Search This Blog

Sunday, April 27, 2008

May's Birthdays - Happy Birthday Y'all !

Edgar "Buddy" Strickland’s birthday is May 4

Irene "McCutchen" Black’s birthday is May 11

Buddy Wilson’s birthday is May 17

Harriet "McCutchen" Davis' birthday is May 22

Allen Hobbs’ birthday is May 29

Thursday, April 24, 2008

E-mails Among Friends - Aren't Reunions Fun!

From: Irene Lewis
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:00 PM
To: Classmates and their Spouse’s
Cc: John
Subject: Mini Reunion

I can't begin to tell everyone how much I enjoyed this past weekend with classmates and spouses. For those of you that could not be with us, you were missed terribly and we do hope that you can join us at our next mini reunion. Here is a little of what you did miss.

It started out with several couples, (Myron & Rosemary, Paul & Panagiota, Patsy & Pete, Skip & me) getting together at the Comfort Inn in Camden and catching up. (Out of towners, think about staying there the next time we are together. Great location.) Then we caravanned to Harry & Harry Two's for a delicious meal of our choice. We were met there by Barbara, Harry and Johnny Reames, our adopted reunion photographer. We really enjoyed this evening and had a chance to get caught up on what everyone had been doing since we last were together. The atmosphere was so relaxing, since we had the whole place to ourselves and we had a chance to visit with everyone, without feeling rushed. After our wonderful time at Harry's place, those of us staying in Camden continued our reunion, staying up late just talking and I can't tell you how much fun this was.

After breakfast Saturday, several of us went in to Camden for a morning of shopping. We visited antiques shops and Jane Ferguson Watson's dress shop. Some looked at her things seriously and tried on, but I am not sure if anyone bought anything. But it was fun to see Jane. I did not know she has been selling The Carlisle line of clothes for over 25 years. This is the same line that Caroline Beattie is involved with. Remember reading about her in Johnny's blog?

After shopping, we (Paul, Panagiota, Patsy, Pete, Nick, Susan, Skip and me...Myron & Rosemary had to go on back to Newberry because of a commitment and could not join us) had lunch at a restaurant in The Galleria and the food was great. After talking a lot(????), all but Nick and Susan piled in Paul's car for an afternoon of touring. We first went to Paul's sister and brother-in-law's for caramel cake (yummmmmmy). For those of you that remember Miss Fay, Miss Isabel looks just like her. After stuffing ourselves on cake, we decided to head over to Bishopville and get a glimpse of the mystery tree we have all heard about.

Well, we pulled up in front of the high school and all got out to get a better look at the tree. I had no idea this tree ever existed. It is truly a cork tree. Some of us have a piece of the bark to prove it. Pete was looking for little cork trees to take back home and I was trying to get a small limb to root. Neither of us was successful. He had us down on our knees comparing leaves that he had picked off the tree. That lasted until we discovered the fire ant hills.

Back in Paul's car, we are now off to the artesian well. We had mentioned to Pete about a well where the guy's would go to sober up after a night of.......whatever, and he just had to see this well. Somebody really has improved the location, because they had planted lots of shrubs and built stone around the "watering hole". We all took a drink and talked about all the times we visited this place.

Going out to the well, we of course passed by Denny's Pool. Now, I don't know about y'all, but I spent everyday of the summer there. If Marian Stephenson didn't take all of us, the Denny's would stop by my house, and I would be standing out there by the roadside with my little brown bag of bologna sandwiches, waiting for them to pick me up. Don Drayton sometimes would be in the car too. Off to the pool we'd go, and we would help get things ready for the day. Those of you that went a lot probably remember Nero, their yard man. Well, there were times when we even helped him on the big yard mower. I will never forget those days. Mr. & Mrs. Denny practically raised all of us.

Back to our tour of Bishopville, Paul was such a gracious guide. We rode in neighborhoods that were so familiar growing up and some that were not so familiar. Then on to Mr. Pearl's Topiaries. He is an amazing man, with lots of creative imagination. His yard is so beautiful to look at, and you can tell he has lots of influence on his neighbors, because their yards have topiaries too. I would find it hard to live next door to him. WHEW!!!!!!

Next on our tour was visiting Smith's Creative Concrete Designs (I made the name up because I can't remember what it is called). This place belongs to Paul's nephew John and he has any and everything you could want as far as yard art goes. If he doesn't have it, he can make it. His father Eugene would be so very proud of him.

