2018-05-24 / Kitty Bits

Kitty Bits

Country Club Drive may not go there

Well, we slipped up and left out the old photo of the week in the May 17, 2018 issue. We’ll try to do better in the future. But, we did get some feedback on the photo of the little boy we ran in the May 10 issue. Carol Cartledge thinks that it’s a photo of Rob Pierce or perhaps his brother Marsh. They are grandsons of the late Jean Pierce who was an attorney here. If anyone is in contact with the family let us know and we would be happy to mail the photo to them. We still haven’t heard anything on the photo we ran of the bridge in Korea.


We also heard from Betty Matthews (or Mathews – not sure of the spelling) about our white squirrel sighting. She reports that she saw four white squirrels in the Lake Hartwell area. In some online research on the critters we found a website, untamedscience.com, that asks for details on the sightings so that data can be kept on their whereabouts. According to the information there, “The Big 5 White Squirrel Towns” are Marionville, Missouri; Brevard, North Carolina; Olney, Illinois; Kenton, Tennessee; and Exeter, Ontario Canada. Other places with lots of reports of the squirrels are Washington, D.C; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and downtown Boston. Who knows? Maybe if we start reporting our sightings we can make the list.


Robbie Hardigree called in response to the history bit from 85 years ago about the season opening of the country club pool. He said it was the old country club, not the current one. The old country club was located off Spring Street, back behind the Lions Club building and LaPrade Street before the new one was built. Google Maps still shows one of the streets in that area as Country Club Drive. We don’t know how we had forgotten, but this reminded us of an incident during the planning of our daughter’s wedding reception at the W-W Country Club a few years ago. The caterer entered the street into GPS and was routed to this old “club.” Luckily, it was just for a preliminary meeting. After that mix-up we made sure to put step by step directions to the reception in the wedding program to make certain that out of town guests could find it.


The mention of the 1931 yearbook brought quite a bit of interest. Ronnie Cofer has the yearbook and is researching for his family. Miss Mary Cofer was his distant cousin. He remembers his family visiting her on Cofer Road when he was a teenager. She told lots of stories and played music for them on an old Edison Victrola. He plans to make digital scans of some of the yearbook so that he can share with anyone interested.

An email from Joni Keiser had this to say about Miss Cofer: “I was perusing The News-Reporter and read the Kitty Bits about Miss Mary Cofer. My two great aunts, Blanche and Sally, married Miss Mary’s brothers, Russ and John. Uncle Russ and Aunt Blanche lived in Washington on Jefferson Street, I believe, and he ran the A&P maybe? They had one daughter, Claire, who was best friends with Olive Wills (I think I’m correct on that last name). Anyway, when I was little, we used to always go to Augusta for Thanksgiving with Claire’s family and we’d always stop by and pick up Miss Mary and take her with us up until she was in the nursing home; then, we’d stop by and visit her on the way to Augusta. She was a sweet little lady - she could tell the best stories! Small world!”


Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day. The newspaper office will be closed and deadlines have been moved to Friday, May 25. You can read more specifics elsewhere in this issue.

We remember all those who died in active military service. It can’t be expressed any better than by our late news editor, Kip Burke, a former Navy man himself, in a column he wrote for the May 26, 2016, issue of The News-Reporter.

“Combat veterans can never forget that they themselves came back, but better men didn’t. They’re ashamed that they’re called heroes just for having served, when the real heroes are the guys who died around them. For many combat veterans, every day is Memorial Day, as is every night.

“But the observance of Memorial Day is growing. It may be, sadly, because of the fresh pain of recent Iraq and Afghanistan war deaths, like that of our own Marine Phil Scarborough. Sad, too, is the shrinking number of veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam who have carried the flame of Memorial Day, planning and putting on annual observances. Veterans have gotten together for observances planned for many cities and towns in Georgia. That’s promising.

“I’ll never forget standing at attention to ‘Taps’ at the Vietnam Memorial when I was stationed at the Pentagon. The weight, that gravitas, has never left me.

