Thursday, July 21, 2005


(Run originally 2/3/04 on our old site)

Tom Pry

You just never what’s going to pop up in the mail, even the inter-office. Just yesterday, my wife, Karen, received an envelope and, in it, a batch of photos and negatives. They’d come from Clydell Neal, by way of Mary Kathryn Van Patten James.

With one exception, they come out of the 53-55 timeframe. If you’ll remember how bad the typical camera and 120 film was in those days, you’ll understand why these took a little work. I scanned all but one from the negative. The one exception had been sent to me from a deskjet printer.

But some of you might get a kick in the memory from these. I know I did.

While these are now posted on (or use the link on the left), we’ll give you a bit more identification here than is possible on the picture site.

BAND BUS Getting ready to get off. From left to right, Draxie Jean Horn and Clara Nell Rackley, seated, and Robin “Chirp” Moore, standing. Probably around 1954.

HOT SPRINGS 1953 #1 From left to right: Betty Jo Davis, Rita Jo Dunn, Clara Nell Rackley, Mary Kathryn Van Patten, Clydell Neal. (And apologies here to MKVP: I just realized I’ve been spelling “Kathryn” wrong for, oh, some 50 years or so).

HOT SPRING 1953 #2 From left to right: Clydell Neal, Mary Kathryn Van Patten, Draxie Jean Horn, Rita Jo Dunn, Clara Nell Rackley.

WHAT SHOW WAS THIS? From left to right: an unknown young lady, then Julia Ann Rand, Peggy Killough, Mary Kathryn Van Patten, and Donna Mae Hunt. No one seems to remember what show this was, but Clydell found the original photo envelope. Her mother had dated it 1955 and “Kiwanis Play.” If that’s the case, according to Clydell, that probably would make it the Minstrel Show – but she invokes Anita Hart Fuller’s help in nailing it down – which’ll take awhile, since Anita’s in Chicago this week.

CLYDELL NEAL 1955 and, obviously, getting ready for the same show.

MKVP 1955 Mary Kathryn, ready for the same show (gee, how quickly they forget).


THE TRIO L-R, Patsy Sutherlin, Mary Beth Cook, and Jo Ann Roth.

And, finally, the one exception to which I referred earlier. Taken in the summer of 1997 or 1998 (it doesn’t take 50 years for the memory to start collapsing) at Colton’s Restaurant here in Searcy, L-R: (Sitting) Pat Merritt Barger, Mary K. Van Patten James, and Patsy Sutherlin McRee; (Standing) Draxie Horn Rogers and Clara Nell Rackley Cargile.

It is with more than a little wistfulness that I look at these photos, and all I can think of is a Cornelia Skinner Otis play that was very popular when we were in school. It was called, "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay."

Thanks for the memories, ladies.


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