Sunday, February 26, 2006


Ernie’s still fighting.

Roland King DID graduate with the Class of ’55 (a point raised by Anita Hart Fuller), so I was wrong in moving him back a year to ’54.

And I’m trying to track down info about a Homecoming sometime during Our Era. Rumor has it that, at some point in the early 50s, the football player escorts for the presentation of the lovely ladies of the Homecoming Royalty all vowed to French kiss the ladies they were presenting.

Anyone know anything about it?

Have a good week.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Stuart Simpson

Spoke to the doc about dad this morning (Friday). He's not better, but he's not worse. He's holding his own. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

This week, dad's oxygen was lowered to 50% and the doc discovered he was retaining too much fluid and it was ending up in his lungs. This caused his oxygen to be increased to 65%. Then, the doc had to get the fluid off, so by medication and reduced nutrition, they were able to get the fluid off. We were hopeful that today (Thursday) they would now lower the oxygen back to 50%, but the doc wanted to wait until tomorrow and see. 2 steps forward, 1 step back. But that's still progress.

It’s a slow process and he doesn't want to rush anything or cause harm. The doc's favorite phrase is "He's no worse", but I like, "He's better today doc, what do you think?" Always trying to encourage positive thinking, like dad taught me.

Keep praying for him. I am always optimistic and hopeful that we'll get that tube out soon and his lungs will be clear, or at least clear enough to be off that ventilator. We didn't realize he'd have to be on it this long, and neither did dad. But as long as he's making progress, we are going to fight and help him fight.

Jim Bohannon

That was a very nice article that you wrote about Ernie this morning. I too, hope he gets better. Ernie and I were in the same graduating class of 1957. He was and is a good friend.

Although, our paths didn't meet again until 1997. We found ourselves working together on 1997 class reunion preparation.

We had some wonderful times sharing old memories. I remember most his friendly and outgoing personality, which couldn't help but radiate to me and others.

He will be in my prayers too.

Thank you for his medical update and thank you again for your gracious words about Ernie.

Ernie, get well soon!

Former colleague Art Williams (Alltel)

I will keep you and Ernie in my prayers. The Lord be with your spirit, and Grace be with you.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


... a small tribute I wrote to our friend, Ernie who, so far as I know now, is still battling for his life at a hospital in Jonesboro.

The tribute is on my "personal" site, .

More as I get it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


No news from Ernie.

No stories from you.

No nothing to pass on.


Saturday, February 18, 2006


From Ernie’s son, Stuart, last night (Friday):

He was getting better, then seemed to have a relapse, as his stats weren't as good.

So, they did another culture yesterday to see if there was anything else in his lungs. It'll take a few days to grow. They are doing everything they can.

His oxygen is at 70%, which is good because, yesterday, it was at 95%. They are still trying to get him off the vent.

Bad thing about the vent is that it is so bothersome, they have to keep him sedated. Heavily sedated. He can't wake up.

We sure wish he could get the vent out.

Keep praying.

I will. Join me, will you?

This was the day Karen and I were to go to Jonesboro to see Shelia and Ernie. -tlp-

Tuesday, February 14, 2006



Talked to Ernie Simpson's son, Stuart, just a few minutes ago this morning, and got some good news.

Ernie had been on 100% oxygen; last night, they turned it down to 80%, because his condition has improved, and his doing a goodly amount of his breathing on his own.

He's still under sedation, because he starts getting mad when he discovers he can't run his yap like he wants to.

Those of you who are saying prayers for him, keep it up: looks like they may be working.

More as I hear it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Tom Pry

The following came through the website anonymously, identified only as “Irishblood,” so I have no idea to whom to attribute it. The school is not identified, either, ‘though at a guess I’d say Kensett.

In any case, it’s another point of view which you might find interesting.

Not sure that I totally agree. I went to a High School Reunion a few years ago ... in fact I was the organizer.

Our high school had closed its doors in 1971 and there had been only one reunion since that time. It was not well advertised, so the attendance was small.

Because the school no longer existed, I decided to round up as many surviving graduates as possible. The school was only open from 1964 to 1971, so there were less than 1500 graduates in all. I managed to find over 300 who did attend, and the fact that we weren't all from the same graduating class had absolutely NO negative effect on the PARTY! In fact, it added so much more. The stories that were shared and the new friends that we made were worth more than gold!

