Sunday, August 5, 2012


Go back with me a few (!) years to my 10th grade school year. I went to a private christian school all the way across the country from where we lived, by train, to Florida..

Most of my classmates were preachers kids or missionaries kids... PK's and MK's. I was a PK...

This school had been started some years before by the DuBose family, a staunch old line Presbyterian family, who purchased the estate on the lake. It had at one time been a beautiful and private school for girls.

The 3 kids in my family each spent at least one year at Hampden BuBose Academy.

It was a strict school!

It also was a year of many special memories, fun, growth, homesickness and so much more. I spent the Christmas vacation there, as there was no money to fly home. Christmas at H.D.A. was magical. We went by busloads into Orlando, and caroled for nursing homes and churches. One of the stores in Orlando gave a gift of a complete outfit for each student who stayed at the school during Christmas. The boxes under the tree were huge, and it took forever to open everything. We were all so excited! The kitchen preparations were absolutely a ball! We hand scalloped each orange with fluted edges to hold the fresh fruit salad. Pies by the dozens were put together, and turkeys stuffed and roasted, all by the students and faculty. We laughed and sang our way through Christmas vacation!

On Saturday nights, the whole student body hiked up the trail to our campfire. We played games and had more rounds of singing, smores, hot dogs and burgers. It's where I learned to love cole slaw on a hot dog.

Every day we had chapel. The speakers who came by through the year were amazing. Billy Graham's daughter GiGi was my sister's roomate while she was there, and the best speakers in the world were guests at our chapel services. I know I shared that Elizabeth Elliott's younger brother was a senior during my time there, and it was that year that Elizabeth's husband Jim, was murdered by the Auca Indians. I still remember getting the news in chapel that day.

Long story short... the thing that caught my attention today, was this real estate video on You Tube, which the alumni email included this week.

This was my 'dorm'... it has been remodeled to some extent, but the basics are the same. It is now for sale, it still makes me feel like a 10th grader as I view the pictures and reccall the memories of those days.

If I had a 'few million' extra dollars... wouldn't it be fun to buy this place!

On that very lake in the background, one of my good friends water skiied right up and over the back of a crocodile. We swam there every day and never saw another one, but they have it on video and it actually happened.

On Sunday, after our church services on campus, families of local students came and we ate chicken ala something on the sloping lawns that fronted the lake. The little flying gnats were so common in Florida, that we all poured big amounts of black pepper on our chicken so we couldn't tell which kind of protein we were eating!

We sang at H.D.A., EVERYONE sang, in chapel, in concerts, and all over the grounds as we worked and did gardening, cooking, serving food, etc. I have never before or since heard such singing. The roof almost came off during chapel worship. We did an Easter sunrise cantata right on the shores of our lake for all of the surrounding communities to attend. It always ended with The Hallelujah Chorus.

My thoughts are drifting back to Zellwood, Florida this afternoon, and I've enjoyed remembering...

13 comments: said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing another part of your inheritance.

My parents sold our family home as soon as I fact they have moved before I married and our guest stayed at the house. To this day I keep wishing I could buy it and go back to all those memories.

My kids feel the same since we don't have a family home..they each talk about buying it back.

What memories are held in those places of our youth.

Maybe that is why scripture says He is preparing a place for us...mansions! John 14;2

Debbie Petras said...

I loved watching this video! I can imagine you water skiing on that lake. I watched my brother water ski with an alligator between himself and the boat. I refused to go in the water.

You've had such a wonderful heritage. I'm so glad you share these things with us. What an amazing experience and I'm sure you even learned much during your time there. It looks beautiful.

Love you,

Vee said...

Oh I enjoyed going along for this trip down Memory Lane. It sounds like an amazing place where you had some wonderful adventures. Loved the description of expand on that sometime. It's fun to dream about what you might do if you were to purchase such a place...

Farm Girl said...

Oh Wow, I can hear Elisabeth Elliot talking about how Miss DuBois would say, " Don't carry a Bible under your arm without sweeping under your bed. That is so amazing that you went to that school.
I always loved to listen to Elisabeth Elliot talk about it. You make it sound like so much fun and when Elisabeth talked about it I always thought it sounded austere. Things were different weren't they, so different from today. I will go look up that video. I was always so curios about it. You have known things I have only read about, it always takes my breath away. :) said...


I didn't even know Elizabeth Elliott went to H.D.A. I only knew her younger brother. She did come and speak while we were there though. It WAS a very strict school, but we also had so much fun there. Thank you for your always kind comments!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Wow, was the school in the same house? I bet your heart did flip flops while watching this video, thinking on so many wonderful memories from a season ago.

You have a rich, wonderful, godly heritage, Sonja. When you write about it, I somehow feel a part of it! Thanks for taking me there.


Debbie said...

I am one of those goofy people who gets impressed with claims to fame. I admit it. I think this whole thing is so interesting! What a memory to have that you literally shared the sorrow with Jim Elliott's brother-in-law.

I haven't clicked the link yet, but I will now. So cool to me!

(And I know what you mean about singing like that. My girls went to a small Christian school, and the singing at Chapel there is still one of the most beautiful memories that I have. I went every Friday as a parent. The sound of those kids coming in the door singing was like that of the angels.)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Memories my dear, are the stuff of poetry. I have fond memories as well of my young days as a new member of my church, where I met Christ and built the foundation upon which I still live....thank you SO MUCH for coming today to visit; I was rather late in posting a new post, but I just put it up. THIS IS A BUSY SUMMER!!!!!! Have a lovely one, Anita

Kathleen said...

Thank you for taking me there, in both a very real and very cyber way. I could see that sloping lawn; smell those roasting hot dogs. I could hear the chorus. Your sweet memory came alive.

I never really understood the whole "strict" thing. Yet my parents were strict. I just didn't know it until I ran across those less so. It gave me fences & structure in life; a sense of security. I also understand the whole concept of freedom better, for without discipline there is no such thing.

As Elaine said: you have such a rich heritage!

NanaNor's said...

Hi, As hard as it would be being away from family for school, a school like this might make it a tad easier. What a beauty this is! What a rich heritage you have; thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Noreen

Melanie Dorsey said...

I really enjoyed reading about your 10th grade year in what sounded and looks like a idyllic spot.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I found this walk down your memory lane so very interesting. I remember the school well, as some of my WOL friends went there. I remember my parents talking about sending us there at one point. You shared it so well, that I almost felt like I was there. I can't imagine how sad you parents must have been to not have you home for Christmas, but it sure does sound like you were taken good care of. I think your years were so instrumental in making you such a special person today. You were so blessed to have such a Godly heritage.

LisaShaw said...

Precious friend,

It has been a while since I've dropped in...I've spent a few minutes reading and absorbing and catching up with you my friend.

I loved watching this video and peeking a bit into your rich heritage. What a beautiful school!!! Those old wooden steps reminded me of my Grandparents home.

I loved that library. You know I'm a book junkie!!!

Thanks for sharing with us Sonja and thank you for being the never-ending constant friend. I love and appreciate you.