Mom, Mrs. Moyer, and the Hardy Boys

I could spend a whole afternoon reading the Hardy Boys. I would get lost in their world, it was magical. The ability to escape in a good book is not to be taken for granted.

I could spend a whole afternoon reading the Hardy Boys. I would get lost in their world, it was magical. The ability to escape in a good book is not to be taken for granted.

I have read several blogs recently that discussed books and reading. The subject of reading is one that I think about frequently as I am always in search of something to read. For me, reading is a pleasure and a way to make time pass very quickly. However, this was not always the case. So I would like to share an event in my life that shows how memory can be woven into a family history. Here is my small example of how you can write a memoir. It is the stories about us and our ancestors that will interest future generations.

Mrs. Alice Moyer was my third-grade teacher at Broad St. School in Plattsburgh, N.Y.. At that time, I did not know her first name as all of the teachers were addressed by either Miss, Mrs. or Mr.. Even the teachers addressed each other in this manner. I only learned her first name years after when I read her obituary. With her death, another person has gone without me ever expressing my gratitude. Mrs. Moyer was one of the best teachers I was ever to have at any level of my education. Her influence and talent for teaching forever changed my life for the better. Such people are rare and as such leave a deep impression on a developing person.

When I entered third grade, my reading ability was not even on a first-grade level. I had major speech impediments. I had spent my second-grade year trying not to be noticed by the teacher. It is safe to say that my second-grade teacher was the exact opposite of Mrs. Moyer. Second grade for me was a nightmare. It did not take long for Mrs. Moyer to spot my problems and notified my mother.

Mrs. Veronica Moore is my mother. A child of the depression and hard times she never got a chance to finish school. I do not think she made it much past junior high. In fact, the same could be said about my father. They were hard working people that had to earn their wages with a strong back. Education was the goal for their children, and nothing was more important. “Get an education” was the mantra I was to hear over and over.

Mom and Mrs. Moyer had a meeting, and the plan was laid out. Soon I was in speech therapy and would be for the next three years. We had large classes in those days, which 30 or more students were common, with only a teacher in the room. The classes where I went to school were grouped into three sections. The division was along the student’s ability. The “A” group were, of course, the better students, the “B” group were more the average students and the “C” group were the students that were struggling. Now the teachers never called these groups by any names but it was easy for us students to figure out. Even with a large class and having to attend to the different needs of each group, Mrs. Moyer found almost every day 30 minutes for one on one reading session with me. My third-grade work load was hefty. However Mrs. Moyer, was such an accomplished teacher it was one of the best years I ever had in school.

The home front was under the command of my mother. A library card was secured for me. The wonders of the library were now mine to explore and enjoy. I got to pick out the books that held some interest for me. Mom made sure that I had time to read them. I had to do a book report on the books I read and turn them in for school. On a chart in our classroom everyone has listed the books they had read and done a book report for. While I was far from the leader, I was right in the middle and held my own. Also, mom would buy me a book that I could keep and read anytime I wanted to. This was when I ran into the Hardy Boys. Their adventures kept me buying their books for a few years. Also, I liked Tom Swift and many others. Money was tight in our house, yet they would buy me my books. I can remember mom bringing me to the local bookstore and looking and looking for that special book I was to take home.

When I was in sixth grade about to go into junior high, I tested out for reading on a high school level. I have never looked back. Reading is a habit I have kept over the years. I use libraries now mostly for research. I prefer to own my books and not borrow them. Some are like old friends that I have visited more than a few times.

This is my effort at a memoir. They need not be long or in great detail. Just write down your stories as they come to you. In a few years, you will have written a full memoir to pass on. If you wonder why bother, would you not want one from your parents, grandparents? Start writing.

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45 Responses to Mom, Mrs. Moyer, and the Hardy Boys

  1. Amy says:

    Your stories are wonderful. I know I should do this—but I am so busy writing the stories of my ancestors. But you are right—my grandchildren will be more interested in my life than in that of their great-great-great grandparents.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I think that by writing short stories about our life over a period of time does not impede us from doing research on our family. I know for a fact from reading your posts, that you put much more effort in them, than I did for my little story. The reason being is I already know my version of what happen. I need not research it or find sources like we do when writing about long gone ancestors. That being said I have to admit that I am way behind in writing my own story.

      • Amy says:

        That makes sense. But I think I also find it harder writing about myself than I do about people I never knew and who are long gone. But I will give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Melissa says:

    Nicely done Dad! I learned something about you. Keep writing these momoirs!

