sadly this home filled with antiques and memories was lost to a fire in 1996.

Mrs. Godden went on to explain, “Our new Wausau-constructed home was an interesting process and endeavor for us that we shared from 1996 to his death in 2001. We had a wonderful 63 years of marriage.”

Her immediate family contains her daughter Judy, 2 grandsons, 1 great-grandson, and 1 great-granddaughter. When Judy’s family lived in San Diego some years back, the Goddens decided to ‘retire’ and spend their winters there and also to play golf 3 times per week and be on the ocean.

Jean’s recollections of CHS included how she was hired and her starting salary. “Since I had a clothing and textiles degree and minor in education from Iowa State University, the CHS board agreed I was qualified to fill the home economics vacancy,” said Godden.

“My starting pay was $2,000 in 1946,” recalled Jean.

Teaching home economics was her primary duty from 1946 to 1974. “I taught home ec the whole time. There was also a 2-3 year segment when I would serve as the assistant principal whenever the principal was out of the building. I also served as: (1) the yearbook sponsor for 26 years, (2) a class sponsor for 5 or 6 groups of students as they progressed through high school, and (3) Future Homemakers of America sponsor for all 29 years,” recited Jean.

Jean’s highlights from teaching included senior class trips. Godden fondly recalled “walking along Bourbon Street in New Orleans with one group.” There were also several trips to Chicago with other classes and at least one trip to Colorado with another graduating group.

Jean’s highlights from FHA included the annual activities. “We had overnight parties for the girls at the school as well as decorating responsibilities for the Sweetheart Ball Dances and hosting a Mother’s Day Tea complete with a style show,” Godden reminisced.

From the classroom her motto or theory was one of her remembered highlights. “I always told them, work when you work and play when you play,” quoted this veteran teacher.


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