Saturday, December 31, 2005


Madeline Simpson Barber

Hi, I just discovered your Christmas e-mail. Thank you for thinking of me. We have been busy with health problems, and company and all that, so I have not responded to the mention of me in Yesteryear, but I did see it, and I certainly appreciate the invitation to be a part of the festivities. I sent my form back to Carolyn (Reed Hill), but I also reminded her I did not graduate with the class. I actually missed the most memorable years...the last three. Anyway, I do appreciate it, and plan to come, if there are no objections.

I also have not written anything to yesteryear in a while, because I guess I feel a little bit like Susie: it seems you band kids bonded so much, that I really do not feel as if I have much to contribute. I do however, enjoy reading your remarks.

My husband, Chet, and I reached a special milestone in our lives on Christmas Day. You may have seen our picture in the paper. We celebrated 50 years of marriage at Wyldewood Retreat Center on the 18th of December. Our kids really outdid themselves with a very nice reception. We also stayed out there all weekend, and had our Christmas there.

I was glad to see Ernie looking so happy in the picture you posted. I wrote to him after I found out about the cancer, and he never responded. I was surprised, and I still do not understand why he didn't, but I decided he has his reasons, and that is okay. I am running out of space here, so thanks again, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Tom Pry (1)

Madeline, at the Class of 56’s 50th Year Reunion (7/1/06), we’d like to have anyone who might have been a member of our class at any point, whether they graduated with us or not. As it happens, you were SPECIFICALLY mentioned as an example. So, yep, come on down!

I guess that, sometimes, this site does look like it’s reserved just for the “band kids,” but that’s not the case at all. I guess we tend to be a bit more cohesive, simply because we had so many shared experiences, and traveled as a group much more than our non-musical peers. Yet, most of our classmates were NOT musicians, and this is as much their site as us loud-mouths.

Let’s hear it, gang!

Congrats on the 50th Anniversary for you and Chet. As it happens, your cousin (and my wife’s boss) Deloris DID mention it to Karen, but she didn’t mention it to me, so I didn’t get a copy of the picture, but I’m glad your kids set up a nice one.

You’re right: Ernie’s upbeat spirit is a wonder. (For those who came into this movie late, Ernie’s been battling cancer for the last year). It’s also enough to make me wonder how I’d react in similar circumstances. Not hearing from him shouldn't be taken personally: between the normal (??) vagaries of computers, Ernie tells me that that garbage they send through the veins during chemo does tend the sidetrack a few synapses in the brainpan. Write him again.

You and Chet (and all the rest of you out there) have a great AND SAFE New Year’s Eve and Day.

Dan E. Randle

You will need to read what goes on the site fast, It moves right along. You can click on the pause button on the bottom left to pause the show, then click on the forward play to continue.

Jim Bohannon

Earlier today, I received a nice email from Clifton Wiggs. Great to hear from him, thanks to you. I thought you might be interested in what has been going on with me in recent years, so I'm sending you a copy too. Thanks again for your website. Wonderful information about past years in Searcy. Keep up the good work.

Hello Cliff, I received your e-mail. It was great to hear from you. How long has it been? I suppose since our high school days. Or, I may recall seeing you at one of our past reunions. Before I retired in Feb-02, I would see Coy Benton at the local post office from time to time. He always made it a point to speak and ask how I'm doing? I had forgotten that you're cousins. I recall seeing Charles Hunter at the 40th reunion in 1997. Were you there?

I hope all of you are well, as well as all former classmates from Class of 1957. My wife, Reba, and I sat next to Homer Wilson and his wife (Margie as I recall) during the reunion dinner in 1997. Great to visit with them.

The funeral(s) that you mentioned … hopefully,they weren’t one of our former classmates. While in Virginia, I sadly read of Bobby Chapman and Rebecca Cox Fortune passing away.

Send me a postcard or e-mail sometime and keep in touch. Providence willing, and all classmates’ health continue, we'll be able to hold a 50th reunion in 2007. I'm sure Ernie, Coy and others will want to try and make it happen. Would be great to see all again.

As for me, my wife and I retired in Feb, 2002, and moved to Manassas, VA near Washington, DC. We still maintain seasonal residence there (summers and fall), as well as in Montana.

Probably about late March, Reba and I will start traveling again. Hopefully, our health will continue allowing us to see other parts of the good ole USA.

I'm a history buff and participate in Civil War reenactments. Enclosed is a picture of me taken last fall in Virginia. "Wrong color!” you say? Yes, I'm a Yankee Artillery officer. However, sometimes, I do fight on the Rebel side, if an extra Confederate uniform is available.

Most of the time, though, I'm on the Union side. Lots of fun and helps keep me physically active. Last time I checked, one of the battlefield sites still had some of my pictures on their website. If you would like to check it out, go to and key on 2004/5 pictures. My picture contribution is down toward the end of pages.

My Searcy mailing address for messages is: Jim Bohannon, PO Box 8006, Searcy, AR 72145

If you're in contact with any of the Searcy 1950's era classmates. Please pass on to them my best regards.

Yours truly,

James (Jim) Bohannon

Tom Pry (2)

First, I must explain that, under ordinary conditions, I do NOT release peoples’ e-mail addresses, even via e-mail. But I checked with Jim, and he said it was okay to use it.

Homer Wilson and his clan live just up the road from us. It must be genetic: all of his kids and grandkids seem to have inherited Homer’s lead foot on the accelerator.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


See you again on New Year's Eve!
-- Tom, Ernie, and Dan E.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Gene Barnett

Merry Christmas to all. May this be the best Christmas ever and wish you all a wonderful New Year. Hope you get all the presents you ask for and all your dreams come true.


Wallace Evans

To all the SHS Graduates and others that I have come to know and communicated with over the years and especially while in Searcy, AR, and Searcy High School: We wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and continued good health in 2006.

Hope the SHS 1954 Graduates can get together for another reunion in Searcy for a 55th. The 50th was a real "blast" and "awesome" too.

Wallace and Myrna Evans ( Bella Vista, AR) and son Jonathan (Detroit, MI)

Jim Bohannon

Hello Tom,

I just happened to find your Searcy Yesterday website. My congratulations to whomever, decided to put it together. Great site! I presume it was you. And very glad that I did find the site. Now, it gives me another computer/activity to do in my retirement spare time.

I enjoyed reading about the many old (and good, I might add), "Searcy High School" memories of and about the 1950's. It was a pleasure to read about my former class member, Dan Randle. Great to know he is well and living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. "Hello, Dan." Good, too, to re-hear from Ernie Simpson, Elois Bleidt Pelton, Clifton Wiggs, Coy Benton and others whom I recall visiting with during our 40th high school reunion in 1997. "Hello to all my 1957 class mates" and others who were a few years before and after 1957.

Again, great to read about you. God bless you all.

Happy Holidays (and yes, Merry Christmas!) No political correctness here and I’m sure you, too, feel the same way! A happy 2006 to all. Retired from State and Federal service. Living in Searcy during the winter and Northern Virginia in the Summer. I guess you could call me-- what's the term? “Snowbird." We'll stop at that, ok?

Best Regards, Jim Bohannon, Searcy High School Class of 1957

Dan E. Randle


* 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, ? ?

Mary Kathryn Van Patten James

“First Security Bank's Gold Club returned recently from twenty days in Australia and New Zealand. Thirty nine Gold Club members visited Melbourne, Ayers Rock and Alice Springs in the outback of Australia, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef and sang as a group in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House. After a private dinner they attended the Symphony concert which included Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy.

