Monday, July 31, 2006

The question was - WHERE and WHAT were you doing WHEN

The remember when question asked earlier was -- what were you doing
and what was going on around you when you heard about Kennedy's
assassination,and September 11, 2001?

Anita Fuller's reply - with some early history - Followed With
The Rest Of The Story.

First let me say how glad Bob and I are that you guys, Irvin B. and
Bill, are taking over Searcyyesteryear. It's been too much fun for a
lot of people, to just fade away.

To answer the questions: I met my spouse, Bobby Scott Fuller, in the
first grade at Searcy Primary School. He was my "boyfriend" off and on
all thru our school years, and also college and obviously beyond. My
first memory of him in lst grade was that he would eat paste - I guess
to impress me! The paste in those days was white, in a jar with a
small paddle to smear it on with. It evidently was harmless if eaten,
and tasted like peppermint, or so he says. He was my first date: I
invited him to a Girl Scout Dance, which was held on the second floor
at the Fire Station. This would have been 5th or 6th grade. His
mother took us and picked us up. We've been married 46 years and hope
to celebrate our 50th at the newly renovated Smyrna Methodist Church.

When Kennedy was shot: We were married and living in New York City -
Bob in graduate school there and I was teaching in St. Luke's Hospital
School of Nursing. St. Lukes is an Episcopal Hospital, so had priests
all over the hospital. My memory is of many of the Catholic maids and
orderlies who worked in the hospital becoming so grief stricken the
hospital put them in a room (probably the chapel)and sent the Episcopal
priests to administer to them. My other memories are of the black
bordered newspapers, New York Times and New York Post. I have saved
them, so have them to this day. Also store windows with Kennedy's
picture and draped in black, etc. Bob was studying choral music
and in a chorus that was contacted for a Sunday evening concert
conducted by Leonard Bernstein, who was a personal friend of Pres.
Kennedy. Bob was called at 3:00 a.m. Sat. morning (Sunday morning,
actually), rehearsed all day and was in live performance that Sunday
evening on CBS. Lots of his relatives in Searcy and around were able
to see him.

9/ll: We were driving back home from a trip to Minnesota. We never
listen to the radio when we drive. Our daughter, Karen, was an anchor
at KATV, Little Rock - she called on the cell phone when she heard the
news. We then turned on the radio and listened the rest of the way
home. Then watched . My vivid memory is of seeing vapor trails of
airplanes literally making circles in the sky as they turned back and
headed to land.

I attribute my weight gain to 9/ll (which isn't true, of course) but
I've adopted the attitude: "live today for tomorrow you may die", OR,
better still, remember the wisdom of Erma Bombeck who said "Just think
of all those people on the Titanic who turned down dessert that night".

Anita Fuller

Remember send in your story to:

Just Using Her Name Incorrectly would cause PROBLEMS

Jo Ann Roth Cooper class of 1957 says:

I lived at 1204 West Arch for 18 years until I left to go to college. It was across the street from Robert and Marcia Edwards who were my first cousins. Linda Allison, another cousin, lived with us until my mother became a house mother and I left for college. The house has been painted a bright blue now.

I was a year behind your sister Mary Kathryn in school. Your cousin Bobby, deceased, and I were born on the same day and went all the way through school together in Searcy, I believe we were even born in the same hospital. It was Wakenight Sanatorium then but later became Rodgers Hospital.

I worked in the principal's office one period my senior year. I was also co-editor of the annual and Miss Thornton was sponsor. Her first name was Lois.

Eloise Bleight was a good friend of mine and classmate. One day Eloise was walking down the hall and I spoke to her. I presume I didn't sound her name out very well. Mr. Yarbrough, the principal, heard me and called me into his office and really got on to me for calling Miss Thornton by her first name. My mother and Miss Thornton were friends and he knew it. I would not have thought to call her by her first name.

I did some tall explaining to get out of trouble.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Jim Bohannan, class of '57 worte:


How old is Grandpa???

