Saturday, September 03, 2005


Tom Pry

Went by the Searcy Library yesterday, armed with my trusty digital camera. I took the camera originally because I was looking for a photo of the head librarian from way back when. Well, here it is:

Inez Bishop was the Head Librarian from 1952 until her retirement in 1974. This portrait hangs in one of the side rooms at the Library.

Got a bonus while I was there. There were some hand-colored items in a frame off to one side of Ms. Bishop’s photo and, on closer examination, it contained hand-colored cards and handwritten notes. The accompanying card from the White County Historical Site explains:

These invitations were made by Miss Edna Farris in 1944-45 for her third grade students to take home, asking their mothers to come to PTA. This was during WWII and fathers were not encouraged or expected to attend meetings. Each invitation was a unique piece of art. These were donated to the White County Historical Society by Alma Smith Wilkinson of Driftwood, TX, who was in Edna Farris’ class. She recalls: “Meetings were conducted at the high school on West Vine, which had the only space large enough for the crowd. When a teacher’s name was called out, those mothers who had a child in that class would stand and be counted. It was wonderful to have Miss Farris as a teacher. Our class was on the second floor of the Primary building. Mrs. Wilson was the Principal. Miss Sydney Deener had retired a year before. Other teachers in that building were Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Sullivan, among others.”

I was fortunate in having Edna Farris as my teacher for the second half of my third grade year (that would have put it in 1947, for those of you who just got tangled up in your fingers trying to figure it out). I can’t remember what she looked like, but I do carry a sense of an attractive, caring lady – who thought a bottle of Coca-Cola™ was the sovereign remedy for just about anything that could ail an 8-year-old, from a tummy ache to running full tilt through a coat head-first into the school wall while playing bullfight.

Funny thing is, she was always right with that diagnosis. She must’ve spent a lot of nickels during her teaching career.

SIDE NOTE: That’s right, soft drinks were a nickel, with 2 cents deposit on the bottle if you took it with you. What a contrast with today. I was in Stott’s Drug Store (still on the Square, folks) recently and the price list on the cooler showed about 70 or 80 cents for various soft drinks … and ONE DOLLAR FOR A BOTTLE OF WATER.

Whoever would’a thunk it?


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