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By Jack Gurner
In years before the turn of the 20th Century, cooks were permanent, not here today and gone tomorrow, Mrs. H. R. Blackstone wrote in the Looking Backward column. “My Gussie stayed with me 36 years and while her name is Gussie Tipler she is equally well known as Gussie Blackstone.”
The cook and her family usually lived in a house in the backyard. Because of necessity, practically every family kept a cow, grew vegetables and raised poultry and often a pig. The cook and her family helped with these chores and food was plentiful.
The cook’s children were young enough to help the family children make their mud pies, dresses for the china dolls, and play houses in the moss-covered recesses of tree trunks as well as arrange the play ornaments of broken china and colored glass.
Yet, they were old enough to help in the kitchen, to bring in the stove wood and to fan the flies off the table while the family ate. “We did not know much about the germ theory, but we just did not like flies and mosquitoes were annoying.”
Consequently, a fly-brush was a household essential. Most were homemade, but, she wrote, “The quintessence of elegance in fly brushes was achieved in those made from tail feathers of a peacock. The fowl himself was no more proud that the family who owned such a brush.”
Out-of-season food was not practically available, but could be special ordered. “The hostess whose accommodating grocer ordered delicacies for a special occasion from Memphis and who served a tomato on a lettuce leaf in winter had her refreshments reported in the three town papers.”
Through The Years From The Herald
• 15 years ago, June 21, 2007 – A front page photo showed pieces of metal roof from Steve Thompson’s building that blew onto Main Street after a strong storm rolled through the area bringing much needed rain.
County supervisors agreed to fund a full time county economic director during a meeting in Coffeeville called by the Economic Development Foundation.
Keith Blackburn, 29, of Enid faced capital murder, kidnapping and rape charges after a shooting incident on the I-55 on-ramp near Tillatoba.
Camp Ground Baptist Church welcomed new pastor Bro. David Ross and his family.
Julie Jones Wells received her Juris Doctor degree from Ole Miss.
Bro. David Freeman of First Christian Church had egg on his face after promising to let the Bible School kids egg him if there was one more person in attendance at Sunday night services than the previous year. There was and they did.
Two Virginia men made an emergency landing at the Water Valley airport citing possible engine trouble.
• 20 years ago, June 20, 2002 – Wade Doolin was back on Main Street after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his new Barber Shop June 18.
NFL star Desha Townsend #26, cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers spoke during Blackmur Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program.
Rubye Carr retired after 34 years with the Water Valley School District.
Several members of the local Army National Guard were honored including SPC Harold T. Hervey, SPC Charles A. Turner, MSG Willie E. Thomas, SPC Waymond White, SGT Lee Gaines, PFC Jeremy York, and PFC D. Ntoni Shaw.
Browning Funeral Home returned to local ownership and became Seven Oaks Funeral Home June 17.
• 30 years ago, June 18, 1992 – Bonnie Carol Mooneyham, 37, was killed and eight others injured in a car crash at Camp Ground Road (North Main Street) and the Hwy. 7 Bypass June 16.
Cheri Carr was awarded the prestigious Gertrude H. Turner Scholarship to Ole Miss.
Julia Massey won first place in the public speaking contest for the Northwest FFA Federation and went on to place second in the North District. Karen Person won first place in the Creed Speaking Contest.
Kim Hollowell, founder and manager of K&D Cultured Marble Products of Coffeeville, was featured in a Herald article along with employees George Williams, Aaron Smith and Cliff Neal.
Coach Freddie Folson and members of the Water Valley Atomic Dogs softball team Johnny Turner, Danny Belcher, Bobby Phillips and Paul Phillips were showing off the trophy they won at the Sardis Invitational Tournament. Other team members were Johnny Hervey, David Phillips, Brain Daniels, Rodney White, Ray White, Tony Telford, Lavert Hawkins, Ray Hawkins, Chris Gaston, Greg Woodard, Craig Crawford and Tommy Prince.
Bo Heslep, the 21-year-old grandson of Mrs. Mae Donaldson of Oakland, was awarded the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department Community Service Award in appreciation for the care he gave his grandmother.
Ila Mae McMinn was Holley’s May Employee of the Month.
• 40 years ago, June 24, 1982 – The Yalobusha 4-H Horse Club sponsored the Mississippi Youth Championship Horse Show at the Coffeeville Arena.
Rescue workers recovered the body of Earl Buren Neal, Jr. near the Water Valley boat landing. It is believed that Neal was fishing and fell from his boat.
Holloway Mobile Homes celebrated their 18th anniversary with an open house at their lot on Hwy. 315 North.
The Bank of Water Valley held their old-fashioned days celebration in honor of their 100th anniversary. Michael Whitehead won the beard-growing contest; Chic Miller and Doke French won the washer-pitching contest; Michael Turner won the 5K; Michael Phillips won the 1-mile fun run; Mrs. O. J. Gregory won the quilting contest; Frank B. Brooks and Lewis Jones won the horseshoe pitching contest; Alvin Joiner won the croquet tourney; and Wes Pomerlee won the grand prize trip to the world’s fair.
• 50 years ago, June 22, 1972 – About 100 workers were called back to work at Ram Tool Corp. June 20 after operation of the plant was suspended when the corporation was served a writ on a bill of complaint by the board of supervisors. The company had defaulted in payment of $35,924.21 due the past November and another $16,422.73 due the previous May. Hamric Henry was elected president of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association.
The CB Radio craze was in full swing and a local club had been organized. Officers were Stan True, vice president; Dwight Tatum, chairman; Danny Jaudon, secretary-treasurer; and Henry Dale Fly, sergeant-at-arms.
• 60 years ago, June 21, 1962 – George Adams brought the first cotton bloom to the Herald followed by Harold Allen and R. L. Ward.
The little league and pony league were hosting tournaments here and among the officials were Jack Craven, Leon Wright, Lawrence Hale, Tomie Ashford, James B. (Crip) Tyler, Hervis Hamblett and Earl Miller. L. C. Stewart was president of the local organization.
Kate Johnsey reported in her Fishing column that Hal Camp, plowing a field over in Calhoun County, saw a big black bear and four cubs at the end of the row and he quickly turned around and went the other way.
In the want ads, Morris Woods had a termite gun to rent, which raises the question of where to get the tiny ammo.
• 70 years ago, June 12-19, 1952 – Summer had come to town with a vengeance. Several business firms were installing air conditioning systems, a rare enough occurrence to warrant news coverage.
• 80 years ago, June 11, 1942 – Mayor F. B. DeShon reported that the WPA had assigned a lady to Water Valley to form a class for illiterates in Yalobusha County. After several days the mayor saw the woman in town and asked her how the class was going. He was informed that no illiterates had shown up so the project was abandoned. The Herald’s acting editor, Mrs. Jack Dale noted the statement was positive proof that Yalobusha is a hoity-toity county.
International Harvester Company had devised a brilliant plan to train farmwomen and girls to use tractors and other farm machines in the absence of better-qualified labor. “The only purpose of this training program is to provide competent help on the farm to replace those men taken by Uncle Sam and his defense work,” said Bill Trusty of Trusty Hardware, local dealer for IH.