Many Port City Baby Boomers may have memories from when they were school children of Disa Stone reading to them at Leinkauf, Old Shell Road and at other schools and hospitals.
Disa Stone’s real name was Elsa Chandler and she was the wife of Ralph Chandler, publisher of the Mobile Press Register. The name “Disa” was a child’s mispronunciation of Elsa that stuck with her and “Stone” was a translation of Stein, her German maiden name.
A small, thin, energetic woman, Elsa worked as hard as her husband at the Press Register. She loved children, but had none of her own. So she gave her time to others’ children.
At the newspaper she conducted two clubs for children designed to introduce them to literature and to help them write. Younger children joined the Sunshine Club, while older children participated in the Nom de Plume Club.
The two clubs’ members met at the newspaper’s office on Saturdays to hear stories, to read their own writings and to talk about improving their writing.
The reporters, however, often found the children to be a nuisance as they hung over reporters while they typed, or the children would occupy reporters’ desks if they got up. Sometimes a piece of lemon would come flying past a reporter’s head as the kids fished the lemon slices out of glasses of lemonade and threw them at one another.
The Chandlers divorced in 1949, but Elsa continued her work with children in Mobile’s schools. She died in 1974.
Do you have memories of Disa Stone visiting your school, or were you a member of one of her children's clubs?