In the late 1950s and early 1960s summer didn’t officially begin until the fogging machine hit the streets. The old city truck – repurposed with a mysterious device that spewed a thick cloud of oil and insecticide – was a favorite of youngsters all over town.
We would frolic in the DDT-laced fog – running back and forth across Panola Street or riding our bikes behind the truck until it turned onto Leland Street. Sometimes it would make a second appearance coming down Pate or Crosby.
The truck’s schedule brought it out as the light faded from the warm colors of sunset to the cool blue of evening. Not long after it passed, the yards would be filled with “lightnin’ bugs.” Thousands would blink on and off, turning the neighborhood into a sparkling fairyland.
The fogging machine is gone, its mist thinned down over the years until you could barely see it, as are the hoards of fireflies that seemed to thrive in spite of the fog. Gone too are the yards full of kids who now prefer clean, air-conditioned inside air and the cold glow of their phone screens.
• 5 years ago, June 11, 2009 – Aldermen met for their last regular session Tuesday, June 2. Only alderman Fred White would be among five new faces for the July meeting.
It’s good to have friends…especially friends who will stand on the side of the road and wave signs proclaiming that you have turned 50. Friends Crystal Parrish, Jackie Harmon, Vicky Vance and Donna Ragon chided their buddy Gail Caldwell on being around for half a century.
Incumbent Coffeeville Mayor Mack Burns was re-elected for another term by a margin of more than 56 percent.
• 10 years ago, June 10, 2004 – Kristina Lynn Dixon, 23, was found dead at her home near Highway 32 June 2 and Floyd Patterson was found dead in the Oakland school building June 8. Homicide was not ruled out in either case.
A front page photo showed junior varsity players Justin Horton, Brandon Crocker and varsity defensive player Rod McLeod resting after lifting weights and running sprints in preparation for late summer opening.
Charlie Edwards and Cory Williamson received awards after playing in the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball All-Star game in Corinth.
In a letter to Mayor Larry Hart the Mississippi Department of Transportation turned down a request to put a four-way stop at the Highway 7 bypass and Wise Street.
• 20 years ago, June 9, 1994 – Dr. Barney Lee Pullen Jr. was recognized for academic achievement at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry. He was recognized as the graduating senior who had shown the most professional growth during his years of dental study.
WVHS guidance counselor Bobby Cox was honored with a retirement reception and Freddie Phillips was honored as he prepared for his upcoming retirement as shop foreman of the School District Bus Shop.
Roger Shields was pictured receiving the rank of Colonel from Major General James H. Garner. Col. Shields was a member of the Headquarters, State Area Command of the Mississippi National Guard.
• 30 years ago, June 14, 1984 – Two WVHS basketball players, Angela Gordon and Kristie Bost, were selected for the AAU Junior Olympics Team.
In a letter to the editor, Ellis Strickland of Fort Smith, Arkansas, described how he had held the ladder for his father, John Strickland, as he climbed to the top of the Bank of Water Valley to replace the eagle after it had been blown off in 1935. For the dangerous task, Fred Kendrick paid Strickland $5.
VFW Commander Q. T. Pinkerton and American Legion Commander Sam Higdon were pictured with a small group at the monument in Railroad Park for a brief Memorial Day ceremony.
Rev. Fred Eakes and Mrs. Linda Eakes presided over the Grand Lodge of State Oddfellows and Rebekah Assembly in Jackson.
• 40 years ago, June 13, 1974 – A 30-year-old employee of Big Yank, Annie Ruth Wilson, was arrested and charged in connection with a series of anonymous bomb threats that forced the evacuation of the plant for three consecutive days.
Jerry L. Harmon was appointed Head Coach for the WVHS athletic program for the coming year, replacing Bobby Clark, who resigned to become Drug Education Specialist at the school.
Holley Carburetor, a division of Colt Industries, announced a 100,000 square foot expansion to their plant virtually doubling its present size. The expansion was expected to add 800 to 1000 new employees.
Joe Wayland Adams graduated from Highway Patrol School and was pictured with his wife, Suzanne, and daughter, Jill, and Gov. Bill Waller.
Wanda Cook received her cap during ceremonies at Bellevue Church. She was a nursing student at Baptist Hospital in Memphis.
• 50 years ago, June 11, 1964 – Jack Thompson, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee, was asking that anyone interested in developing an airport for Water Valley to contact him or Ed Shearer III.
A 15-mile stretch of I-55 between Oakland and Grenada was set to open providing motorists an 80-mile stretch between Memphis and Grenada. Also in the county, work had begun on a stretch of Hwy. 330 between the Gums Crossing intersection and the Calhoun County line.
Bobby D. Edwards received a commission as an Ensign in the Coast and Geodetic Survey and would serve aboard the “Pioneer.”
• 60 years ago, June 10, 1954 – Lawrence Hale purchased the Dunn Funeral Home and would return to Water Valley to run the business. Dunn Funeral Home was the successor to Newman Funeral Home.
The Herald added an awning to the building’s front, protecting Myrle Cox and Fay Ross from the glare, which they had complained about for some time.
The Boy Scouts of Troop 14 were headed for Camp Yocona including Scoutmaster Lawrence Cox and Scouts Joe Ford, George Gafford, Lawrence E. Cox Jr., J. P. Hart III, Allen Jenkins, Ersel King, Joe Larson, Alvin Price, Bill Quinn, Eddie Ray, Clyde Sartor, Robert Turnage, Danny Rogers, Dean Wells, Lawrence Berry Jr., James Knox Baddley, Binford Turnage, Benny Taylor, George Hayles, Russell Vaughn, Charles Goode, Don Blackwood and Thomas Cox.
• 70 years ago, June 8, 1944 – The Herald headline read: Invasion Of France By Allied Forces Is Begun Successfully. It might not seem like a local story, but to the dozens of families with service members “over there” it was the most important news of the year.
The State Supreme Court overruled a suggestion of error in the case of Aaron Heafner, a Coffeeville poolroom operator, convicted in January of slaying Jimmie Deskin, a soldier from Texas stationed at Camp McCain. He would serve a life sentence for the murder.
Technician 5th Grade John M. Stribling, 30, was reported missing in action in Italy and would later be listed as killed in action.
J. W. Frost, State Representative from Yalobusha County, was chosen as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention. Mississippi Democrats had just held a historic anti-New Deal convention and were instructed to ignore the national nominees if they did not agree to the demands for state’s rights.
• 80 years ago, June 8, 1934 – The local Blue Lodge of Masons enjoyed a wonderful squirrel supper in the banquet hall.
The new Main Service Station opened on Main Street just below the depot under the management of Joe Mauldin.