Friday, August 26, 2005


(Originally run 3/5/04 on our old site)

Anita Hart Fuller

Had lunch before the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Sunday afternoon with Don and Paula Thompson, Tommy and Betty Brown. We started talking about and trying to remember the library at SHS. I BARELY remember it, but they do: said it was in study hall - the books being all along the walls, not on shelves like in a library today. But here's my question: did we ever check out books? Did we ever use the reference section - or was there a reference section? - in any of our "studies" (I use the term loosely)? Miss Ellen Key was librarian in our day.

Don remembers checking out some kind of magazines.

My ONLY remembrance of any library was in grammar school, and I checked out my very first Nancy Drew. It had a blue cover (no dust jacket). I ate a bag of potato chips while reading it and, when I had to return it, my greasy fingerprints were all over it. I was so embarrassed ... don't remember the librarian saying anything to me, but I was "scared" when turning it in. They didn't have book drops in those days, did they? Come on, classmates, let's "talk library".

Tom Pry

My only memories of books in there … on the north wall was a counter, and it seems to me that the wall behind the counter had the only bookshelves in the room.

That’s also where the National Geographic magazines were stashed and, if you dug deep enough, you could almost always find at least one picture of a bare-breasted Nubian gal which, as long as you only checked it out from the neck down, was interesting.

I seem to remember that all, or at least most, of C.S. Forester’s classic “Horatio Hornblower” series was in that library, too, each of which I devoured (a full set today from is priced at $150, and the Searcy Library only has SOME of the books, all in the “large type” edition). There was also a priceless collection of Bill Mauldin cartoons from World War II.

Sadly, my most lasting memory of that study hall/library has nothing to do with books. It was the first day of school, and a middle-aged redheaded lady whose name is lost to me had study hall duty that hour (remember: most of the teachers had to rotate through that thankless duty).

Anyway, first day of study hall always featured a legal pad making the rounds, with everyone penciling in their name. When the pad finally got back to the teacher, she then read each name out loud to make sure no one had been left out. We were supposed to respond “here!” to our name.

One of our supposed number failed to respond to his name. It was about the fourth or fifth iteration of it, amidst a growing number of barely-suppressed adolescent giggles, before the teacher realized she’d been Had. The name she’d been bellowing at the top of her lungs was “I. P. Wellwater!”

Mark Twain had it right. At birth, boys should be sealed into a wine keg and then fed through the bung hole. When they turn 18, hammer in the bung (“stopper” to you young’uns).


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