“During their week in New Zealand they visited Christchurch, Queenstown, Mt Cook, the Franz Joseph Glacier and a working sheep and dairy farm.”

Mary Kay leads a tough life. If you’ll take a close look at the second row from the top, second person from the left, there she is. This, of course, in addition to such exotic places as the Clinton Library, Kenya … Mary Kay’s job is shepherding these little Gold Club trips.

As I said, tough life. –tlp-

Warren Darden

???????????????????? Memo from Santa ??????????????????????????

I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer serve Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arizona, Texas, Ohio or Alabama on Christmas Eve.

Due to the overwhelming current population of the earth, my contract was renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local 209. As part of the new and better contract, I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies. so keep that in mind.

However, I'm certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement, who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus.

His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls; however, there are a few differences between us, differences such as:

1. There is no danger of the Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."

2. Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave RC cola and pork rinds (or a Moon Pie) on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn't smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff, so please have an empty spit can handy.

3. Bubba Claus' sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin' coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen's head now overlooks Bubba's fireplace.

4. You won't hear "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner, and Blitzen..." when Bubba Claus arrives.. Instead, you'll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Andretti, on Elliott and Petty."

5. "Ho, Ho, Ho" has been replaced by "Yee Haw" And you also are likely to hear Bubba's elves respond, "I her'd dat"

6. As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus' sleigh does have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back Off."

7. The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you'll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and
dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.

And Finally,

8. Bubba Claus doesn't wear a belt. If I were you, I'd make sure you, the wife, and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.

Ernie Simpson

At the Hytrol Christmas party last Sunday the 11th, it was good to go back as a retiree. This is Ruth Poston, dear friend and daughter of the late founder, Tom Loberg. Bill Hawthorne, my boss up till retirement, and my treasure, Shelia. I'll be glad to get my hair back: I have to wear a jacket to keep my head warm! haha. Over 1900 at the party this year.

And then Ernie sent along a poem that we’ve received from several people. The prettiest version came from Don and Paula Anne Windsor Thompson, and we herewith share it with you, and for all the same reasons:

My Christmas List
I have a list of folks all written in a book and. every time at Christmas, I go and take a look,
And that is when I realize that these names are a part
Not of the book they’re written in, but of my very heart.
And while you may not be aware of one special link
Just knowing you has shaped my life more than you could think.
For once you’ve met somebody, the years cannot erase
The memory of a pleasant word, or of a friendly face.
So never think my Christmas greeting is just a mere routine
Of names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.
And every year when Christmas comes, I realize anew
The biggest gift that can be given is knowing friends like you.
And may the spirit of Christmas that forever and ever endures
Leave its richest blessings in the heart of you and yours.

(Author Unknown)

Monday, December 19, 2005


Material will be posted to this site only on weekends.

It’s not that we don’t love you, but there aren’t as many submissions as there used to be.

Where’s yours?

Have a good week!

About 1957

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Sandi Laas Brickley

Hi Tom...

Sorry it's taken so long to get the photo you requested of my dad...It was taken the year before he passed away (1984).

I loved reading up on all the Searcy things and promise (once again) to get more information to you...I have quite a bit so. if you have any ideas on the best way to do this, I'd be happy to follow your suggestions.

To bring you up to date just a little...yes, the photo of the piano recital of Miss Ward was me (you weren't sure). I loved being the band mascot and never for a moment thought I was anything except "one of the gang"

I remember Ernie Simpson (I was starting to play the baritone and he played the cornet).

We moved from Searcy when I was 11 and my dad continued with his music teaching...first at Elston Jr. High then at Barker Jr High and throughout the Michigan City Public Elementary Schools. He also continued to write and publish...Sandra Overture being my favorite.

For general information, I also continued with music and twirling...1st female drum major in high school, a member of the Purdue University "Rockettes of the Gridiron", featured twirler as a "Golden Girl representative" in the Miss Indiana Parade, Quebec Winter Carnival, etc. Also the 1st female in the brass section of the Purdue Symphonic Band (by audition only).

I continued in Simsbury, CT with the baritone and community band as President and with enough Margaritas have been know to entertain our guests with my twirling or the Purdue Fight Song on my event not easily forgotten.

Both of our kids played baritone but went the way of the bass guitar and regular guitar...Still playing, though.

My mother, Cecil (now CeeCee), remarried...another musician & former band director (a bachelor and close friend of over 30 years). They still live in Michigan City, Indiana.

Thanks for remembering my dad in such a wonderful way. It's been extremely special to my kids and our family to know what an impact he had on some very nice and talented people.

Tom Pry

Well, don’t sell you and your Mom short, either: we’ve remembered you for 51 years, now, so none of you qualify as Eminently Forgettable. And the thought of you as a Boilermaker …. !

Write us some more, please … and have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2005


(Run originally 8/4/04 on our old site)

Ernie Simpson


Uncle Jim Bennett was mom’s uncle, and I’m not sure of the other lineage here but I recall, as a young boy in church, how fervently he believed in the Word, and how strongly he wanted all to know about the word of the Lord, as he preached in the little churches around the community. It didn’t matter where he was, just as long as ‘two or three are gathered together in My name’, that’s where Uncle Jim would be, too.

We went to service often, and also had several neighbors who were faithful to church every Sunday at the little community church in Ballew community. One neighbor in particular loved to sit on the back row, and doze. This was fine, his wife couldn’t bother him as she was the piano player, and was out of reach to keep him awake. But, even the enthusiastic preaching of Uncle Jim didn’t faze the man, and his striding back and forth waving his Bible, and mopping his brow every moment or two, did not deter the dozer.

One Sunday morning, Uncle Jim was truly filled with the Spirit, and had just gotten into his sermon, and was bringing the word with enthusiasm and great emotion. He wanted everyone within the sound of his voice to hear the word, as it was profound and held Grace for all who would hear.

He was stringing his words together as fast and loudly as he could, we had to listen carefully, to make sure we caught it all, when suddenly, Uncle Jim just caught his breath, and called out, “Wa-a-a-a-ke up, Brother Canfield!!!”

Well, the dozer awoke, and everyone looked at him, but Uncle Jim did not break his stride in his sermon, and just kept preaching. Some of us kids snickered, but no matter, the sermon kept going.

That was the last time Brother Canfield dozed during one of Uncle Jim’s sermons.

Old Traditions


Grandpa Bennett told me once of a friend who was a very devout member in the little church they attended as young adults. The friend was a deacon in the church, and they were of a southern fundamentalist group who believed in following some of the acts in the scripture with celebrations appropriate to that activity. One of these was foot washing, to commemorate Jesus’ feet being washed according to Luke, by the woman, a sinner.

The man’s son was a teenager, and he and his dad had conflict that morning before church over something, and the son decided to get even. So, he took a knife, and carefully scraped the inside of the chimney pipe of the wood burning stove. When he thought he had enough soot, he carefully coated the inside of his dad’s socks.

They all got ready for church, and during the service, came time for the sacrament of the foot washing. Everyone prepared, they brought a basin and a towel, the deacon sat down and the preacher said,” Let’s have a word of prayer before we start.”

After the prayer, the dad took off his shoes, then removed his socks, and both feet were black as night.

