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spy story set in Benton and Bauxite. Taggart is currently working on a third novel and a play. The play, “Nobody’s Business,” will premiere at the Royal Theater in Benton in summer 2012. Taggart says creativity gives him joy. He maintains contact with about 1,800 of his creative friends—mostly artists and writers-via Facebook. One of Taggart’s latest projects unites his love of history and photography. When the Bauxite Community Center recently cleaned out storage boxes, they discovered a trove of over 200 photographic negatives of the old Bauxite Mine and Saline County. Taggart says famed photographer Margaret Bourke-White came to Bauxite in 1934 for a series she was doing on miners. Some of the Bauxite miners were included in a display of her work at the World’s Fair. Several of the negatives, stored away for over 75 years, were White’s work; others were unidentified but Taggart says they have White’s iconic style and believes them to be hers. Taggart has reproduced many of the negatives of Benton, Bauxite and Saline County and has them displayed on the walls of his medical practice. He says older patients have helped him identify some of the people in the photographs. Taggart says his father had a great influence on him, recalling advice his father had given to him at age 13. “I was playing in

Niloak Pottery, known as art pottery, was produced by the Eagle Pottery Co. in Benton from 1909-1946. “Niloak” is the word kaolin spelled backward. Kaolin is a fine-grade clay, found near Benton, that was used in the production. Niloak pottery uses different-colored clays in a swirled pattern.

the school band and was a real sissy. I was crying and remember telling my dad how worried I was about who I was, what I would become, and what I would do with my life. I told him I was going to quit the band and go out for football. That was the most manly thing I could think of. My dad said, ‘Sam, your deepest secret--the thing you think you cannot tell anyone--is the one thing you share in common with other people.’ I still think of

“We’ve let the symbols of wealth and the consumption of things be confused with reality.”

8 novemBER 17, 2011 MATURE ARKANSAS

that advice every day.” Realizing his parents could not support him on his father’s sharecropping, he left home at 18 to attend Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He put himself through college by working as a “gopher” for several local businesses. Taggart credits his mother’s influence as pointing him toward medical school. “As the youngest of eight children, it was her role to

take care of the older members of the family.” He says she was an avid reader. “We’d go to the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Library in Augusta and check out a stack of books.” He says the proudest moment of his youth was getting his own library card. “Each generation defines the American Dream for the next generation. My father’s generation defined it for us as ‘opportunity.’ How have we defined the America Dream for our children?” he asks. Taggart believes it is “change;” yet he is saddened by the fear that unbridled consumption will be part of our legacy. “We’ve let the symbols of wealth and the consumption of things be confused with reality.” Taggart says he values honesty. “Everything in life is predicated on honesty. If you can’t trust people it makes life totally unpredictable.” Taggart says dishonesty makes him mad. “That’s about the only reason I will ‘fire’ a patient—if he’s not truthful with me.” Of all his values, Taggart says he hopes his children and grandchildren will value honesty above all. Taggart says medicine forced him to become tolerant. “A family practice tends to do that to you. It’s hard to help someone through a problem if you’re constantly judging them,” he explains. Adding that a wise professor in medical school told him, as a physician, he was not his brother’s keeper, but his brother’s brother. brian chilson

Amateur photographer Charles Dove took this aerial shot of early Benton. Dove was an employee of Niloak Pottery and also a “stringer” for the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock. Taggart calls Dove’s large collection of area photographs a “treasure for the community.”

Mature Arkansas  
Mature Arkansas  

Mature Arkansas 11-17-11