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July 3, 1997

Wallace Harrison, now of Coalgate, was born in Noble county on the Fourth of July in 1912, which means that on Friday he will be celebrating his 85th birthday. He's been away from the Perry vicinity for many years now, except for an occasional visit, but if it were at all possible he'd like to return here to spend the rest of his days. I have never met Mr. Harrison, but we had an interesting telephone conversation the other day.

The thing that prompted the call was Mr. Harrison's attempt to find a long-lost prescription that worked wonders for many people some time ago. "It would cure any kind of fever," he says, "including typhoid and many others." A Perry physician wrote the original prescription for him and a druggist on the north side of the square filled it. My dad had the City Drug Store on the north side for many years, but apparently Mr. Harrison's prescription was filled by the late Charles G. (Brownie) Watson who had a small store down the street from where ours was located.

Mr. Harrison loaned the prescription to a friend one time, but the borrower never returned it. Now Mr. Harrison regrets letting it get out of his hands. He thinks the medication could still help many people. After our telephone visit, Mr. Harrison agrees that the pharmacist must have been Brownie Watson. The original Brownie Drug Store was on the west side of the square, first in the building now occupied by Perry Floral & Gifts Plus at 323 Seventh street, then later at 321 Seventh, one door south, where Starling Miller Real Estate & Auctions is now based. Brownie sold his store to Monte Jones in about 1947, but after a short retirement he went back into a small building on the north side.

During our visit, Mr. Harrison told of his early years on the family farm, located one mile west and three north of Perry. Pear trees were cultivated there and Mr. Harrison recalls one particular crop very vividly. "Our county agent persuaded me to enter some pears in the county fair one September, and they won first prize," he remembers. "Then they urged me to take them to the state fair in Oklahoma City, and lo and behold they won first there, too. New York was getting ready to host a World Fair and the county agent persuaded me to send some pears there, and what do you know -- they won first in the world, too! Last time I was in the Perry area, there were still some pear trees on the old home place, but all our old buildings were gone and a nice brick home is located there."

He has another rather bizarre memory of his childhood in Noble county. While Mr. Harrison was walking to town one day, with two dollars in his pocket to buy something to eat, his faithful dog found something in the bushes beside the road and began whining. "The dog just wouldn't leave that spot," Mr. Harrison says, "so I went over to see what was the matter. There in the bushes was a small cardboard box with a newborn baby girl in it. She couldn't have been more than a few hours old, but she was alive. I ran to the nearest house and they called the sheriff. The baby and the box were gone when I got back there and I never did hear what happened to that baby. I hope she wound up safe and in a good home."

If Mr. Harrison gets back to Perry for the Cherokee Strip celebration in September or at any other time, I hope there'll be an opportunity to hear some more of his interesting anecdotes from the past. It was a pleasure talking to him the other day.