The preacher, and the whole front of the church were aghast as they saw what happened, but the father was calm as could be as he said, “Well, that Hubert, he’s the one that done that.”

After calm was restored, they went on with the foot washing, for real. The father went home with clean feet, but the son, I learned, had a session with the razor strap.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Our Thought for the Day Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


(Run originally 8/2/04 on our old site)

It does us good, I think, to look back at this time of the year, and reflect how things have changed – hopefully, for the good – in our lives. It NEVER hurts to remember from whence we came.


This probably will never be a movie or book title, but I think I gotta tell it.

Judy Deener signed my annual with some really nice thoughts, including the statement, "You should not have quit basketball". I had not gone out for basketball until my senior year, and made the team only by virtue of the fact that Dean Langford, Bryant Quattlebaum and Bob Fletcher (all really good athletes) decided not to play basketball their senior year. Then in about mid-season, I quit the team. There were several reasons, in addition to the fact that I was not good enough to get much playing time, but here is "the rest of the story.”

In that period, it would be an understatement to say that we were poor. We were tenant farmers on a one mule farm, and money was not one of the things we had, so I am completely without recollection as to where I got my tennis shoes to start basketball that year. Surely I did but, soon after the season started, my shoes went missing. So, each day I had to scrounge around the locker room to find an old pair of discarded shoes to wear. Of course I had to do this in a hurry, since a 5 minute break didn't allow much time before coach expected us on the court. Then, after practice, I would try to hide the shoes somewhere so that they would be there the next day. Well, they were rarely in the same place, so every day I had the anxiety of whether or not I was going to have shoes that day. We did have "locked up" baskets, but they were so insecure that you could pull shoes out between the top of the basket and the shelf above.

So, why didn't I just buy a pair, or get a pair of the school-furnished shoes? Well "buying" was not an option, and school-furnished shoes was not something I was aware of. I do clearly remember the other team members getting fitted for shoes, but no one told me I could get free shoes, so I did not go to the area where the fitting was being done.

Can you imagine the trauma of not being ready for practice and having to admit to the coach that I had no shoes? Well, after several weeks, I solved it by quitting.

I think this did have one good aspect: I think my quitting allowed Charles Dean Hunter, our "thirteenth" man, to letter as a sophomore or junior.

Well that's the story. I hope some of you will you will get this to "Deener" so she will understand a little better as to why I quit basketball my senior year.

With best regards to all of you.

Freylon Coffey SHS '54

Tom Pry footnote

A lot of us “worked our way” through high school. Robert Miller (now-D.D.S.) and I got our lunches our freshman year working in the lunchroom. When we went into band, I earned my band tuition by working the copy facility for the band, while Robert, George Payne, and a few others schlepped band equipment when we went on trips in order to “pay” theirs.

But Freylon’s experience takes the cake, and I can’t imagine what he went through during that period (and I hope the buttwipe that swiped his sneakers suffered from bad feet the rest of his miserable life).

The funny thing, though, was I don’t think any of us felt particularly “underprivileged” or “deprived.” Even the line between “townies” and “(censored)kickers” tended to get blurred. Some people had more money than other people: that was life. It made us neither better nor worse than our classmates, just a bit less able to socialize as much as some of our peers. Some of us lived in four bedrooms and three baths, some of us lived in four rooms and a path. Had nothing to do with us as human beings, or students at SHS.

In fact, I think the one time I was conscious of a financial divide was actually after I graduated from SHS and spent my one year at what was then A.S.T.C. None of my high school classmates lived in my dorm, none majored in Music, so we didn’t have much to do with each other. However, for some unremembered reason, I was over in the room of one of them one night, with several others gathered, and we were waiting for someone. Some of my ex-classmates started playing that dumb game where you make poker hands out of the serial numbers on the money in your pocket, winner taking all the bills … and they were playing with $5 bills.

More money changed hands in that game than my parents could afford to send me every month. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel underprivileged: what I felt was disgust that this bunch had no idea of the labor that lay behind that money (I was making a buck an hour at the radio station, and less than that on my “band scholarship”).

In five years, that was the one and only time that the difference in economic status between some of us and some of the others so much as crossed my mind. That this is so is due to the fact that, to their credit, it never bothered the more well-heeled of our classmates, either and, looking back, I can make only the roughest of guesses as to which families had Money and which didn’t.

Thanks, gang!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


(Run originally 8/1/04 on our old site)


Good morning old friend, if you wouldn't mind to pass the following on to Draxie:

A simple heartfelt 'thank you' seems woefully inadequate for how this piece touched me. We all remember the times and scenes of life through which We have passed that make this even more special. I loved it, I enjoyed it, and the tears of an old man here I would pass on as a tribute to those times of heartbreak and joy we all have shared in common.

Thank you so much, Draxie.


I'm going to Searcy tomorrow and so will ask mother about Powell's Dairy. Seems a little familiar to me - but I may be thinking of Benton's Dairy (Harold Lee Benton's father). The only Powell I remember is Helen Beth Powell, but I'm thinking her father was in the trucking business or something like that. Tell Susie or whoever, that Roger Williams, at Stott's Drugstore, has a real old telephone directory, I think it's about l943, there at the drugstore. He let me borrow it for our 30th class reunion.

Our phone number was 543. Judy Deener's was 306 and her house number was 306 E. Center. I always thought that was so neat. Judy Rice’s number: 87.

(Ours was 1129W3, an 8-party line. Best number is town was the then-White County Motors: 1 -tlp-)


I thought Powell's Dairy was the one I remember at which my dad worked in 1947, at the corner of Davis Drive and North By-Pass Road, where Larry Maness crashed his dad's Buick when he missed the turn.

Hmmmm .... methinks Mr. Powell also owned the land on the east side of 67 (Davis Drive) where the Fairgrounds are now, as well as the Dairy.


Tom, thanks to your assistance, we now have good info on Powell’s Dairy. After you mentioned it in the journal, Anita Fuller asked her mother about the dairy – which she remembered perfectly, and gave us the name of the woman whose husband owned the dairy. She’s now 93 and felt there was value in the milk bottles (which started the whole inquiry). Those she had kept were destroyed by a fire, so she and members of her family are interested in obtaining bottles with the dairy’s imprint.

I loved the piece about the cow, the well, and Flywheel Price.


I remember very well where we met the Morris School boys. We met them at the Rialto to begin with, then we started meeting them at Yarnell's. How many remember when you could go into Yarnell's and sit in a booth and eat ice cream? The boys would come to town in their school bus, and I am not sure, but I believe it was parked somewhere around Spring Park.

I know several of the girls were fascinated with the Morris boys; as Anita said, they were "new" in town, and different. I know Martha Ann Jenkins and I both had boyfriends from there, and she actually drove several of us out to the school at least one time that I remember. She must have been about 14, because the Morris school only went through the 7th grade. If I remember correctly, she really was not supposed to drive out of town (Actually, was supposed to have an adult with her. –tlp-). I guess its okay to tattle after all these years. I know she had a car full of girls, and I am sure none of us were supposed to go for that ride. I cannot remember all the girls who were with us. I believe Jane Waller, and maybe Paula. I don't remember if Anita was with us or not.

As for the Powell's dairy, I do know we had our milk delivered to our house in glass bottles, but I thought it was Benton's dairy. I am not sure about that, maybe a Mr. Benton delivered it. I was about 10 or 11 at the time, and am now close to 66, so I will use "old age" as a lapse in memory.

