Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Vikings and Snowflakes

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.



This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is an illustration from a pottery and craft class.  While there are no art instructors in my family tree, there are plenty of teachers, teachers who encouraged creativity as a way to increase their students' enjoyment, understanding, and retention of what they were teaching.

My grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring was widowed early and had no children.  There was nothing to keep her in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  She enjoyed traveling.  She craved adventure.  So why not apply for a teaching position with the Department of Defense Dependents School?  DoDDS serves the children of military stationed overseas with the purpose of ensuring that American children get an American education.

In the late 1950s-early 1960s, Velma taught in Japan and South Korea.  She also served as principal.

Velma Davis Woodring and students in Korea  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Aunt Velma with students at the DoDDS in Korea

Some of the photos might have been taken when Velma was principal.  The classroom looks typically American.  The artwork displayed neatly on the bulletin board and stapled artfully above the blackboard reminds me of every classroom I ever sat in during my own school days. 

DoDDS Classroom Korea early 1960s  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com




A unit on the Vikings would not be complete without drawings of ships.










DoDDS Classroom Korea 1960s http://jollettetc.blogspot.com




Snowflake snowmen?  The perfect activity for a lesson on um, er uh, weather?  Geometry?  Whatever, you have to admire the kid who put the snowman in a hammock. 















Velma herself was creative.  She sewed a number of quilts but she also dabbled in painting.  She was no VanGogh, but she was proud enough of several works to frame them. 

Painting by Velma Davis Woodring  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Cute frame!
Painting by Velma Davis Woodring  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
This hangs in my guestroom.



















Please check out the artistic endeavors of the creative bloggers at Sepia Saturday.



© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

32 comments:

  1. I feel like I am getting to know Velma. You certainly have a lot of information about her.

    She seems like she would have been a very interesting lady to talk to as she was adventurous and educated and we now learn that she was also creative!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm sure everyone could pass a Velma quiz - I do write about her often.

      Delete
  2. Your grand aunt was very adventurous, and ahead of her time, nice post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosie. She certainly found a great way to combine work and fun.

      Delete
  3. A yea! for adventurous women of any age. I was interested in hearing about Velma teaching with DODDS, In a different era, my granddaughter taught ESL in Korea for three years before embarking on her MS (which she just completed in Glasgow). Also like Velma's paintings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did your granddaughter also speak Korean?

      Delete
  4. What an interesting life Velma must have had and how wonderful she chose to do what some think about, but never actually do. It takes a lot of faith in yourself to do what she did. Three cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. It would have been easy to stay put and teach locally, but what an experience she allowed herself!

      Delete
  5. Your aunt reminded me so much of my feisty Aunt Edith. She too was a teacher and became infant head. I remember seeing her prepare for craft lessons such as teaching the girls knitting and cross stitch. She too travelled in the 1950's and 60's and enjoyed painting. I now have a number of her paintings. She married for the first time at the age of 73! She was such a vibrant personality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for Aunt Edith...marrying at 73!! Was he an old flame?

      Delete
    2. Oh wow -- indeed Aunt Edith was a go-getter.

      Delete
  6. Good for Aunt Velma. You wonder what she might choose to do with today's opportunities. And how lucky the kids were to have a teacher who nurtured creativity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I knew more about her actual work in the DoDDS in Korea.

      Delete
  7. The paintings remind me of Japanese woodcuts. I wonder whether that is where she got her inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never knew she painted until after she died and her paintings came to us. I don't know when these were done - possibly even before she went to Korea and Japan.

      Delete
  8. Love the Santa in the hammock, but the one on the end with braids and what looks like a pirate hat is pretty nifty, too! I remember Aunt Velma from a previous post, I think -- she was quite something!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pirate hat? I thought it was a graduation mortar board. But yes -- nifty!

      Delete
  9. Aunt Velma sounds like an interesting lady that really lived life by developing and sharing her talents. Your collection of pictures never ceases to amaze me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of the time my photos seem almost pointless until Sepia Saturday comes along with a relevant prompt that makes the photos come to life even for me.

      Delete
  10. Another fine tribute, Wendy. I did 4th through 6th grade with DoDDS teachers, and I recognize now that they came from different backgrounds with many interesting skills that I might not have been exposed to in a traditional American public school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine people who choose to teach with DoDDS possess some intellectual or personality trait that explains their choice to leave home and find adventure teaching overseas. Not just anyone can do that or would.

      Delete
  11. Good on Aunt Velma! My husband attended an American International School in Vienna in the early 1960s, taught by American teachers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? So interesting that a number of Sepians are familiar with such schools.

      Delete
  12. I rather like your Aunt Velma - I can somehow seeing her and Auntie Miriam hanging out together. What a life force that would be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds -- every time you write about Auntie Miriam, I picture my Aunt Velma.

      Delete
  13. Love the classroom shots; as you say, so typical of that era (the same in England), with the ‘artwork’ stapled so neatly to the boards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you, I keep studying those classroom photos. It's the teacher in us, I suppose.

      Delete
  14. What amazing adventures Velma must have had in her life. Did she travel to other countries too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She taught in both Japan and Korea. I know she traveled on holiday to India, but that's the only trip I know of. Surely there were others.

      Delete
  15. What a neat post, and thanks for sharing those photos! Yes, the snowman in the hammock was great. :) And, I do love that frame!

    ReplyDelete