With the average age well into their 50's, I believe that having come from the same school meant more than if you had actually graduated in the same year. Besides, so many of us meet and make friends with students in other classes through sports and other activities while in school, so to hold separate reunions would take away from the fun of meeting EVERYONE once again!

I loved my reunion and look forward to organizing another in a few years for ALL graduates of our great high school.

He/she is right, you know. My closest friends from those days in high school, despite the fact that I was in the Class of '56, are Anita Hart Fuller (’54), Roland King (’54), and Ernie Simpson (’57). Nonetheless, Ann’s point continues to be valid: we had NO contact with the students at the White County Training School, not sports, not band, not teachers, not anything. They would, sadly, be total strangers to us.

But you let us know about your high school doings, would you? In fact, tell us who you are!

Anita Hart Fuller

My mother, Corinne Harrison Hart, began working at the Peoples Bank of Searcy in 1929, a month after her 20th birthday. In 1932 this bank became known as The Security Bank. The building was located on the corner of Arch and Spring, on the east side of the White County Courthouse. The Security Bank in Searcy is still going strong 73 years later, but not in the same location.

Mother’s job description was bookkeeper, assistant teller and stenographer for all bank officers, including president J. Hicks Deener. Mrs. Jo Della Stewart was the main bookkeeper, and mother was her assistant.

When I asked her how many telephones they had, she replied, “One.” Was anyone designated to answer the phone? “No, whoever was closest to the phone when it rang answered it.”

Mother’s first duty each morning was “journalizing” the out-of-city checks, which they called foreign checks, then posting all checks and deposits and making up customer statements, preparing chattel mortgages, deeds of trust, notes, seed and feed loans. All of this was done on an adding machine or by hand. The tellers would put rubber bands around a batch of checks to hold them together. To this day, Mother always has a few rubber bands around her wrists, a habit she got into that she never broke. Often, when she is leaving the house “dressed up,” we’ll check to see if she has removed the rubber bands.

My mother was and still is deathly afraid of snakes. One day a group of boys from Harding College came into the bank and laid a toy snake at mother’s teller window. She promptly fainted and had to be taken to a back room to revive. Mr. Deener called the president of Harding and the boys were not allowed to leave the campus for one month. In those days, this was called being “campused.”

The bank opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 3 p.m. I think that is called “banker’s hours.” The windows were closed, the blinds shut and the door locked. The only exception to opening the doors after closing was to Harding College, whose couriers were habitually late. The tellers had to balance to the penny before they could go home, but mother says it was not often that they did not balance.

In the 1940s mother was “loaned” to the Searcy Bank for a two-week period so that their employee, Helen Acklin, could go to California to be with her husband, Horace, who was in the service. Helen ended up staying two years instead of two months, so mother worked at the Searcy Bank for two years. After that she did not work for a few years until Ed Lightle, a friend and classmate from Searcy High School, asked her to help him settling his late father’s estate. She did that then became Ed’s secretary. (He was an attorney with officers above Lee Biggs Optometrist’s office, across the street from the Security Bank.)

After settling the estate, mother became Ed’s secretary until she left to become director of food service at Harding College. She was recommended for this job by her friend Myrtle (Mrs. E.A.) Roberson, owner of Roberson’s Rendezvous Café. Mother had no formal experience as a dietitian but her business acumen, learned for so many years at the bank and in a lawyer’s office, stood her in good stead.

As you might imagine there are lots of fun stories waiting to be told from her experiences there and at a few other jobs she had “in between,” like the time she was a court reporter, or when she took dictation for Mr. Curtis Hubble, a claim agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Mother just turned 97 and is still one of the best storytellers in White County.

The gentleman being served by Corinne is no less than Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, who is legendary in-and-of himself.

Our thanks to the redoubtable Eddie Best, editor of the superb White County Historical Society newsletter in which this article originally appeared. He also is the one who digitalized Anita's pictures, and then shared them with us. -tlp-

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Cliff Wiggs

Hey Tom,

Look at this sentence and tell me what is wrong with it:

Well, Barth Grayson, my publisher, was kind enough to take both my Mom and I out there for lunch.

