But there was another educational institution of which I hold alumni status that I have never mentioned. I am also a graduate of Candy Cain Kindergarten.
In the late 1960s, I attended Candy Cain. Many friendships were developed during that time that lasted throughout my entire educational career.
Candy Cain Kindergarten was located on Golf Course Road in Canton at the home of Don and Joyce Cain. Joyce ran the kindergarten along with her partner Mae Sellers.
Now, kindergartens are in the schools acting as some sort of a pre-first grade. But 40 to 50 years ago that wasn’t the case. If you attended one, it was similar to the one I attended.
But I can’t help but think that Candy Cain Kindergarten was the cream of the crop in comparison to any of its educational equivalents from that period in time.
We didn’t have computers or any technology for that matter. It was a day in time when math was math, English was English, and science was science, and so on. You get the picture. It wouldn’t shock me today if kindergarteners were learning quantum physics. And if they are anywhere in this country, it would be here in Cherokee County. If I had to use one word to describe our educational system in Cherokee County it would be progressive.
So what did we learn from Mrs. Cain and Mrs. Sellers without all of the technology afforded to students today? The answer to that question isn’t nearly as difficult as one might think.
We learned the basics of life. I can’t tell you at this stage in my life what academics were covered at Candy Cain Kindergarten although I know there was some. But we did learn.
We learned to say “thank you” when it was appropriate. We learned to say “I’m sorry” when we had done something we shouldn’t have. We learned to raise our hand when we needed to ask a question. We learned the Pledge of Allegiance to our wonderful country. And one of the most important lessons we learned was that there are consequences to doing things we shouldn’t do.
Anyone that thinks that these small lessons of life aren’t important, just try telling that to a middle school or high school teacher. Because even though we may be teaching those things now, some children either never learn it or forget it as they grow older. But at Candy Cain, manners were stressed.
And if you got in trouble with Mrs. Cain and Mrs. Sellers, you guessed it; you got in trouble again when you got home.
I still have a black and white picture somewhere of my graduating class from Candy Cain Kindergarten. And there are many in that picture who are still living in Cherokee County. Not only are they living here, they are giving back to the community that raised them.
Sadly, Mrs. Sellers has already gone on to be with the Lord. However, this past weekend I was talking to Mrs. Cain’s son, Shipp. I asked him how his mother was doing. He said that she will be turning eighty in October. What a blessing that is.
And I would encourage all of my fellow graduates to try and find a minute to give Mrs. Cain a call and wish her the best on her birthday. And let’s also thank her for the lessons of life she and Mrs. Sellers taught us at such an early age. For their lessons helped set the foundation for the rest of our lives. From what I do remember from their class, that would be a very appropriate thing to do.
I doubt either of these ladies has ever known how many lives they touched through their gift of loving kids. But there were many. And there are so many in the world today that may have made a good living. They may appear to be successful in their fine homes and driving their fine cars.
But unfortunately, they never learned the lessons taught at Candy Cain Kindergarten. They never learned to say please or thank-you.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Cain!
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.