by Ann Wharton, Staff Writer
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it comes in many forms. For some it is a combination of creative beauty that strikes a special cord. That cord has been composed by Mamie Edginton Braddock, Warsaw Community High School English teacher for 42 years, in the combination of photographs taken by her nephew Paul Edginton Holmes, with the poems she has written to illustrate the pictures.
The photos are the legacy of her 27-year-old nephew who was killed July 27, 1975, as he crossed a street and was struck by a car when a woman ran a stoplight. The son of Mrs. Braddock's sister, Margaret Holmes, Paul was an artist with a camera, capturing a slice of nature with the click of the shutter. A graduate of Westmore College in Iowa and a student at West Michigan University, he was an audio-visual specialist by occupation.
The combination of the photos and Mrs. Braddock's poems, which enhance them by giving an added breath of life, is captured through the combination of "Poetry and Pictures." For example the picture entitled "Oak Leaves" is illustrated with the following poem:
Then as he raced before me
"Pictures and Poetry" --Mamie Edgington Braddock, for 42 years senior English teacher and head of the English Department at Warsaw Community High School, holds one of the many nature photographs taken by her nephew, Paul Edgington Holmes, prior to his death in 1975. She has combined his photos with peoms she has written to moods of the pictures. (Photo by Ann Wharton)
The books, printed by Westminster Press in Winona Lake, is dedicated as a memorial to Paul and is also dedicated to all her senior English students throughout her 42 years as a teacher. Who is this woman who still insists on creative living after more than 40 years in the classroom?
Certainly her creative ways did not begin the day she retired. As a matter of fact, both her mother and father were artistic. He was a clarinet player, and her mother, a soloist. They began young Mamie's musical training with piano lessons when she was four years old. Music is second nature to her. Next to her teaching with its love of language and literature, music ranks at the top of her list of enjoyments.
She has played the church organ all her life. Her first experience was at the First Baptist Church on Center St. Where she is church organist today. Dr. Fred Olds, a Warsaw osteopath at that time, was choir director at the church; his wife Renee, was a soloist at Winona Lake and taught private lessons at a Warsaw Studio. Young Mamie Edgington accompanied her students.
Learned to Play Organ
One day Dr. Olds asked her if she would like to play the organ at the Baptist Church. "I had from September to January first to learn," she said. "I practiced every night at the Methodist Church." In the four-month period, she taught herself to play the organ and took the job at the Baptist Church in 1929.
Next Easter she will celebrate her 45th year as a church organist with a total of 33 years at Warsaw's First Baptist Church and 12 years at Trinity United Methodist Church.
"I volunteered all the years except those at Trinity," she said, "and I wish I hadn't be paid for those. If we can be a witness and let people know without bragging, it is good," she admonished.
Although teaching has been her first love, chronologically training for her profession came second to her musical training. Speaking of her high School Commencement, she recalled that Lloyd C. Douglas, then pastor of a church in Ann Arbor, Michigan before he penned "The Robe," was speaker. "I followed his career," she said.
After finishing high school, she went to Otterbein College at Westerville, Ohio. She earned her master's degree from Columbia University during the summers. She also spent a term at the Julliard School of Music. Further training was taken at the University of Washington.
Following her graduation from Otterbein, she returned to Warsaw where she substituted for one year. Then she was hired full-time not only as an English teacher, but also as head of the English department - positions she held for the next 42 years.
Seventeen seniors were enrolled in her first class. by 1968 when she retired, she taught a full schedule of senior English, and another teacher also taught a full day of five senior classes.
"We never taught detective stories," she asserted. "I think that if you don't have a common bond of great literature, you lose something" recalling that great literature was not taught just to the college-bound student. She believes the teaching of the classics of literature as an enrichment to the American culture which is sorely missed if it is lacking.
Travels Here and Abroad
"In junior English we taught American literature, composition, grammar and spelling. In the senior year, it was English literature."
To enrich her teaching, she took a trip to England, Scotland and Wales, where she took 800 slides which she incorporated into her teaching to illustrate the study of the literature. She also traveled throughout the United States, extensively in New England where she again culled information on authors for the enrichment of her American literature classes.
Two Warsaw students took top honors in the state English contest conducted at Bloomington each year. "There was always someone in the top ten. Superintendent (Carl) Burt always kept a list of the students' progress (in college), she reported. "He told us if anyone failed, but few did. They did know something."
I was through the superintendent that she also went to Fort Wayne for speed reading training which she then introduced into the Warsaw school system. "It's not for everybody" she contends. "It's not for reading for appreciation and it's not good for the elementary grades. It certainly wasn't put into the curriculum just for something new."
Started School Paper
She was also involved in the extra-curricular activities at school. She originated the literary society, Ex Libris, in the 1930's In addition, the school paper "Hi-Times" came into existence. under her guidance. Once a week, the staff gathered to write, type, lay out and mimeograph the paper. Then everyone headed to her home for food.
In 1944 the organist of the First Baptist Church, Mamie Edginton, married the superintendent of the Sunday School, C. A. Braddock. The ceremony took place at the end of the morning worship service. "The church was packed with students," she said. Her husband died in 1951.
For the present, Mrs. Braddock is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma, Alpha Nu Chapter, an honorary society for women educators in the county of which she was a charter member.
She is also a member of the Zerelda Reading club and "all those educational things," including the retired teachers associations on the national, state and local level. she helped organize the Kosciusko County chapter.
Red Cross Volunteer
Since her mother's death, she has been actively involved in the work of the Kosciusko County Chapter of the American Red Cross as assistant treasurer, keeping the books - "a time consuming job."
In 1960 she was honored as Warsaw's Woman of the Year. In addition, she has been awarded a plaque by Gov. Otis Bowen for her volunteer service, and she has been honored by Westmore College for her contributions to the college from which Paul was graduated.
Although she doesn't communicate on it much anymore, a year ago, the appropriate handle "B Sharp" was heard by CB'ers. "It's so noisy now, and so many people have them," she said. It just isn't the same and she has lost interest. Her favorite things today are her music, her friends, her church and her home. "I love to make music," Even after all these years, she practices the organ in her home every day.
Loves Beautiful Things
"I used to jot down some thoughts for the day or some beauty that I had seen. I love beautiful things." Her latest venture in living combines her love for her nephew and the beautiful things in life into one with the publication of "Pictures and Poetry." Dedicated to her nephew, Paul, she encompasses students who passed through her classrooms for 42 years.
Little boy of mine
Because of you,
All other boys are
Through you I see
How dear they'd be
If they, like you
Belonged to me.
..... Mamie Edgington Braddock
The volume is now on sale at both Readmore on North Buffalo St. and Ramsey News Agency on East Winona Ave. as well as at The Sand Kracker on East Center St., Hart Plaza. Her goal for the future is stated concisely and reveals something of her philosophy of life. "When I get old, I want to be a nice old lady."
(Note: Mrs. Braddock's maiden name is spelled two different ways in this article. Edgington and Edginton. I do not know which is correct.)
Warsaw Times Union Wed. Aug. 24, 1977
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