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Senior Trip 1959

We were camped out in a motel in Biloxi, MS. (I think).  After a full day we were instructed to go to bed early for another full day ahead.  Mr. and Mrs. Henry, our chaperones, retired early.  We were in adjoining rooms down one long hall.  Since the Senior Trip before us (class of '58) had some incidents we were told the future of Senior Trips would depend on how we behaved-a large burden for 17 and 18 year old kids full of energy and mischief. 

My roommates and I heard a loud thump outside our door.  When we opened our door all the doors down the hall swung open.  Jerry Beasley was thumping as he turned cart wheels up and down that long corridor-that got us all trying to do cart wheels.  OK, so here we were all out in the hall with our chaperones asleep in a room stationed right in the middle of us, as if that would tame our over-active spirits.  Someone had a great idea-let's knock on the Henry's door.  Knock, knock and everyone scooted back to their rooms- no result.   Again a little louder- knock, knock and back to the rooms-  no result.   Again with a bang- knock, knock and back to the rooms but this time Art Cole got locked out in the hall.  "Guys, let me in" and down the hall he went  "hey, guys someone let me in, come on guys let me in"  No one did-we just peeped out and laughed.  The incident was never mentioned by our chaperones which I believe they chose to ignore because very little got by Mr. Henry.   Contributed by Bonnie Bradshaw.                                                

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Elvis Presley and Funeral Home

I thought the Russell Mortuary was kinda neat---I personally have a lot of good memories from there. Do you remember that when Elvis was on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, you all were the only ones with a TV so a bunch of us piled into your place to watch him. I also remember that we were always running in the back door of your house, through the entire house and business place and out the front door. You mom must have been a saint to put up with that all those years. Great Memories !!!!!  (Bonnie B's father was a Funeral Director and  they lived in the Funeral Home.)                Contributed by Priscilla Pool-class of '58

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The Fire Escape

I remember the fire escape behind the grade school building.  Only certain classes on the 3rd floor got to slide down it during fire drills and the rest of us didn't think that was fair.  But we made up for it.  The fire escape had a door at the bottom that was kept locked on week ends so kids couldn't climb up it.  School let out at 3:30pm and the fire escape was usually left open.  We would climb up three stories and slide down-it was quite a ride. 

One Friday after school, two of the Hardcastle boys (I think) and myself found the fire escape unlocked.  We thought "what luck."  We were climbing up when we heard Mr. Moore the janitor banging around-he was coming to lock the fire escape.  We scurried down-knew it was too good to be true-but at least we weren't locked in there until Monday morning.  Contributed by Don G-class of '62                              

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Those early days on the Mississippi Delta were pretty simple, "no frills" times at the Bentley farm...that area was an exciting place to be brought up...great work ethic...(For my family the 40s and 50s were very much like John Grisham depicted in his book "A Painted House".).  So many people living there and working on the farms in those days...almost a "sharecropper's house" on every 40 acres...use to be so many children out our way...but now the countryside there is quite empty.

On Saturday, we and most of the people that lived near us would walk or ride to the tiny community of Hartzell and catch the "Moose" (Small train) and ride it to Gideon or other larger towns in the area...then later Saturday evening we would catch the train back to Hartzell and home. 

I remember, just as if it were yesterday...my first trip to town on the train...hanging onto mom or my older sister Barb for dear life...getting off the train there (On the wrong side of the tracks.) in front of the old El Morocco Club (Where all the wine-os and shady characters hung out.)...we'd go shopping at Hilfiker's Grocery Store or maybe go to the "picture show"...before the movie started, we might see a "Rocket Man" serial or World War II news reels...then the main feature might be a western with "Hop-a-long Cassidy and Gabby Hays", "Whip Wilson", "Lash LaRue" or "Johnny Mack Brown". (Just didn't get any better than that.) (Ha) 

After the the picture show, we might shop for clothing etc...us little ones would be peeping out at all the people and noises from mom's skirttail...shy little country children...like baby chicks clinging to the mother hen. 

I'll always remember that first train trip to town as being my introduction to a great big scary world away from the farm...I have such warm thoughts of those days...my family took such good care of their little middle brother...he always needed just a tiny tad of extra help.   Warm and gentle thoughts of my old family and the old days... RB1   
















More on "The Old Days"


I enjoyed your thoughts on the "Old Days." Reading A Painted House brought back many memories of the way it was in the 50's in southeast Missouri.


I remember the Mexicans that would come to help pick the cotton.