Pete, (Patsy's loving and devoted husband and father of their son Bryant) said that he was so impressed with our tour of Bishopville that he fully intends to go back again in July when we have the Gathering of the Classes.

Time to head back to our hotel and clean up for our lovely evening of dining at The Crescent Grille (I hope I got the name right). We had several to join us and I will try to list the ones that could come. Of course, we had the traveling gypsies, Paul, Panagiota, Patsy, Pete, Skip and me, then there was Hank and Linda Martin, Jean Watkins, Martha (Nash) Gooding, Nick Baskin (his lovely Susan had a previous engagement in Columbia at an awards dinner for her sister) Cecil and Kaye Watkins, Lee Stevenson, Mac Rumph, Judith Ann and Marion Mackey. We just had so much fun and the food was excellent. We all hated for the evening to end, so some that could headed out to our hotel for more reminiscing. Oh, I wish all of you could have been with us. This was such a special time...... really, the whole weekend was special. I just can't say enough about the camaraderie we had. Nobody wanted to leave, even though our eyelids, by now, were having to be propped open.

After breakfast Sunday, Paul and Panagiota had to head back to Easley, but Pete & Patsy were headed back to Bishopville, so I suggested we follow along. We ended our wonderful mini reunion weekend by having lunch at Mr. B's in Lydia and I truly hated to hug good bye, but it was time to head our separate ways until the next time.

I truly want everyone to know how much this past weekend meant to Skip and me. Especially after hearing Nick read out the names of our classmates that are having health problems of one kind or another. There are others that need our prayers, so let’s remember all of our classmates each time we bow our heads.

I didn't mean to write such a long email, but the words just flowed. Please know that we truly missed our classmates that couldn't make it, and hopefully we will see them in July at the big gathering of classes. If you have not heard about it or seen it anywhere, check out Johnny's blog - (Johnny, did I get it right?), or contact him by email at We went to the one last year, and it was so much fun seeing our "ole BHS friends". And, make your reservations at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Camden, because it is clean and a very convenient location.

God bless you all and I love you big!!!

Your friend forever

PS: If I have left anyone out, it is because I don't have their address, so please someone forward this email to them.


From: Hank Martin
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:10 PM
To: Classmates and their Spouse’s
Cc: John
Subject: Re: Mini Reunion


That was a great summation of a wonderful time together. Linda and I sure enjoyed our time with everyone...Linda said that there is something special about these Bishopville folks. I of course already knew that. I'm so sentimental that one day I would like to make Lynn Kirkley an offer on our old house on Dennis Ave and fix it up. I understand that the Kirkley's purchased our old house some years's right next door....I've still got a jar of money I buried in that yard to find. What great memories I have growing up in B'ville. I too spent many summer days at Denny's Pool learning to do a one and a half and then not letting Ruffin get the best of me, I learned to do a full 2. I remember eating frozen Zero candy bars and listening to Little Richard on the juke box. We're looking forward to the big B'ville Gathering in July. Look forward to being with everyone again.


PS...."Thank you John" for the great blog.


From: Jean Shirley Watkins
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 1:35 PM
To: Classmates and their Spouse’s
Subject: Re: Mini Reunion

Dear Irene

Thanks so much for this recap. I agree it was a wonderful weekend and I'm continually amazed at how much we all care about each other. Time nor distance will ever change the love we all share for our classmates. I will never tire of us all being together reminiscing about those days of our youth. Hopefully all of you who weren't able to come this year will be here next time.


Jean Shirley Watkins.


From: Lee Stevenson
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 2:46 PM
To: Irene Reames Lewis
Cc: Classmates and their Spouse’s
Subject: Mini Reunion


I couldn't agree more. I had a great time seeing old friends. Each of us has some memory or other connection with each other.
I too spent many summers at Denny's Pool. We all spent many nights at Skeets or Ritas or Horace's and even before that at Brooks Drive In.

We will carry on these conversations at the Gathering of the Classes (in July)

Many thanks to Nick and Joyce and everyone on the committee for a great success.

A special bond with each of you,



From: Michael Mercer
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:48 PM
To: 'John Reames'
Subject: Natives of Lee County Blogspot: here class of '62 recent photos.

