I found Aunt Ruthie’s autograph book

at the bottom of this painted chest

under a pile of blankets, dolls, and vintage clothing.

Her classmates from Elizabethtown High School class of 1935

Wrote in her autograph book. Some sayings were


Some were silly.

Three were translatable from Latin and German.

I also discovered Ruthie’s math teacher taught me algebra too.

For heaven’s sake!

The signatures on more than 70 pink, blue and beige pages reflected Pennsylvania Dutch origins: Blottenberger, Ebersole, Hertzler, Raffensperger, Schlosser, Ulrich, and Wolgemuth. But I found a Madeira and a Stephens to balance things out.


The Sweet and Silly

May your friendship ever spread / Like butter on hot ginger bread.



Just to make room for all the others / I always write mine back of the cover.



May you always be friends with Dame Fortune, / May you never meet his daughter Miss Fortune.



It’s hard to lose the boy you love / When your heart is full of hope, / but it’s harder still to find a towel / When your eyes are full of soap.



In your chimney of friends, consider me a brick.



In the chain of friendship, consider me a link.



Here’s till you slide down the banister of love / Into the ash can of matrimony.



Gay, an older meaning 

You’ll go far on your way to success / Whether or not you wear a cute dress, / Always be happy, and always be gay, / Remember tomorrow is not faraway.



Teacher Signatures

“Were die Leiter hinauf will, muss bei der untersten sprosse anfaugen.”

Signed, Dein deutscher lehrer, T. H. Ebersole

Cliff Beaman – ink and acrylic paint on acetate, circa 1980



Always have a star farther than your grasp as your goal.



May Dulebohn taught me algebra too but near the end of her career.

Who walks the world with soul awake / Finds beauty everywhere.

Miss Dulebohn, with her Eleanor Roosevelt-esque hair style, inspired fear and respect as she strode with sure, steady steps up and down aisles of students, expounding the marvels of advanced math.


Voice of the Spirit


When upon life’s restless ocean / You may feel the need of aid, / May you hear the voice of Jesus “It is I! Be not afraid.”



Do you still have your high school year book? An autograph book?

Any memorable sayings  –  sweet, silly, or otherwise?

When have you attended a high school reunion?

Can you give an accurate translation of the German teacher’s comment?