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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017
The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.
Angels danced the day you were born!
Posted Friday, January 15, at 6:00 PM
I wake up this Friday morning, January 15, 2016, to the sound of rain on the tin roof of our cabin near Moore Haven, FL, and I remember that this is a special day. Thirty-four years ago, I was lying in the delivery room at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, when the doctor said, "It's a girl!" I laughed and laughed!...

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School dreams
Posted Sunday, January 10, at 5:57 PM

It's 3:20 a.m. and I just woke up from another school dream. The dream is fading fast, but I know it was one of the good ones. The recurring dreams aren't always good, but this one had some of my favorite students from the past, coming back, as if they wanted to say hello again. The school and classroom aren't always familiar, but, at times like this, a warm feeling envelops me, and I know I'm home...

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It started with a squirrel bite
Posted Saturday, January 2, at 5:54 AM

Fourteen years ago, I was walking into the doctor's office to get a tetanus shot for a squirrel bite, when I saw a "Help wanted" sign in the window of the North Stoddard Countian newspaper office in Advance. Though I already had a teaching job, I was curious, so I went in to check. That began my career as a part time reporter...

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The day Travis hid in the ham
Posted Wednesday, December 23, at 6:28 AM

Yesterday I learned that one of our people in the composing room is resigning. I nearly had a fit, but then she explained. She's going back to school to become an English teacher. What could I say to that? How could I object? "Did you like it?" she asked, as I proofread this week's newspaper on the copy table...

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Making biscuits and memories
Posted Tuesday, December 1, at 5:24 AM

I confess that I don't like to cook. I realize that this disinclination for puttering around in the kitchen is a cardinal sin, but, as my BFF says, the only reason I have a kitchen is that it came with the house. However, I do like to make biscuits, and my son Matthew loves them, so, when my daughter-in-law Laura asked me to show her my "secret," I was more than happy to oblige...

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The seahorse caper
Posted Monday, November 30, at 6:45 AM

I learned at a very early age that stealing was not all it was cracked up to be, and I have to admit that the lesson has stuck with me all my life. I was in the first grade at Bowerman Elementary in Springfield, Mo., and I must have had a wonderful teacher, because I learned to read, and this has been my most treasured gift. Additionally, our teacher brought interesting objects to the classroom from her travels. We had our own "Window on the World."...

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The Easter Pigs
Posted Tuesday, November 17, at 6:17 AM

Perhaps my title should be "A farm is a wonderful place to raise a family," but, for current purposes, I will try to confine my ramblings to pigs--if I can. These days, my farm has no livestock, but when my children were growing up, we had all sorts of critters running around the countryside--cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, guineas, geese, ducks.......

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Kids and noses--What are they thinking?
Posted Thursday, November 5, at 7:18 AM

For some reason, I've recently been reminded of a story my mother-in-law told me at least twenty years ago. As a mother of three, I'm well aware of the ridiculous things that can happen in a household with children. My husband, Dale, was a stolid, practical man, ungiven to flights of spontaneous fancy, so I remember thinking how far-fetched this story sounded, but I guess even the most serious individuals have to start out as children and learn about life the hard way...

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The Adventures of Bruce the rooster
Posted Sunday, October 25, at 9:06 AM

A recent story by a fellow columnist has reminded me of the adventures of Bruce the rooster, a particularly feisty banty rooster who terrorized our farm, when my daughter Kristin was a toddler. That reference dates this story at 30 years ago. The little feathered devil made such an impression that I haven't had chickens on the farm since then...

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My gerbil ranch
Posted Friday, August 21, at 8:33 PM

When my oldest child was about seven, he had the brilliant idea to raise and sell gerbils, those cute little mouse-like rodents with the long legs, big black eyes, and amazing jumping ability. Like a good mama, I found myself unable to tell him that there was probably little demand for these athletic little critters in the Midwest farm country around Advance, Missouri. ...

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The night the egg hit the ceiling
Posted Tuesday, August 4, at 8:40 AM

When I was doing my student teaching back in the early stone age, my husband and I, married less than a year, rented an old barn-shaped house in a part of Cape Girardeau, where I wouldn't go these days.. To show you how quaint our lives were back in the early sixties, before advanced technology swept the nation, we had a black and white TV with rabbit ears, a gas stove, and a black rotary phone. ...

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Growing up with brothers
Posted Wednesday, July 22, at 12:40 PM

My life was peaceful until I was four and a half years old. Life was good. My parents loved me. The days were predictable and relatively calm, except for an occasional (and I'm sure well-justified) temper tantrum on my part. Then, one day, quite unexpectedly, there was a new addition to our household, and life never returned to normal...

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Goats or roses? You can't have both!
Posted Tuesday, July 14, at 7:35 AM

Lately I've seen some things that almost make me wish I still had goats. I see news coverage of herds of goats that are being rented out to clear the brush around highways. That's precisely the reason my son Matthew and I brought goats to my farm--to clear the brush on the pond levee...

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Born on the 4th of July
Posted Friday, July 3, at 9:46 AM

My father, Edwin W. Giles, was born on the fourth of July, 1911 in New Orleans, LA. I look at the photos of him, a dark-eyed little boy wearing a long white christening gown the way all the little boys did back then, posing for the camera in a fancy chair, looking solemn and frightened, sitting up all by himself, holding onto the arms of the chair...

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The turtle who lived under the couch
Posted Tuesday, June 16, at 6:51 AM

Sitting in the back yard with the BFF, listening to a mockingbird in the plum tree, telling stories about our early lives.... Both widowed, we've known each other only five years, so he doesn't know about the turtle who lived under the sofa in my basement in 1965.....

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The prowler who wasn't there
Posted Tuesday, June 2, at 8:40 AM

Though some people have cause not to trust social media such as Facebook, I have to admit that this current over-popular fad has given me some very special friends and reconnected me with some long-lost voices from my past. Just last week, I was contacted by a young lady who was gathering addresses for the 1960-1970 Cape Central High School class reunion...

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Teachers make the difference
Posted Wednesday, May 20, at 8:52 PM

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a genuine, real-life tea party!! I'm talking real porcelain teapots and tea cups, saucers, sundresses, and wide-brimmed sun hats with loads of colorful flowers! What? Here in Southeast Missouri swamp country, circa 2015??...

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Small towns are the best!
Posted Wednesday, May 6, at 10:50 AM

Life in the boondocks I have lived in a small town for 40 of the 73 years that I have been occupying a space on this earth. For the first 33 years of my existence, I dwelled in the obscure darkness of cities larger than 2,000. Little did I know what I was missing...

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The day Advance was almost blown away
Posted Sunday, April 19, at 7:41 AM

This week, I've been reading about tornadoes. I've never experienced the excitement of such a destructive force, and I admit that I would rather live the rest of my life without partaking of that dubious pleasure. Ever since I came to Advance 40 years ago, I've heard stories about the tornado of 1963. ...

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Friends that never fail me
Posted Tuesday, March 17, at 11:43 AM

I've always loved to read. When I was a kid, my family moved around a lot, and sometimes I felt as if books were my best friends. When we changed schools in the middle of a year, I found that my math education was left behind, but once I learned to read, no one could ever take that skill away from me. ...

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Off the wall
Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
Hot topics
Angels danced the day you were born!
(1 ~ 5:11 AM, Jan 26)

School dreams
(1 ~ 6:11 AM, Jan 14)

It started with a squirrel bite
(1 ~ 10:57 AM, Jan 5)

The day Travis hid in the ham
(0 ~ 5:45 AM, Dec 23)

Making biscuits and memories
(1 ~ 12:19 PM, Dec 8)

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