October 14, 2010
This weekend has been a blast! I can’t remember when this many things were happening in this Little Village of Spearsville. I don’t really know where to start so I will just dive in, not in sequence or prioritized. We spent the first of the week tending to all those last minuted details in preparation for the open house at the Little Yellow House Museum. Finally, we had it just like we wanted it – or almost – all the cookies were made, the drinks iced down, and the tables set up. The people started coming before 9:00. Even Rep Hollis Downs was there early. Before the day was over more than 160 had oohed and aahed as they looked for pictures of themselves, Grandmother and Granddaddy, other relatives, friends they once knew, old schools and churches. It was so much fun seeing the people and watching their enthusiasm. I can’t possibly name all the special people I saw but I will mention my old friend and colleague, Shirley Ward Hinson and her husband Billy. She taught at Lillie Middle School and he at Junction City. It was so good to get a big hug and remember old times.
The reunion that covered years 1955 – 1965 brought many people to Hollis’ and then on down to visit our photo gallery. I talked with Joyce Barron Iles and she had thought that 25 was going to be way too much time to visit before, they had their meal, but the time just whizzed by and they had to rush to get it all in. Some of them had walked over to the museum and it was not as close as it looked or once was; you don’t suppose that a few years is what made the difference? We are so grateful to everyone who made our day special: Mayor Shoemaker who first had the vision, Pat Freeman who donated her little cottage, Gene Barron who did all the photography and kept everything moving smoothly, the committee who worked faithfully each week for a year, to all the people who came and made it such a success and to all the ones who donated money so that this can continue to be an ongoing project.
On Sunday, the members of the Bernice Historical Society came over for a tour and a presentation by Gene Barron. He told of how our ancestors of this area, Shiloh, and Bernice landed on the Ouachita River, Alabama Landing, near Marion, and came on to establish the various communities. With the coming of the railroad, river transportation became less important and the merchants moved on a little farther west so they could get their goods shipped in more easily, other people followed and this became Bernice. They were very impressed with our Little Yellow House; the pictures that have been collected so that future generations might know about their ancestors, how they survived, built schools, stores, houses and great families.
Saturday was the big day for the Rockett Reunion. People came from near and far to reunite with their past. Drew Rockett had 16+ from his brother, Warren’s family. They came from California and Utah – taking the prize for the greatest distance traveled and having the youngest member, a toddler, in attendance. Farris Foster was the oldest Rockett descendant and Clyde Barron the oldest man. After visiting around with folks we hadn’t seen in a long time, we set about to eat a little of everything that was served. You can’t believe what a task this is for the counter, about 15 feet long, was covered – completely covered – with the main dishes; sweets, all kinds, took another table with the drinks on another. Soon we will have a Rockett Cookbook out, it is at the printer’s now, and you’ll miss something if you don’t get one for these – Rocketts can cook. My plate was loaded with a spoon of this and a spoon of that and everything I are was delicious.
Our cousins from the Elton Rockett and Charlie Rockett Families had an extended reunion. We started on Thursday where we met at a lodge at Lake D’Arbonne Park. Over the years we had had no contact, but we have certainly made up for lost time in the past 4 or 5 years. One of my first cousins, Brenda, came this year and I met her for the first time. Diane Colvin came and spent the night on Thursday night and stayed most of Friday. Late Friday afternoon we gave them a private tour so they could see pictures of relatives they had only heard of, as well as graduating class pictures of their mothers and pictures of our Paw-Paw’s old store. Afterwards, we went over to Hollis’ for a great meal and were joined by Wayne Barrett and Diane Colvin. They declared that it would be hard to find a restaurant in Houston or Ft. Worth/Dallas to rival Hollis’. We didn’t think we would ever want to eat again, but you know how that is. We said good-by at Camp Creek, promising to do it again, real soon, and get the other three grandchildren who didn’t come in the gang. Good family and good times!!!!!
Oda Rockett had all three of her daughters at home, Kim, Marilyn, and Karen, as well as, granddaughter, Reagan; there were, also, several of her nieces and nephews that came to the reunion as well as to visit. They had such a good time reliving favorite times and playing the piano and singing.
It would not be possible to recognize everyone who attended church on Sunday but I must mention a special guest, Relda Holloway Colvin, from California, who surprised her Aunt Lynette and Uncle Clyde Barron with a phone call that morning and then came to be with them at church and lunch afterwards. As I was making a beeline to my car I head hurried steps behind me and a lady calling my name. She introduced herself and expressed her great enjoyment for the writings of “Spearsville Happenings”; it is, truly, her letter from home and she looks forward to it each week. I told her how humbling this is for me and it is, indeed, what keeps me writing when I begin to feel that so little happens in Spearsville and it is just drivel; then, I meet people from California to Florida, down to Mobile, to Hawaii and Colorado and throughout this nation and beyond who say this is how they keep up. My thanks to each of you for you kind words — maybe I’ll just keep writing this “stuff”.
“Thought for the Day“
Now is our special gift. We must use it wisely, moment by moment for that is how we build our lives.
Barbara Walton is a resident of Spearsville and has had a column in the Bernice Banner for several years. She writes about the People and Happenings of Spearsville.