Monday, October 03, 2005

Crosby and Other Places - III

(Run originally 4/2/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson

(A short lesson on how to get to Echo Dell from Crosby in Eight Years)

Rural Route 5

So, it was Route 5 from 1949 to about 1957. These were the days of Echo Dell, Bee Rock, party lines, and telephones that went, “Operator, number please.”

“248-J, please.” Mrs. Canfield had the closest phone, and she let me use it when I walked to her house in the summer to make any calls. That number belonged to either Elois Bleight or Wanda Skaggs.

Billy Wayne Deaton lived just east of the crossroads at Main and Johnson. He was tough as a pine knot, and loved to fight. Reminded me of Artie Russell. Billy Wayne drowned in the Little Red River, near Bee Rock, on March 5, 1955. He was just shy of sixteen.

Dwayne and Ronnie Holleman lived at what we called The Water Plant, at the end of Johnson Road, just to the east of Camp Wyldwood. The Searcy water supply was pumped from the river, cleaned and chlorinated, and supplied Searcy’s water. It was an interesting operation.

Bee Rock was a great place for picnics, rock climbing, and viewing the scenery back to the east. The county mined tons of blue granite form the face of the cliff over the years, until the cost to dynamite and crushing the gravel became prohibitive.

On top of the cliff at Bee Rock, you could see forever on a clear day. It was also a dangerous place: the one hundred foot rock face of the cliff was beautiful but deceiving, and more than one climber lost their life in that quarry over the years. It borders the Little Red, with an almost impossible-to-travel road down to the quarry and to the water’s edge. If traveling by water, it’s about a mile or little more south on the river from Echo Dell to Bee Rock.

Bee Rock, another long ago treasure not to be forgotten, where high school hayrides and romance coincided.

I must say publicly what I’ve told Ernie privately: the more I read of his childhood, the more I think his parents must’ve been very, very special people, the kind who, very quietly and unspectacularly, built our community while they were molding us rotten little barbarians.

Thanks, Ernie, for sharing these memories with us. –tlp- or, if you prefer, 1129W3.


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