Now, take the words"both my Mom and" out. Is this correct? Nope, should be "me". "Both my Mom and Me".

What am I gonna do with you?

I majored in English … at the school of hard knocks.

Tom Pry

(1) Has anyone ever heard of a J. B. H. Edwards? Born in 1934 somewhere here in White County (which would make him the class of 52 someplace). Someone’s looking for him so, if you know him, you contact me or have him contact me, would you?

(2) It started about 12:30 Friday just west of town, where we live. By 1:30, this was it. Thought you’d be interested.

(3) As things stand now, Karen and I are going over to Jonesboro next Saturday (the 18th); Karen so she can finally meeting Ernie S., me so I can finally meet Shelia S. Stay tuned for pictures, etc.

Shortly after writing this, I got a call from Shelia. Ernie picked up an infection somewhere, and it’s landed him in the hospital, under sedation, and on a ventilator. While Ernie is very much a private soul, I have taken it upon myself to tell you, and to suggest that a stray prayer or two would NOT be out of place.

(4) From the Class of 58, we nudge your memory with this picture of Darrel Clay. He was put back a couple of years by a bone disease, so you might remember him most often as having a cast or two on his arms.

No, not child abuse but, rather, a bone disease that hits young people and makes their bones horribly prone to breaking. They DO grow out of it.

I put his picture in here because Karen has been working with Darrel’s wife, Thelma, for a couple of years and they just recently put 2+2 together.

(5) I’ve got a great piece from Anita Fuller … if I can find it in my files. Stay tuned Sunday.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Ann Shannon Snodgrass

Total silence? Please, give us some credit. Maybe we're thinking about your proposal to combine 50th year high school reunions.

I remember a time that I was visiting in Mary Kay James’ home when her class had a reunion, and she generously invited me to attend a function. I did -- because I love Mary Kay and because her high school friends were always kind to me. After so many years, they were still kind. It was nice to see them, but I did feel out of place. It wasn't MY reunion.

I realize that you're not talking about my class, but my thought is that I wouldn't want my class to combine reunions--with ANY other class, or group, or organization. After 50 years, I'd like that brief reunion time to talk and share experiences with those from my youth. I really don't see a reunion as a time to meet new people, other than my classmates' spouses or significant others.

I don't think your proposal came from a sense of being politically correct; rather, you expressed a generosity of heart that many of us have in common. I believe the time to have a combined high school reunion is with the high school graduation class that was also first combined.

For what it's worth . . .

Tom Pry

Ann, it’s worth a great deal because, frankly, it’s a point of view that hadn’t even crossed my mind … and it’s a quite valid one (not my mind, but your thought).

Were I to stick my tongue firmly in my cheek, I could “opine” that we have enough trouble, at our age, remembering our classmates and their families without introducing new people into the mix.

Perhaps you’re right and the Class of 66, the first integrated class at SHS, is indeed the proper place for this.

Ann, you’re also right in guessing that being “PC” was NOT behind my (im)modest proposal. When I met Ollie Mae’s daughter, Alice, in Chicago, what struck me was that this was a lady with whom I might have been friends had we been going to school together, and this naturally led to me wondering how many other potential friendships never happened because of our ancestors’ successful attempts to prolong segregation.

You have raised a quite sensible reason for NOT turning our 50th reunions into Integrated Events, and I thank you for the point of view. I will let the subject go.


As for me … as of last Monday, I became the “staff writer” in Central White County for Wagon Wheel Publications, publishers of the Searcy Sun/White County Record (the oldest newspaper in the state still operating), Bald Knob Banner and White River Delta Dispatch. I had been freelancing some stuff for them before, but I’ve now replaced their primary reporter on the beat, with her departure for a job in Las Vegas.

Here’s me at work, interviewing County Judge Bob Parish – with whom I share, we discovered, a number of teenage-years friends, including pianist Teddy Redell.

It is, indeed, a small world.

Incidentally, one of the conditions of getting the job was to go “make nice” with the owners of the Georgetown One Stop, a restaurant which (to Anita Hart Fuller’s dismay) Ernie and I pretty well trashed in print about a year ago.