I just discovered your site recently. I have enjoyed hearing from some of the "oldtimers" I went to school with. I did leave Searcy High in the 10th grade, and went to Harding Academy but, still, I went to school in the Searcy system from the second through the 9th, so I have a lot of fond memories of my years in the Searcy school system. I look forward to reading more of your Searcy Yesteryear.

Tom Pry (2005 update)

Madeline, at our planning meeting for the 50th class reunion of the Class of ’56, the subject of people like you came up. You were mentioned specifically, in fact, since you would’ve been a member of the SHS Class of ’56 if you hadn’t made that move. We’d like to have you, and others like you – the transfers, the moves, the drop-outs – at this get-together.

As for you partaking of this site … hey, it’s “Searcy Yesteryear” not “Searcy HIGH SCHOOL Yesteryear.”

Monday, December 12, 2005


… and talks …. And talks …..
(Run originally 7/31/04 on our old site)

Even More Movie Memories


I'm glad to hear of another Gunsmoke fan, Anita. Remember William Conrad, who was the voice of Matt Dillon on the radio series in the mid '50s...then, when they started the Gunsmoke TV series, Bill Conrad had the great voice, but he was a little too rotund (read; roly-poly) to be the real Marshall Dillon. They got James Arness, who was the ONLY Matt Dillon during the whole TV series.

Tom Pry

Actually, Ern, William Conrad actually auditioned for the TV role. In a short scene, a bad guy was in Dillon’s office and, suddenly, threatened to gun him down. Dillon was supposed to jump up and outdraw the villain.

Unfortunately, when Conrad jumped up, the chair went with him, stuck to his hips.

Draxie’s wonderful piece popped a lot of memories up in my mind, not all of them 100% germane to the point but, hopefully, of some interest.

WILLIAM BOYD aka Hopalong Cassidy. Smart man, as well as an actor who knew his artistic limits. He ultimately bought the rights to all the Hopalong films and made a ton of money off of them, one of the few “B” movie stars who did. Foreign languages were dubbed onto most of them, and I think one of the funniest things I ever saw in my life was one Saturday afternoon in Tokyo, when I turned on the TV and here was a Hoppy film … with a soundtrack in Japanese! “He went that-a-way” is unmistakable in any language.

Boyd was also extremely protective of the Cassidy character, allowing nothing in his personal life to besmirch it.

TIM HOLT seemed to have never really caught on, although he made a total of 68 films in his long career. I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear he’d hit the bottle. Let’s face it, when you make personal appearances in towns the size that Searcy was, you’ve worked your way pretty far down the scale. A child actor, originally, he was in his first film in 1928 (9 years old) and his last in 1971. His last “cowboy film,” though, was made in 1952, and he did small roles in only 3 films thereafter.

He was that rarity: a Los Angeles (actually, Beverly Hills) native. Holt died in 1973, in Shawnee, OK, of cancer.

GENE AUTRY made his money by investing his film earnings in non-film businesses, like radio (and, later, TV) stations, and the Los Angeles Rams. He ended up immensely wealthy.

Lonnie Glosson (from Judsonia, and of folk music fame) and Autry were buddies for years and, in fact, when Gene started doing well in films, he invited Lonnie out to L.A. to do likewise. Lonnie recounted later that he went for a visit and, while he found it interesting, “I just didn’t think them things had any future.”

Gene didn’t forget his friends: the two of them talked by phone not too long before their respective deaths.

The one time I saw Autry in person was during World War II. They had a huge military pageant in Chicago’s Soldiers’ Field (where the Bears play), on the lakefront, the climax of which was Gene driving a tank around the field (tank commander was one of his two occupational specialties: the other one was riding in the open turret of the tank and waving to the crowd while it ran around in places like that gigantic arena to hype the war effort). I remember the fireworks display scared the living hell out of me and I cried most of the way home on the streetcar.

WHIP WILSON and LASH LaRUE If an increasingly-shaky memory is holding true, Whip came first. Dressed in white and laying low the bad men, even if he gave the impression he was constantly fighting a midriff bulge at the same time. Then came Lash, dressed all in black … and the sudden realization that Whip was a fake! The camera would show him drawing his whip back, then cut to the bad man getting the painful end of it. Lash, on the other hand, did his whip thing with a full shot that showed both him and his target at the same time. Inarticulate brats that we were, I think we recognized the difference without being consciously aware of it. Anyway, Whip didn’t last long after Lash came along.

Besides, Lash all in black seemed much more menacing than Pudgy .. uhh, Whip .. even if he did end up as a used car salesman in Memphis (or was that Snooky Lanson, one of the stars of “Your Hit Parade,” remember that one?)

JOHNNY MACK BROWN or SUNSET CARSON Never could keep those two straight. Young ex-football player (as was John Wayne) with a boyish face. Always the same plot: town bully would beat hell out of him in a street fight, causing him to finally get his act together and cleanse the town of the bully. Somehow or another, we just couldn’t get attached to a “hero” who got the crap beat out of him, then sat at the curb sniveling about it. Too much like our own personal lives, and we were living them, thank you: we didn’t need reminders.

JAMES ARNESS Yep, he was “The Thing.” I think he was also Klatu, the robot in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” When CBS came up with the idea for “Gunsmoke,” they wanted John Wayne to do it, but he wasn’t interested, and suggested Arness instead.

Thus the legend started.

PERSONAL APPEARANCES Our heroes got to keep the money they made from personal appearances, and it’s a damn good thing, because they didn’t make much from the studios. Most of them were locked into studio contracts that paid them a few hundred a week, with no residuals (payments for future use, like TV), and no ownership rights to the films. Roy and Dale made their money on personal appearances, not movies.

In fact, during that era, the stars we near-worshipped were operating on pretty tight purse strings. Band singers like Doris Day and Frank Sinatra and Helen Forrest were paid just what the musicians in the band were paid, no more, no less. If they did a recording with the band, they got a flat $15-$25 per recording, period. No royalties, no matter how popular the recordings proved to be. Guys like Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, and Glenn Miller are remembered by insiders as tyrannical businessmen, not as the lovable, benevolent artists they’re portrayed to be in the movies about them.

Ah-Lawrence uh-Welk was about the last of the breed. Everyone on that show, even accordionist/assistant bandleader Myron Floren, got musicians’ union minimum, period, and if you complained, you were out. That’s what happened to the Lennon Sisters.

If you’ll remember “The Godfather,” and the story about the bandleader getting a pistol shoved in his ear with the explanation that, in one minute, either his signature or his brains was going to be on that singer’s contract release, it is rumored, was actually Sinatra’s contract with Tommy Dorsey, in real life.

Just thought you might find it interesting.

FYI, if you have the Starz SuperPak available on your cable system, as we do on DirecTV, the Westerns Channel on Starz has regular doses of Gene Autry (or, as Pat Buttram called him, “Mr. Artery”), Gunsmoke, and Hoppy.

Now, a name from radio, just to see if anyone remembers her besides me: Judy Canova. Any takers?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The Searcy High Walk of Fame honorees list is out. Among those listed are Bob Fuller’s Aunt Ruth Fuller, and Dr. Don Christian, Doctor of Jurisprudence. Also on the list are retired SHS math teacher Evelyn Green, and Bobbie Coleman, an English teacher currently teaching at Searcy High.

Congratulations to them all!

Anyone have any memories of them they’d care to share?

