Celebrating Dottie Roudabush
Celebrating Dorothy "Dottie" Roudabush
Can you guess who was a cheerleader in high school and college. She has played several sports. In high school she knitted matching sweaters for herself and her boyfriend. She attended, not a pig roast, but a goat roast. She has been a Presbyterian all her life. If you guessed Dottie Roudabush, you are correct!
Dorothy “Dottie” Anne Brown was born on August 21, 1946, in Syracuse, New York. Dottie’s father, Earl Freeborn Brown, attended Penn State on a football scholarship. He was a physical education major, and also taught bowling at Colgate University. He flew airplanes during his time in the service. Her mother, Elisabeth Jane Wiley Brown, was the daughter of a doctor who was an x-ray technician for TB and cancer. She was a physical education teacher in an elementary school. Both of her parents graduated from Penn State. Her parents got married in Denver, Colorado. Dottie was the first born of six children. She has three sisters and two brothers. She was 17 when her youngest brother was born.
Dottie’s grandfather owned a motel and had a dairy farm. Dottie’s father was given the motel, and her uncle got the dairy farm. She helped take care of the motel, which was open spring through fall. She helped in the kitchen.
The family attended The Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia. In later years, Dottie was elected a Deacon. She was placed in charge of preparing communion. She also taught Sunday School. On communion Sundays her Sunday School class would help her in preparing the communion for church.
When Dottie was five years old, she contracted encephalitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain). Her mother sat with her during the day, and her father sat with her during the night.
Dottie’s formal education began with half-day kindergarten and first grade at Cazenovia Elementary School. When she was in second grade a new school was built. During the construction, two classes of second grade were held in the Grange (like the masons for farmers). Other classes were held in churches around town. The new building was much safer than the old wooden building they were using before. Every Thursday at school was VBS (yes, Vacation Bible School) for one hour. It was not required, but most of the children attended. The Catholics went to the Catholic Church and the Protestants went to their church. One day on the way back to school from VBS, Dottie was walking backwards and when she turned around, she ran smack dab into a tree! She had to explain to everyone how she got those two black eyes.
Dottie started taking ballet lessons when she was in elementary school. She participated in several recitals. This continued through middle school and in high school she was doing toe dancing. The cadets from the military school were bused over to the dance studio to learn Ball Room Dancing. Several girls, including Dottie, were selected to dance with the cadets during their lessons.
When Dottie started attending Cazenovia Junior High School, sometimes her father would be substitute teaching in some of her classes. She didn't like that at all. It was during this time she realized her initials spelled DAB (remember the commercial about Brylcreem? A little dab will do you!) It was during these years she started babysitting. There were families across the street and some next to the motel. Dottie was a companion to these children during the summer months.
There was a lake a mile away from their home. When the weather was warm enough children would go swimming off the pier. Dottie's father knew a child that had drowned in the lake. During the summer her father insisted that she take swimming lessons to strengthen her skills.
When Dottie was fourteen years old, during the school year her younger brother had to get up early to go across the road to the chicken farm to collect fresh eggs. He would wake her up and she would wash, dry and curl her hair, and finish her homework for that day.
All four years of high school, she played the clarinet in the band and orchestra. She also played softball, basketball and volleyball. Her senior year she was a cheerleader. She quit the cheer leading squad half way through the year. She was dating a wrestler, and went to watch him wrestle at a state meet, instead of cheering at a game at school. Dottie quit the squad before being let go!
While in high school, she took typing as an elective. Her class was across the hall from the library. She sat next to the door and would talk to everyone going by. She always passed her timed tests in the class.
Dottie made her dress for the senior prom. It was a short white percale dress with a red cummerbund. When it came time to put in the zipper, she accidentaly put it in up-side-down. The accident turned out to be beneficial. At that time expensive dresses had up-side-down zippers. She sewed and knitted from the time she was little. Once she knitted her and her boyfriend matching sweaters.
She graduated 25th out of a class of 126 students. Students would choose to take the academic track or the vocational track. She chose the academic one.
In 1964, she was enrolled at New York State College of Geneseo, outside of Rochester, New York. Her major was Elementary Education with a minor in Fine Arts. She played in the band for the first year. Freshman through senior years she was a cheerleader and played volleyball. She worked in the school cafeteria her senior year washing dishes. She chose that job because it was more fun than serving. She had time to play cards between washings.
The first half of her senior year she did her Student Teaching. Dottie worked with 5th and 6th graders teaching life skills. She was offered a job after student teaching (she didn't take it). Then she did her second teaching in grade 2, which she liked better. She graduated in 1968. Her first job was teaching 2nd grade at Tonawanda Elementary School in the Sweet Home District of Buffalo, New York. She worked there five years, teaching the transition to regular alphabet from a phonic alphabet. The biggest part was teaching the many ways a long vowel sound could be written. Many times, it could be written in five different ways. In New York, after a teacher gets her BS in education, within a five-year period they must have thirty additional hours of education or have gotten their Master’s Degree. Dottie chose to just get thirty more hours. She worked at Buffalo State University working with participants and student teachers for waivers. One of the supervisors asked her if she was going for her Master’s. Her reply was "no". He asked her if he got her into the Master’s program would she do it. She laughed because one must apply after twelve graduate hours, and she already had twenty-four hours. Two weeks later she was in the Master’s program. Finished her Master’s Degree with a paper on Dyslexia.
She moved to Kansas City and taught in the second grade. Needed six hours for certification and applied at Missouri University at Kansas City. Dottie was accepted in the Doctorate Program, but didn't want to do it.
In 1978, she got married and went to Saudi Arabia for four years, teaching in the American run school as a permanent sub and then as a first-grade teacher. She had lots of ESL (English as a Second Language) students. She learned enough Arabic to communicate. If she used it, people would then speak English, especially the bus drivers. Women rode in the back of the bus to the shopping area (called souks). While there, Dottie taught two American-Arab girls English. Arab homes had two living rooms, one for men and one for women. While teaching fourth graders, they camped in the desert and went to a goat roast with the bus drivers.
Dottie returned to the states for the birth of her first child, Nathan. Dottie and Nathan returned to Saudi Arabia when he was three months old. Eighteen months later the family moved back to the states. Nathan was two and a half when Tim was born. The family had a house across the street from the elementary school, and Dottie did childcare in the home for five years.
The Roudabush family moved to North Carolina after her step-children graduated from high school. At this time Dottie taught Primary Reading for two years and then taught second grade in a private school. After that she got a full-time teaching position in Forsyth County, working with BED students (Behavioral, Emotional and Disability Education). She then attended High Point University for her Special Ed Certification. Dottie began teaching in middle school at Hanes-Lowrance in Winston-Salem. She taught autistic children for two years and the mentally challenged (Down Syndrome) for three years. Dottie retired from teaching at age sixty-eight; her youngest grandson (Alex) was born that July. She went to live with Nathan and took care of Alex for five years. Last November Dottie moved into the Gateway apartments and has four grandchildren ranging in ages five to fifteen.
A Presbyterian her entire life, she joined First Presbyterian Church of Kernersville on January 18, 1998. In 2004, Dottie was ordained an Elder, has served on the Fellowship Committee, helped with the egg ministry, and has taught Sunday School. She also sings in the choir and plays hand chimes. She's a member of the Saturday Morning Ladies Bible Study.
DOTTIE'S WORDS OF WISDOM:
Believe in yourself, and you can do whatever your heart desires.
MOST PROUD OF:
I am most proud of my teaching, especially working with special needs children.