Dear Blogmaster:
The photos shown recently on your blog of the BHS Class of ’62 caused a moment of instantaneous retrieval from the caverns of my memories. . For years I had pings on the memory banks but these pictures forced the haunting to the surface. Lee Stevenson is not only the big brother of my friend and classmate, Joe, but the man who kept haunting me in the Clint Eastwood Trilogies of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I think of Lee whenever I see these because Lee Van Cleef looks just like Lee Stevenson. Well, ok, when both were younger. Lee, you’ve aged well.

Mike Mercer
Summerville SC

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Register to Vote

Register To Vote (click the title above)

Make a difference. Be a voter. It's easy!

1. Select your state.
2. Enter the required information.
3. Print your voter registration application.

(Requires Adobe Acrobat. We suggest
version 7.0. Click here to download 7.0)

4. Mail your voter registration application.

Note: Residents of North Dakota and Wyoming are not permitted to use this form. New Hampshire town and city clerks will accept this application only as a request for their own mail-in absentee voter registration form. Please review the additional information on who can use this application to register to vote.

This form is provided by the NRA

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sixty Year Old Mystery Solved

You have to hand it to Nick West; the old gentleman has this innate talent to poke about until he has the information he needs.

Nick recently e-mailed me:

“John, I found out who planted the Oak Cork Tree….”

Of course he was referring to my Mysterious Tree post in Natives of Lee County South Carolina.

I phoned Nick, and learned that during a recent visit with friends Mickey and Anne McDowell, mention was made about one of their daughter’s school projects some years back which involved the collection of leaves from various trees.

Being the discerning fellow that he is, Nick straight away asked Mickey if he knew anything about the Cork Oak Tree at Bishopville High School.

Mickey confessed, saying that as part of a 4H project he planted the tree during a ceremony around 1947.

Subsequently I phoned Mickey for confirmation and found that his information would be in line with Wilma “Kirkpatrick” McClure, John McCoy, and my wife’s recollections about the tree.

Good work Nick. Look for the check in the mailbox.

Case Closed?

Not yet! What about the Ceremony? Who was there? What was said? Where are the pictures? Don't cash the check!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Local Native Receives Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award

To many of you this article is old news; to me it bears repeating because it is about one of our own. Rear Admiral Jacob Shuford is another example of why small town America is the heartbeat of our country. Clicking on the title above will take you to the article. See Admiral Shuford's picture under the heading "Featured Classmate" courtesy of The Item.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Request from Hank Martin

I enjoyed seeing that 3rd grade class picture of Miss Edna McCutchen. That was a year before ours. Sure would appreciate you putting the word out to anyone who has more class pictures like that to submit them to you. I would love to see my 3rd grade or any grade class picture....and others. That was great.



Editors Note:
Send your pictures to me by e-mail attachment or send them by Uncle Sam; include a stamped self-addressed envelope if you want them returned, and I'll return them to you after I have scanned them to my computer. Include the usual identifying information about the pictures, including the dates, and any accompanying story that may be interesting. Keep it clean for this is a family site. I may not post all of them immediately but at some point most will find their way into cyberspace for our readers to enjoy.

April's Birthdays

Meg “Groves” Telligman’s birthday is April 13th
Richard Garvin’s birthday is April 17th
Betty “Baldwin” Lowery’s birthday is April 24th

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mysterious Tree

I don’t know how many of you were/are aware that a Phellodendron or maybe a Quercus Suber tree has been growing on the front lawn of the old Bishopville High School on North Main Street for over 50 years.

I can hear some of you now: What is he talking about? Well… you’ll just have to bear with me as I work my way through this posting. I’ll get to the point in a few hundred words or so.

As a kid I can remember the tree being there as far back as the mid ‘50’s and based on it’s size back then, I would venture a guess that it was there about 10 – 20 years longer; making the tree around 60-70 years old or older.

Not being particularly interested in botany or anything else that required studying, I sort of filed away the fact that the tree existed, and since I hadn’t seen anything similar to it anywhere else to bring it back to mind, it stayed filed away until I saw it again today.

When school was in session back in the fifties, not much activity was had on the front lawn so I guess that many students didn’t notice the tree. I noticed however, for it was almost a daily thing, especially during the summer months, for a gang of us local sports types to gather and head for the football and/or baseball fields for a afternoon game. The tree just happened to be growing along the trodden track we usually took.

