Georgia Connector Magazine Spring 2012 : Page 19

Circa 1960, Gainesville, Georg ia, Christmas Parade Th e girls made it on time because they knew they had to. Th ey were held to high standards. Shields’ expectations were that his members showed up prepared and punctual, always ready to follow through and complete the task at hand. Anything less would get members a demerit, and with ten, one could be kicked out of the Corps. Chewing gum, missing school or practice without written excuse, neglect of a musical instrument, eating on the bus or an unkempt uniform and unpolished shoes could earn demerits. It took a lot of discipline to be a member. It also took sacrifi ce and dedication for the families as well. According to Myrtle Shields, “everyone closed down except the Corps the week of [July] 4” because they practiced and performed that week. Families of members worked their schedules around practices, trips and performances. “Wayne Shields got to tell my daddy when we could go to Florida,” says Shuford. For many of the members, the line they had to toe translated nicely into skills needed later in life. “I’d rather be thirty minutes early than one minute late,” explains Rowe. “[And aft er being in the Corps], I never thought about not being able to do something.” Scarlett Epperson Kitchens, a member of the Corps in the mid-60s, feels similarly. As an employee of the Division of Family and Children Services for 34 years, she remembers her job responsibilities changing, but never her work ethic. “I didn’t stop pushing myself,” she explains. “Determination. It was never ‘I can’t.’” Many of these same sentiments were echoed in 2003 when a reunion of the members was organized and Shields, then eighty-nine-years old, attended. Members voiced what that experience had meant in their lives. Spr ing 2012 w w w . G eorg ia C o n n ec tor . c om 19

Social Circle ACE Home Center

Using a screen reader? Click Here