The Yalobusha County Historical Society, Inc., met in the Presbyterian Church in Coffeeville on May 15. There were almost 50 in attendance, representing six counties. There were many guests present, many of them first-timers. Among them were: Yola Bailey, Nan Cottingham, Janet Kite Miller, Mary Alice Walker, Sandy Ebertowski, Bobbie Williams, “Red” Riddick, and the speaker and his wife, Arnold and Beverly Dyre.
President Mike Worsham opened the meeting, calling on Chaplain (and Vice-president) John Moorman for prayer. Mike announced that Pat Brooks had been the high bidder on the antique desk/dresser that the Society wished to sell. Mike thanked Dave Hovey for all the work he has done on the building – cleaning the attic out, fixing the roof, and doing some electrical work. The Society appreciates all volunteer work, and will need more to assist in organizing the Library material, and in all aspects of Society activities. Mike also told of a book-signing at the Society Library by Mr. Herschel Howell, of Oxford, at 2:00 p. m. on June 5.
The speaker for the day, Arnold Dyre, was introduced by Program Chairman Opal Wright. Arnold, of Madison, MS, reviewed his recent book, “Home Is Where The Heart Is,” a compilation of nostalgic memories from his childhood years. Many of his stories are related in his weekly column in The Grenada Sentinel-Star.
Arnold was born in Kilmichael but his family moved to Gore Springs when he was seven. He graduated from Grenada’s John Rundle High School, is married to the former Beverly Biddy, and has been a successful attorney in Jackson for many years. He is also a Navy veteran of the Viet Nam War.
Arnold’s family history is outlined in the book, and follows a path from pre-Civil War Mississippi to New Mexico and Arizona before they were states, to Brazil, South America, back to Arizona, and finally home again to Mississippi. Then, through one heart-warming story after another, the reader is given the opportunity to share the author’s pure pleasure of growing up in the rural South. Arnold related many of these stories, one of which was about his boyhood friend, Mr. Jim Moore. He vividly remembers the jacket that Mr. Jim wore in cool weather, but it was called a jumper, usually made of denim, and containing many pockets, pouches and compartments that held all sorts of items. Arnold recalled the various treats he kept in the jumper pockets, and how enjoyable it was to him to share things like a ham and biscuit, a sweet potato, pecans or parched peanuts.
Arnold explained how he arrived at a name for his book – it was because of the family’s old red hound, “Coon.” Seems that when the family moved from the Keeton place to a farm a few miles away on Providence Road, “Coon” didn’t like the new place, and kept going back to his old HOME, thus the name “Home Is Where The Heart Is.” Arnold, though he had been away from the Gore Springs area for a long time, still has a soft spot for his childhood home, and, like “Coon” his heart is still there, among all his fond memories.
Arnold spoke of many of the ways he, his sisters and their playmates entertained themselves in the country around their home. They loved to go looking for old home places, which they could identify, in the springtime, by the daffodils blooming in the abandoned yards. (or the broken down chimneys) They would look for old sawmill sites, and spent many a pleasant hour, playing in the sawdust pile.
There were many other memories of his boyhood, and Arnold delighted the audience with these tales. The Society thanks you, Arnold, for this unique and entertaining program, and you and your wife are cordially invited to visit us again. (I believe Arnold plans to write another book, entitled “Home Again,” so maybe he can do a program on that one)
The book is available at the retail price of $15.99 through Amazon.com and can be purchased in Grenada at Carolyn O’Brien’s BOOKS and Alice Marascalco’s THE GIFT BOX.
The speaker for the June 19 meeting will be Keith Bloodworth of the Edward Jones Firm in Grenada. He will speak on “The History of Wall Street.” Wall Street, as a financial institution, began in the late 1700s. The actual street was named for a WALL that was constructed in Manhattan during the Revolutionary era. Keith plans to bring many aspects of America’s financial history into his presentation. The public is invited to all meetings of the Society.
ATTENDING: (other than those previously mentioned) Tom and Alma Moorman, Mike Worsham, Joy Herron, Betty R. Miller, Billie Rotenberry, Bill and Ruth Upchurch, Opal Wright, Carl and Mae Vick, Dot Criss, R. O. “Red” Riddick, B. B. Billingsly, Dave Hovey, Gilbert Sullivan, Lois Y. Mithcell, Marie Y. Hardy, Ray Cox, Steve Cox, Tom Cox, Hugh Bill McGuire, James and Polly Simpson, Harold and Lena Jones, Joe Moorman, John Moorman, Sue Fly, Jean Fly, James Person, Joy Tippit, Jimmie and Francine Pinnix, Thelma Roberts and Sarah Williams.
Betty R. Miller