Second & Commerce, Vol. 2 Iss. 3

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C larksville-Montgomery County, Tennessee
931.552.0654 Making Great Things Happen. Proudly serving Tennessee and Western Kentucky with 12 convenient locations. A 25 Year Tradition MEMBER FDIC


Frank Lott


Becky Wood


Yvette Campagna


Myranda Harrison


Kendall Eckhardt


Morgan Beam

Courtney Bedoya

Kate Tallman

Phil Wood

The mission of this publication is to foster creativity and champion our area’s unique cultural diversity. SECOND & COMMERCE expands the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s purpose through supporting the arts community, exploring local history and telling stories about the past, present and future of Clarksville.


“What’s past is prologue.”

Every so often, this phrase, or a similar version of it, pops up to remind me of why I enjoy working in the museum field. This precise wording is attributed to William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, written by The Bard 412 years ago in 1611.


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What captivates me about this phrase is how its relevance rolls forward, one generation after another. Of course, Shakespeare wasn’t your ordinary playwright and unwinding his wordsmithing can be baffling. But here, his succinct phrasing truly is one for the ages.

One interpretation is that the past is merely preparation for opportunities to come, and what has already happened simply “sets the stage” for the future. Others might interpret the phrase with a more cynical view: History will repeat itself if we don’t pay attention to the past. This has proven to be fairly true, because we humans often don’t LEARN from our experiences… and mistakes reoccur.

Can we alter the course of the future by actions we take today? Some may ask this in the context of perspective: Do you see the glass half empty or half full? As Sir Winston Churchill explained, “Of this I am certain, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.”

“What is Past is Prologue” is inscribed on the base of a statue titled Future (1935, Robert Aitken) at the entry to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This is the place where much of our nation’s history is preserved. Even here, all who enter are advised to heed the phrase.

I choose to look at it with a positive spin. Preserving and sharing stories of our common history, both good and bad, will lead us to a better place. We may all benefit by adopting an optimistic community spirit, understanding that what we do today, together, can affect a positive outcome for all of us in the future. Enjoy this issue of Second & Commerce!


Thomasa Ross, Chair

Larry Richardson, Vice Chair

Frazier Allen

Dan Black

Kell Black

Christina Clark*

Joe Creek*

Kyong Dawson

Jim Diehr

Jamie Durrett

Darwin Eldridge

Lawson Mabry

Deanna McLaughlin*

Linda Nichols

Brendalyn Player

Wes Sumner

Eleanor Williams*

*denotes ex-officio


May Route, Rotary Park

Terri Jordan, 2020 Oil on canvas

See more of Terri Jordan’s work in the exhibit The Poetry Around Us: Women Painting the Outdoors, on view in the Crouch Gallery through May 28.


There’s never been a better time to choose good health.

At Tennova Medical Group, we can help you live well. Our providers take the time to identify your health risks and can help you prioritize good health. Regular checkups and age-appropriate screenings are important to be healthy now – and to stay well in the future.

And because it is about your time – we offer online scheduling and same-day appointments to make it easier than ever to get an appointment. You can even see us from the comfort of home via telehealth.

Make a choice to thrive. It’s time now. Find an appointment at

/ Director’s Letter
/ Happening at the Museum
/ Volunteer Spotlight
/ Seasons: The Museum Store
/ The Postscript
/ Connect with Us TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTACT Advertising Inquiries
& Culture Events Article Submissions Please email Becky Wood at andcommerce
The Clarksville Montgomery County Historical Museum (d.b.a. Customs House Museum & Cultural Center) is designated by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
© Customs House Museum & Cultural Center 2023-04/2023-4M


A Toast to Champagne & Chocolate 2023

This February, the Museum’s premier winter fundraiser was back for the first time in three years. Relive Champagne & Chocolate 2023, which broke fundraising records for this annual event, thanks to our guests, sponsors and Museum Guild.

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Performing the Past: Living History in Montgomery County

Step back in time and learn more about living history right here in our community. Through different historical tools, dress and activities, living history reaches beyond the limits of a textbook to offer an interactive and personal look into the past.

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History in Focus: 20 Years of Chronicling Clarksville

For the past two decades, the team behind Goodwin Productions has worked to tell Clarksville’s story in artistic, entertaining and informative ways. Now, with CDE Lightband’s Clarksville Community Network, this content is more varied and accessible than ever.

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Overnight Sensation: Hod Lisenbee’s Incredible Rookie Year

Horace “Hod” Lisenbee was born in 1898 in Clarksville, Tennessee. Quickly climbing the rungs of the professional baseball ladder, he found himself pitching for the Washington Senators in 1927. His noteworthy rookie season is remembered for his dominating performance against the “Murderers' Row” of the 1927 Yankees, but his story does not end there.

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Collections Spotlight: Handwriting in America

In 1955, The Saturday Evening Post declared that the United States was becoming a “nation of scrawlers,” due to an increasing reliance on new technologies like the telephone and typewriter. Take a look back at the evolution of penmanship in America with a selection of letters from the Museum archives.

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The Poetry Around Us

In the new exhibit The Poetry Around Us: Women Painting the Outdoors, fourteen award-winning, nationally-renowned women artists capture the brilliance of nature from coast to coast. Hear the stories behind these works of art, directly from the artists themselves.



Art of the Horse


A Woman’s Room


Waiting Room: A Print Series by Belgin Yucelen THROUGH MAY 30

Elena Burykina: Brushed Expressions


The Poetry Around Us: Women Painting the Outdoors


Learn about Museum exhibits, programs and more at

Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design

APRIL 6 – MAY 25

Mapping Wars


Jammie Williams: Stories, Dreams and Visions


Celebrating Our Asian American-Pacific Islander Community

MAY 2 – JULY 16

Kitty Harvill: New to the Collection

MAY 23 – AUGUST 27

David Smith: Tennessee Waterfalls


Between Tone & Texture: The Art of Edie Maney


Inhale Elena Burykina Oil on panel

On February 3, Champagne & Chocolate returned for the first time in three years, setting a new record for money raised at the Museum’s longstanding winter fundraiser. In between savoring plenty of sweet treats and bottles of bubbly, guests enjoyed live music by Mike and Cheryl Hood and tried their luck in the silent auction and wine pull. Together, we raised over $26,000!

The Museum is so appreciative of every sponsor, guest and Guild member for making this fundraiser such a success. All proceeds from events like Champagne & Chocolate directly benefit the Museum’s mission and support everything from artifact conservation to educational programming.