Tom Pry

I’ve already made my one and only New Year’s resolution. After covering the 50th Class Reunion of the SHS Class of 56 next July 1st, and getting all the info up, I’m going to retire from the management of this web site.

I’ll give my successor digital copies of all the hard copy I’ve concocted, along with the photos, etc. I need a volunteer to take over.

Ya’ll talk over amongst yourselves and let me know who you want at the helm of this little exercise in nostalgia.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


(Run originally 7/19/04 on our old site)

Tom, here is something I thought you might be interested in. Oldtimers" like us can identify with these.

Cliff Wiggs

“Fender skirts!" What a great blast from the past! I hadn't thought about fender skirts in years. When I was a kid, I considered it such a funny term. Made me think of a car in a dress.

Thinking about fender skirts started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice. Like "curb feelers" and "steering knobs." Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. You kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember "Continental kits?" They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them "emergency brakes?" At some point, "parking brake" became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with "emergency brake."

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore -- "store-bought." Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

"Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term "worldwide" for granted. This floors me.

On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes. In the '50s, everyone covered their hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.

When's the last time you heard the quaint phrase "in a family way?" It's hard to imagine that the word "pregnant" was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company. So we had all that talk about stork visits and "being in a family way" or simply "expecting."

Apparently "brassiere" is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cackled. I guess it's just "bra" now. "Unmentionables" probably wouldn't be understood at all.

It's hard to recall that this word was once said in a whisper: "divorce." And no one is called a "divorcee" anymore. Certainly not a "gay divorcee." Come to think of it, "confirmed bachelors" and "career girls" are long gone, too. Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure-'60s word I came across the other day -- "rat fink." Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss -- "percolator." That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? "Coffeemaker." How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like "DynaFlow" and "ElectraLuxe." “Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with "SpectraVision!"

Food for thought - Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore. Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening their kids with castor oil anymore. Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most -- "supper."

Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Friday, December 09, 2005


(Originally run 7/30/04 on our old site)

Draxie Jean Horn Rogers

What wonderful memories you all have brought up!! Things I remember from the Rialto are so numerous.

First, I thought the neon lights outside must be exactly what Broadway in New York looked like! Saturday afternoon "cowboy shows" and the serials! Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Smiley Burnett, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Charles Starrett (what was his "cowboy" name??) (The Durango Kid. –tlp-) and Tim Holt. I remember Tim Holt making a personal appearance at the Rialto and signing autographs. As I waited in line anxiously, I remember smelling something that was not familiar to me -- sorta like cough medicine. He would have the autograph-seeker turn around and he would use his or her back as a prop for signing his autograph on a piece of paper that was totally wilted from the long wait in line. I don't remember when I realized Tim was obviously pretty drunk during the signing. Kinda disappointed me and I changed my allegiance to Hopalong Cassidy. Do I remember correctly that the real Hopalong Cassidy, William Boyd, maybe made a personal appearance at the Rialto too????

In 1971, after having lost our 2-year old son to a fall, I saw Dale Evans on a TV talk show. She was talking about books she had written dealing with the loss of a child. She and Roy Rogers has lost 3 -- his adult son to an automobile accident in Europe while he was in the Army; a 14-year old adopted daughter, who was the only fatality in a school bus accident; and an 18-month old Downs Syndrome child who was the only child of her union with Roy Rogers. The book about the last child was "Angel Unaware." I didn't catch the title, so I wrote to the TV show to ask the name, since I was grasping at straws trying to make sure I COULD survive the loss of our son. I totally forgot about writing.

A month and a half later, in October, I received a phone call at home from Dale Evans. They had forwarded my letter to her. She was unbelievably compassionate and encouraging. She and Roy Rogers were appearing at the Arkansas Rodeo and State Fair. She asked me to bring my husband, Robert, and our surviving son, Kyle, and she would leave backstage passes for us. Needless to say, we accepted. When we met them backstage, she was like a ball of fire. She assured me we would make it past the loss and that some good would come from it. We had Kyle's picture made with her. We met Roy and he was even better looking in person, but "shy" didn't even come NEAR describing him. He was really nice, though, and I so appreciated getting to meet two of my Saturday afternoon idols.

I didn't know it at the time, but shortly thereafter found out I was pregnant with our daughter, Kalen. I wrote to Dale and let her know we had a baby on the way and she again was so gracious and happy for us. Kalen is now an operating room nurse on the Heart Team at Arkansas Children's Hospital and is instrumental just about every day in saving the life of a newborn baby or an older child who could not survive without the care the Heart Team gives them. So Dale Evans was right -- some good DID come out of our loss.

As for the serials -- "Rocket Man" totally held my attention for awhile. Looking back at that costume, with the bullet-shaped tin head, I can't believe I took that seriously. After Rocket Man came "The Black Whip". I loved that one, especially after the replacement for the original Black Whip was a girl!! I don't remember who played the role. All I knew was that I had decided that rather than becoming a school teacher, nurse or X-ray technician (my original inspirations), I could be much more effective as The Black Whip. Luckily that didn't last long -- and NO, I didn't get into whips, chains and dog collars! I just wanted to be able to crack a whip. Years later my brother, Johnny, got an authentic leather whip. I tried learning to crack it like they did in the movies, only to come out of it with numerous red welts and a black eye. It's truly like they say -- it's all fun and games until someone gets an eye put out!

"Creature From the Black Lagoon" scared me to death, possibly because Pat Sutherlin and I had to walk home after seeing it. It had been raining and I felt sure that any one of the water puddles I stepped in had the possibility of leading to an underground lake and that the Creature would, without a doubt, grab me by the ankle and pull me under. "The Thing" was the scariest movie I ever saw there, and even years later when I saw it on TV it was STILL scary. The most memorable scene -- when they were tracking the Thing into the greenhouse; they opened a box and I believe it was a dead dog that rolled out. I'm not sure it was a dog because I lost consciousness for the moment my heart stopped! Another memorable one was "Them" -- about radioactive giant ants. I went with Eugene Hite, who was pretty shy, but that didn't keep me from clinging to his arm and even his shoulder in the really scary scenes. (Gene was really a nice guy who didn't live nearly long enough.)

Susie, Powell Dairy DOES ring a bell with me. The next time my 90-year old mom, Bernice Horn, is totally with the program, I'll ask her about it. She can really remember things like that. She may not remember whether or not she's had breakfast, but she will remember who lived on West Academy, 2 blocks down from the dead end.

Has anyone ever heard anything from or about John Alex McCoy? Best I can remember is that he left for California shortly after getting out of SHS.

Maintenance of this site is a real service and I appreciate you, Tom, and Ernest and Danny. You remind me how fortunate we were to have grown up in such wonderful, innocent times, when Andy Griffith and Dr. Kildare were as gory as TV got, and the worst thing to happen in the neighborhood was for a commode to be left on the courthouse square during Halloween! We were lucky.

(And this was such a marvelous piece, Draxie, that I shall reserve any-and-all comments about the subjects you raise for another time. This needs no embellishment from the likes of me. Thanx, Drax).

Thursday, December 08, 2005


For those of you who are Elsewhere than here, this was the Searcy area as of 10 o'clock this morning.

Have a nice day!


(Originally run 7/25/04 on our old site)

Dan E. Randle

All those movies! The one I remember the most is "The Thing", only because it was so scary.

