Stories: Alice Canterbury
"Taught Us Girls to Cook and Sew"
Wesley House, Elizabeth Russell, and Marcus Lindsay Memorial Methodist
Church introduced me to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. My name is Alice Funk
Canterbury. I am 84 years old, handicapped, and live with my daughter in
My family moved to Washington Street, a block east of Wesley House in
1926. I became active at that time and was in the third grade. Miss Gaines
and Miss Elizabeth Russell were the deaconesses. Miss Gaines was in charge,
and Miss Russell was the counselor.
At that time, there was no gym, and several of us children played
handball between two homes. I watched the gym being built behind these
homes. After the gym was built, we played basketball, softball, and
volleyball inside the facility. Every summer, Vacation Bible School was held
at Wesley House.
Miss Russell taught us girls to cook and sew. When Miss Gaines had
surgery, Miss Russell took a group of up to visit her at old Methodist
Hospital (which was located downtown around 7th or 8th Street). Also, Miss
Russell had us perform plays during the year. She was very strict in a
When I was in junior high school, Miss Russell took a group of girls and
boys (there was a man counselor) to Lake Louisvilla for the summer. Also,
the cook for Wesley House came with us. The girls stayed upstairs above the
dining hall, and the boys stayed in tents. When camp ended, it was clean-up
time. To clean the stove and pans, we had to use sand for a cleanser.
One fall, Miss Russell took some of us girls for a weekend retreat to
Lake Louisvilla. That evening, she asked what we wanted to drink for
breakfast; all of us said hot chocolate. Miss Russell made sure we had hot
chocolate, but I'll never forget she drank a cup of hot water with sugar in
it. When Miss Russell went on a leave, Miss Margaret Thatcher came.
Our family was very poor, and Wesley House sent my sister, Dardanella,
and I on a vacation to Lancaster, Kentucky. I was 11 years old, and it was
my first train ride.
The Shively United Methodist Church, where I am a member, cooked lunch
for the senior citizens group and took it to Wesley House. When I got there,
many fond memories came to my mind.