December 18, 2001
I had an unexpected phone call the other day from Neva Turner Artall, a former Sumner and Perry lady, who now lives in Houston, Texas. She was primarily interested in information about the family of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Sherrod, with whom she lived while attending Perry high school in the early 1930s. The Sherrod children, Juhree, Sandra and Kim, were of special interest to her. I helped her with that request, but during the course of our conversation some of the names she mentioned brought back a flood of memories. (Just so you’ll know – Virgil Sherrod was advertising manager and the No. 2 man at The Perry Daily Journal during that time, prior to the arrival of Milo Watson, and he was still with the local paper when I went to work there in 1941. Milo came aboard the following summer. Mr. and Mrs. Sherrod are now deceased, but Juhree and Sandra live in Newkirk. Kim lives in California. Juhree is a key person in the Newkirk Main Street program, and I see her at some of the state Main Street meetings that both of us attend.)
Neva is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Turner, who operated a service station 12 miles east of Perry on U.S. 64. The location is named Bill’s Corner for her Dad – Bill Turner. (See the Turner family history in Vol. 1, “History of Noble County, Oklahoma.”)
Neva was a student at PHS in about the same era as my older sister, Jeanice, and some of the names Neva recalled were familiar to me for that reason. Names of others also came back to me during our phone chat. It makes me wonder: What became of those people, who will remain forever young in my memory because that is the only way I knew them. I was not yet ten years old when I became acquainted with some of these people, and they were probably in their mid-teens. Add seventy years elapsed time to those ages and that is about where they would be today. But in my mind’s eye, they are still the effervescent, happy “young adults” that I remember. Jeanice and her friends were popular people, and many of them whiled away the time in our living room.
Some of these may be familiar to you – Wyveeta Powell. I’m not sure about the spelling of her first name, but that is how it was pronounced. She was a dark-haired, sophisticated young lady, who reminded me of the movie actress Norma Shearer. Grace Dawson. A high-spirited cheerleader with the Red Hots PHS pep club; she also was from the Sumner area. Dickie Jensen. She was one of the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Jensen. She was tall and slender, with high cheekbones and a ready smile. Her real first name was Dorothea. She was the mother of Mrs. Lavaughn (Jandryd) Lawson. Mildred (Mitzi) Green. She was a petite and always pleasant high schooler. She married Bud Francis, son of Dr. and Mrs. J.W. Francis, and they later lived in Oklahoma City. Betty Munger. She was arguably the prettiest girl in town. Betty later went to work as a reporter at The Perry Daily Journal and her departure therefrom opened the door for me as her replacement. Bob Powers. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Powers. As a youngster, Bob was badly burned and his face was scarred when he tried to get rid of some red ants. Nevertheless, he was a fine football player for the Maroons and Coach Hump Daniels. Nick Triplett. Another PHS gridiron hero. I think he lived with the Powers family. He was very upset one night at our house when someone (who shall remain nameless) tried to dump a full ashtray on his curly locks. He eventually forgave the miscreant.
Those are some of the people and personalities who come to mind as I ponder the discussion I had with Neva Turner the other day. Do you remember any of them?