By Betty Shearer
A request from Kenny Wood of Pearland, Texas came last week for a copy of an obituary of Mrs. W. H. Myers (Delphine Myers) who died in 1952. I went through the entire 1952 Herald file and failed to find this. If any of you readers know the date of Mrs. Myers death, please let me know and I’ll find Mr. Wood a copy of the obit.
The afternoon of searching was not a loss—I thoroughly enjoyed reading excepts from each week and found so much interesting info. Top of the list was that in 1952 the Shearer family became the sole owner of the paper. From 1943 until ‘52, Mr. Shearer had been in a three-way partnership.
Second most interesting was that I found an obit for one of Jack’s great uncles, Richlin Franklin Groves, who died in a vehicle accident near Coffeeville.
An interesting tid-bit was that the last day for a one cent stamp was December 31, 1951.
There were several articles about Mim Carpenter. One announced that she was Senior of the Week at Millsaps and another stated that she was a member of the Millsaps Choir.
The Valley had numerous beauty pageants and they all had lots of contestants. Among them were Miss Water Valley, Mrs. Water Valley, Queen of the Forest, Miss WVJHS. and Miss WVHS.
Personal columns in the paper during 1952 were Myrle Cox’s Ramblin and Shearings by Edward B. Shearer, Sr.
Much space was devoted to the polio epidemic and its devastating effect on the nation. The vaccine was being perfected and results of the initial testing was reported. Hard to believe that in such a short time this dreaded disease was completed wiped out.
Grocery advertisers were Kroger, Peoples Wholesale, Jitney Jungle and Larson’s. Beef roast was priced at 59 cents per pound, ground beef at 49 cents a pound, but chicken was selling for 57 cents a pound—very little above sale price today. Think it was 79 cents a pound a few weeks ago.
We had two banks, The Mechanics Savings Bank and Bank of Water Valley and they both advertised each week.
The paper contained many regular advertisers. Among them were Coca-Cola, United Gas, 666, Southern Bell and Telegraph Co. and the Illinois Central Railroad. The city also had many car dealerships, Motor Service Co. (Studebaker), Sloan Chevrolet, Wilbourn Motors (Dodge/Plymouth), Hendricks Machine Shop (Ford), Crowson Motors (Pontiac) and Trusty International, who were good advertisers.
Department stores included Rays and McCullar/Suratt, both of whom ran many multiple page ads during the year, plus small ads almost every week, Simmons, Gregory’s and Peoples Wholesale, ran ads most weeks and several large ads (up to a page) several times a year.
Other advertisers were Ed Harris Appliance, J. B. Carpenter and Son, Blu-Buck Merc. Co. Turnage Drug Store, Cooper’s Jewelry, Parker’s Ben Franklin, Wiley’s Drug Store, The Pastry Shop (owned and operated by George and Myrtle Miles), and the theaters, Grand in Water Valley and Rebel Drive-In in Oxford.
Each week the paper reported multiple births, sometimes as many as half-dozen. The hospital list of patients was also included. There was lots of society news, two of which I enjoyed muchly—the wedding accounts of Jerry and Pat Holloway and Martha and Billy Bryce Williamson.
There was so much in these 52 issues that I could have spent weeks reading them—but just ran out of time. Also read lots more, but memory is not as good as it used to be, so lots of great stuff didn’t make deep enough groves in the ole brain to report here.
Have had several calls over the past couple of week, with complaints of late mail service in the Memphis and 386 Distribution areas. I’ve checked them all and find no errors in our mailing addresses, so we assume that they have been delayed in the mail somewhere. We are sorry that your papers are arriving late and hope this can be corrected soon.
Have had many notes attached to subscription renewals over the past month and have chosen a few to share.
Dated Feb. 1, this comes from Lucille Melton Hardy. “I’m sorry I’m late getting the money to you to renew my subscription for the paper (Don and I both enjoy the paper so much). I know it is due on my birthday (Jan. 28) because my mother gave it for my birthday gift many years before she passed away.
“I hope you are doing well. We are O.K., but a lot of things are going on in my family. My sister, Ann, just found out she has breast cancer. She will have surgery on Feb. 12. My sister, Frances’ husband, Harold, has had several strokes and has been in the hospital since before Christmas. Please keep them in your prayers.
“Did you have snow and ice over the past weekend? We did and lost our electric service for 20 long hours. We have a well pump and without electricity there was no water. It felt like when we were kids running to get in bed before we froze and sleeping under much cover. Thank goodness it didn’t last longer. We thanked the power people when they got it fixed.
“When we started to church Sunday morning it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen with the sun shining on the trees and branches covered with glistening ice. I told Don it was a little taste of what heaven may look like.
“I’m sorry I have rambled on so long. I think of you often and just wanted to tell you thanks for the fun times we have with your writings each week.”
Thanks for writing Lucille. I was so sorry to hear of Ann and Harold’s health problems and have had them in my prayers. I was deeply sorry learn of Harold’s death last week and will keep Frances in my prayers. Sorry you got the snow and ice and lost power, but was glad we didn’t. Look forward to seeing you when you’re in town.
From Subscriber Kenny Moore come this:
“May I suggest that you put the subscription due date on each subscriber’s label, which would be a good reminder of when their subscription is due. Until I read your column I had forgotten that mine was due in February. Doesn’t really have to have the year, just the month.” Thanks for the suggestion. We might get around to doing this—however it will take some time to add this to each label.
From long-time friend, Frances Sartain, comes: “Forgive an old woman for being so late with my subscription renewal. Got lots of excuses, ‘shingles’, misplaced my bill! I could go on, but thanks for letting me hang on. Herald has always been a great ‘life line’ for a lot of us old people. Stay well and know ‘I love you’.”
Frances, never thought I hear you admit to getting old and do hope you back off that—I not far behind you—and don’t intend to get old. We have had some fun times over the more than 50 years we’ve been friends. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to the early days when y’all sang and Ed and the rest of that group played, rehearsing into the wee hours. Did that group every play for the public or did we just all have fun “hanging out”? Loved the print of the old Blackmur Hotel. Thanks!
Joyce Courtney of Scobey writes, “Keep up the good work. I enjoy the paper so much.”
From another long-time friend, Kitty Hale, comes: “Thanks for the reminder. Hope the New Year has started off good for you and hope you and your staff have a great year. Love with a big hug! I look forward to getting the Herald on Wednesday—it helps to pass the day. Keep up the good work.”
Thanks for the hug, Kitty—I haven’t had one in a long time and I do miss them.
All I’ve done this week is cook and clean—very boring.
We are having the Association wide denominational study tonight at Woodland Hills and then tomorrow night (Tuesday) the church is hosting the Y-Fest Prayer Meeting for this week. Both of these will be inspirational meetings.
We’re also working hard to complete the church so we can have a dedication service in the near future, so that has taken some of my time. We’re all excited about the completion of this project.
Ran out to The Bargain Basket on Friday to look for an item that Jimmie wanted and ran in to Jo and Jim Peacock. We discussed most folks who have lived in the Valley over the past hundred or so years. It was fun. They both know a lot of Valley history—think I may have a new source of information.
The spring-like temperature on Saturday and Sunday was so nice. I really thought winter was gone—hadn’t seen the weather forecast in a few days. Then got up this morning, flipped on the TV and, wow, the prediction was for more cold weather, with possible frozen precipitation later in the week. I may kill that groundhog before next year.