A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Singin' In The Booster Band

I guess it was called The Rock Church because that’s what it was made of, but the actual name was Waldron Assembly of God. I think it started back in the 1930’s with Rev. Bill Evans as the first pastor. I remember hearing names of other preachers that were before my time, like Bro. Taylor, Bro. Kinard, and Bro. Carlisle, but the first preacher I can remember was Brother Booze. Yep, that was his name, Nelson Booze. He and his wife Joyce were a young couple who came to Waldron to pastor, and I think the church really grew under their leadership. I was just a little kid, but my older brothers were pretty active in the church at that time, and I think they had a lot of young people going to church then. Sister Booze was very intelligent and I believe she taught at the High School in Waldron for a while.

After the Boozes moved on, in keeping with the established theme, our new preacher was Brother Teeter. Earl Teeter. Brother Teeter was an older man, white haired and about as big around as he was tall. He was a happy, jolly man who to me always seemed to be on the verge of bursting into a giggle. Bro. Teeter and his wife were wonderful people, and although we didn’t have many young people going to church at that time, they both had a profound impact on shaping my life.

In the early, early days, I remember incredibly that the men sat on one side of the church and the ladies and children on the other. We sat on homemade pews made of 1-inch slats of wood. We had church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Saturday night. And I don’t think my mama let me miss very many of those services. Throw in a two-to-three week revival a couple of times a year, and you’ve got a good idea of my church attendance schedule. Good thing, too; I think it took that much training to keep me on the straight and narrow.

After Sunday School on Sunday mornings, and before the preaching started, all the kids in the church went up to the front to participate in The Booster Band. Booster Band was led by Sister Margaurite Brewer, one of the greatest people I ever knew. We sang and “did the motions” to songs like This Little Light of Mine, The Wise Man and The Foolish Man, and my personal favorite, Climb Climb Up Sunshine Mountain. At the conclusion of Booster Band was the dramatic Drawing For The Fish. A fishbowl was prepared, with construction paper fish inside it on which was written the name of every boy and girl who had gristled up enough nerve to stand before the congregation and sing. One child was picked to draw out the fish. Whoever’s name was drawn was awarded the significant sum of fifty cents. Usually, if we had a visitor, they were picked to draw out the name and more often than not, were under the mistaken impression that they themselves were entitled to the fifty cents. This required a hurried clarification from either Sister Margaurite or Sister Trix Davenport, the Sunday School treasurer who was also The Keeper Of The Fishbowl. After the Drawing Of The Fish, we concluded by singing a heartfelt rendition of Into My Heart. “Into my heart. Into my heart. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart Lord Jesus.” I can still hear Sister Margaurite singing that song so sweetly.

We were hardcore; there was no luxury of “Children’s Church.” After Booster Band we dispersed to take our places beside our mothers where we sat for the duration of the service. Occasional drawing on a notepad was permitted, but we had to be quiet and listen.

Summers meant Vacation Bible School, which was always fun. One of my favorite teachers was Sister Audrey Tinder. One year in her class, instead of the usual plaster of paris plaque that everyone else was painting, we got to make these beautiful pictures of a rooster made completely out of various kinds of beans that were glued onto a piece of burlap that Audrey’s husband Eldrid had placed inside of frames. My sister and I both made one, a pair which would complement the identical sets of plaques that adorned the walls of our house. Since we were twins, that meant that Mama had to hang up two plaques each summer. But, since there was really no available wall space left, our bean rooster portraits had to be placed in my bedroom, leaning against my chest of drawers, until space could be found. One night, I kept hearing a crunching sound that I could not identify. As I was explaining it to Mama the next morning, a rat the size of a small puppy ran between us, slid on the kitchen floor as it made the turn to the hot water heater, and disappeared from sight. I checked our beautiful bean roosters, and much to my dismay discovered that my nighttime visitor had absolutely no appreciation for art.

I have lots of other tales to tell about the church, but I’ll save them for a later post.


  1. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    Aw! What sweet memories...minus the rat part! You have such a good memory!

  2. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    I remember Sis. Brewer always asked if anyone had a special and I remember singing specials with Pam Wadkins and Brenda Owens. Sis Marguerite was so precious and such a great Christian example for us.

  3. I too have wonderful memories of the Rock Church and booster band and vacation bible school...As a young adult I remember my niece Abby sang a special in the booster band, "All My Exes Live in Texas". I wanted to crawl under my seat, but her beautiful mother was smiling and laughing with the rest of the congregation. Keep posting!