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OPINION

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Former neighbor’s death brings back memories The death of former neighbor Ann Medley brought a rush of memories from former days. I can’t remember now whether Guy and Ann Medley built their home across State Road 79 from us before we built because we were living here in the house in which my husband was raised for several years. But they, the Tom and Betty Segers HAPPY CORNER family, and we Hazel Wells Tison built about the same time and were the only ones living in this neighborhood for a few years. We were all stay-at-home moms then as our children were small. So most of my memories are episodes with our children, usually involving some disaster. The first thing I recalled was wearing Ann’s too-big sandals to the hospital when our son was struck by a motor bike as he was getting off the school bus. Hearing the commotion from the highway, I had raced down the driveway in my bare feet. Ann had already called the ambulance. At that time we had no emergency services. The funeral home ambulances

transported injured and ill people. Sims Funeral Home ambulance answered the call, and I rode to the hospital with Hiram while Ann came over and got Cindy and Glen, who were taking a nap. (I guess Mike and Gina were napping, too.) After Hiram was stabilized, Franklin Forehand drove the ambulance to Pensacola, and Ann took charge of my other two until my parents could get here. I returned her sandals when I ran home to pack a few clothes to take to Pensacola. Another crisis episode with our children was one morning when Ann and I were talking on the telephone. I heard this terrible scream, and Ann threw down the phone. I quickly hung up and ran across the highway to see what the crisis was. Ann was mixing a cake while we were talking, and Gina’s long blond locks got caught in the mixer blades. By the time I got there, she was untangled and everything was OK. I am not sure about the cake batter. We didn’t have a telephone the evening I discovered that Glen had drunk rust remover (hydroflouric acid). I ran to Ann’s to call the doctor. After I told Dr. Henry he had already vomited,

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Henry County Nursing Home. As they had been in Bonifay, the family was active in the Methodist Church in Abbeville, where Ann was very much involved with the music ministry. She continued that after they moved to Dothan, Ala., as well. Ann was also a I had an old copper wash pot that long-time member of the Troy had belonged to Jack’s Grandma University Community Band. In Meeker. The two boys were using addition, Ann was co-founder of Women of The Wiregrass, Glen’s scout hatchet to chop an organization that furnishes holes in the copper pot. They scholarships to single mothers were busting up a moonshine at Wallace College. still. Golf was a passion of Ann’s, I remember when Hiram was and she became very involved studying compound interest in in that after the move to maybe the seventh grade. He Dothan, becoming a member was adamant that what I was of the Dothan Country Club showing him couldn’t be right. and Ladies Golf Association, I threatened to call Guy, the serving a term as president of banker, to confirm the interest that group. That group of ladies is indeed added back to the occupied a place of honor at principle each month before he her funeral service in Dothan would believe that I knew what I First Methodist Church on was talking about. Wednesday. As our children grew and we Our condolences go out went separate ways, we didn’t see the Medleys much. In 1969, I to Guy, Mike, Gina, Don and started to teach college, and the Barbara Lee and the rest of year I started teaching, 1972, the the family. Ann’s zest for life Medleys moved to Abbeville. Ann and her happy spirit sustained started a career herself working her through her courageous battle with cancer. May her in the Henry County Hospital, Lord sustain you all through the eventually becoming the difficult days ahead. administrator there and at the

We built about the same time and were the only ones living in this neighborhood for a few years. We were all stay-at-home moms then as our children were small. he assured me that Glen would be OK. He dryly added, “Well, he ought never to rust.” Another time when I rushed over to the Medleys was when our daughter Cindy hit Gina as she was trying to swing a golf club. Cindy was the most upset of anybody, and I don’t believe she has ever picked up a golf club since. Though the Medley children were a few years younger than ours, Gina loved to come over and play with Cindy’s Barbie dolls. At Ann’s visitation, Gina also remembered Glen putting on puppet shows and charging them a nickel to see them. Glen and Mike were frequent playmates. For years after we built the house we now live in, we had a big pile of dirt on the side of our front yard, so the children including Hiram and his friends played war a lot. But once I discovered Glen and Mike pretending they were revenuers.

