May 23, 1995
Now for a few interesting nuggets gleaned from our far, flung correspondents, bless every one of them.
From former Perryan Pat (Jones) Sewell, now of Wichita:
"Your article on the old drug stores was so interesting, as I remember them all. At the City Drug, I can see the RCA Victor dog. It was on a ledge above the main store and the little table and chairs for wee folk. Brownie's Drug, if I remember, had pinball machines that paid off money. I'll never forget that. Getting a nickel from Dad (Frank Jones Sr.) at the post office for a Coke after school, if he had it to give me. Living across from The Journal and watching the goings-on. Especially Johnnie Marshall. I thought he was something. The City Office being just east of The Journal and the many times when, I washed Dad's car to the east of the house, getting stuck in the yard and the City sending office help with their truck to get me out. What memories. I wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else but in Perry, Oklahoma. Such wonderful people."
Pat remembers right. Pinball machines and punch-out cards with cash payoffs did flourish here in drug stores and elsewhere for a while, until somebody realized they were illegal. Then the pinball machines awarded free games and the punch-out cards handed out a box of candy or something like that, but the merchandise giveaways also came under the gambling laws so that ended, too. Johnnie Marshall, now deceased, was a printer at The Journal but he was something of an acrobat and often performed in school functions or for the Sept. 16th Cherokee Strip celebration. Good to hear from Pat.
From my friend Shirley Morton here in Perry:
"Do you remember the Zouave team that was directed by Cap Swift? They performed at many activities in the park and marched in parades. I believe they originated with the 101 Ranch Shows. The Marshalls, Studebaker brothers, Worth Roberts and many others were part of the act. I think they competed to have the shiniest rifle. They wore lace-up boots and wraparound leggings, and, I think, berets."
I remember seeing the Zouaves perform at some of our Cherokee Strip celebrations in the 1930s, with Cap Swift as their leader. He came to Oklahoma from Michigan to join the 101 Ranch Show and was with them when Col. Zack Miller and his brothers went broke during the depression. That's when Cap came to Perry to make his home and to operate a succession of hamburger stands at various locations around the square or near the high school. There's more on this subject in "The First Generation, much of it based on the memories of Kenneth Coldiron, who also was one of the Zouaves. Thanks to Shirley for the reminder.
And this from another long-time Perry friend, Mildred Will:
"I have lived a lot of Perry history, too. When I was going to high school, you and Ethel Jo Sietz used to walk to kindergarten ahead of me. Wonder what happened to, Ethel Jo? First grade must have been in the high school building, because I sometimes stopped to look in the first grade room just to admire a little girl there who I think was the most beautiful little girl I've ever seen -- Willa June Hall."
Willa June Hall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. R. Hall and sister of George Hall, grew up to be a beautiful lady and she is now Mrs. Robert Morgan of California. I'm sorry that I don't remember Ethel Jo Sietz, the little girl I walked to school with; and I'm like Mildred -- I wonder what became of her. Can anyone help us here? Our house was just across the alley from the high school (at Eighth and Elm, now a parking lot for the school) so Ethel Jo and I probably didn't get to walk together very far, but I wish I could remember her. Yes, the kindergarten room and first, second and third grades all were located in the three-story high school building. Thank you, Mrs. Will, for sharing these memories.
This one is from our former neighbor on Ninth street, Esther Isham Clark, now residing at 1116 Eleventh street:
"On Feb.11,1905, Mom and I arrived at the Santa Fe Depot in Perry where Dad (Henry Isham) and his brother, Lynn, met us. They had come by freight with our worldly possessions, household goods and a team of horses, three cows and my Billy goat, Dan. They had the wagon loaded to go to the farm, a quarter section (Sec. 13) that was my home until 1921 when I went to Iowa, and eventually to Pennsylvania, where I lived with our family for 44 years. So you see I began pioneer life many years ago, and had many interesting experiences. I went to Rose Hill school eight years, then into Perry high school, and graduated in 1918. 1 rode horseback throughout the term except in the coldest winter months. So your articles bring back clearly all those early years. I've gone around the square with you, in your articles, remembering each one clearly. If I could, I would write a book, but I'll leave that for others."
Esther's mother, Mrs. Etta Isham, lived across the street from us for many years. She was one of the dear Presbyterian ladies that I remember from earliest childhood, and she had one of the sweetest smiles this town has ever seen. Esther also is a joy to know. Henry Isham was a farmer and later a sheriff of Noble county. Thanks to Esther, and all the others, for allowing us to savor with them some remembrances of other times.