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January 19, 2001

One of our Perry products, Max Edgar, who is now a health service psychologist with hospital staff affiliation at the Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, recently dropped me a line after reading the newly published booklet about Perry high school wrestling. I was privileged to write the narrative for that little story. As Max says, there are "so many to pay tribute to, there are always those some feel should have been included." His letter tells about one such, and I want to share it with you. Max writes:

"From the 1950s through the 1980s, I can't think of any individual who supported Perry wrestling more than David C. Matthews. Having been an NCAA champion at the University of Oklahoma and then the wrestling coach at OU gave him a unique perspective to support kids in Perry wrestling. At least a couple of generations depended on Dave to give them references to colleges and sports scholarships. He was a World War II hero in the Navy and later with the Army National Guard, and a fine attorney.

"Indeed, it is my belief many Perry boys immortalized Dave by following in his footsteps. Some of the wrestling attorneys are Robert J. Mildfelt, R.N. Dunagan III, William Paul Parker (grandson of Paul W. Cress, Dave's original law partner) and Michael Emmons. Many of us did not become attorneys, but benefited immeasurably from his model.

"...It has always been my belief that one reason Perry wrestling was great was because behind every wrestler were several nearly as good who were waiting for their chance. Ranking matches in the wrestling room beat anything at the state tournaments. There would not uncommonly be paired two state champions vying for the same weight at the next match."

Max, of course, comes from a wrestling family and he makes a good point here. Many, many volunteers have a hand in making possible Perry high school's unique accomplishments in wrestling. Each of those helpers is a story in his or her own right, and we probably never will know all their names. Typical of Perry, though, they labor in anonymity for the good of the program. If the Perry wrestling booklet is updated in the future, the story of Dave Matthews certainly should be included. Thanks to Max Edgar for calling this piece to my attention.

Looking through some microfilm files of old Perry newspapers at our fine Perry Carnegie Library the other day, I came across a few advertisements that take us back to another era. These were in a September 1901 issue of The Perry Enterprise Times, a daily publication of that time. Among the over-the-counter remedies promoted that day were "Cascarets," a candy cathartic; "Wine of Cardui" for women; and "Kodak cameras and supplies of all kinds" at Howendobler's Drug Store on the south side of the square. (My Dad was a pharmacist there before he opened his own store, the City Drug, in 1905.) Other advertisers in that day's issue of the paper were the White Swan Cafe', with Tom Dorsey as proprietor, listing "regular meals for 20 cents," and Kodol Dyspeptic Cure, one of several small national accounts. If you, remember any of those articles, you must have grown up in a drug store, as I did, several years after that 1901 edition appeared.