Stay with this -- the answer is at the end. It will blow you away.

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events.
The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandfather replied, "Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:

' television

' penicillin

' polio shots

' frozen foods

' Xerox

' contact lenses

' Frisbees and

' the pill

There were no:

' credit cards

' laser beams or

' ball-point pens

Man had not invented:

' pantyhose

' air conditioners

' dishwashers

' clothes dryers

' and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and

' man hadn't yet walked on the moon

Your Grandmother and I got married first, . . . and then lived together.

Every family had a father and a mother.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, "Sir".
And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, "Sir."

We were before gay-rights, computer- dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.

We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.

We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios.

And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan ' on it, it was junk.

The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.

Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of.

We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.

Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel.

And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, . . . but who could afford one?
Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

In my day:

' "grass" was mowed,

' "coke" was a cold drink,

' "pot" was something your mother cooked in and

' "rock music" was your grandmother's lullaby.

' "Aids" were helpers in the Principal's office,

' " chip" meant a piece of wood,

' "hardware" was found in a hardware store and

' "software" wasn't even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap... and how old do you think I am?

I bet you have this old man in are in for a shock!

Read on to see -- pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

This man would be only 59 years old!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moving On - Passing the torch

I would like to express my feeling on assuming responsibility and moving forward with the Searcy Yesteryear Blog. Both of us are looking forward but it will require a learning curve to understand everything we need to know. No one can replace Tom Pry and his talents as wordsmith, so Bill Benz and I are asking for your assistance in submitting articles, stories, photos to keep things interesting.

Where were you when you met your spouse?
Where and what were you doing when you heard of Kennedy's death?
What were you doing when 9/11 happened? Did you believe it at first, how has it changed you?

Bill and I are experiencing some technical issues in getting everything set up and ready to go. At this time we are asking you to send your replies to :

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Tom Pry, once more

From this morning’s Searcy Daily Citizen:

Maryann Fuller, 68 of Searcy, passed from this life July 21, 2006 after a long battle with cancer. She was born Oct. 20, 1937 in Augusta, Ark. She was preceded in death by her son, Ronnie Fuller and her parents, Bill and Bonnie Johnson. She was a member of West Race Baptist Church. She is survived by her husband of 51 years, W.H. “Cotton” Fuller; her sons, Steve Fuller and his wife Bonnie, and Kenny Fuller and his wife Letty; daughter-in-law, Sissy Fuller; six grandkids; five great-grandkids; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

I hate to go out on this note. Maryann and I used to ride “Birdie” Sparrow’s bus together. That said, I wasn’t on it the morning that Cotton came back from Air Force Basic Training, stopped the bus, pulled Maryann off, and took her off and married her.

I never dreamed at the time that, someday, her and Cotton’s son would end up married to one of my nieces.

Sweet lady, and she’ll be missed.


Now, the more cheerful news.

The SHS Class of ’54 was the first to be graduated in what was, at the time, our brand-spanking new football stadium. We had just plain old outgrown the auditorium.

As I’ve told the story before, some bright soul decided it would be great to “pass the torch of knowledge” symbolically during the ceremony. It was probably perennial Senior Sponsor Lois Thornton.

Anyway, track star and football co-captain Roland King was selected to carry the torch. Unfortunately, he had no chance to rehearse the run under real-time conditions. As a result, in darkness broken only by the light of the torch, we watched as he kept going straight instead of making the first turn, stumbled, and than ran full-throttle into the chain link fence, and got knocked on his fanny. Between his glasses and the torch, he was effectively blind, and he says that getting around that track was undoubtedly the longest run he ever made in his life.

Well, in the several years I’ve been carrying the torch of this site, I’ve run into plenty of chain link fences, and all of you have been kind enough to pick me up and get me back on track. Now, I pass the torch on.

Two members of the Class of 1963 are taking over Searcy Yesteryear, effective now.