The Museum Guild

On May 19, 1984, shortly before the ClarksvilleMontgomery County Historical Museum opened to the public, the first ever Flying High fundraiser raised $7,000 for this brand-new community institution. Set to open that June, the Museum needed to raise money to afford everything from paint for the walls to track lighting for galleries – even a new vacuum cleaner.

Dee Boaz, editor of The Leaf-Chronicle at the time, enlisted the help of Jean Gilbert, Rachel Cotham and other community members to plan the inaugural event, which involved 300 guests at the homes of 18 different hosts around town, culminating in dessert and champagne at the Museum. The Guild blossomed out of that first Flying High 39 years ago.

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center Guild is a group of talented volunteers who promote awareness and support for the Museum, particularly through presenting events like Flying High and Champagne & Chocolate. Guild members dedicate three years of their volunteer time to these efforts by learning about the Museum’s exhibits and programming, acting as a community advocate on the Museum’s behalf and planning fundraising events.

In recent years, these fundraisers have been bigger, better and more successful than ever. The second Flying High in 1985 raised an impressive $12,000... and in 2022, the 38th Flying High raised over $245,000 for the Museum’s programming, exhibits, conservation

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: TOP: The inaugural Flying High invitation in 1984 was sent throughout the community by the very first Guild class, inviting attendees to the homes of 18 different hosts. BOTTOM: On December 4, 1983, Dee Boaz (née Bryant) published a Christmas column in The Leaf-Chronicle, listing the myriad needs of the “fledgling Clarksville-Montgomery County Museum.” From there, the original Flying High fundraiser began to take shape.

and more. None of this would be possible without the dedication and drive of the Guild, a group that has been gaining momentum for nearly four decades.

“Serving on the Guild has been a wonderful and memorable experience, forming bonds and friendships I might not otherwise have known and giving me the opportunity to work with leaders whose values align with the mission of the Museum,” said current Guild President Christina Clark. “The Customs House Museum is an invaluable asset to our community, encompassing a woven tapestry of Clarksville's past, present and future.”

The current Guild lineup includes Clark, McClure Poland, Julie Johnson, Desiree Cherry, Marydith Young, Darla Knight, Rossana McClure, Beth Mabry, Cherie Arellano, Regina Clift, Donna Huffman and Pam Telfer. “I jumped at the opportunity to be involved with such a great group of community members. It is truly an honor to be asked and to serve,” said Huffman.

This class is a special combination of new members, and those who have held terms on the Guild previously. “Having served on the Guild in the past, I knew firsthand the commitment I was making,” added Telfer. “Without a doubt, this is one of the best ways to give back to the community, as the Museum is truly one of the best attractions in Clarksville."

As we approach the Museum’s 40th birthday next year, we continue to recognize the devotion, generosity and service of this group, whose seed was planted before the Museum even opened its doors.

“Serving on the Guild is an incredible experience, and I am proud to be part of this long tradition of community service,” said 2023 Flying High Chair Desiree Cherry. “Working alongside a talented group of individuals who share a deep passion for supporting Clarksville's culture, art and history has not only been inspiring – it’s been an opportunity to make a real difference in our community.”

Interested in volunteering at the Museum?

For more information, please contact Channing Grimes at

None of this would be possible without the dedication and drive of the Guild, a group that has been gaining momentum for nearly four decades.

Performing the Past Living History in Montgomery County

Have you ever wished you could time travel to the past?

Many of us, especially history-lovers, wish we could witness firsthand some of history’s greatest events, or speak with important figures who are no longer living. While literal time travel is still relegated to the realm of science fiction, there are still ways that we can essentially “step into the past.”

Living history is a unique form of historical education. What makes living history different from other ways of learning about history, like reading out of a book or looking at an object in a gallery? The main component required for living history is in the name itself – it involves real people to bring history to life, either through reenactment or recreation. Locally, there are a myriad of opportunities to step into the past as a spectator or participant, or maybe even become a reenactor yourself.


When thinking of historical reenactment, Civil War reenactments are often the first to come to mind. Here in Clarksville, many are familiar with Fort Defiance and their extensive offerings of public presentations and educational demonstrations that teach visitors about life in the 19th century, with a focus on the Civil War.

Fort Defiance was originally called Fort Sevier after early settler Valentine Sevier. The fort was constructed on a bluff above the mouth of the Red River by the Confederate Army and local enslaved labor beginning in November 1861. The fort remained unfinished when U.S. Navy gunboats steamed up the Cumberland River from Dover after the fall of Fort Donelson in February 1862. The federal troops that came ashore found white flags flying from both Fort Defiance and Fort Clark, and they occupied Fort Defiance for the remainder of the war. The property was donated to the City of Clarksville in 1982 by Judge Sam Boaz and became a Civil War Park when the Interpretive Center opened in 2011.

Photo by Lucas Ryan Chambers Courtesy of Visit Clarksville

Groups visiting the site have the opportunity to experience guided tours of the grounds, explore Civil War-era earthwork fortifications and hear about the equipment and day-to-day life of a Civil War soldier, as well as the colonial history of the surrounding area. Several living history events are held throughout the year that demonstrate life skills from the past, from blacksmithing to making medicines.

“Living history programs add a lot to the typical history lesson that you may have experienced in school,” explained Mark Britton, President of the Friends of Fort Defiance. “Not only can you see people engaged in a particular role, dressed as people from the past would have dressed, but you can listen to the sounds of the past, or experience the smells of the past. In some cases, you can touch an item and see what it feels

like as you hold it in your hand. Living history experiences help to flesh out what you may have only read about.”

appropriate clothing, equipment, tools and more. Through personal interactions, visitors gain the ability to apply these lessons learned to their modern, real-life situations. “Living history definitely makes the experience more personal for the spectator,” continued Britton. “I think that because it is a more intimate experience, it will be more readily remembered.”

Programs and events at Fort Defiance include a large team of staff, volunteers and reenactors who dedicate significant time and research to develop a character, complete with

Upcoming events at Fort Defiance, some of which occur annually, include March to the Past on May 13, when reenactors will demonstrate Civil War medicine, spinning wool, writing with a dip pen and ink, making corn husk dolls and firing civil war muskets and artillery. A standalone presentation of Civil War medical equipment and medicines will be on display on May 27.

