Sunday, April 21, 2024

Milestone birthday prompts walk down memory lane

| December 2, 2020 1:00 AM

Longtime reader George House emailed in November to tell me Nelda, his bride of 58 years, was turning 80 last Wednesday. She's been included in Main Street birthdays for quite some time but I love to note milestone birthdays. George said Nelda has been living at The Garden at Orchard Ridge receiving their loving Alzheimer's care for the past three years.

My youngest sister Ronna Rankin Park is also a longtime reader of this column, even though she lives in Blackfoot, having moved from Coeur d'Alene when she went off to college at BYU in 1978. She saw Nelda's name and realized that was her favorite teacher of all, in fourth grade at Central School.

She told me a few sweet memories of Mrs. House, who at the time would have been 29 years old in the 1969-70 school year. I told Ronna I had George's email address if she wanted to write him a note. She did and it was just a wonderful walk down memory lane for both of them.

Mrs. House taught in the Coeur d'Alene School District into the 1980s, then became founding director and kindergarten teacher at Noah's Ark Learning Center. She continued to teach Sunday School until she could no longer sit with the children in the little chairs. Her husband said she's never lost her love for the children and their parents.

Ronna's favorite 9-year-old's memory of fourth grade was Mrs. House inviting the entire class to her home to watch a Christmas movie. They enjoyed the movie, popcorn, hot cocoa and cookies. Mrs. House's fourth-grade class was chosen to sing "Here We Have Idaho" at the North Shore Convention Center that year when Idaho Gov. Don Samuelson was visiting.

Ronna and Nelda each shared a milestone birthday in 2020, 60 and 80 respectively. After a half century the kindness of a fourth-grade teacher lives on. I hope Mrs. House knows just how beloved she was by her students from her early years of teaching.

In mid-March when businesses and schools started closing, and then Gov. Brad Little issued the stay-at-home order, life changed abruptly for everyone. I was thinking that by mid December it will be nine months so it's likely that a whole batch of stay-at-home babies will begin making their arrival. Whenever there's been an event that stops life as we know it ... ice storms, blizzards, even the eruption of Mount St. Helens, nine months later babies are a result.

I'll be paying close attention to the December birth notices to see if any of these stay-at-home babies are named to commemorate the unique timing of their gestation. Although I'm thinking Corona, Covid, Essential, Unprecedented, Hand Sanitizer, Social Distancing, Mask, Flatten and Curve might not make the cut. I'm not ruling out Charmin, though!

Post Script: If you want to feel rich, just count all of the gifts you have that money can’t buy.

Happy birthday today to Brandi Hague-Little, Lois Holom and Wally Adams. Tomorrow Joyce Ekness, Carol Fairhurst, Sandra King, Brittany Teverbaugh, Norbert Vedder and Jennifer Keefe open their presents. Carrie Ward, Bob Brooke, Tina McWhorter, Bayley Brooks, Dirk Fredekind, Doug Shevalier and Barry Corigilano celebrate on Friday.

Jennifer McGrath, Sharlene Scott, Marna Bateman, Annette Barstow and Anita Banta mark their special day on Dec. 5. On Sunday Kathy McDowell, Melanie Chun, Jocelyn Stott, Jennifer Hawkins and Kylie Allen celebrate. Cheryl Fitting, Patricia Marrs, Nathan Smalley, Dean Opsal, CJ Deacon, Catherine Cronin, Rhonda Newton and Randy Duncan take another trip around the sun on Monday. Tammy Schneider, Kelly Ferguson and Becky McIntire Bufeuillet are blowing out the candles on Tuesday.

Kerri Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears in The Press on Wednesdays and she can be contacted at or on Facebook.