“Folks, as much as you may need a three-day vacation, I don’t believe I’m asking too much to request that you take a moment to remember a fallen Marine, soldier, or sailor on Monday. Please leave room in your busy hearts for the sad notes of ‘Taps’ to echo, and just for a moment share the pain felt by a mother, a father, a child, as they lost their loved one in battle.

“That’s what we should remember this Memorial Day.”


Borrowing from the May 20, 1993 issue of The News-Reporter and “This week in local history” compiled by Irvin Cheney Jr. we find some interesting bits. The “years ago” have been updated and are in comparison to 2018.

100 years ago this week

It has been the desire of the patriotic women of Washington to see “Old Glory” floating from a pole in the center of our square. A stately cedar pole has been installed and the flag will be hoisted for the first time at noon today.

At its annual meeting Tuesday, Pope Manufacturing Co. elected I.T. Irvin Jr., president; F.H. Ficklen, secretary and treasurer; James A. Benson, manager; and W.O. Short, assistant manager and cashier. The building that now houses The News-Reporter and Wilkes Publishing Co., Inc. is the Pope Building built in 1920. We wonder if there is any connection. Does anyone know? KB

85 years ago this week

With the close of public school, teachers who live elsewhere will leave Tuesday. Miss Jordan goes to Royston; Miss Fulghum to Warrenton; Miss Swain to Lyons; and Miss Guillebeau to Lincolnton. Miss Dortch will be in Washington for several weeks at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Earle Norman. We wonder if the teachers lived in boarding houses or if local families took them in for the school term. KB

The Young Peoples 4-H Organization of Mt. Zion Community will present a play, “Two Days to Marry,” at Big Cedar School House Saturday evening. Leading roles will be played by Pat Newsome, Joe Woodruff, Hughes Willingham, Laura Newsome, Mrs. J.C. Williamson, Mary Bennett, and Eddie Turpin. Admission is 10 to 15 cents.

75 years ago this week

The commencement program at Washington High School this year will naturally be colored by the wartime activities and patriotism. The Class Night program’s theme will be “Let Freedom Ring.” Jenelle Poss, class president, will serve as coordinator. Stephen Blackmon will give the history, and Jane Whitehead, as “recruiting officer for victory,” will give the prophecy. Mary Frances Graham will present the class motto, “Save, Serve, Conserve.” Frances Arnold, as testator, will deliver the gifts, assisted by Miss Mona Ann Drake (class mascot) as “Little Miss Liberty.” Under the theme, “America Marches On,” a salute to all services will be given through the singing of patriotic songs. We think Miss Mona Ann Drake is Mona Jones. Steve Blackmon, do you have any memories of this that you’d like to share? KB

James Cagney stars in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at the Wilkes Theatre today and tomorrow. In this movie, he portrays the heart-pounding story of the great entertainer, George M. Cohan. Cagney won the Hollywood award for the year’s best acting.

50 years ago this week

The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has disapproved the desegregation plan submitted by the Wilkes County Board of Education. Loss of funding will result if suitable adjustments are not made.

On Friday, citizens of Rayle voted to incorporate by a vote of 43 to 4. Interim Mayor B.S. Armour has announced an election on June 4 to elect a mayor and councilmen.

And from that same issue we find this…

25 years ago this week

The Office Cat had a paragraph about Mr. George Long. Many of us remember him as our local Santa for many years. “All you kids (and parents, too) take note: Santa Claus has been in the hospital and still is not feeling well. He’s at home now and I’m sure he would appreciate cards from all of us.”

A front page article on National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 23-29, and the theme, “We’re ready…are you?,” reported on the significant advances in emergency medical care in the 25 years since efforts began to establish emergency medicine as a medical specialty. EMS Director Blake Thompson reassured the public that “we’re ready for any medical emergency.”

Coinciding with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, EMS Week promotions will kick off summer safety programs. Accidental deaths are more common during the months of June, July, and August than at any other time of the year. This is a good reminder as we go into the summer months. This year, May 20-26, 2018, is the 44th annual National EMS Week. The observance was first authorized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities. Please join us in saying thank you to our local EMS workers.


Email kittybits@news-reporter.com or kittybits@wilkespublishing.com with your contributions to the column. Or you can call 706-678- 2636 or stop by the office.

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