“Living history programs add a lot to the typical history lesson that you may have experienced in school.”


Located in Southside, Tennessee in southern Montgomery County, Historic Collinsville is a rural pioneer settlement featuring authentically restored log houses and outbuildings dating from 1830 to the turn of the century. Each structure was painstakingly restored to its original condition and furnished authentically by JoAnn and Glenn Weakley, and the complex is currently owned by Montgomery County and maintained by Visit Clarksville.

Mark Britton also serves as the Director of Historic Collinsville, which uses living history to tell a more domestic story than that of Fort Defiance. These incredibly detailed buildings give visitors a thorough picture of what pioneer life was like, enabling them to make personal connections to the present. “We hear comments from all ages about aspects such as the lack of temperature controls, lack of running water, lighting or lack thereof in the cabins and cooking over a fire. Most are in agreement that they are glad they don't have to live like that.”

At special events, living historians demonstrate skills like spinning and weaving, blacksmithing, wood working, cooking on a hearth, dipping candles – even playing music of the era. Altogether, a walk through Historic Collinsville gives spectators a look into the self-sufficiency of local pioneers. “I think it is great if this experience encourages visitors to be a little more self-sufficient in their own lives,” said Britton.

Historic Collinsville is open seasonally from April 1 to November 19. A Planting Day is in the works for Saturday, May 6, where visitors can help plant a kitchen vegetable garden or a medicinal herb garden. June 1 will feature free admission as we celebrate Tennessee Statehood Day, and there will be a Storytelling Festival with living historians on June 17.

“We get many visitors that will tell us that they have lived in Clarksville for years and never knew that we were here,” said Britton. “I would encourage everyone to come visit, and bring a friend!”

Altogether, a walk through Historic Collinsville gives spectators a look into the self-sufficiency of local pioneers.
Photo by Lucas Ryan Chambers Courtesy of Visit Clarksville Photo by Terry Minton Courtesy of Visit Clarksville Heritage Days at Historic Collinsville Courtesy of Visit Clarksville


Born in Live Oak, Florida, the granddaughter of sharecroppers, Nettie Thomas spent 24 years in the United States Army and retired as a staff sergeant. She has lived in Clarksville since 1975, with the exception of her military assignments around the world. Thomas became interested in performing after being involved in plays and singing groups at school, and even began writing and acting out her own poetry. Never forgetting her love for writing and performance, Thomas decided to audition for an Army show program which allowed active-duty soldiers to tour and perform song, dance and spoken word at Army bases across the U.S. and overseas. While stationed in Germany, she crafted an act based on Harriet Tubman’s address to the Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia. Although she was selected, she was unable to join the tour. Never one to give up, Thomas used that act she had created as a starting point and has been bringing historical figures and characters to life as a reenactor at events around town ever since.

She has performed as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, “Negro Mother” from the Langston Hughes poem, Coretta Scott King, Betsy Ross, Buffalo Soldiers and more – Tubman is her favorite to portray.

“When I look at Harriet Tubman, her life and history and contribution to women’s struggle, she – even though she had her own struggles – worked tirelessly for the betterment of Black women, because Black women didn’t have a seat at the table,” explained Thomas. “Harriet Tubman gave all women a seat at the table, because she was brave, she was a Christian, she was highly educated in her skill. She showed tremendous leadership and courage.”

Thomas even had the opportunity to meet Maya Angelou (whom she would later go on to portray) while performing as Harriet Tubman at Austin Peay State University when Angelou visited Clarksville in 1998. “I admire her so much. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings affected me deeply... as I reflect back on my life, I can relate my experiences to hers. I was full of joy to be in her presence.”

Nettie Thomas received her high school diploma at almost 35 years old, just before she joined the military. She went on to receive an associate degree in applied science and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin Peay, along with an additional associate degree in biblical studies from West Gate Christian Center.

Despite feeling nervous in her early days of performing, the power of her storytelling enables her to speak boldly, with confidence, as every character she

portrays – whether practicing in front of a mirror, or performing for a large crowd. Along the way, she has learned as much about herself as she has learned about her characters.

“When I do a character, I put myself in that character’s shoes. I embody that character. When I do Harriet Tubman, I dress the part, I imagine myself living in that time, enduring what she endured. It’s empowering to me, because it tells me, in this day and time, how everything is different –Black people don’t have to drink from the spigot, Black people don’t have to eat on the back porch. We don’t have to do that anymore.

“That is one reason why I have been determined to do two things – get a voter registration card and get a degree. Because my ancestors could not do that. They made the trail, but now it’s up to me to take that trail and make it a highway for the younger generation coming alongside me and after me. They need to know where they come from, so they know where they want to go.”

Thomas is delighted by the positive feedback she receives from audiences, who often revel in the opportunity to ask her questions and get a picture with her. “There are a lot of people that don’t know about or have never seen a reenactment of Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth," she explained. “It

“When I do a character, I put myself in that character’s shoes. I embody that character. When I do Harriet Tubman, I dress the part, I imagine myself living in that time, enduring what she endured."
Nettie Thomas portrays Harriet Tubman at Clarksville’s Black History Month Committee Celebration. Photo by Lee Erwin

makes me feel like I have at least planted a seed where they will say, ‘You know, I want to research Madame C.J. Walker,’ or whomever. I’m hoping that young people will realize all the opportunities that they have now: the voting opportunities, the job opportunities, the way this world has changed. Oh my God, how it has changed!”

Although time changes all things – society, politics, art, fashion – the linking component is the people who live through these changes. Living history is a reminder that people across all ages deal with the same depth of emotion and thought, even if their circumstances are different. Living history allows us to imagine being in their shoes, not only as a tool for learning about historical events, places and people, but also a practice in garnering understanding and fostering empathy for those whose lives look differently than our own.

Historic Downtown

History in Focus 20 Years of Chronicling Clarksville

Becoming a director was Plan B for Rick Goodwin.

Plan A was to become a rock star.

He may recount that as a joke, but at 15, Goodwin received a 4-track recorder that set him on an unconventional path which would ultimately lead to a career in video production. Sitting in his bedroom in Cunningham, he started making 4-track recordings of himself playing guitar to take to local music stores.

“I was trying to get in a band, I would take tapes to anybody who would listen to them,” said Goodwin. “The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper on 4-track recorders –obviously much nicer, much bigger – I was a bit naive at the time. Everyone who worked at Clarksville Discount Music and Hutchinson-Williams were all in bands. I was hoping to get a gig playing guitar.”