In no particular order, one of these two lifelong friends (and, now, co-editors) is Billy Benz, shown here with one of his prize catches. As he said in his note to me, I wanted to title this picture I love to fish and remember, it's not the size that counts, but Irvin said I had to keep it clean.

“One thing you need to be aware of, I have a great sense of humor and love to throw in joke when I can. This is going to be fun.”

Bill recently moved to a place right on Lake Conway.

And “Irvin”? None other than Irvin Van Patten, little brother to my classmate, Mary Kathryn Van Patten James. Irvin now lives right outside Houston, TX, and already runs one website,

It’s all yours, guys.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


FYI ... two members of the Class of 1963 have had a momentary common-sense lapse and have agreed to take over Searcy Yesteryear.

Stay tuned to find out who they are.


Friday, July 07, 2006


With these postings, I hang up my work on Searcy Yesteryear. In the several years I’ve had this site and its predecessor, I’ve written and/or edited well over 300 pieces here.

Attending this 50th Reunion has made me realize just how lucky I’ve been. My wife, Karen, came from a truck driving family. Over 12 years, she attended 13 schools; two different high schools. They don’t even bother sending her reunion notices anymore.

I, on the other hand, spent four of the most formative years of my life with the same group. Pretty good group, too: out of 75 members, there’s only one I can say I really, truly dislike.

Fortunately, he’s had the good taste to stay away from our reunions.

One out of 75 ain’t bad, though, when you really think about it. The “good guys” greatly outnumbered the bad. Robin Moore, erstwhile class President, saved me from making what would’ve been a really horrid mistake (as it turned out), and then kept it to himself, oh, those many years ago, for instance. And the late Billy Anderson and I shared a lot of confidences during those years.

The teen years are the life-learning years, when we learn to Cope, for better or for worse. At many, many of those moments, our classmates were there to help when we needed it. To those who did for me, my heartfelt Thanks. I hope I repaid it in kind.

Having spent only a total of five years in the Searcy school system (1 semester at Honey Hill, back in 1946, 1 semester in 1947 with Edna Pharis, and the four years of high school), there’s been only a finite amount of material I could produce on my own. Fortunately, I’ve had Anita Hart Fuller (Class of ’54), Roland King (Class of ’55), Dan E. Randall (Class of ’57), and others to help the memory box. Most of all, I had Ernie Simpson (Class of ’57), the heart of this web site. We lost him earlier this year and, I must admit, a lot of my enthusiasm for this site died with him. He’ll be sorely missed by everyone who ever had anything to do with him over the years. After all, he was the prime inspiration for Searcy Yesteryear in the first place.

I’ll still be running my mouth (if not my brain) on my “personal” site, and I hope some of you will stop by to visit there from time-to-time.

For anyone who’d like to take this site over, a little younger blood, contact me and I’ll give you all the help I can, including copies of all the archives and the photos.

Otherwise, I guess the Google/Blogger/Blogspot people will leave this site up until people stop visiting it … and then it, too, will be but a memory.

Bob Hope said it best, “Thanks for the memories …” but Porky Pig had his moments, too:

"'s All, Folks!"

-- Tom Pry

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - The Program

As both a remembrance and as a possible aid to those facing their own reunion a year-or-better hence, here are shots of the very nice program put together by Mary Kay James:

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 14

The last of Mary Kay and Larry's photos of the 7/1/06 event:

Polly Hayes West and Don Fulmer

Polly and Jimmy Don Jackson (Note: there were flashes
of the "old" Jimmy Don throughout the day, but we never
managed to capture it with our cameras. Rest assured,
though, that Jimmy Don is STILL Jimmy Don).

Robin and Ruth Smith Moore. Ruth was Class of '57,
so they've got another 50th to attend, 6/2/07.

Roger Duncan, Clifton Carson, and Jimmy Don Jackson,
looking more like the guy we remember.


CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 13

We're getting close to the end, but we're not there yet. Here are some more of Mary Kay and Larry James' photos of the Reunion:

Myra Van Patten Suddreth, Mary Kathryn Van Patten James,
and Polly Jo Van Patten Williams. Myra and Polly are but two
of Mary Kay's several thousand (it seems) cousins, and these two
came out to see what Ole Cuz was up to.

Pat Merritt Barger, Madeline Simpson Barber, and
Patsy Ruth Norman Pryor

Pat Merritt Barger and Judy Owens Palmer

Pat Merritt Barger and Draxie Jean Horn Rogers

Pat, Marianne Bennett, Gay Goree Wellendstedt,
and Carolyn Reed Hill

Peggy and Elmer Dale Yancey, plus
Jimmy Don Jackson

Don't Go Away -- We're not done yet!

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 12

Here we go with more of Mary Kay's photos:

Linda Bolton Ballard and Faye Usery Thomas.
Linda started her freshman year with us with both a husband
and a baby. Faye traveled all the way from Albuquerque
to be with us at the Reunion.

James Hill, Larry James, Larry Cofer (do you see a
pattern here?), Robert Miller and
Class President Robin Moore.

Madeline, Imogene, Marianne, Draxie, Polly
(who was our Class Secretary), and Mary Kay.

Dr. Marianne Bennett attempting to recall the 60s.

Marianne Bennett and Billy Barger

Mary Kay & Larry James. The shutter on their
camera must've been smokin' by the time the Reunion was over.

Max Benton, Linza Ray & Evelyn Whisnant

Mary Kay James and Barbara Russell Wood

We ain't done yet, folks!

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 11

Received a very nice note from Jim Bohannon. He's enjoyed the pictures so much that he's downloaded a batch of them to share with the committee putting together the Class of 1957's 50th Reunion, which apparently is scheduled for June 2nd of next year.

These photos are put on here to share and enjoy any way you want. It's our pleasure.

Here are more:

Imogene, Pat, Draxie, Mary Kay

Imogene, Polly, Pat, Draxie

Judy, Pat, Gary

Robin, Larry, James .. just asittin' and
arockin' and avisitin'

Kenneth Levy

Larry James and Madeline

Larry Cofer and wife, Elsie Mae. Larry (who holds a
Master's degree, incidentally) and Elsie (a published author)
came all the way down from Ottumwa, Iowa, for the Reunion.

Still more to come!

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 10

More of Mary Kay's shots:

Carolyn, Linza & Evelyn Whisnant

Carolyn, Pat, Marianne and Draxie

Draxie must've found it a relief to have someone
else providing the service for a change. She runs a very nice B&B,
"Rogers Sunnyside Inn" in Eureka Springs. Call her at
800-554-9499 to reserve a room, tell her you're a SHS
grad, and I'll bet you'll get a nice rate.

Elmer Dale, attempting to map, if not explain, the
world of the last sixteen years.

Gary Gray had the job of explaining the 70s. He was
working from notes since, like the 60s, if you can
remember the 70s, you probably weren't there.

Imogene Edwards Benton and Larry Cofer

Stay tuned for yet more!


As mentioned here yesterday, Patsy Sutherlin's mom has passed away. Here is her official obituary, as run in the Searcy Daily Citizen:

Ruby Byrd Sutherlin

On Sunday, July 2, 2006, nine days short of her 102nd birthday, Ruby Byrd Sutherlin passed from this life.

She is survived by her two daughters, Jane Hefley of Little Rock and Pat McRee of Orlando, Fla., and sons-in-law, Dr. Bill F. Hefley Sr. and Col. (Ret.) Marshall R. McRee; grandchildren, Laura Hefley Krupka, Dr. William F. Hefley Jr. and wife Lisa, Sarah Hefley Heffley and husband Kyle, Tracy McRee Wellington and husband Jim and Stephanie McRee Williams and husband Brandon; 13 great grandchildren and numerous nephews, nieces, and friends.

