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Betty’s Week

Visiting the office last Tuesday to pay her subscription was Linda Sayles from Oakland. We were discussing our near miss of the white stuff and ice. Linda says, “I grew  up in Oakland, but moved to Chicago in my early years after finishing school.” 

She continued, “It did not take me long to decide to come back to my home in the sunny south.” She does  not like the cold weather, of which there is plenty of in Chicago. We’re glad to have Linda back in Mississippi where southern girls are comfortable with the weather. 

Ed and  I only made maybe three trips to Rochester in the winter season (most of our visits were in the early fall), while Jim was in school at Eastman School of Music. These stays were only over weekends and I almost froze during those short times—could never have lived there.


While delivering papers Wednesday morning (and it was certainly a cold one) the weather was not the topic of discussion. Everyone wanted to know about the movie being made on Main Street. I was totally in the dark, because I had been in the office from early morning until after dark and had not even heard a movie being made mentioned. 

We had not even gone out for lunch. With the prediction of  inclement weather, we were trying to get as much done as possible to produce a paper early. When David got to the office I ask him about the movie and  he did know it was happening, but just had not had time to investigate further. 

I did learn from Linda and some of her customers at Water Valley Food and Gas Mart that it was shot at Trusty Diner and the actors were dressed in vintage clothing and they were using antique cars. Mickey Howley has a little information about it in his article this week.


Late Wednesday afternoon the daughter of a classmate of mine at Crowder High School, Mrs. Bubba (Jennifer Brown) Karr, called to pay their subscription. Jennifer is the daughter of the late Yvonne Cannon Brown and Robert Brown, both of Crowder. Bubba grew up on Clay Street,  just a few doors down from the Shearers. Yvonne was one of many jokesters in the CHS Class of ’55. 

Jennifer and I started sharing some of her antics and they were very creative and funny. Of course Yvonne’s practical jokes spilled over into several other classmates and we just had a wonderfully uplifting season, enjoying all these delightful folks who have been in our lives. She and I decided that if we had recorded or written down all these stories, and there are hundreds, we could have a best seller that would allow us both to retire in luxury. We know we’d have to used fictitious names to protect the innocent and maybe the guilty – but the stories are so great.

I heard from another classmate’s wife, Mrs. James (Peggy) Rotenberry, just a couple of weeks ago, telling me that James suffered a stroke. I asked Jennifer if she had any further  report on his health—she did not. Was so sorry to get a call from Peggy Thursday night telling me that James had passed.  He was my longest tenured male friend—from first grade until his death. We shared a lot of dates in our lives. He was born September 25, my birthday is the 24th—one year apart, he in 1936, me in 1937. He and Peggy and Ed and I were  married in 1958. James, another classmate, Dorothy Jean Wiggs, and I had planned most of the class reunions through the years. I doubt that we’ll ever have another reunion, because there are not many of us left—about 10 out of a class of 36. We do have four members that we have not heard from in many years. 

His funeral service was exactly him—with tears, laughter, many of his practical jokes related, and then an evangelical message, which he would have wanted, being concerned with everyone’s standing with  his Lord. He was a wonderful child, teenager, and man. My sympathy to Peggy, Kenny, Mark and the entire family—I will also miss him.

James’ connection to Yalobusha County is that he is a cousin to all the Rotenberrys in Water Valley, Coffeeville, and Oakland and he even has one aunt still left here.


After the funeral Jimmie and I went by Walmart to pick up some things Mom needed. While in line, a gentleman says, “Are y’all from Crowder?”

 Answered no, we’re from Pope and Water Valley  but we lived in Crowder for many years and explained that we’d just been to a funeral of one of my classmates. 

He says, “James Rotenberry?” 

To which we answered, Yes. He then told us he had been at the funeral, because his brother was also a  member of the class. I had to ask his name and found out that he was Murray Bridges, brother of Paul, who has been dead many years. They were first cousins to Charley Ward Bridges, who died a few months ago and was our second cousin—more like a brother. He was one of the three musketeers – brother Terry, Charley and me. Saw one other classmate at the funeral, Carol June Card White (Mrs. Hosea Mack White), whose younger brother, Ira, owned the north end grocery store a few years back. 

Paul, another classmate of mine, Joel Jones, pastor of Jumpers Chapel Church for many years, and Brother Terry were close friends and both of them spent lots of time at our house. After graduation, Paul attended the famous diesel school in Nashville, which is still in operation—several students from the Valley have attended there. I rarely ever dated, so when an extra girl was needed I was invited or volunteered. On one weekend Paul Bridges brought home his roommate, another Paul (can’t remember his last name). All six of us (the other boys had girlfriends) went to the lake in the afternoon. Arriving back at our house we were to dress and then go to the movies that night. My “date” was very nice‚ a perfect gentleman, but when he was leaving after the swimming outing, he reached down to kiss me and I said, “I don’t kiss on first dates.”

After the movie, he says, “This is a second date” and he gave me a peck on the lips—last time I ever saw him. I’ve often wondered what happened to him—think he was from Indiana. I doubt that he and Crowder Paul kept in touch. 

Memory lane really opened up with the death of a wonderful friend and a conversation with Jennifer. Hope I didn’t bore you.


Thanks to all of you who continue to ask about Mom. She is still very healthy, did  have a little problem getting her to eat this week, but she enjoyed candy made by a Water Valley friend.

1 Comment

  1. Edna Lamb Nation on May 11, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Betty,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your article, and I was sorry to learn of the passing of Yvonne Cannon and James Rottenberry. My thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today.
    A few days ago Morrel spoke to me, wondering how many of our class was left. I’m friends with L.D. Hester, Morrell, Joel, and Dorothy Wiggs on Facebook. I haven’t heard of her passing, and I haven’t heard lately from Joel. So your article was very enlightening. I found it by Googling Yvonne’s name. Thanks for sharing. It met my need.
    Please know I think of you folks often.
    I’ll be 85 in August, can you believe it?
    Your Classmate of ‘55
    Edna Namb Nation

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