After graduating from Montgomery Central High School, he finally got a call – though not the call he was expecting. A local band was going on tour, and asked Goodwin to run sound for them. They could sense he had a good ear for the job from listening to his tapes. On tour, Goodwin gained valuable experience in everything from audio production to lighting.

Video production was not totally unfamiliar ground. He would rent video equipment as a teenager, making, as he described, “goofy little films, as any 16-year-old kid would do.” Over the years, his Plan B naturally transformed into a new dream. He bought a professional video camera in 2003, and Goodwin Productions was born.

“I sold a few guitars, cobbled up some money to get a broadcast camera. There weren’t many people in town doing television production.” No longer just a hobby, he was making a serious run at commercial videography. Early work around town had him creating video content for local businesses, city-wide projects and community institutions like the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.

In 2005, everything changed when Goodwin directed and produced the short film Reelfoot Lake: Tradition, Mystery & Lore, made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission to accompany the corresponding blockbuster Museum exhibition. Suddenly, a whole new world of documentary filmmaking opened up, becoming a gateway to more artistic storytelling endeavors.


“I knew that if I didn’t do a good job on this, I may never work again,” recalled Goodwin with a chuckle. “But if I did do a good job, then I could probably work for another couple years.”

The Reelfoot Lake film won the 2005 Aurora Award for Platinum Best of Show, an international competition recognizing excellence in film media. From there, Goodwin continued to explore this combination of art direction and an innate interest in Clarksville history with more films to support Museum exhibits, as well as deeper dives into local historical subjects – everything from the story of Fort Defiance to the Black Patch Tobacco Wars. No matter the topic, the Goodwin Productions team approaches Clarksville’s history with

an artistic eye. “Yes, we want to preserve history, to inform... but it should be beautiful and entertaining,” said Goodwin.

In January 2020, CDE Lightband launched the Clarksville Community Network (CCN) in their quest to support, highlight and give back to the community. Since then, Goodwin Productions has produced an impressive volume of work, providing original programming about local artists, local athletes, local events and local history here in Clarksville.

“I’ll listen to any story that’s well-told. Clarksville’s story had often been told from an outside perspective.” Simply put, outside production companies just don’t know Clarksville like Rick Goodwin knows Clarksville. “I walk these streets every day. I know what this town looks like, I see the beauty of it every day.” He knows how to wait for the perfect light over the courthouse, or how to frame shots just right to avoid powerlines. Goodwin holds himself and his team to a high technical standard, whether they are taking sweeping drone shots of the Cumberland River or capturing personal oral histories in the studio. He invests a lot of trust in collaborators like editor Lizzy Pegram and Austin Peay Professor Karen Bullis, who work with him to bring these productions to life.

"I want to put Clarksville in the best light, I want to promote our town. I think we have a pretty unique and beautiful city.”
TOP: Goodwin Productions artfully captures scenes across Clarksville, from games and events at APSU to sweeping aerial shots of the Cumberland River. BOTTOM: The short film Reelfoot Lake: Tradition, Mystery & Lore corresponded with an exhibit at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, and went on to win the 2005 Aurora Award for Platinum Best of Show.

Now, 20 years into Plan B, Rick Goodwin is still always quick to say he is from Clarksville, Tennessee.

“I’m not from Nashville – I’m from Cunningham, I’m from Clarksville. I want to put Clarksville in the best light, I want to promote our town. I think we have a pretty unique and beautiful city.”

CDE subscribers can find the Clarksville Community Network on cable channel 908 or on the CCN YouTube channel.

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Programming on the Clarksville Community Network (CCN) covers local artists, athletes, events, history and heroes across Montgomery County.


After only three minor league seasons, and just 68 total appearances, Lisenbee’s contract was acquired from the Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association by the Washington Senators for cash and two Senators players.

Photographer unknown, ca. 1927 Reprinted with permission of the DC Public Library, Star Collection © Washington Post

SENSATION Hod Lisenbee’s Incredible Rookie Year

After winning back-to-back American League pennants in 1924 and 1925 – and the 1924 World Championship – Bucky Harris’ 1926 Washington Senators fell to fourth place. They won 15 fewer games than the previous season, even though the players’ individual stats were in line with what they had accomplished while winning the 1925 pennant.

The biggest difference in 1926 was the resurgent New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers were without their anchor, Babe Ruth, for 56 games in 1925, and as a team scored 141 more runs in 1926 than they had in 1925. They lost the World Series to the Cardinals, but with Ruth back and Lou Gehrig just entering his prime, they were clearly baseball’s offensive juggernaut.

Bucky Harris knew he had an aging pitching staff. His top three starting pitchers were the immortal “Big Train,” Walter Johnson, who was 38; future Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski, who was 36; and 32-year-old Dutch Ruether. Senators owner Clark Griffth, the “Old Fox” of baseball, asked his chief scout, Joe Engel, to find some younger arms for his ballclub.

A hundred years ago, baseball had not yet relied on farm systems. Minor league teams were independent

organizations who relied on selling players to big league teams. Engel, a former pitcher himself whose playing career had ended at age 27, scoured the minors for some young pitching talent. He’d heard about a smallish 27-year-old righthander for the Memphis Chicks named Horace Lisenbee, whose 1926 season had resulted in 17 wins, a low ERA and a broken collarbone suffered in a collision while covering first base. Despite the injury, Engel heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates were preparing to sign Lisenbee, known primarily by his nickname, “Hod.” If he was good enough for Pittsburgh – who had beaten Washington in the 1925 World Series – he was good enough for the Senators.

On October 1, 1926, Washington purchased Lisenbee’s contract from Memphis for $24,000, the most the Senators had ever paid for a minor league player. Washington sent the Chicks two players in the deal. Hod Lisenbee was now a bonafide major league ballplayer.

