Sunday, January 15, 2006


Tom Pry (1)

Nice running into Rabon Price and his lovely wife the other day. Rabon tells us that they finally closed the craft business and moved to McCrory, where they now live. Both of them are very much looking forward to the Class of 56’s 50th Anniversary Reunion coming up July 1st. Nice seeing them, even if it was in a doctor’s waiting room (nothing serious; relax).

Speaking of dates …

Thursday, January 26th, will be the Searcy High School Hall of Honor ceremony, at the Searcy High School Sullards Annex Cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the Searcy Public Schools Superintendent’s Office at 801 North Elm.

As mentioned here before, one of the honorees will be Mrs. Ruth Fuller. The ceremony for her will feature, among others, Bobby Scott Fuller (Ruth’s nephew) and his wife …


Could you/would you put out a little request on Searcyyesteryear for anyone who has a picture of Ruth Fuller's old Model A (or T, we can't remember which) car? We'd love to have it at the Hall of Fame thing.My memory of Mrs. Fuller as a high school teacher was that, while I certainly respected her as a teacher, and one who knew her subject, I don't think she had much respect for me as a student of biology, chemistry, and physics. WHY I ever took physics and chemistry I will NEVER know.

Later, as Bob's wife, I came to know her personally. I found her very personable and fun to be around. We always had our "Christmas tree" at her house on Arch Street: that house would be packed with relatives and presents. Traditionally we always had homemade hot tamales for our Christmas dinner. This was accompanied by a fruit salad made from canned fruit salad and Miracle Whip, a slaw, lots of catsup and crackers - that's it.

Tom Pry (2)

Anita, I suspect it was a Model A, but you can judge from the photos of the two different models. The T, incidentally, came before the A.

I only had Ruth for one course, Physics. She did well with the limited equipment she had at her disposal, and excelled at coming up with things that would make the point without the expenditure of money. I remember one day when our class (exclusively male, now that I think of it) trooped over to a building just off the square. An outstanding feature of this building was an OUTSIDE set of stairs up to the second floor. We individually ran those stairs, timing each other. The point? As I recall, it was measuring our individual horsepower.

But, among the memories, I find the day she was trying to explain the difference between linking batteries in serial and in parallel. Now, I can no longer remember myself which was appropriate for the occasion, but she had batteries connected through a switch to a voltmeter and was trying to make the point that doing it one of those two ways should usually be avoided when she threw the switch opening the circuit to the little voltmeter … and we watched closely during the brief moment when the needle on the meter instantly pegged, then withered like a speeded up movie of a snowman on a sunny day.

Her comment? “I think I got that backwards.”

Another honoree will be Mrs. Everlyn Green. Who was she? She was the first African-American (a term which, apparently, is now back in favor) to join the teaching staff at Searcy High School, when SHS was first integrated in the 1965-1966 school year.

Mrs. Green is still alive and kicking, and I had a nice talk with her the other day. My reason for calling her was to get some details straight for a little think piece, and this seems as good a place as any for it. Let me first say that Mrs. Everlyn Green’s son, Mose, who now resides in Omaha, Nebraska, will present his mother to the foundation.

Again, the Hall of Honor will be on Jan. 26, 2006, at the Searcy High School Sullards Annex Cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are on sale at the Searcy Public Schools Superintendent’s Office at 801 North Elm. For more information call 268-3517.

Now …

I’ve told the story here before about stopping for coffee at a Walgreen’s on Michigan Avenue in Chicago back in 1965 (which, coincidentally, would turn out to be SHS’ integration date) and finding out that my waitress, an attractive, well-spoken black lady of about my age was not only from Searcy, but she was one of Ollie Mae Dockens’ daughters. Then, just a few short years ago, while working for Alltel in Little Rock, I was telling that story to a young secretary named Mallie Jones, adding my regret that there was an entire universe of classmates and possible friendships that we had never formed because we were attending segregated schools.

When I got finished, Mallie said, “That would’ve been my Aunt Alice. Ollie Mae was my grandmother.” Truth: coincidence run amuck.

Students over at what us lily-white little darlin’s referred to as “the colored school” had the same Board of Education as we did, supposedly the same curriculum (remember the motto: “Separate but Equal”?) .. but, according to Mrs. Green, while our diplomas said “Searcy High School,” theirs were headed “White County Training School.”

What’s in a name on a diploma? One of the deciding factors in our decision to move here from Chicago was the discovery that I was slated to attend Harrison Technical High School, with the same overtones of the mechanics class in “Grease” as, to me, does “White County Training School.”

It’s occurred to me that this kind of nonsense has really gone far enough. I wonder which is going to be the first of our classes to really break that barrier for their 50th Reunion, and have a JOINT 50th reunion with the members of the WCTS/SHS classes together for the first time.

Just a thought, but I think it’s time.

Have a good week.


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