There were "barracks" built there by the railroad tracks and many of them lived there during "cotton picking season." The young boy in the book could have been my brother, James. He lived for the next Cardinal game. He often got into trouble with my Dad because he would want to stay home and watch the World Series.


We have some very funny family stories about this time in our life--like when James picked a total of three pounds of cotton because he really wanted to be home watching the game!!!


The old Gideon Railroad Station is still in the back yard of my parents home. Remember when my Dad bought it, much to my mother's displeasure.


The El Morocco Club!! Now it was an education just growing up across the street from that place!!


It was interesting to hear about your trip into Gideon on the Moose. Here's one for you---


When I would spend the night with Juanita Orton, the bus would take us so far and then a wagon, pulled by a mule, would take us the last mile on the muddy dirt roads! Do you remember that? I seem to recall that her family lived in the same area as the Bentley Family!


Those were the days, my friend! We've come a long, long way but our roots will forever be in the fertile soil of Southeast Missouri. (I can still remember the smell of the cotton harvest in the fall.)

Julia Hilfiker










I Remember Joe Ingram


Joe and I rode the same school bus, and he was so good at math--one day, he saw me carrying a math book and he asked me how I was doing, and I told him that I was having a tough time with it--he said that he would help me in study hall the next day since we had study hall at the same time.  He was several grades ahead of me and I was so reluctant to ask him for help the next day--in fact, did not ask him but after about 15 minutes, he noticed me at a table and went up to the teacher to secure permission to tutor me in math--the teach said sure and he would help me with my math when there was a concept that I did not understand--he was so encouraging and helpful that I later took all the math courses and almost decided to major in math in college but as you probably recall history/government was really the subject that interested me the most so I majored in history and political science. 


But Joe was such a mentor from several grades ahead of me--you know today, in education, the mentoring concept is really considered very innovative and of course Joe was far ahead of his time--so when I go to visit soooooo many relatives at Stanfield, I always stop by the graves of Buddy and Joe.  Joe Ingram was in the class of 1956

Art Cole























I Remember Gideon



I left Gideon when I was 12 years old, but I will never forget my years there as a child. I love that town. I have so many memories from when I lived there. Riding my bike all over the place, playing in the lumber yard, when I was told to never go there to play.


I remember the Gideon Anderson stores, going to the Dime Store, and also the Department Store.  I know everyone one remembers Mr. Walker working there. 


The Drug Store, Nora Law worked there, she bought me a coke or an ice cream when I passed through, and of course I always made it a point to pass through the Drug Store. She also occasionally gave me a dime to go to the dime store, I could spend hours in that dime store. 


My Mom worked for the GA Grocery Store, she was a butcher. Her boss was Mart Baker, I don't know if everyone remembers Mart, but  I will never forget him, with that cigarette in his mouth, smoke would go up his face, and he would close his eye.


The Box Factory was where my dad worked, and a lot of other people who lived in Gideon. The twelve o'clock whistle would blow, and then the five o'clock whistle.  We knew when the five o'clock whistle blew we knew we only had a few minutes to get our chores done.


 My Mom worked 6 days a week,  she only had Sunday's off, and I think sometimes if she got everything done she would get half day on Saturday.


We loved it when it rain a lot because in front of my house the street would flood, and we would play in it, even though we were told it was not healthy. I think there was only one house in Gideon that had a swimming pool, but I can't remember who that was.


Of course everyone remembers the Snack Bar. I would play the pinball machine, as long as my brother Johnny supplied me with the nickels.


Me and a couple of kids tried to ride our bikes to Clarkton once, but we decided after a while to turn around. Also we lived next door to the Rhodes, and I remember Ted Rhodes store that was across the street from the school. I remember their daughter Betty. I used to peek on her when she and her boyfriend got home from a date they would stand in the front of their house. 


I remember the theatre in Gideon. My two brothers were suppose to be taking care of me when I would go to the movie with them, but they would sit me down, and then who knows where they went, but I would go up and sit in the booth with Mrs. Sharp, and she had a little heater in there, and she would visit with me. Then when the movie was over my brother's would show up to go home, and we had to pass the  Bradshaw's Funeral Home to get to our house, and I would be terrified, and my brother's would walk just a little faster so I would have to run to keep up- and the trees were creepy on that street at night.


Well, I could go on for a long time, but I guess this could get boring to some people, but what great memories of Gideon, I hope everyone has great memories like that of their hometown.

                                                                                                                                Catherine Grimes