LISENBEE’S PERSONAL STORY WAS A COMPELLING ONE. Born in Clarksville and raised on a tobacco farm, Lisenbee finished grammar school at age 13, but didn’t start high school until he was 21. As he told The Leaf-Chronicle in 1981, “I had to go to work helping

FROM LEFT: Horace Milton “Hod” Lisenbee was born on September 23, 1898, to John M. Lisenbee and Sarah Adiline Lisenbee, both of Clarksville. MIDDLE BOTTOM: The second of six children, Hod (pictured top right) entered Clarksville High School at age 21, where he started playing baseball. MIDDLE TOP: Lisenbee (top row, second from right) is pictured here with the 1923 Clarksville High School football team. RIGHT: On January 28, 1928, Lisenbee married Carrie Bell West of Paris, Tennessee. The couple went on to have two daughters, Carolyn and Shirley. Courtesy of Kurt Bryant

out on my family’s farm. But I had a pretty good throwing arm… I probably filled the Cumberland River with rocks I had thrown.” Prior to high school, he had never touched a baseball, but after graduating, he received a baseball scholarship to Southwestern Presbyterian College, then located on the acreage where Austin Peay State University now sits.

Hod’s college career was cut short when he signed with the Tupelo, Mississippi Wolves of the Tri-State League in 1925, going 10-5 in 145 innings. After winning his last six games, he moved up to the Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association, one of the top minor league circuits. After his solid year in 1926 and his sale to Washington, he’d quickly reached the top rung of the baseball ladder.

The 1927 Washington Senators looked good on paper. Along with Lisenbee, the pitching staff still featured Walter Johnson, along with former 20-game winner Hollis “Sloppy” Thurston, Irving “Bump” Hadley and Alvin “General” Crowder. Fred “Firpo” Marberry still anchored the bullpen. The positional lineup was also impressive: an outfield of Sam Rice, Leon “Goose” Goslin and Tris Speaker (all future Hall of Famers), and an infield of Joe Judge, player-manager Bucky Harris, Ossie Bluege and Herold “Muddy” Ruel behind the plate. Additionally, Griffith had shortened the left field line from 402 feet to 355 feet in 1926. The Senators had been outhomered by the Yankees 121 to 43. The new distance was still quite a poke for a righthanded pull hitter, but maybe his own batters would have an easier time of it.


Two days later, he came out of the bullpen again to pitch the final three innings of a game at Yankee Stadium, allowing three hits, no runs and earning his first win in the majors.

His first starting assignment came at home on May 1 against the Red Sox. He threw a complete game, seven-hit shutout. Four days later, he faced the Yankees in D.C. and beat them 6-1 with another complete game, the only run being unearned. He held Babe Ruth to a single and a walk and notched eight strikeouts, which would turn out to be a season high.

Lisenbee was barely two weeks into the season and was already 3-0 without allowing an earned run. In baseball, some would argue that he was due for an off-day, and in Hod’s case, that’s exactly what happened. At Comiskey Park in Chicago, he allowed seven hits, a walk and four earned runs, taking his first loss of the year. He bounced back with a four-hit shutout at Cleveland on May 17, and won his fifth game on May 27, a 7-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Lisenbee’s early season success likely surprised a number of baseball people who had deemed him too slight at 5’11” and 170 pounds to succeed at the big-league level. But, as the seasons went from spring to summer, Hod’s skills had made him the ace of the Washington staff. Between June 8 and July 3, he reeled off five straight W’s. He hit a few bumps in the road after that win on July 3, going through six no-decisions before beating the Tigers on July 31. His record was now 11-4, heading into the dog days of the season, and the Senators were 20 games over .500 at 59-39. The Yankees, unfortunately, were 73-27, and looked uncatchable.

Lisenbee made five starts in August, going 2-2, and was 13-6 as the season entered its final month. The Yankees’ dominance couldn’t be denied, with the sub story of Babe Ruth’s pursuit of another home run record. The Babe had hit 59 home runs in 1921. Could he possibly hit 60?

After three starts in September resulting in a no decision and a pair of losses, Lisenbee started another streak. In succession, he beat the White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Browns and Red Sox, a run that included a pair of shutouts and four complete games. He was 18-8, and had tied New York’s Wilcy Moore for the most wins by a rookie pitcher in the 20th century.

THE TIE WOULDN’T LAST LONG. Hod had one more start in 1927, in New York against the Yankees on September 29. It didn’t go well. He allowed Ruth’s 58th home run in the first inning, and the Bronx Bombers scored seven more times in the second. Lisenbee finished the year at 18-9, with a solid 3.64 ERA. Two days later, adding insult to injury, Wilcy Moore won his 19th game, beating the Senators 4-3.

“I had to go to work helping out on my family’s farm. But I had a pretty good throwing arm… I probably filled the Cumberland River with rocks I had thrown.”
From left to right: Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Earle Combs and Tony Lazzeri. Lisenbee is remembered for his consistent performance against the “Murderer’s Row” of the 1927 New York Yankees. These four hitters combined for 131 home runs that year, including 60 by Ruth. Lisenbee allowed only six homers all season, four by New York. Photo by Leslie Jones, ca. 1927 | Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

The Yankees were American League Champs, and history regards that 1927 team as perhaps the greatest of all time. Washington finished 85-69, with three ties, in third place, 29 games behind the Yanks. A respectable season, but not the return to greatness they had hoped for. Lisenbee had been a pleasant surprise, leading the staff with 18 victories. Bump Hadley won 14 games and Sloppy Thurston won 13, but Walter Johnson’s final season produced only a 5-6 record and a plus5 ERA. After such a stellar rookie year, expectations for Hod Lisenbee were extremely high.

The Sporting News of July 21 had written that Lisenbee “looks like a great star of the future, if not already one. He is billed as Walter Johnson’s successor, for the Big Train is no longer running on schedule.”

Hod returned to Clarksville post-season, and in January 1928 married Carrie Bell West of Paris, Tennessee. He had a rocky spring training, and several poor outings once the season started. He was 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA – the club was 3-13 in games he had started – and in early July he was optioned to Minneapolis.

Clark Griffith had a history of trading away certain players, and then trading to get them back. He had traded infielder Buddy Myer to the Red Sox early in the 1927 season for infielder Topper Rigney. Rigney came to D.C. and flopped badly, so the Old Fox decided to reacquire Myer. He sent five players,

As the seasons went from spring to summer, Hod’s skills had made him the ace of the Washington staff.
This illustration of Hod Lisenbee on an envelope mailed from Cooperstown, New York in 1939 was added decades later by local artist Charles C. Beery. Archives Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

including Lisenbee, to Boston for Myer at the 1928 winter meetings in December.

HOD FOUND HIMSELF BACK IN THE BIG LEAGUES WITH THE WORST TEAM IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE. The Red Sox had finished under .500 for eight straight seasons, and were coming off of three straight 100-loss campaigns.