  3. mandorac says:

    Very touching! I’m sure Mrs. Moyer was very proud of you and your achievements through higher grades (teachers keep track of special-to-them students). I love to read,as well; sometimes finding the time is difficult, though. I liked Nancy Drew! This was a wonderful memoir to leave for your loved ones and an inspiration for us all to do the same. 🙂

  4. boundforoz says:

    Congratulations. That was excellent. I know my mother used to say that she never read anything except cheap romances until she met my father and he introduced her to other types of books. These days at times i feel as though i am suffering from an overload of reading and information.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I firmly believe that we suffer from an overload of information from so many different directions. That is why I like getting lost in a book and being transported to another place and time.

  5. momfawn says:

    A beautifully shared story. Telling these family stories is the reason for my blog, and each one makes me happier. (And my teacher/librarian’s heart sings reading about your joy in reading.) – Fawn

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you so much for reading my post and your kind comment. I agree with you that telling family stories can make us happy, and also just hearing them has the same result.

  6. Your story reminded me of my brother…sadly, he didn’t have a Mrs. Moyer. It’s amazing what influence our teachers have! I had to laugh when you mentioned the A, B and C groups…yes, we kids knew exactly what those divisions were. Thanks for sharing your stories. I enjoy your posts.

    • chmjr2 says:

      The world would be a lesser place without teachers like Mrs. Moyer. I wonder if those teacher thought we did not know what those groups were? It sure was an open secret.

  7. gpcox says:

    What a wonderful story. I remember some teachers who made a difference in my life and – of course – I remember the good old Hardy Boys!!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thanks for reading my blog and your comment. I can recall the excitement each time I got a new Hardy Boy book. I would read them very quickly and then have to wait for the next one.

  8. ruthrawls says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I think you are right that sometimes we do not express gratitude before we lose someone.

    • chmjr2 says:

      That has been a great failing in my life, not to express gratitude to people that have made my life better. To let someone know how they helped you is something we should do.

  9. Love this. First the Hardy Boys covers attracted me as I too loved the Hardy Boys and many of the other book series put out by the Stratemeyer company. But it’s a lovely tribute to a couple of women who didn’t give up on you. Your mom really did well. In those days it was not that common for a mother to do the things she did for you on such limited means. And , yes, it’s a shame that we don’t show gratitude for those important people like your teacher.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I have been very lucky in my life to have been introduced to some amazing people. With their help and guidance I became a better person. In this regard I have been blessed.

  10. dkheeter says:

    Thank you for sharing! Your post caught my eye because of my love of Nancy Drew mysteries. My mother was also a child of the depression. She came to Chicago from Southern Illinois when she was 15 to work as household help. I don’t remember her ever reading a book. She did read the newspaper. Specifically the sports page as she was a die-hard Cubs fan. She enjoyed crossword puzzles and word jumbles.
    When I was in grade school, they gave us library cards. It was 5th or 6th grade before I really began to enjoy reading. There was some sort of scholastic reading program in 5th grade but, it was more of a competition and did not help with my reading comprehension. In recent years, I have come to believe that I have some sort of ADD because I have always needed complete quiet to read textbooks or novels. This is probably why I am much stronger in Math than English or creative writing.
    I remember riding my bike to the library during the summers and reading books in the comfortable easy chairs they had by the windows.
    I continued to read mostly mysteries when I took the ‘L’ or the train to work but, then I started driving to work and stopped reading altogether. I have gotten back into it recently.

    • chmjr2 says:

      When I worked in the city I would take a bus in rather than drive. While it took more time to do this I was able to relax and get lost in my book. Sometimes on the way home I would be so much into my book I would miss my stop. My mother also read newspapers in great detail. She was very well informed on current events. My dad was a reader of books. Thanks for reading my blog and your great comment.

  11. Jim McKeever says:

    Charles, what a great post! I’m glad you had such a wonderful teacher in Mrs. Moyer. The good ones improve our lives immensely, and sometimes save us. I grew up on the Hardy Boys, and read them constantly. I still remember the names of the characters and even some details. Chet Morton’s chubbiness, and his sister Iola, who either Frank or Joe had a crush on. There was a minor character in one book, Benny Tass, who wore a studded belt. And in another book, the boys were hiding in a house while chasing a suspect … either Frank or Joe made a noise and they thought they had been discovered. Then a cat appeared, and knocked something over, so the bad guy never suspected he was being tailed. Joe or Frank said they owe that cat a bowl of milk. How I remember that stuff, I’ll never know. Same with the fact that the Hardy boys kept either a $5 or $10 bill hidden in the steering wheel in case of emergency. And, of course, they had a lot of emergencies, didn’t they? Thanks for rekindling that memory. Memories, plural, actually!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Wow! You have great recall. Perhaps I should go back and re-read them. I’m glad you like my post and took the time to write such a great comment.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this post. What a lovely tribute to your teacher and your mother. Teachers really have the ability to change lives for the better (or not). Reading is one of my favorite things as well. I treasure books, the actual physical items, no ereaders for me. 🙂 And I couldn’t agree more, get writing those stories before you can’t!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thanks for reading my blog and your comment. You are so right about teachers. They have such a huge influence on our life. Good ones are not paid enough, great ones you can never pay enough, The bad ones (and we have too many) you can’t get rid of fast enough.

