Sunday, January 01, 2006


Anita Hart Fuller

First Marshall Fields, then Searcyyesteryear, now The Bergoff Restaurant in Chicago. Bad things happen in Threes.

Tom Pry (1)

My father’s first job in Chicago was working in the stock room at Marshall Fields. MF, in fact, was the start of UPS, which began as an expansion of the Marshall Fields delivery service to include other downtown department stores … for a fee, of course.

One of my first appearances on radio was on a program that, that day, originated from the Edgewater Beach Hotel, and was sponsored by Marshall Fields. That particular show was held at the site of the National Librarians Convention or some such.

Didn’t know it’d finally bit the big one. Nordstrom’s probably killed it. Marshall Fields forgot customer service; Nordstrom’s resurrected it. It’s a story all unto itself but, the day Nordstrom’s opened in Chicago, their reputation had preceded them to the point where the line waiting to get in stretched for two blocks … right past the Marshall Fields’ entrance.

Searcy Yesteryear will not particularly die after early July ’06. What will happen will be one of two things: either it will just sit there with no new entries OR somebody younger will take it over (Billy Fuller, are you listening?) and expand its coverage. Right now, it seems to cover the classes of ’53 to ’57, with HUGE dropoffs in readers on either side of those brackets. That was not intent, but it’s what’s happened.

Least readership out of those classes: my own, the Class of ’56. Must’ve been something I said.

Jim Bohannon – SHS Class of 57

It was great to renew your acquaintance after all these years. Reba and I wish you and yours a happy new year, and look forward to reading the Searcy Yesteryear articles during 2006. Again, thank you and others for sending the material for publication. I can see where it would keep you busy editing/posting to your site. I would hope that you can continue providing the information during 2006. Easy for me to say that, since all I have to do is read it. However, as you already know – you do all the work.

If I recall correctly in one of your articles, you stated having served in the 1st Armored Division during your service in the Army? I salute you for your service to our country.

Enclosed are some patriotic theme return address labels. Please accept them with my compliments. All you have to do is provide the envelope and the increased two cents (from .37 cents to .39 cents) that USPS is going to charge for postage effective 1/6/6. “Why didn’t they just go to .40 cents and make it even money?” Go figure.

Again, great to hear from you again via the Searcy Yesteryear column. With my PC notebook, wireless and/or landline motel/hotel connection, I’ll always try to be in contact. Isn’t technology great? Who would have thought it back then?

Tom Pry (2)

I was in the 2nd Armor Division. 1st and 2nd both wore identical patches, the only difference between them being the number in the top of the triangle, and a rectangular strip beneath it with the unit nickname. As I recall, the First was “Old Ironsides” and ours was “Hell on Wheels.”

There’s a whole story behind how I started out my military career in an Armored Division. I’ll bore you with it sometime … but thank you for the kind words, sir. I’m proud to have served, even if I was lucky enough to never having had a shot fired at me .. in anger.

Classy return stickers. I’ll use those with pride, and I appreciate you going to the trouble.

USPS is raising the rate two cents because Congress mandated the USPS put $3Billion in escrow. Actually, the Post Office service turned a true profit for the first time since its formation this year, and then Congress dropped that escrow mandate on them. Probably, it’s so Congress has a new place to pilfer, now that they’ve drained the Social Security Trust Fund.

Interestingly enough, this was also the year that what the USPS calls “standard mail” (i.e. everything that’s not First Class) exceeded, in volume, the First Class stuff.

You’re right: things have sure changed. We send our thoughts and photos and songs and greeting cards electronically and free. We’re the same people who can remember, in our youth, penny postcards, 3 cent first class, and nickel Air Mail, which required a special stamp. It also featured twice a day delivery, even out in the country.

Dan E. Randle

I went to a Masonic spaghetti feed last week where the Rainbow Girls served up our meal. It made me remember something that I had forgotten about.

The DeMolay and Rainbow Girls had a combined meeting one night. I was in the DeMolay and Eloise Bleidt (Pelton) was in the Rainbow Girls. Everyone brought something to the dinner we had, so mom baked three apple and three cherry pies for me to take. There were two pies left, one of each, that I took home with me.

For some reason, I put the pies up on the shelf behind the back seat of our 53 Chevy for transporting back home. Eloise went with me for a ride before taking her home for the night. It was raining and of course the streets were slick. I had always been an adventurous driver, so I decided to do some power slides around corners, much to Eloise's delight. After the third or fourth, I just happened to look back and received quite a shock. You can imagine what I saw: slowly flowing down the back of the back seat were streamers of apple and cherry pie. We had to laugh at my stupidity, and then the cleanup started. We finally got the mess cleaned up. Then I took Eloise home. I began thinking about how I would explain to mom how the pies got so torn up. The easy solution, throw the rest of the pies out and hope she didn't ask.

She didn't!

One of the other things I remember doing is getting the Chevy up to 40 mph in 2nd gear, letting off the gas, turning the key off and letting it gear down to around 20 mph. When you turned the key back on, the car would backfire and sound like a cannon going off. Of course I would beat a hasty retreat from that neighborhood. The only problem was that, after so many backfires, the muffler would blow out. Mom never did figure out why our mufflers didn't last very long. She finally put on a copper lifetime muffler from Van Patten's. At least that's where I think she got it.

Tom talks about the road to his house during the 50's. Believe me, everything he tells you is the truth. I drove out there one winter during a rain storm, when the ruts were deep. I remember Tom telling me to stay out of the ruts. As I was driving away from his house, (driving too fast, as usual) something happened and I slipped over into one of the ruts. The car bottomed out and there I sat, unable to move. I had to walk back to Tom's house and get him to come pull me out. From that time on, whenever I was on a slick rutted road, I drove very slow. I have since solved that problem: I only drive 4-wheel drives now. I also have a back up, a winch on the front. Haven't been stuck since!

One night Larry Maness and I drove to Crossett to see a girl friend. On the way back, we got into Judsonia and noticed the gas gauge was empty. We had spent all our money, which put us into a quandary. We talked a gas station attendant into giving us some gas by leaving the spare tire for collateral with a promise to come back the next day and pay him. The gas was less than five dollars, the spare tire worth a lot more. Needless to say, the next day we took the money back to the gas station.

Can you imagine doing anything like that today?




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