The 1929 season was almost a complete loss for Hod. He had complained since spring training of arm discomfort, and appeared in only five games for the BoSox, pitching a total of only eight and two-thirds innings. Once again, Boston finished last, but managed to avoid 100 losses. In 1930, it seemed like Lisenbee had recaptured some of his past, as he made 31 starts for Boston, with 15 complete games, and a 10-17 record for a team that would lose 102 games, finishing 50 games out of first place.

Hod spent much of 1931 in the bullpen for the Red Sox under new manager Shano Collins, and Boston avoided last place with 62 wins. Lisenbee went 5-12 with 6 complete games. One of his teammates that year was Wilcy Moore, who was the closer for the Red Sox.

By the end of June 1932, Boston decided that Hod’s best outings were behind him, and he was sent to Buffalo. He bounced around the minor leagues from Buffalo to Birmingham to Jersey City, back to Buffalo, to St. Paul, to Buffalo again, and in 1936, to the Philadelphia A’s. He pitched in 19 games for Connie Mack’s ballclub, winning one game against seven losses. The A’s lost 100 games that year, finishing last while surrendering 1,045 runs.


In March 1944, the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League brought Lisenbee out of retirement. He joined their roster in spring training, and at age 45 led the Chiefs in wins with 15 and innings pitched with 248. Syracuse had a working agreement with Cincinnati, so in 1945, with World War II still ongoing and the Reds short in the pitching department, Hod was back in the big leagues at age 46. Associated Press sports editor Chip Royal described Hod as “a former Sunday school teacher who never drank or smoked.” The Sporting News quoted Hod as telling Reds’ skipper Bill McKechnie “I never felt better in my life.”

Lisenbee appeared in 31 games for the Reds in 1945, and earned his final major league win on Opening Day, throwing two hitless innings in a 7-6 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

With the war over and the regular major league players coming home, Hod Lisenbee wasn’t quite through with the game. After taking 1946 off, he pitched for the Clarksville Colts in the Kitty League from 1947 to 1949. He was also the manager, and even owned part of the team. At the age of 50, in 1949, he pitched 13 games without ever walking one batter.

Hod Lisenbee’s 1933 Goudey Chewing Gum baseball card when he pitched for the Buffalo Bisons of the International League. He spent all or parts of five seasons with the Bisons. This card incorrectly lists his year of birth as 1903. When he pitched for Cincinnati in 1945, he became the last MLB player born in the 19th century. Archives Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

ABOVE: Clarksville fielded a team in the Kitty League from 1946 to 1949. In 1946, they were called the Clarksville Owls, and Hod Lisenbee managed the team for most of the season. In 1947, he joined the active roster at age 48 and purchased half interest in the team, now called the Colts. He pitched and managed the club through 1949, when the team folded. “Kitty” referenced the league’s membership–teams were located in Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee. Archives

Walter Johnson played his entire 21-year major league career as a right-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators, from 1907 to 1927. Hod Lisenbee joined the team in Johnson’s last season, quickly establishing himself as the ace of the 1927 club.

Lisenbee once again returned to the minor leagues, and retired to his farm in Clarksville after the 1941 season at age 42. Retirement didn’t last very long.
Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center RIGHT: Walter Johnson at Griffith Stadium, April 11, 1924 Courtesy of Library of Congress, National Photo Company Collection FAR RIGHT: Hod Lisenbee “Everyday Heroes” baseball card Courtesy of Phil Wood In 1949, their last season, the Clarksville Colts finished in seventh place. From left to right, (first row) Clyde Englebright, Walt Mestan, Hod Lisenbee, Dick Janasky, Hayden Ray; (second row) Norman Hammons, Don Stevens, Leonard Addison, Bill Hedges, Andy Sventko, Jack Finch; (third row) Jim Troop, Lee Valadez, Bob Swope, Doyle Pruett, Jack Spiceland, Maurice Partain. Courtesy of Kurt Bryant

THE MAGIC OF LISENBEE’S 1927 SEASON IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS. After being introduced to the game at age 21, he was a natural. His size didn’t matter; his stamina and work ethic gave him an edge on a lot of much younger players. While he never recaptured what he had in 1927, he also never played for another winning team. While ballplayers are frequently honored for individual achievements, it is still a team game. Beyond that 1927 season, Hod Lisenbee’s career numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story.

Lisenbee’s most famous teammate was Walter Johnson in 1927. Some years later, Johnson was honored by Montgomery County, Maryland, where he lived – and farmed – for many years after his retirement from baseball. In 1956, 10 years after his passing, Walter Johnson High School was dedicated to him in Bethesda. There may not be a Hod Lisenbee High School, but in 1998, roughly a decade after Lisenbee’s death, the Clarksville City Council renamed a portion of Highway 79 near the Dover Crossing intersection as Hod Lisenbee Memorial Boulevard.

ABOVE: In retirement, Lisenbee returned to farming on his 800acre farm in Clarksville where he raised polled Hereford cattle with great success. Polled Herefords are hornless. Courtesy of Kurt Bryant
Pottery Studio | Art Gallery 115 Franklin St Clarksville, TN Rivercityclay@gmail com 931-542-6615 B R I N G I N G T H E A R T O F H A N D M A D E P O T T E R Y T O D O W N T O W N C L A R K S V I L L E LET YOUR CLAY JOURNEY SHOP BOOK A CLASS. BEGIN.
RIGHT: Hod Lisenbee Memorial Boulevard can be found at the intersection of Providence Boulevard and Dover Road in Clarksville. Phil Wood is an adjunct professor in the Communications Department at Austin Peay State University. He spent 46 years as a sports broadcaster in the Washington-Baltimore market after graduating from APSU.

Get authentic Coyotes merchandise in Seasons: The Museum Store (while supplies last!)

Bringing professional baseball to Clarksville at APSU’s Hand Park, the Coyotes were an independent minor league baseball team in the Big South and Heartland Leagues between 1996 and 1997. Circle Pin, $.75 Enamel Pin, $1.00 Paper Fan, $.50 License Plate, $1.00 1997 Souvenir Yearbook, $1.50


Handwriting in America

An understanding of handwriting practices is a useful tool when trying to determine more information about a piece in museum collections. Throughout history, access to education restricted most of the population from literacy. However, even within more privileged groups, handwriting contains details regarding the writer’s geographical location, gender and profession, and can even aid in determining a timeframe in which the writing occurred.