Some of us would absent mindedly pinch a piece of the bark off and chew on it as we ventured pass to the fields. I know I did my fair share of bark chewing.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until I saw some of the upper classmen during baseball season taking cork from soft drink bottle caps, burning it until it blacken, then smearing the soot under their eyes, that I made the connection.

When I was old enough, I tried my hand at organized baseball, and since I didn’t want to have to search all over the place for a bottle cap, I began using the bark of the tree to make the dark smudge under my eyes. Besides, I had a secret cork source, and because there was so much of it on the tree, I also had an endless supply.

Along about now you probably have figured out that I’m talking about a tree that has this special bark on it in the form of a thick corklike substance, but you can't figure out what's the big deal!

Well, it’s not the tree, nor is it the fact that the bark is corky in texture that intrigues me. I’m mystified as to how the tree came to be there in the first place, and because I don’t believe it is native to our area, I think it had to be planted but by whom, and why?

I’m guessing that the tree is a Quercus Suber a.k.a. Cork Oak.

If there is someone out there who knows the answer, please contact me.

In the meantime, drive by the old school and pinch off a piece of cork bark from the Old Cork Oak Tree for a keepsake. Now that I've matured and have acquired a basic knowledge of what not to put in my mouth, I'd advise you to refrain from chewing the bark. Besides, I never did understand why I chewed it... Tastes like plain cork to me.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Miss Edna McCutchen's Third Grade Class

How many of you remember Ben Moise? Ben is a Native of Lee County, and is first cousin to Jim Ed, Aila (Edna), Jess, and nephew to Miss Mary Hipp McCutchen. Ben has achieved fame of sorts as a writer and I'll share what I know about him with you on another rainy day, but for now let's continue with this saga.

Lee Stevenson e-mailed me the other day telling me that he had run into a childhood friend of his in Columbia while attending the Sportsman Classic at the State Fairgrounds. Lee said that Ben expressed an interest in hearing from some of his Bishopville childhood friends and included Ben's e-mail address so I contacted him immediately. Here is his e-mail reply:

John: Good to hear from you. I lived in B’ville from 1943 to 1953. I was actually born in Florence at McLeod Infirmary, I think because at the time of my arrival, Mom’s doctor and the town vetinarian were out of town at the same time. I lived on the corner of Heyward and Law Streets across the street from Cat McElveen and diagonally across the street from Jackie Hicks. I attended B’ville Elementary School through the fourth grade before moving to Sumter when Mom remarried. My best friend there was Lawton King. I have a picture of Miss Edna McCutchen’s third grade class standing on the Heyward Street steps of the school and a few other pictures of that era. My first cousins in B’ville were Jim Ed, Edna and Jesse McCutchen. My grandfather, James Edmund McCutchen was a farmer and lived out on the road to St Charles (Raccoon Road). Ben McC. Moise

Ben has sent me several photos he has recovered from various locations throughout his home in Charleston and has promised to send others as they are discovered.

I think I can identify some of the classmates: Graham Drayton, Dolly Davis, Lawton King, Wayne Carnes, Libby Skinner, Zan West, Claire Stuckey, Lee Stevenson, "Cat" McElveen, Sara Brannon, Charles Farmer, Richard Morrell, Jerry Laney, Judith Austin and Ben Moise. Others I'll need you to tell me who they are.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Margaret Segars Copeland

Located at 154 South Main Street in Bishopville, State Farm Insurance Agent Margaret Copeland has been helping Lee Countian’s manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams for eighteen years.

Like a good neighbor, Margaret Copeland and her knowledgeable team can help you with your Auto, Homeowners, Condo Owners, Renters, Life & Annuities, Health, Disability, Long-Term Care, Business, Boat, or other insurance needs. But I don’t think she does windows!

When you call her agency don't be surprised to hear Margaret on the other end of the line for she is just like you or me, and she truly loves her patrons.

E-mail Margaret

Street Address
154 S Main Street
PO Box 583
Bishopville, SC 29010-0583

Mailing Address
P O Box 583
Bishopville, SC 29010-0583

Contact Numbers:
Phone: (803) 484-6359
Fax: (803) 484-5519

Give Margaret a call and thank her for partnering with the Gathering of the Classes II Reunion committee to make the July 25th through 27th activities a success.

Word of the Day

Snap Shots

Get Free Shots from