The Way It Was


Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
Sunday School memories
When I was around five years old, my mother took me to Sunday School pretty often. It was held in the basement of the Methodist Church. We didn’t go every Sunday, but we went pretty regularly. I always had fun at those Sunday morning sessions.
Our teacher would usually start by telling us a Bible story. Then she passed out a printed sheet of paper to each child. It looked like a page out of a coloring book. Those pictures were from that same Bible story. Then she passed around a box of crayons, and we colored those pictures.
Next we usually did some singing, maybe two or three songs. One of my favorites was a tune called “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam.” All of us kids liked that song, and we really belted it out. I bet they could hear us upstairs in the sanctuary.
But the best part of Sunday School for me was the sandbox in the corner of the basement room. The sand was pure white, and there were all kinds of scoops and shovels to dig in it, plus several toy cars and trucks. We all enjoyed that sandbox.
Then, one Sunday morning, some new boy showed up in class. I don’t know what his name was, but he sat in one of the little chairs that our teacher arranged in a big circle. His mother was with him, and she sat in a chair right behind him.
At some point, his mother told our teacher that her son was learning the names of all the books of the Old Testament.
Then the boy stood up and started reciting those names. Our teacher was really impressed. For the next few weeks, his recitations became a regular part of our routine. We sat there while he performed, and I think the rest of us kids got a little jealous. I mean, he was reciting all those books in the Old Testament, and we didn’t even know what the Old Testament was.
Several weeks later, our teacher thought it would be a good idea if everyone learned to recite those books. So she started teaching it to us, little by little. I really didn’t enjoy that, nor did most of my friends. We had trouble pronouncing names like “Deuteronomy” and “Leviticus.” So how could she expect us to memorize a list of names we couldn’t even pronounce?
On top of that, the more time we spent learning all those names, the less time we had to use that sandbox. As a result, I lost some of my enthusiasm for Sunday School. We still went pretty often, but I don’t think I had quite as much fun.

Within a few months, however, the new boy disappeared. I don’t know if his family moved out of town, or maybe switched to another church. Then our teacher dropped the memorization project, so we had more time for her Bible stories … and for coloring … and singing … and for playing in the sandbox. And Sunday School suddenly became a lot more fun once again.
Over the years, as I grew older, I became able to pronounce words like Deuteronomy and Leviticus. But I never memorized the names of all those Old Testament books. Even today I don’t know them.
Oh, I still remember Genesis and Exodus, but then my memory goes downhill. Maybe it’s time for me to go back to Sunday School again.
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