Tracing handwriting trends in America starts with the Declaration of Independence. While originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the version we all recall was transcribed by a trained engrosser whose job it was to ensure that official documents were legible. At this time, engrossers would have been trained in a writing style called “English round hand” or “Copperplate.” This name was derived from its origins in Great Britain, and how this style of writing was characterized by round, even, flowing strokes – intended to be legible, while not overly ornate, to be efficient. This penmanship primer (Figure A) from our archives belonged to Christopher Norfleet Carney between 1807 and 1818. The rounded, flowing shape to the letters and the timeframe indicate that this person would have learned English round hand. In this sample, he practices writing the phrase “Provide against the worst and hope fore the.” Interestingly, on the entire page, Mr. Carney never finished the sentence!

As public schools flourished, penmanship books became a popular way to standardize writing styles for schoolchildren. Particularly for boys in pre-Industrialization America, learning to write was considered a necessary skill for merchants. Platt Rogers Spencer, a writing master, devised a method designed to maximize speed and ease of learning. The Spencerian method quickly gained popularity and was the de facto method of penmanship in American schools by the mid-1800s. Key characteristics of his writing style include lack of emphasis on shaded downstrokes on most small letters, and by the use of only one broad downstroke on capitals. It also shifted the mechanics of writing from the wrist to the arm, resulting in a more ovoid shape, as opposed to the previously standard round shape. This change can be seen in an 1863 letter (Figure C) from our Museum archives. Round letters, particularly lower-case A, E and O, are very similarly shaped due to the ovoid shift and can be hard to differentiate at

Figure A Figure B

times. The stylized ascender, or arm, of the lower-case D seen here is also popular in early 19th-century writing.

In 1894, American educator and handwriting teacher Austin Norman Palmer published Palmer's Guide to Business Writing. This style would later be referred to “Business Writing,” due in part to Palmer’s assertion that the Spencerian method was too ornate and slow for the American lifestyle. Americans needed an unpretentious and quick handwriting style better suited to the business landscape. The speed was gained from rote memorization of letterforms and uniformity. This “muscle memory” through discipline was touted as a response to social ills and a perceived decline in personal and social discipline. In this letter from the archives (Figure D) written in 1935, we can see that the round shapes have lost their ovoid similarities and are more easily discernable. The right slanting direction of the words paired with letter shapes conveys the “light, elastic, gliding motion” and righthandedness that Palmer prioritized.

In the 1950s, the Palmer method was replaced by the Zaner-Bloser method, which focused on writing literacy as early as possible, and so taught print letters before cursive. This was replaced in the late 1970s by the D'Nealian method, which sought to bridge the learning gap between print and cursive. Understanding these trends in writing not only helps researchers identify information about written works, but also explains why three generations within one family likely have markedly different handwriting styles! explore-the-collections

Figure A: Christopher Norfleet Carney’s penmanship primer, 1807-1818 Figure B: Letter on Central Hospital for the Insane letterhead, Nashville, 1903 Figure C: Letter from Fort Donelson, 1863 Figure D: Letter on State Teachers College letterhead, Murfreesboro, 1935 Archives Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center Figure C Figure D

Transitional Grace by Mary Jabens

This view on the RiverWalk in Zion National Park is called Sinawava, honoring the Paiute coyote spirit. It is one of the places I go to relieve my soul of the world and soak in all the beauty, peace and solace found here. The morning sun takes its time and lights up each section of the walls and river, showcasing glorious colors and majestic shapes. Walking along the trail, I think about the first people to see this area and to settle here. I am sure they knew how sacred it was. I sit in awe and think of how I would translate these scenes into paintings to share and encapsulate the beauty and spirits that surround us.

The Poetry Around Us

Some storytellers put pen to paper – others, brush to canvas. In the exhibit The Poetry Around Us: Women

Painting the Outdoors, fourteen artists capture the brilliance of nature across styles, locations and mediums. Here are the odes to their inspirations and processes, in the artists’ own words.

A Moment (Japanese Garden, Cheekwood) by Terri Jordan

The Japanese Garden at Cheekwood has always been a favorite spot for my family. As a young boy, my son would race through the bamboo entrance, abruptly stop at the small water feature, then run up the steps to the pavilion. That is where we can take in the view of the Zen garden. The subject of this painting is the centerpiece found among the rocks and trees there. As your eyes gaze from one side to the other, this living still life stands out, commanding attention in the quiet.

At the Heart of Life’s Journey by Cathy Carey

I worked on this painting when my Mom was at the end of her 98 years and in hospice. I had to travel to visit her from California to Virginia during Covid, before vaccinations, when the world seemed to be turned upside down and filled with fear. I wanted to capture the idea of life as a place you journey through, a landscape of emotion. The clouds are the movement of time. The depth of the canyon and the distance of the mountains represent the many challenges you will experience. The horses represent emotion and partnership, connection and love. It’s those connections that are at the heart of life’s journey, the fellow travelers you meet along the way.


Bent, But Not Broken by Patsy Sharpe

Having always been a tree hugger, I fell in love with this one. I saw it on my way to Dickson, Tennessee, and had to come back with my camera to capture this struggling old tree. It reminded me of an elderly lady, still lovely despite the ravages of time, and not giving up for a minute. I later traveled that way in the spring and was so happy to see it in leaf and still not giving up. She stood as a testament of strength, not just to women, but to all.

Queen Anne’s Dream by Susan Jositas

This meadow sits on a small bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound. It is a dreamlike vision when the Queen Anne’s Lace is in bloom. The delicate blossoms mingle with the textures of grasses and flora, swaying in the seaside breeze. The beauty is breathtaking at any time of day, but the sunset hour is especially magical. This painting captures an ephemeral moment when the sun sinks to the horizon and the sky is aglow, acting its tinted light upon the landscape.

Highlighting the movement of Tennessee’s waters was the inspiration for Flowings, a landscape mural painted on a metal mobius strip. The idea was to paint the flow of water beginning in East Tennessee and traveling to the Gulf, where the water returns through a storm back to the Smoky Mountains. To exemplify this never-ending cycle, I chose to paint on an infinity symbol, a mobius strip, that turns kinetically on a motor from the ceiling. The water is depicted from both a traditional landscape view and from a macro/micro view, even depicting the molecular quality of H2O.