  13. This is a beautiful tribute to your mother and to Mrs. Moyer. I really enjoyed reading this.
    Just like you, I have a love for books. My parents would often take me to a local bookstore and that positive experience stayed with me.

  14. I loved this post! Thanks for sharing your very personal struggle, that–the way you overcame it and the help you had, is such an inspiration for all of us to help nurture young readers! Amazingly, I was just recently wondering when, at what age, I might start giving Hardy Boys books to my almost 7year old grandson who is a great little reader though only in first grade . Any recommendations? I loved Nancy Drew myself! One more thing, when I look back at my education, with my masters degree even, my fourth grade teacher stands out as one of my best teachers ever. You were right on the money with a good teacher’s influence! Great post!

  15. I just started writing some stories that don’t involve my ancestors and I’ve had fun doing it. Wish I was as good at it as you are – it’s always a treat to see a new post from you.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I have read your blog so I know how good a writer you are. Perhaps you will post a few of those stories. I do know that your family will enjoy a collection of these stories from you.

  16. Thank you for leaving a comment on my latest blog post as it has led me to your own blog. What a wonderful story about your mother and Mrs. Moyer. I too enjoy reading. My mother took me to get my first library card at age three and a half. I am inspired to write more of my own stories.

  17. lifelegaciesproject says:

    I loved reading this so much. People like Mrs. Moyer have meant a lot to me in life, and I love learning how much small (or large) acts of kindness can influence other people.

  18. Rosh says:

    This is a great story! I read Nancy Drew books and totally loved them. I want to write more of my story. My husband has written a lot of his story. It’s called Gold Must be Tried by Fire.

  19. Shamwest says:

    You are right the one thing our parents could afford was a book, especially for those who couldn’t buy a tv. Now we have to choose how we want to read, on a digital reader or with a book in hand. I have to admit that it is nice to be able to press a word and get the definition for it. Still, one cannot help but be concerned about what happens if the technology “goes down”. Unfortunately, for the books I like to read, there is an enormous cost difference, digital format for $9.99 or the book itself for $80.00 plus an interminable wait while they ship it from England. Choices…choices. Luvly blog by the way!

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. I get many of my books 2nd hand so for the most part they come under the 9>99 price. However I do have a kindle and at times it has saved me money. However I do like the feel of a book in my hands when reading but the e-reader has it’s good points. By the way I have a McDowell line (not confirmed 100%) on the Moore side of the family. Still trying to tie it to a family but no luck so far.

  20. Su Leslie says:

    This is a lovely memoir; and you are right, sharing little bits at a time makes the project much more do-able. I’m also a reader, and have raised a reading son. Money was pretty tight when I was growing up and there were never enough books, so I re-read the same ones over and over. My son, who – like you – prefers to own books – also re-reads, but mainly for the sheer pleasure of familiarity. I dispair when I see households without books and with no culture of reading, so it’s lovely to read your post and know that others can vicariously experience your joy in books and reading.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I also despair when I see homes without books, or when told they do not have time to read. I am sure that much of the blame is the mindless hours some people spend in front of their television.

  21. Your post is inspiring me to write about my experiences on reading groups in elementary school. My mom would sit with me every day doing phonetic lessons, which I hated!

    • chmjr2 says:

      We need more parents today that will sit down with their children and help with reading and other school work. Thanks for your comment and reading my blog.

  22. ccrooksphoto says:

    The Hardy Boys brings back memories for me too, as does the speech therapy sessions. I had a few of those myself because I seemed to have trouble pronoucing certain words. No problems now! And for me, it was Nancy Drew…. Ah, to retreat into those mysteries.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I know what you mean when you say “retreat into those mysteries.” Those books open whole new worlds for me. I would escape into them whenever I could.

  23. Love, love, love that you are always encouraging others to write……and read. You are a great encouragement to me as you continue to read my eclectic posts!
    I think often of the days when the stories in books became my reality while I read…….a retreat indeed.

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. For me reading can take you to places and events that one could not do in real life. Nothing better than getting lost in a good book.

  24. Spyro says:

    My kindergarten teacher called my Mom and told her I was mentally disabled (not the words they used back then). But I remember every inch of elementary school, my classmates, and every teacher’s name to this day. I read everything I could get my hands on back then. I think lots of people are reading, just differently in different forms.

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