By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.
I learned about the death of Betty Melton and although I didn’t know her well I remember her family when I was growing up. I also knew her late husband, Jack Melton, from my first year at Camp Ground.
As far as I know they were all honest country people. Her grandfather, Bud Hollinger, would visit Papa Badley from time to time and even did some hand-woven bottoms for his rocking chairs. Also, her uncle, Arthur Hollinger, and her brother, George, and I were friends, so all of you have my condolences.
Someone told me once that from reading my column it seemed as if I had known everybody in Yalo-busha county and that’s almost the truth. The “looking back” segment is always a favorite of mine as it brings back events I had forgotten. As an example I had forgotten that the Dales sold the Herald to Phillip “Moon” Mullen when Jack Dale entered the Army as an intelligence officer.
There was a comic strip in the Commercial Appeal back then called Moon Mullins and they said since the name was similar that’s how Mr. Mullen got the nickname “Moon.”
Since I always read Betty’s column, I was pleased to see a mention of Jimmie Kathryn Woods Morgan, who lives now in Toledo, Ohio. She has corresponded with me over the years, starting before she moved from Nashville to Toledo. I knew who she was but since she was ahead of me in school I had never met her. Her dad, Jim Woods and my dad both worked for Illinois Central and were friends.
Jimmie Kathryn, I’m happy that you are active in water aerobics and please let me hear from you as it has been awhile and your hand-written letters are always welcome.
It was interesting to read Mickey Howley’s account of his visit to the Ozarks, as I have some knowledge of that area. Eureka Springs’ downtown is like taking a step back in time with its narrow streets and buildings that look like they did over a 100 years ago.
We attended a wedding of one of Jamie’s friends three years ago that was held in the Glass Chapel. Jamie and Nicole stayed in the historic old hotel with its long veranda that was designed for the guests in the pre-air conditioning days. It had a player piano in the parlor which was probably all the entertainment offered to the guests before radio and TV.
This was another place that offered spring water that was supposed to have healing qualities. There is an element of truth in this as it was pure mountain water whereas many wells and springs in those days were contaminated. This was par-ticularly true of cisterns that caught rain water, which was fine for laundry but unsafe to drink.
I remember dad telling me about visiting relatives in Black Hawk which is an isolated community near Carrollton. I was a toddler and when I asked for a drink of water he got some from the cistern and there was mosquito larvae in it. Dad was fastidious and never diplomatic, so he drove up to the drug store in Black Hawk and bought some bottles of distilled water for me to drink.
He said he had probably offended the old people we were visiting but he felt my health was more important.
We did have springs near Papa Badley’s farm that had pure water bubbling up through white sand that was ice cold. Many people put jugs of milk in the springs and it would keep as well as a refrigerator—people had to make do with what they had.
I hope the Art Crawl was a success as I believe it is just another step toward the revitalizing of downtown Water Valley.
Let me hear from you at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.