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April 26, 2002

My friend Elfreda Kerr Wells, now of Stillwater, drops me a line every now and then with some personal recollections of the 1930s as she remembers them from the time her family made their home here. She’s always interesting, and I thought you also might enjoy some of her thoughts. Here we go:

“I recognized almost every name mentioned in your ‘old stuff’ column and it was my era for sure. Some names stand out more than others. There were lots of Pricers and Marshalls. I recall a Dean Pricer who left Perry to join a circus. The Huffmans, Mungers and Lairds were active in social circles, bridge clubs, recitals, and so forth. Every summer we kids would spend most days swimming in ‘Laird’s Lake’ at the edge of town (on the north side.)

“Rosemary McEwen moved to Perry and the family settled in an upstairs apartment on the north side of the square. We loved to go to her apartment after school as her daddy was a candy salesman and Rosemary would give us our choice of a candy bar – FREE. She once told me she was pretty and I was just cute. I’ve never forgotten that.

“Jeanice Beers and Genevieve Samuelson were my best friends, along with Dorothy Davis, whose brother, Weldon Davis, went to Hollywood and became a producer. Myrtle Barnes (her nickname was Kiddo) was my uncle Jim Kerr’s sister-in-law. She married Clarence Bunch. I think Frank Marshall married the Wade girl – not sure about that.” (Editor’s note – The girl Elfreda mentions here was Prudye Wade, who was indeed the wife of Frank Marshall some 70 years ago. Prudye was the sister of my brother-in-law, Sidney L. Wade. His wife was my sister, Jeanice Beers, who was mentioned earlier in this letter. Prudye, Frank, Sidney and Jeanice are all now deceased.)

“I remember the Masonic Temple well. My brother, Buddy, and I took dancing lessons and danced in recitals on the stage of the Masonic auditorium. I remember a Dr. Coldiron who was either our family Doctor or Dentist. (Note -- He was a physician.) I loved the tent shows behind Foster’s Drug. In the summer there also was a skating rink there. When I think back, we had so much fun without TV and video games. We had lots of imagination.

“I was so thrilled to see my brother’s name, Carlyle Kerr, listed in a recent column as a member of the Perry Civic Orchestra directed by Professor Leopold Radgowsky. Carlyle was a good musician and I remember the orchestra playing on Friday nights in the band stand in the courthouse park. Carlyle was a very good football player in Perry high school in spite of a slight limp that came from an ankle accident in childhood. His nickname was ‘Slue Foot’.”

Thanks to this former Perry girl, Elfreda Kerr Wells, for her comments and recollections of the way things were in Perry just a few years ago. Those were good times, in spite of the economic woes associated with that era.