Varnum family prominent in Washington County since 1885 Allow the Prattler to briefly rely on his writer’s “crutch,” Setting It Straight, and acknowledge an error in last week’s column. Karla is the daughter of Bill and Sybil Webb. Jessica is the daughter of Karla, and the granddaughter of Bill and Sybil. The July 10 article did not do full justice to Dr. Robert Snare in his never failing effort PERRY’S to bring bidders into PRATTLE the process when Perry Wells the big watermelons are being sold in the annual auction by auctioneer David Corbin. These are not errors, per se, but maybe a little more elaboration is needed into the doctor’s accomplishments in obtaining more buyers. This is especially true in the “tribute” and “in memory” category of bids. The doctor brought a total of nine bids, not six, as previously reported. The Jimmy Trawick bid was submitted in memory of his in-laws, Jodie and Bera Yates Owens. Mike Arnold, of Henry Arnold Ford in Graceville, should have had his bid announced in honor to his father, Henry Arnold, “The Old Plowboy” who founded the business. Dr. Snare’s business, Snare Waterworks of Bonifay, was the one made in respect to Julian J. Fussell, World War II tanker and later a farmer, who passed away in June of this year. He also joined Ronnie Cook, owner of Padgett Drugs in Bonifay, and Richard Morris of Graceville in paying tribute to the four brave Americans who lost their lives in Benghazi earlier this year. Richard, a long-time supporter of the watermelon auction, always includes his military veterans from the Vietnam War unit in which he served and the group that continues to hold annual reunions. The weekend after the watermelon festival had slowed its pace to the point of allowing me to attend the Varnum reunion by special request of Lanita (Nita) Nicholson Varnum. She is the widow of Kennith Varnum and a native of Nettleton, Miss. Her story of meeting and later marrying Kennith is one of the most heartwarming stories written in the “Heritage of Washington County” book in the writer’s humble opinion. This romance grew from an unusual experience during World

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES-ADVERTISER

Eliza Ham Varnum and John Bethel Varnum are considered the patriarch family of the Varnums in Washington County. War II, and readers will find the full story on page 352 of the book. The John Bethel Varnum family is considered the patriarch of that family in Washington County. He brought his family to the area in October 1885 and the family continued to multiply greatly as outlined in the heritage book, page 351. That story was written and submitted by grandson, Stanley Varnum, who lived to see the book come to full fruition but died soon after its printing. Readers will find that the Varnum family settled in the Greenhead area of the county where Nita continues to live. Previous writings will show that this family was prominently involved in High Hills Primitive Baptist Church during its existence in the earlier history of the county. It was dissolved as a church congregation in 1926, but the adjoining Blue Pond Cemetery containing numerous burials of the Varnum family, still exists and maintained by Dale Taylor, and others, in the historic area of the county located in Moody’s Pasture. When Nita Varnum invited me to the July 6 reunion, she told me that it would be the 26th year of the get-together and that this one promised to bring additional family members, especially from the Clewiston area, where many migrated to seeking employment many years ago. She stated that this element of the family had not seen the heritage book and felt it would be much in demand as she requested that books be brought to the event.

The Prattler immediately recalled the two members of the Varnum family, J.R. and Wilburn, who made Clewiston their home immediately after completing Vernon High School only a short time after my departure from the school upon graduation. I was aware that the brothers have passed away. Her prediction proved correct as many offspring of the two, plus other family members that I had never met, came to the family gathering and immediately were attracted to the history and heritage recorded on their family, resulting in the sale of five additional copies of the ever popular heritage book. Readers will recall that the sponsors of the book had hoped that June would wind up sales of the 200 additional copies received on August 13 of last year. Our efforts in May, June and July have reduced the remaining books to 19 which are still available. You still have time to obtain your copy by contacting me at 638-1016 or email at perry1000@abellsouth.net. The price is $64.20 when picked up from me, or $72 when mailed. The watermelon festival, plus my own Brock reunion and many other family gatherings, seem to have taken my time this summer, as it traditionally has done each summer for many years. I am not complaining. I look forward to all of the activity in which I am fortunate to participate and hope health and strength will allow me to stay involved in many more. See you all next week.

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