Memories of Alabaster Vacation Bible School

Published 4:08 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

Summertime means swimming, sprinkler dancing, extra yard mowing, gardening, hot sidewalks (if you are barefoot), the ice cream truck and camps …whether for church, specialty sports or just fun, and of course the ever-familiar “Vacation Bible School.”

No matter your denomination, Bible school memories are a stand-out. As a youngster I attended Bible school at the First Congregational Church in Andalusia in the mid 50s. I loved the air conditioning in the basement (we didn’t have air conditioning at my house,) the stories told with the use of a flannel board and story reenactments with make-do props were fun. We took nature walks, had “Bible Sword” drills and of course back then our refreshments were homemade ­— no Cheez-Its and Kool-Aid. I walked the four blocks there and back and only wished for more than a week of my summer to be filled with so much excitement.

I asked several people of different ages in Alabaster their favorite memory of their Bible school. Mrs. Nina Kent says they didn’t have VBS in her neck of the woods 90 years ago, but she was one of the ladies who started it at the old Elliottsville church. Brenda Oglesby went to second Baptist of Bessemer and loved story time and learning more about Jesus. Chris Honeycutt liked playtime, especially water games and refreshments while Jeanette Butler recalled that all the girls wore dresses and Ms. Farris was her favorite teacher. Denise Barnes, church secretary, attended VBS at Pates Chapel in Jemison. Even back then she was into arts and crafts.

Ester Hightower, local resident, attended second Baptist of Houston, Texas. She recalls memorizing scripture. If you could correctly quote the scripture and location in the Bible — you won a prize. Tracy Davenport went to first Baptist of Waskow, Texas and still remembers using baby food jars to put oil, water, glitter and a little artificial flower in to keep as “their craft.” Tracy Benton attended Bethany Baptist in Whistler. She did not like outside games and gym time. Her favorite activity was art. So whether you went to daytime VBS or nighttime, whether you were Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Church of God, Catholic or whatever, whether you rode in a horse and buggy, old truck, walked or got picked up by the church bus, pull out your memories and share them with your family. You’ll be surprised what you will remember and what might bring a smile to your face and theirs.

If you can remember hand fans and “two holers” you have a few years on me.

Sandra Thames writes a weekly column for the Alabaster Reporter. You can reach her at