Ruby was born July 11, 1904, at Steprock, Ark., the oldest child of James and Edna Byrd. She grew up on the farm with her three brothers. She milked cows, churned, canned vegetables, picked cotton and washed clothes in an iron pot over a wood fire. She began cooking the family’s breakfast biscuits at a young age, having to stand on a box to reach the kitchen table. She loved school even though she had to walk several miles to get there. As a dark-haired, lovely young woman, she went on a double date and met her future husband ... the other girl’s date! She and Leonard Sutherlin were married June 7, 1930, and moved to Searcy, where Leonard was the bookkeeper at the Bank of Searcy.

During the Depression years and later, Ruby, a skilled seamstress, added to the family income by “sewing for the public,” as she liked to say, making everything from women’s suits to full-length formal evening dresses. Later, when her two daughters were in high school and college, she worked at the Birdseye Frozen Food Plant.

After her husband’s death in June 1967, Ruby continued working and gardening. Then her life changed when her grandchildren began arriving to attend Harding College, now Harding University. They came with the instructions to do their own laundry, but Ruby would not hear of this! She had an active life again! The grandchildren spent hours at her house, studying, visiting, and bringing friends to meet ‘MeMaw.’ What fun!

In January 2004, Ruby fell, requiring hip surgery. No longer able to walk, she lived until her death at the Pleasant Living Center in Little Rock, a short distance from the Hefley Home.

Memorials may be made to Harding University, Searcy, Westside Church of Christ, Searcy, or Windsong Church of Christ, North Little Rock. Funeral services will be Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 2 p.m. at the Westside Church of Christ with interment following at Oak Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday, July 10, 2006 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Roller-Daniel Funeral Home.

Online guest register or (501) 268-3546.

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50TH - Part 9

More of Mary Kay's photos:

Clifton Carson, Barbara Russell Wood,
Judy Palmer, Kevin Carson

Draxie Jean Horn Rogers

Elsie Mae Cofer and Robert Miller

Faye Usery Thomas and Ruth Smith Moore

Gay Goree Wellenstedt, Max Benton,
and Tommy Henderson

'Nother group. In the foreground, Kevin Carson.
Kevin came with his dad, Clifton, since his Mom
wasn't well enough to accompany his father.

Another group. Name the faces.

NOTE TO ANITA HART FULLER: Yep, this may well be the best-photographed reunion SHS has ever had ... and there's MORE TO COME!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

CLASS OF 56 - THE BIG 50th - Part 8

Okay, here we go with Mary Kay's take on the Reunion, and I'll get them all posted just as fast as I can get them captioned.

Bill Wellerstedt and Tommy Henderson

Bill Wellerstedt and Robin Moore

Group discussion about Something
Earth-shattering. That's Larry Cofer's wife,
Elsie Mae, sitting in front in the middle,
probably trying to figure out how she's
going to get it all in her next book.

Bill Barger and Robin Moore

Carolyn Reed Hill and Madeline Simpson Barber

Clifton Carson and Judy Owen Palmer

Elmer Dale Yancey and Jimmy Don Jackson.
As a totally uninteresting aside, my very first class
assignment/project at SHS was with these two. We
were to take any scene in Julius Caesar and re-write it in
teen-talk. We chose 1-I, the famous "Friends, Romans,
Countrymen" scene. I'm happy to report that no copies of
our work survive to shame Shakespeare .. or ourselves.

E. D., Larry Cofer, Linza Ray Whisnant

A TECHNICAL TIP FOR THE COMPUTER TYRO: When you move your cursor over a photo, you'll note that the pointer turns into a hand. This means that photo is actually called a "thumbnail." If you'll click on it, you'll get a larger version of the picture in a separate window. If you RIGHT CLICK that, you'll get a menu that, among other things, gives you the option to "Save image as". If you click that, a window opens up that allows you select where you'd like to save that picture on your hard drive. Simple, isn't it? (Trust me, it sounds more complicated than it actually is).