Well, Barth Grayson, my publisher, was kind enough to take both my Mom and I out there for lunch, and I’m happy to report that they’ve REALLY cleaned the place up and, while they haven’t expanded the building, they’ve managed to add tables and chairs. Inside, there’s a world of difference to what was originally commented on.

Catfish was good, too.

Speaking of Anita, she wrote a very nice piece, with photos, about her still-alive mother, Corinne, that appeared in this month’s White County Historical Society newsletter. We’ve just gotten permission to post it here on SY, so you’ll see it here next weekend.

Incidentally, this morning’s Searcy Daily Citizen has an extremely good article on Roger Williams, husband of the late Virginia Williams, one of our teachers in the 50s. You’ll find the article at for a couple of weeks, and I think you’ll want to read it.

Over to you, Chet.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Dan E. Randle

Most people don't remember how wild and crazy I was with speed in high school. Speed is something that stayed with me for most of my life. I think I was finally able to get it out of my system with my rotary powered Madza GLC. I would make a 5 hour trip in 3.75 hours consistently. After having so much fun with the little car, I settled for a respectable 70 mph on the freeway. Or at least I thought I had gotten rid of the need for speed.

A few weeks ago my youngest son, Sean, talked the whole family into getting quads. He and his wife, her mother and father, my ex, a couple of his friends and I all bought Kawasaki quads. Most of us bought the 750 Brute Force quad equipped with a winch. The winch was in insurance policy to make sure we could get out of a problem if we ever needed to.

When I went down to try it out, I gave it a little too much gas (not used to the thumb throttle) and it did a wheelie for me. It had me right there.

Since we bought so many at one time, we got a very reasonable price for each unit. Loretta didn't want one, so she is riding double behind me.

The first trip we made was up into the mountains just about 10 miles south of town. We went back into the forest on cat trails, animal trails, anything wide enough to get the quads through. Lots of mud and water, since this is the rainy season on the coast. It was also raining the whole time we were out. Not the torrential downpours you’re used to in the south, just a steady drizzle.

Coastal Oregonians don't pay any attention to rain.

During the run, there were a few times that I thought the quad was going to flip back on me, but it didn't. By shifting my weight forward, it would keep going and get up and over the obstacle. This first run was just a baby run to get used to the quads. All I could think of was how much fun I could have had on one of these during my high school days.

The next week Loretta didn’t want to go, so I went alone. It’s a good thing she didn't accompany me, because we went places that I couldn’t walk without slipping down. By putting it in four wheel drive and locking the front axle, it goes about any place a deer can go. The main requirement is enough width to pass through. One place I went through, the water was up to the bottom of my seat. Luckily the breather air cleaner is higher than the seat so it didn't get drowned out. I couldn't get my feet high enough so my shoes were full of water. The worst part was we couldn't get much farther up that path so we had to turn around and go back through again. More water in the shoes.

Then my daughter-in-law didn't think my quad was dirty enough so she spun out in front of me and doused me with mud. I got her back later by pulling the same trick, and all she could do was try to cover her face to keep the mud out.

All in all it was a crazy and wild ride. I learned to do cookies in the mud, get all 4 wheels in the air by jumping obstacles, power sliding around corners. Sean thought he could run off and leave me but, as I explained to him, I taught him to drive.

If you have a fear of driving down a path only 4 to 5 feet wide at 20 to 30 miles per hour, don't try to keep up with your kids.

The picture I have enclosed is the results of the drive that day.

The next day we went out to the dunes for a run through them. Though not as hair raising as the cat trails, it can be a lot of fun screaming up the sand dunes and then back down again. When I moved to Coos Bay in 1974, you could go anywhere you wanted to in the dunes. Then environmentalists started lobbying to reduce the area we can go in to the point that, now, there are just a few miles that can be used. We also now have to have a license for being in the dunes, along with paying a fee each time we go.

Things have changed since the first time I saw the Oregon Dunes in 1968. It's still a lot of fun just beachcombing. You can find all kinds of driftwood and occasionally you might find a glass float used for fish nets. Then, when it’s mushroom time, you can find a variety of them, if you know where to look. This happens to be one of the neat things about the quad, I can now get into places where I never was able before.