Into the Valley by Jenifer Cline

Foremost, it is about the trees, the shadows on the mountain tops, the light filtering through all the elements of the landscape that I revel in, that I paint. At Storm Mountain trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park on a late summer day, I climbed a slope to find shelter from the wind, and discovered this ridge painted with wildflowers. This glacier creek valley is host to moose, elk, hikers and choruses of birds. I am never sure what or who I will encounter, and I always feel at home here with my feet connected to this earth.


Water Music by Dawn Sutherland

A river trip through the Grand Canyon is a treat for the eyes. However, listening to the sounds of the Canyon can be music to the ears. After the bustle of packing up campsites, loading the raft, settling on board and moving off into the current, one may float in silence on a still morning. It is then the birdcalls, the shimmer of sunlight on the water and the cadence of Canyon walls passing by that join like musicians in a peaceful second movement of a symphony.

The Last Walk of the Redbuds by Anne Goetze

In a way to find expression, to process my emotions, I pursue light. The visual outcome reflects the inward formation. In the process of painting en plein air, there exists a struggle, as well as a challenge. A blank canvas to a finished piece has frustrations to continually work through, and not being satisfied pushes me as well as it pulls me. Within the response to that, a deeper story can be discovered. I want to connect the past to the present. I work all around the surface to maintain harmony of the palette, keeping the “push and pull” of the image between realism and impressionism.

I consider nature to be spiritual. When real inspiration comes, it is a gift from God. If I allow it to flow and not to govern it, peace will come... allowing a truer purpose for the work. One stroke, then another. I am seeker, striving to look at the world that, at its very core, has beauty to embrace.

Christmas in July by Robin Miller Bookhout

My father, a gregarious and cherished soul, (definitely the most wonderful earthly person I will ever know), adored the spirit of Christmas and was always remembered by his verbal greetings of “Merry Christmas!” three hundred and sixty-five days a year to all he met. On his birthday, July 17, I decided to paint a variation of the complementary colors of reds and greens. Through my father’s inspiration and love of my joie de vivre of painting… this piece aptly became titled Christmas in July, in honor of his birthday and the goodness and joy he left in our memories. I hope you enjoy my Ode to My Father, Christmas in July


When Blue Eyes Reign by Sharon Rusch Shaver

In the hidden hollows

Of Tennessee

A tiny weed with Blue and white flowers

Grows wild in masses

Blooming profusely

As a swollen creek

Flowing gently nearby is

Serenaded by

A chorus of Songbirds

Of springtime’s arrival

Remembering the first time

We met

When the old ones

Whispered your name

How brief is your debut

A moment in time

Shared through my painting

Of certain timelessness

Filled with joy and glory

Never to be forgotten

Today is

"When Blue Eyes Reign”

Clouds Over the Dunes by Denise Dumont

In the days of tall ships, sailors called these beautiful wispy clouds "Mares' Tails."

A few miles north of Taos, New Mexico is the road to the former location of the historically significant John Dunn Bridge. As the road winds down to the Rio Grande, you pass through a natural gap in the topography to the river. Standing guard is a rock formation. Guardian was painted on the spot, midafternoon in July. You cannot see the river, but the cliffs on the opposite side, the bright light and hard-cast shadows were the inspiration for the painting. You can almost imagine the anticipation of past adventurers approaching the river crossing. Plein air painting allows the artist to incorporate the atmospheric conditions of a location, as well as their own interpretation of the landscape.

From a Walk Around the Pond

Praise poems – that’s how I think of my paintings. Like a poem, they are constructions, records of observations and leaps of imagination seen on my daily walks around my pond. The more closely I look, the more wonder I feel facing nature’s intricate patterns. My goal is to see the reality and understand the entirety of the place in every season, then find a way to share the experience.

See more from these artists in the exhibit The Poetry Around Us: Women Painting the Outdoors, on view in the Crouch Gallery until May 28. exhibitions


Month of the Military Child

A bright yellow dandelion is one of the most recognizable amongst the densest of flowerbeds. Masters of survival worldwide, dandelions are known to be one of the most prosperous and triumphant plants to exist. As their seeds are transported like tiny parachutes by gusts of wind, they do not need to be pollinated to grow. Naturally, the dandelion is the official flower of military children.

As the spouse of a retired Army officer, I have had the pleasure of knowing many “Dandelions.” They are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. Respectful and honest. Fun to be around. Smart and driven. Their desire to thrive and succeed is so strong. These little Dandelions did not ask for the life they have – they were born into it, with either one or both parents as service members. And believe me, it isn’t an easy life.

It is like riding the most unpredictable rollercoaster imaginable. There are many highs: when their parent comes home from deployment, or when they get stationed in extraordinary places around the world. But there are many challenges: these little Dandelions can go months without seeing their deployed parent. At a young age, they carry around the burden of the unknown. Will their parent come home in time for the holidays? Their sixth birthday? Their school recital? Or even at all? Yet these amazing little Dandelions still thrive and make the best of each day.

Every three years or so, the military wind picks them up and carries them to a new duty station. Without knowing anyone, they plant themselves, grow new roots and start to bloom. They make new friends. Start at new schools with new teachers. They learn the way around a new neighborhood, making the best of their situation. Our family mantra was always “We can do anything temporarily.” So, we bloom until the wind picks us up again and takes us to our next temporary home.

With each duty station, the Dandelions gain valuable experiences. The military has bases sprinkled all around the United States from Alaska to Florida, everywhere in between, even internationally. Every one of them is different and exciting in their own way. They learn to surf in California and snowshoe in New York. They learn Japanese in Japan and Italian in Italy. They have the opportunity to meet people of different cultures and backgrounds, all of whom teach them to respect the differences that are inherent from one place to the next. Throughout their childhood, these Dandelions pick up many skills and lessons that give them a unique perspective on life.

There is something about these kids that makes everything around them brighter. They find joy in little things, like putting snacks and trinkets from home into a box for their deployed parent, or standing at attention during the National Anthem. They see the world in a different light. Even in the dark, mundane fields of deployment, you will find them growing and thriving. These little Dandelions bring a cheerful smile with them wherever they go, lighting up the room. Somehow, their life experience allows them to find humor and positivity in almost every situation. No matter what they are going through, they grow and bloom into beautiful flowers.

April is Month of the Military Child. Being a kid can already be hard, learning how to navigate the world, but being the child of a service member is even harder. While they may not fully understand the breadth or difficulty of their situation, they know one thing: their parent is a hero. Their hero.


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