HAPPY (WHICH??!!??!!) BIRTHDAY TO YOU …
An interesting bunch got together last Sunday at a pleasant little condo over in River Oaks. They were all there to celebrate the 98th birthday of Corinne Hart, mother of the Class of 54’s Anita Hart Fuller, mother-in-law of the Class of 54’s Bobby Scott Fuller, Grandma of the Elkins, AR, band Director, Chris Fuller, and the Kansas City TV5 News Anchor Karen Fuller, and great-grandmaw to Madison Fuller of Highland, AR.
Except for Karen, who couldn’t get away because of TV commitments, (although she listened to a lot of the fun via telephone) the rest of them were all gathered, along with a pile of people who’ve known Miss Corinne for years; this includes a batch from the White County Historical Society.
And this last group deserved to be there. Corinne is a walking repository of stories of growing up around Letona, where she lived most of the first 12 years of her life. “Of course,” she conditions, “if I told everything I know, probably half the people in town would have to leave.”
Also on hand … those who were friends of Anita and Bobby Scott. For instance, Mary Kathryn Van Patten James. Did’ja know she studied violin? Did’ja know Anita did, too? I sure didn’t until I started this blog site.
Of course, knowing is not exactly the same as hearing, and the gang assembled a pick-up band with which to serenade Corinne. Pictured are Anita on violin, son Chris on bass trombone, granddaughter Madison on Clarinet, WCHS Board member Billy Willingham on that sorta-mandolin thing, and Don Mooney, from Corinne’s church.
Corinne has a long and colorful history in this town. She originally worked for what was then just known as Security Bank; later in food service for what was then Harding College (see our early article for a photo of her and the legendary Eddie Rickenbacker) … all-in-all, an interesting life.
To me, the highlight of the afternoon was when Miss Corrine started telling stories of her childhood, of which the best was about one year at the annual revival and town meeting.
“Everyone came into town in their wagons and long-bed trucks, their wives and kids. There was a stage full of holes, and a pump organ I played. There were lanterns hanging in the trees and it was just a grand party.
“Went on late, too. I remember one year, all the little kids had been filed away to sleep in their families’ wagons and trucks, with the grown-ups down at the platform singing their hearts out. Some of us older kids went out and started re-arranging the kids: you know, the Smith kids in the Jones wagon and like that.
“Nobody noticed till they got home LATE that night that they had the wrong young-uns. It made for a long night, with people heading all over that part of the county trying to track their youngsters down.”