You may remember my writing earlier about having to walk to -- and RUN from -- that movie. I ran all the way home with the hair standing up on the back of my neck at every strange sound along the way. I think it was about a mile from the Rialto to home, and I know I must have been the first person to break the 4 minute mile.

How about "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" in 3-D? It wasn't as scary, because I don't remember running home that night.

Some of the others I remember, "Written on the Wind,” "Green Mansions" (fell in love with Audrey Hepburn), "Gidget" (fell in love with Sandra Dee): it seems I was always falling in love in those days.

There was one movie I saw that I had read the book before seeing it, "White Witch Doctor". What a let-down the movie was. Very little of the book was represented in the movie. Just like Tom, I remember 1955 when the "Blackboard Jungle" came out and we started fast dancing, what a blast! How about "Boy on a Dolphin", "River of no Return,” "Rear Window,” "Love me Tender,” all the Road movies of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies. When you get start remembering, the list keeps getting bigger and bigger. I remember coming home from college one year and taking mom to see "Mary Poppins" (the first movie she had been to in years).

I still remember sitting in the front rows and having to lie back in your seat so you could see the screen. Now I sit in the back row when I go. With the prominence of DVDs, I only go to the movies that are really big, such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings; the rest of them I wait until they come out on DVD. I have installed a DVD writer in my computer and can copy DVDs. This allows me to watch them anytime I want to. I can watch a movie once and watch it again in a year and it's a new movie. I remember very little of it. Between my tape library and DVD library, I will never be able to watch all the movies I have. The reason I have amassed such a large library is the thought that, one day, I might not be able to get around like I do now. At least then I will have plenty of movies to keep me from getting too bored.


Thanks to Don Thompson for providing the link to the site called “Rialto Theater History, Searcy, Arkansas.” There, taken from “Searcy, Arkansas: A Frontier Town Grows Up With America” by Raymond Lee Muncy (pages 236-238), I read: “"Our Theater," located on the west side of the square where Mrs. Harris' Cafe is now, was opened Tuesday night, November 13, 1928…” and “Roy Shannon was as proud as a peacock when he turned on those new projectors….” I need to argue with Mr. Muncy about Roy Shannon’s turning on the new projectors--that was impossible. Roy Shannon died at the age of 22 years on March 29, 1928, when he was run over by a car, as recorded in a family Bible. Roy was one of my dad’s younger brothers. Instead of Roy, it was my dad, Ben Shannon, who was the excited movie theater projectionist. I talked with my uncle today, I. B. Van Patten (Mary Kay James and Becca Smith’s dad), and he recalled his wife Kathryn’s talking about her older sister Oma who was dating Ben when the theater opened. My uncle said, “Oma saw movies without having to pay, and she sat in the balcony to be near Ben while he worked.” My parents were married July 4, 1929. We just celebrated another wedding on July 4th, when our middle son, Andy, married Rosie, a lovely woman from England. We enjoyed several weeks of being tour guides/hosts to Rosie’s family and are delighted to welcome her to our family. The house is awfully quiet, now, without the two youngest granddaughters’ laughter. Maybe I’ll just leave their sticky little fingerprints on the patio door.

(Ann, you’ll have to wait awhile to argue with Dr. Muncy: he’s been deceased several years now. In any case, according to his wife, it’s a miracle he got so much RIGHT, since he was commissioned to write that book, and was given precious little time in which to do it. –tlp-)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


(Run originally 7/23/04 on our old site)


There are some good history accounts of the Rialto at

I can't remember a certain show I liked, but I do remember one of the first serials I saw and it was "Don Winslow in the Navy." There was lots of wartime submarine action. The serials at the Rialto weren't as memorable as those at the Plaza.

I wrote about that in an earlier journal. I do remember Miss Thornton taking our senior English class to see a matinee showing of "Hamlet" with Laurence Olivier. It was one of those rare opportunities to sleep in Miss Thornton's class.

Paula remembers "Gone with the Wind" and "On the Beach." They weren't favorites, just memorable. One time I took Paula to see a show (don't remember what) and some smart-alec ticket taker from Harding said to Paula "You here again?" meaning she was seeing the movie a second time. Anita relished putting her knees up on the seat back, but I remember what a nuisance it was to have someone pushing on my seat back. Now I like putting my legs over the seat back into the empty seat in front. There are no Don Boggs to spoil my fun.

Draxie Jean Horn Rogers

I've written this total dissertation brought on by memories of the Rialto -- talk about taking me back! However, I tried to submit and it showed "login error" I logged in as Draxie Horn Rogers and picked a password. What else do I need to do? I certainly don't want to have to rewrite my thoughts -- At my age, I can't think of them again!!! Would appreciate your help. Thanks!

Tom Pry

Oh, my … I got a few memories out of this, too. Notable films at the Rialto:

“Rebel Without A Cause.” I fell in love with Natalie Wood. James Dean and Sal Mineo were interesting.

Lois Thornton arranged a daytime showing of .. “Ulysses” I believe. Not one of Kirk Douglas’ best offerings, but it had gobs of gorgeous girls in gauzy gowns, which prompted one clown to destroy the atmosphere of the of the whole thing by loudly voicing the thought emanating from all the guys’ raging hormones; his was the anguished cry, “ALL THAT MEAT AND NO POTATOES!”

“Red Garters” I fell in love with Rosemary Clooney, all over again. I thought Guy Mitchell was a dork, but it was a fun film.

The most notable of the lot, in terms of social/emotional impact, had to have been “The Blackboard Jungle.” What a cast list! Sidney Poitier, Vic Morrow, Glen Ford. The biggest jolt, though, was at the very beginning of the film. It started in black – and then tore loose with Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.” The hair stood up on the back of my neck: this was a whole new thing in our young lives.

My favorite serial was “Rocket Man.” I absolutely CRAVED that leather jacket with the rockets on the back. As many times as I had to walk into town and back from way the hell out in the country, I could’ve really used that.

DRAXIE: Honey, there’s no “signing up” to submit. Just send it to me, and I take care of the mechanics of getting it on the site. You can either e-mail me, or put your notes in the Send Me a Message portion of the site (I’d prefer the e-mail). Send it as a word (.DOC) or .RTF file to me, or just an e-mail, and I’ll do the rest. Ditto any photos.

I can’t imagine anyone would ever use me as a memory saver. Thanx, Drax.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas Memories

Anita Hart Fuller

Here is my Christmas memory that might be of interest to somebody.

Guess I was in about the 7th or 8th grade. All I wanted for Christmas was a basketball goal. After we had opened all our presents that morning, Mother asked me how I liked all my presents. I replied in avery hateful voice: "You can take them all back. I didn't get what I really wanted" ..... she then said there's still something on the tree; I looked and there was an envelope stuck way back on a branch. I opened it to read "Look in the guest bedroom closet"..... sure enough, there was the basketball goal, which really would have been too big to put under the tree wrapped, and its shape certainly would have given it away.

I remember being very ashamed, as well I should have been.

Tom, edit this please. Put in quotes or take out. I haven't written it very well, but it's the best I can do. I hope others will start with their Christmas memories. Tell us how or when you discovered there wasn't a Santa Claus.

Tom Pry

Anita, as always, you did fine.

I remember my last Christmas with my “Arkansas Family:” my parents, sister, and maternal grandparents.

