by Clyde Arnold
Ellis Rothwell and I arrived in Hope for the reunion on Thurs. and hooked up while I
was checking in at the Super 8 Motel where we usually stay. For a while, we drove
around reminiscing and just visiting.
We then visited Memory Gardens Cemetery where several classmates are buried
along with my wife, Benja, and several other family members. We also visited the
graves of classmates: Tom Ed Hays, Richard Chism, Richard Hunt, and some other
family members of Ellis and mine. Next we visited with Jesse and Carolyn Duke at
their home before going to the Hope Country Club Golf Course where the annual golf
tournament was in progress. (The Golf Memory Page now has the list of names and
pictures.) This visit brought back some old memories because at this time a year ago
was the last time Ellis and I had been with Tom Ed Hays before he died. We had
rented a golf cart, Ellis was driving the cart. and Tom was on his right side while I
was hanging on the back where a real golfer would place his golf clubs. We then
followed the guys for several holes before we went to the Club House for some
refreshments, etc. While Ellis and I were doing our business, Tom began enjoying the
refreshments. A short time after this outing, Tom had to spend some time in a
hospital in Camden, AR. Then not long after his discharge, he had a massive stroke
at home, spent some time in a hospital in Hot Springs and never recovered.
Tom Ed was very special to all of his HHS Classmates and especially to Ellis and me
since we played football and basketball together. Tom is sorely missed by all of us.
He was a true Southern gentleman to the very end. Same as he was from the first time
we met him in the eighth grade Oglesby Jr. High. He, his sister, and his parents had
moved to Hope from Little Rock. Mr. Joe Amour was our principal and Mrs. Joella
Amour was our English teacher that year.
Thurs. evening Ellis, Betty Jo Hays, and I went out to eat Chinese Food on Hervey
St. at "The Panda," I believe it is called. We all enjoyed the meal and fellowship very
On Friday we had breakfast at the motel with Bernard Dunn and did more
fellowshipping before we went to the BancCorp South Farmhouse at 10 a.m. There
was no one there until later. We then decided to do some senior-citizen visiting at
Hope Haven where we knew some folks. When we first arrived we met a resident,
Velora Bright (56), who told us where Dr. and Mrs. Forney G. Holts' rooms were
located. Velora, until recently sang in a quartet with Johnny Tabor, but is now having
short-term memory loss. She is a retired Hempstead County Clerk and a beautiful
person to know and talk to about the past.
Ellis and I went to Ann Thrash's room at the Haven to visit her while Bernard waited
outside. Ann is the first cousin of Joella Gold Amour and we all were neighbors when
I lived on South Walker. She and Hubert Thrash (deceased) were our Training Union
Directors at First Baptist Church during the late forties and early fifties. Ann is 94, I
believe, and still very active. (She later married Guy Gregg and they were married for
over twenty years.)
I asked Ann about Tince Cox Hendrix and told her I would like to visit Tince. She
picked up the telephone and called Mrs. Hendrix who will be 106 in October. (Her
100th birthday party was in Fulton in 2003, the year of our 50th-Year Class Reunion.
Mary Jo, her mother, and Barbara B. attended that one) By the time I walked from
Ann's room to the next wing, Tince had almost completed making her bed. She is an
amazing lady! She told me that her sister married into the family of my father. Tince
is very good at card games and beats nearly everyone who plays cards with her. She
is as sharp as a tack and, if you want to know about anyone in the past, she knows
We then went to the room of Dr. Forney and Helen Kent Holt and had a nice visit.
Dr. Holt asked us if we drank wine etc. and we said no. He went over to a corner on
the floor and picked up a bottle of wine and said he had it since the battle of Okinawa
where he won the Bronze Star in 1945. The gallon of wine was still full... nearly 65
years later! I told him it was "well aged." <s>
As information, the plaque we presented Dr. Holt in Sept. 2001 is now on display at
the Hope Chamber of Commerce located in the old Herbert Burns Shoe Store on the
corner of 2nd and Main in downtown Hope. It is well displayed and, while there
checking on the plaque, I had the opportunity to visit with Mary Nell Turner who is a
young 89. She is the Hempstead County Historian and knows everything about the
area and even people in Memphis, TN.
Mary Nell was a friend of the mother of a lady, Marilyn Macatee McVeigh, whom I
now date on occasion in Memphis. Marilyn's mother is Clyta Verne Agee McAtee
Gentry who lived in Hope for many years and was a friend of Joella Amour and Mary
Nell Turner. Her great grandfather was the county clerk at Washington AR when the
county seat was there. Clyta first married a Baptist minister who pastored in several
states before he died in Forest City, AR. She later married another Billy Gentry at
Kirby Pines, a retirement home in Memphis, TN. Note that we had two Billy Gentrys
at Hope High School--one in the class of '50 and our Billy Gentry, '53.)
Ellis, Bernard Dunn and I (widowers) had a lot of quality time together. On Sat. we
went to the Jonquil Festival and to visit the church where Jo and Joella were married.
It took us awhile to find the plaque we had presented to the Old Presbyterian Church
at Washington by Betty Jo Hays but we finally found it.
We again walked around the area and enjoyed a meal at the Guernsey Fire Dept.
Stand which was an outstanding burger. We did not visit the trailer area at the Hope
airport this time but one could see the waste of government money still on display
from the highway to Hope. I guess the City of Hope is still getting paid but it makes
one wonder what the government is going to do with all those trailers that are
condemned. Bernard D. is a retired FEMA employee and he gave us his opinion of
Home Land Security and their current managers. <g>
I had some nice visits with several of our classmates at the Sat. night events and the
meals were very good both nights. Barbara, Johnny Cox, their son and daughter-in-law
did an outstanding job in feeding the 33 or so classmates and spouses in attendance.
The list will be soon posted on the web site including all who were there Fri and/or
Howard Thornton, Ellis, Bernard and I were able to visit at the Best Western when
Howard first arrived, but he was in a hurry to go visit some relatives before the
evening meal so the visit had to be short. Howard was a little late Sat. evening and
missed the group photo, but we were able to get him in a single picture. I think there
were 21 total classmates in attendance on Friday and Saturday nights. Pat Roach
came down on Sat. and it was very nice visiting with her. In the fifties Pat told me
that she was working at Ward's Drug Store which burned in the late fifties and was
across from Herbert Burns on Second street. So in turn, I introduced her to Dean.
Dean and Pat married in 1955 while Dee Coffee and I were in boot camp at Fort
Chaffey AR. Pat Roach is still a professor at Arkansas Tech in Russellville , AR
though they live in Morrilton, AR where Dean was born. They live next door to his
childhood best friend!
I had some car problems while in Hope but good friends and their connections helped
me get through it all and thanks to the Lord I returned to my home in Memphis, TN
safe and sound. The next day I witnessed the birth of my ninth grandbaby, a girl
Lillian Ruth Brock. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 5 oz , 20 inches long and is beautiful like
her mom, Brandi, and grand mom, Benja .
Until we meet again...Love and best wishes to all of you.
MEMORIES BY CLYDE ARNOLD