Another thing I can't wait to try it out is for hunting season: should make packing out a deer much easier.

I wonder if any 67 year old living in the 1950's would have been so crazy? Exposure to different things and longer life span sure do make a different, or am I just crazy? I leave that up to you.

(No, Dan, not crazy. See there’s this thing called a “second childhood.” -tlp-)

Last week was a weird week for me. On the way home from work Thursday, one of my molars started being sensitive. By the time supper was on the table I couldn't chew on the right side of my mouth. Since Sean's father-in-law is a dentist and his wife works there, I called her to see what she suggested. I don't like calling a dentist at home about a problem. Her dad had gone to Medford and wouldn't be back until Friday. She called in a prescription for penicillin and codeine for pain.

Since it was late at night, I just barely made it to the pharmacy on time to get the prescription. Took the meds per instructions. Friday the tooth was really hurting, so I only spent a half day at work. When I got home. I couldn't even eat some soup I had made. Trying to chew only on the left side was actually hurting my tooth on the right side. So into the blender the soup went and was liquefied. At least I could drink it. Took more meds. Then my stomach started bloating and continued to get worse. Went to my regular doctor and he thought it was the codeine so prescribed another pain killer. When Ray (dentist) got back into town he met me at this office around 7:30 pm to take an x-ray of the tooth. I had a root canal done on it in 1992 and, according to Ray, I’d bitten down on something hard and broken the tooth away from the little fibers that hold the tooth to the bone and flesh. This allowed bacteria to get under the root and raise havoc thereby pushing up on the tooth and causing severe pain. Since Ray had gone out of his way, I took everyone out for dinner. Everyone, that is, except for me. My stomach was bothering me to the point I didn't want to put anything else in it. One of the problems I was having was not being able to equalize the pressure in my system, could not release gas from either end. The old finger down the throat allowed me to get a little sleep that night.

When I woke up the next morning (5 am), I was really worried. Once before I had a twisted intestine and was opened up so they could untwist it. Took me three weeks to recover. I thought I had another twisted intestine. so I had Loretta take me to the hospital. We got there 10:20 am, they x-rayed me and discovered that a portion of my intestine had shut down. Finally at 5:30 pm they admitted me to the hospital for overnight. I tried to get them to give me something to vomit but they wouldn't. Wanted to pump my stomach. Remembering the sorer throat I had before, I opted out. Of course things got worse, so I finally said O'K.

The nurse that was trying to put the tube up my nose didn't know how to do it because she just about killed me. I finally told her to stop, I'll live with the pain. Again the old finger down the throat finally worked where it hadn't earlier that day. At least the pain was gone from my stomach. The doctor told me to walk around and it would help so I walked a couple of miles around the hospital before I went to sleep. With all the walking and fingering, things started to get better since I was finally able to pass a little gas. The worst part was they wouldn't let me have any liquids or food. By this time, my last solid food was consumed Thursday night. You would think that I would be hungry, I wasn't. All they would let me have was an ounce of water to take my meds.

Anyway Sunday came and I was feeling great again, but they still wouldn't let me have any water or food. Finally, around 12:30, the doctor came by, ordered a lunch and said that, if I could keep it down, I could go home. It did and I did. The pain in the tooth was also almost gone. By Tuesday it was gone and at 10:00 am, I was in the dental chair getting another root canal on the old root canal. The thing that really bothers me is trouble usually comes in three. I still have one more to go!


Also another story comes to mind about Ruth Fuller. I remember taking Drama class in the 11th grade. One day we were going over stage make up. After checking things out, I used some putty over the skin between my right thumb and forefinger, then worked it to look like a nasty cut. After painting it and blending it in with my skin tone, it was so real it almost fooled me. I went into Ruth Fuller’s room holding my right wrist as if I were trying to stop the bleeding. I told her I had just put my hand trough a glass window. She thought it was real and was going to do first aid until we could get to the hospital. Then I had to break the news to her that it was only stage makeup. I think she could have killed me right on the spot.

This memory was brought out by watching an episode of Nip Tuck. It's funny what triggers memory. Everything is there, just covered by a lot of dust and cobwebs.