It was the Christmas of 1956. I was going to school at ASTC, over in Conway (now UCA), and working at KCON with Tommy Bonner. I agreed to cover for the rest of the student announcers over the 2 or 3 week holiday, except the boss was handling Christmas and the days immediately before and after. (In the screwy setup we had, KCON was located on campus, but was NOT owned and operated by the college). Bus ride home which, in those days, was not Conway-Searcy; it was Conway-Little Rock–Searcy, which took care of the bigger part of Christmas Eve.

Our Christmas bonus from the radio station was a $100 gift certificate. Today, that might not sound like much but, in 1956, that was a really sizeable chunk of money! Remember, we were working for a buck an hour which, I think, was about a quarter more than minimum wage. That certificate let me go down and get some decent presents for my family, including a portable radio for my sister: there were no five buck Japanese transistor radios around in those days.

It was a nice Christmas and then, the next day, Dad ran me back to Conway, where I went back to my dreary room in the gymnasium (tossed out of the dorm for the holidays, but the school administration found me a place to bunk during the interregnum).

That was the last Christmas our family was to spend intact. In the spring, I went directly into the Army and, Christmas of ’57, I was on my honeymoon, in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. The Christmas after that was Korea.

Yep, the Christmas of ’56 definitely goes into my memory book.

What’s in yours?

Monday, December 05, 2005


(Run originally 7/22/04 on our old site)

Anita Hart Fuller

Do any of you remember your all-time very favorite show (movie in today's language, or flick) you saw at The Rialto? Mine was what is known as a "sleeper". It is "The Man Who Never Was" and I remember going to the 'second' show with my mother, one Tues. night. Don't know why we went ... for neither of us knew anything about that movie. Anyway, it opens with a poem being read (voiced over) as the scene opens. I wanted to know what that poem was so wrote to the movie studio and guess what? Got an answer. I then went to the Harding library and was able to look it up in the book it was in. This movie is occasionally on satellite or cable: it stars Clifton Webb and is based on a true story that happened to change the course of the war. I own it, if anyone cares and wants it, I'll copy it for you.

(My favorite? "Red Garters," a little musical throwaway that showcased the talents of Rosemary Clooney and Guy Mitchell. Only seen it once in my life, and that at the Rialto on a Sunday afternoon. -tlp-)

Remember putting your knees up on the seat in front of you and either Mr. King or Don Boggs coming up and down the aisle and pointing at you to put your feet on the floor? Naturally, you put your knees BACK when they passed by.

Remember movies were l hr. 30 minutes - and you could know that if it started at 7:30 (after previews and The March of Time, or those awful Travelogues (The Voice of the Globe) it would be over at 9:00 on the dot. Would that movie directors of today would learn that if you can't tell it in 1-1/2 hrs. it "ain't" worth telling.

Much more later, but I'll stop for now. You can wake up now. In case you didn't know, movies are my passion

Ernest Simpson

Anita, I'm so envious of your staying at the Capitol Hotel... you could homestead the great giant, elegant elevator. That is such a great place, and as I recall, the only way I can afford dinner at Ashley's is to put one in lay-away a year ahead of time. A wonderful romantic old place. Glad to hear about Gipsy's, maybe that will break up our love affair with Olive Garden?!!

I can't wait for Anita's stories of the Rialto, now it was the 'Rah-alto', not 'Ree-alto', wasn't it? She's right, more than anything it was called 'the picture show', or just 'the show'. Correct terminology in discussion was always 'the show' in wonderful White County lingo.

I enjoyed Cliff Wiggs remembering, too. I bet Cliff has tons of stories he could share. I'm going to write and see if he will come up with more.

We may have found Morris Brookhart, if Dan Randle's sleuthing pans out. More later.

Dan E. Randle

I might be wrong but it seems to me that Morris Brookhart retired from the Air Force and is living in Durham, NC. I talked to him about 4 or 5 years ago. I think his phone number is 919-477-6656. You could check and see if he is still at 1615 Wensley Dr., Durham, NC.

Tom Pry

I Googled the phone number, and it’s still showing current for Morris at the above address. Add the Zip Code 27712, and your letters should get to him. Yahoo was showing no e-mail address for him.

Incidentally, if you’ve never put your phone number in Google (as xxx-xxx-xxxx), try it: unless your number is a cell phone or unlisted, not only will it give you your name and address, but your choice of two maps for people to find you.

Thought you’d like to know.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


… there ain’t necessarily fire.

(Most of this ran originally 7/17/04 on our old site)

Dan E. Randle

I'm glad you enjoyed the smoked salmon. If and when I go fishing again, I'll smoke more fish and send some more your way. I also make beef jerky. It doesn't last very long either.

The one thing I have never smoked is a ham. I remember the country cured hams my grandmother made. The only problem is the recipe went to the grave with her. There were hams hanging in the old smoke house that had to be two or three years old. You had to have a very sharp knife to cut it and then you had to soak it overnight to be able to eat it the next morning. That was an eating experience that you never forget.

The red eye gravy made after cooking the ham was also something I have never had since.

The old smoke house had a dirt floor and had a salt box that was 4 feet high 5 feet wide and 3 feet in depth. In the fall of the year they would bury the fresh hams in the salt. Usually 8 to 12 hams would be processed at a time. They stayed in the box for a number of days and then they were hung from the rafters in the back of the house in front of the vents. A hickory fire was started by the door and made to produce a lot of smoke. After the predetermined amount of days smoking, the hams were wrapped in a cotton material similar to flour sacks. Next they were wrapped in old newspapers and hung up in the rafters again to age. They hung there until one was needed.

With the amount of salt and smoke in them, nothing bothered them. They might get mold on the outside of the skin, but all you had to do was cut it off and the ham was as good as new.

If I could just turn back time to when my grandmother was still alive, I would have many wonderful recipes that are lost forever. I've learned from this: I now write down my recipes that everyone likes. Susan has a lot of my recipes that she loves and cooks from time to time. I think we all need to sit down and write down those things that we want our children and grandchildren to remember after we are gone. I keep intending to write my memories down, just never find the time. By the time I slow down enough, I wonder if I will have the ability to put everything down on paper.

Tom Pry

It was Karen who got into the salmon and pronounced it utterly delicious. With the sodium thing hanging over my head, I've been a bit reluctant (unlike Ernie who, as you will recall, ate ALL of his at one sitting) .. but she'll take all she can get. Ditto beef jerky, which she loves.

I've never heard of so-called "country-cured" ham being cured by burying it in salt before smoking it. Before they opened the abattoir/freezer locker place on Main Street here in town, granddad cured his with salt brine, which was injected deep into the ham, next to the bone, with a hypodermic needle of frightening proportions.

You're right, though, there's nothing like it. The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain produces a pretty acceptable country-cured ham, great for breakfast. I think only Talmadge Farms still produces it commercially: it's a nutritionist's nightmare.

Thank you for the salmon ... and I'll take all the memories you can produce.

P.S. As for smoking hams .. I have yet to figure out which end you stick in your mouth before striking the match.

THIS IS A PERSONAL COMMERCIAL, which I’ll be running about once a week until Google – or you – tells me to knock it off.


I have the software and the experience to transfer this material, or anything recorded on a VHS tape, to CD – AFTER it’s been digitally cleaned up to get rid of annoying pops, snaps, hissing.

Price: reasonable. Reaction time: quick. Copies available? Depends on what you send.

Call during daylight or early evening hours: 501-268-7438, or e-mail me through this site
(see the Comments link).

HELP! Social Security just doesn’t go as far as it used to .. and those old tapes and records don’t last forever, either.

