Dear Smiley: All the talk about school days reminded me of the great GI scandal when I was in fourth grade in the early 1950s in LaPlace.

There was a bookshelf on the wall at the back of the classroom, and one day, the teacher went to retrieve a book from the shelf when suddenly the principal was summoned and we were ushered out of the classroom.

At the time, soldiers from World War II whose education was interrupted by the war were going to school at night, and our classroom was one of those used for what was known as “GI school.”

Seems more than the three R’s were being studied: a stash of men’s girly magazines of the day was found by the teacher behind the books on the shelf.

Also, recess from GI school was held at the GI Bar (real name), located just down the street from the school.



Classic put-downs

Dear Smiley: More insults for your list:

“He was a taco short of a combo plate.”

“People like you are the reason people like me need medication.”

“I don’t know what makes you so dumb, but it really works.”

“Don’t let your mind wander; it’s much too small to be outside by itself.”



A simpler time

Dear Smiley: I am thankful that I had a childhood before technology took over because I played Chinese checkers, pick-up-sticks, skooker, skunk, battleship and Old Maid. Outside the favorite games played were kickball, red rover, hand clap, jump rope and kite flying.

My elementary school in Shreveport had a field day, and we competed in relay races, broad jump and more. We received ribbons that the mothers made out of cardboard and ribbon.

After Christmas, my sisters and I would collect Christmas trees that we could find on the curb and make forts. Those were indeed the best days; so plain and simple.



A body at rest

Dear Smiley: As I was questioned by my employer about a new employee, he asked whether or not the new hire had created overtime for himself by having slow work practices.

I answered “Slow? Oh no! He’s caught between ‘Stop’ and ‘Dead Stop.’ ”


Breaux Bridge

Got clabber?

Dear Smiley: One description of slowness is “slower than cream rising on clabber.”

Clabber is curdled milk before pasteurization and homogenizing. We ate clabber with sugar cane syrup as an after-school snack.

We rural, Depression kids were before the civilization of “cottage cheese.”



Remedial English

Dear Smiley: I was happy to see someone else caught the spelling error on “stationary” (for stationery, the paper).

As a retired English teacher (never former), I read too many spelling errors in newspapers, magazines and novels.

I used to teach my students tricks to remember tricky spellings: Writing paper has an “er” just as paper has. Once you remember that, you’ll never forget it.

“Loose” and “lose” are another combination: If one misplaces an “o,” he’ll “lose” it.

Another I find often is not actually a misspelling but a misnomer: It is not “ice” tea but “iced” tea.

Also, “grits” is not plural; it is singular: The grits IS runny. (Sounds strange because most people misuse “grits” as plural.) That was fun!


Morgan City

Dear Diane: Oh no, not the dreaded grits debate again! I had such heated discussions in the column a while back about whether “grits IS good” or “grits ARE good,” that I finally put the matter to rest by ruling in favor of “grits BE good.”

Creative shopping

Dear Smiley: Would you please do me a favor? I need some information, and perhaps one of your readers can supply it.

Today, I received a letter from the Social Security Administration telling me that I would receive no increase in benefits in 2016 because, “There was no increase in the cost of living during the past year. …”

If any of your readers know where the people at the Social Security Administration do their grocery shopping, please pass the info along.



Christmas cat-astrophe

Dear Smiley: One year, we trimmed our tree the old-fashioned way with strings of popcorn.

The next morning, we noticed that all of the popcorn was gone. The threads were still in place, but the tree was nude.

At the foot of the tree sat a very fat cat with popcorn breath.

Maybe we shouldn’t have buttered the popcorn.



Write Smiley at He also can be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.