-Tom Pry

Saturday, December 03, 2005


IVR stands for “Interactive Voice Response” or some such. What this boils down to is you call a company and, instead of getting a human, you get a machine. Worse, many times this whole complicated system gives you no immediately obvious way of reaching a real live human being.

Some years ago, Ford Motor asked me to record the messages for an internal IVR system at World Headquarters. It took me a week of working at home for a couple of hours every day to get all that stuff recorded. There were 9 main options, and then each one branched down from there.

I don’t recall ANY of the options being, “If you can’t sort through this crap, press ‘0’ for a live human being.”

This is the wave of the future, apparently. Go to an I.T.T. plant, for instance and, when you walk in the entrance, you find yourself in a pleasantly furnished small room. Besides comfy chairs, there’s a TV set on the wall and, beneath it, a telephone. Instructions are on the monitor, along with a listing of extensions for departments.

Picking up the phone gives you a system whereby you start punching in the first three letters of someone’s name and, as soon as the system gets enough letters to match, that individual’s voice pops up telling you his or her extension number. You take the extension number, call it, and someone comes down to talk to you or escort you in.

No sweet thing to say “Hi! Welcome to I.T.T.!” or anything similar … like, “May I help you?”

Of late, I’ve encountered an increasing number of companies who, on the phone, give you no easy, obvious way to get to a live human being … but, in the wondrous way of the human race, one guy by the name of Paul English has made it his task to find out how to burrow your way through over a hundred companies’ IVRs and get that elusive individual who just might be able to help you.

He also addresses other things in that general area. For instance, “Frustrated? How about when you call your phone company and they ask for your phone number? Or when your bank asks you to type in your credit card or ATM number, and then when you finally get a human on the phone, they ask you to tell them again.”

Paul posts what he calls the IVR Cheat Sheet™ wherein he tells you what’s up. His “sidebar” links to his comments about how some companies are trying to take a leak on his reputation, and he pats on the back companies like Southwest Airlines who don’t believe in leaving you at the mercy of a computer … and, strange coincidence, make a lot of money and get lots of loyalty from its customers.

Good reading, good points. Go visit the man.

And thank you, Warren Darden, for bringing this to our attention.

Now, to leave you in a smiling mood ….

Bubba calls his Boss one morning and tells him that he is staying home because he is not feeling well.

"What's the matter?" he asks.

"I have a case of anal glaucoma," he says in a weak voice.

"What the hell is anal glaucoma?"

"I can't see my ass coming into work today."

Friday, December 02, 2005


No, not Dan’s, MINE. I found this piece in my digital files, but with no sign that I ever ran the sucker, on EITHER of my sites. If I filed it to one side back in July of 2004 to finish polishing it up and never returned to it … well, it deserved better. My apologies. -tlp-

Dan E. Randle

LUKOL Dyslexia Directory provides links to the sites which deal with all sorts of dyslexia issues. There we learned that dyslexia is "a reading disability resulting from a defect in the ability to process graphic symbols" and describes it as synonymous with "developmental reading disorder" or DRD.Checking more links in the directory, we found a list of symptoms. The list includes difficulty in recognizing written words, in rhyming, and in determining the meaning of simple sentences. Apparently, dyslexia, a Greek word that literally means "trouble with words," may also be accompanied by problems learning to write and perform arithmetic, and often runs in families.

Remedial instruction is recommended as the best treatment for this disorder.

On a site called Teens Helping Teens, created by and for teens with learning disabilities, we found an intelligent, compassionate description of dyslexia: “...a neurologically-based, often familial, disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language... Dyslexia is not a result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions... Although dyslexia is life-long, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention. There are many methods, theories, and teaching systems for helping people with dyslexia learn to process language.”

I have known for a long time that I suffered from dyslexia as a young person. This was evidenced by the inability to distinguish between g's, p's, and q's in letters, 6's and 9's in numbers. I knew it at the time, and worked hard to overcome the problem. I did finally get the better of it, otherwise I would have never been able to get a degree in engineering.

I sometimes wonder what I could have accomplished had I been given the benefit of today's advancements in this area. My oldest son, Scott, 33, suffered from dyslexia. He was diagnosed at a very early age and sent through a program to help him solve the problem. It worked for him because, today, he and his younger brother, Sean 27, operate their own construction company.

I also suffered another malady that most of the people that went to school with me didn't know. I had a problem with pronouncing some words. I remember one word that I could never pronounce, fork. I pronounced it spork. This was due to the fact that I had double ear infections as a child and could never hear words right. In fact due to this problem, mother told me that I never uttered a sound until I was two years old. Anyway, I was sent through a speech program in the 6th grade to overcome my speech problems. After completing the program, I was able to pronounce words in a manner that allowed me to communicate with people without them thinking there was something wrong with me.

It's amazing what a person can overcome it they really want to. I wonder how many of my classmates had some type malady that we didn't know about. Most people don't like talking about it but, at my age, what difference does it make?

Tom Pry

I suppose I was as close to Dan as any other male was during our high school years together, and I did not know about either of those afflictions. It’s as simple as that: Dan whipped them to a point where I (and my professional preoccupation with speech) never knew, which is a great tribute to Dan’s persistence toward solving problems.

One of my step-sons, back when he was in grammar school, was bright as they come, but his grades really stunk (stank?) … until one of his teachers, on a hunch, tested him and discovered he was dyslexic. She worked with him and, rather quickly, he overcame the problem and joined his brothers in near-4.0 scoring.

Still … as serious a handicap as this is, like all such problems, it helps to keep a sense of humor. My favorite is “Join DAM – Mothers Against Dyslexia!” My second favorite is “Dyslexics of the world: UNTIE!”

Sorry. Had to get that out of my system; bad taste is my handicap.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Gene Barnett

Hi Ern! We moved to Jonesboro right after the 10th grade and I finished high school at Jonesboro. I was in the band with you guys at Searcy, only a bit younger and, after I got out of high school, I started at ASU as a music major and was in the band with you again. You were a senior about to finish up your college tour.

I was fortunate enough to have some great band directors, Al English at Searcy, Nick Roholich at Jonesboro (he was also my tuba coach) and, of course, the one and only Don Minx at ASU. That guy was not only a great music teacher but could cuss with the best of them. I can tell you lots of stories about him and things we did, but I know you can, also. I also had to work with him some. as he was a city council member for a while.

Hope this clears up your memory a bit. I still get folks confused from Searcy and Jonesboro. I have the best of two worlds with my high school buddies in both cities. Stay in touch and let me know what is going on with you.

Dan E. Randle

About that picture in the Rialto, with K. K. King … I believe Bobby Dale Latimer is sitting to the right of Roger Duncan and the left of Marvin Allen. See what you think. (Pull down two columns for the picture).

THIS IS A PERSONAL COMMERCIAL, which I’ll be running about once a week until Google – or you – tells me to knock it off.


I have the software and the experience to transfer this material, or anything recorded on a VHS tape, to CD – AFTER it’s been digitally cleaned up to get rid of annoying pops, snaps, hissing.

Price: reasonable. Reaction time: quick. Copies available? Depends on what you send.

Call during daylight or early evening hours: 501-268-7438, or e-mail me through this site
(see the Comments link).

HELP! Social Security just doesn’t go as far as it used to .. and those old tapes and records don’t last forever, either.
-Tom Pry