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Archive for September, 2011

A few years ago I wrote a review of two interesting books about Bayou Bartholomew written by Southeast Arkansas authors. Here is that book review that was published by the Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies at Arkansas State University where I taught back in the 1970s.

The photos were inserted later by me. Except for the book covers and one personal snapshot, all the photos were taken from the Web sites of the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance or the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture and used with permission.

Bartholomew’s Song: A Bayou History. By Rebecca DeArmond-Huskey. (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 2001. Pp. xv + 645, preface, acknowledgments, bibliography, notes, index, illustrations. $40.00, paper)

Bartholomew's Song

 

Bayou Bartholomew (A Regional Stream). By Clifton L. Birch. (Tillar, AR: C. L. Birch Publishing, 1999. Pp. v + 214, preface, acknowledgments, illustrations. $15.00, paper

Bayou Bartholomew: A Regional Stream

Since “the longest bayou in the world” passes between my birthplace of Selma (Drew County), Arkansas, and my hometown of McGehee (Desha County), Arkansas, I was pleased to discover these two books about one of the most important geographical, historical, and cultural landmarks in the Lower Mississippi River Delta.

I was interested to note that the authors of these works were also natives of that region. However, their perspectives and presentations of it are decidedly different from one another due to their different backgrounds and purposes in writing.

In the popular cartoon “Peanuts,” after thoroughly trouncing Charlie Brown in a tennis match, Snoopy turns to the audience and wryly notes: “Sometimes we forget the difference between the true professional and the merely gifted amateur.”

That distinctive difference is evident in these two studies, the former being the work of a true professional researcher, and the latter that of a gifted amateur writer—with the word “amateur” reflecting its original Latin meaning as a lover of a particular activity or subject.

Indeed, it was the late Clifton L. Birch’s lifelong love for Bayou Bartholomew that compelled him to learn as much as possible about it through exploratory travels along it and to self-publish his findings. Therefore, his work is not a formal report of scholarly research about the bayou, but an informal journal of personal experiences with it.

Bayou Bartholomew

As such, the narrative meanders back and forth from one aspect of the bayou to another as the author retraces his own voyage of discovery along the path of a waterway he frequented almost daily for more than half a century.

Included are interviews he conducted with a variety of interesting individuals, some true professionals but most gifted amateurs, from the bayou’s source near Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to its confluence with the Ouachita River near Bastrop, Louisiana.

These personal observations and reminiscences of life on the bayou (including three different versions of the brutal murder of my grandfather’s first wife)—all conveyed in the author’s colorful vernacular (“Nah that old dog won’t hunt,” p. 95)—serve as the basis of the book’s interesting, informative, and often humorous narrative.

Thus it would be of interest to serious researchers primarily as firsthand resource material collected by an enthusiastic, inquisitive, and charmingly unsophisticated longtime local resident.

This is how the author and his work were seemingly viewed by researcher/writer Rebecca DeArmond-Huskey who quotes several times from her interviews with Birch and from pertinent passages in his book.  

Bayou Bartholomew 2-1

 

In contrast to Birch’s informal meandering style, DeArmond-Huskey’s scholarly “narrative flows like the landscape it describes, brimming with facts, details and family names so valuable to historians and genealogists” (back cover).

As noted in a November 28, 2001, preview of the work published in the McGehee Times-Dermott News, “Bartholomew’s Song: A Bayou History, is approximately 600 pages long and contains 93 old photographs. Twenty-three pages of notes and a twelve-page bibliography attest to the extensive research compiled by the author.”

Included in Part I are histories of the bayou itself, the overall bayou area, and each of the settlements along its banks. An entire chapter is devoted to the history of steamboat transportation on the bayou with a discussion of “overland travel, fords, ferries, bridges, and mighty floods,” plus “six tables contain[ing] information about commerce, populations, and the names of all the steamboats documented on the Bayou” (back cover).

Other chapters examine “slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction,” as well as “sawmills and timber rafting,” and “outlaws, lynching, murder, moonshining, and the Ku Klux Klan.” Following chapters discuss hunting and fishing; recreation, baptisms, courting, and “anecdotes of buried treasure and strange events”; plus an interesting analysis of the cultural differences between Delta people and hill people.

As the preview notes, “An afterword laments the ecological ruination of the bayou though the years and offers hope of its restoration through the efforts of the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance and private landowners.”

The second part of the book provides family histories of many of the area’s early settlers. An appendix is followed by a list of the oral history respondents, a name index, and a subject index.

As noted in the preface, the book was written primarily for “bayouphiles,” but “[s]tudents of history, archeology, cultural anthropology, economic geography, sociology, and folklore [as well as genealogists] will also benefit from the diverse material presented” (p. viii).

I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s handwritten note in the review copy attesting that “this book will [make] a new contribution to Delta history.”

For a copy of the book Bayou Barthomomew: A Regional Stream, send a check, payable to Bayou Bartholomew Alliance, or BBA, PO Box 665, Monticello, AR 71657.  The cost is twenty dollars, including mailing. 

A copy of the book Bartholomew’s Song can be purchased for forty dollars from Heritage Books at 1540E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie, MD 20716 (800-876-6103) or from Rebecca DeArmond-Huskey at 2798 Old Warren Road, Wilmar, AR 71675; or for forty-four dollars from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com. Another related book by the same author titled Old Times Not Forgotten: A History of Drew County can be ordered from Rebecca DeArmond-Huskey at her address above for thirty dollars. 

AETN, the Arkansas public television network, is producing an hour-long documentary on the history of the bayou. Further information will be provided later.

To visit the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance Web site, click here or here. To view the Bayou Bartholomew entry in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, click here.

Reviewer’s bio: Jimmy Peacock, a native of rural southeast Arkansas, lives just outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is a freelance writer and contract editor for several religious and regional publishers. His humorous and nostalgic works have appeared in local, state, and national periodicals.

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Who Cares about Texas?

 

Tulsa World cartoon on Texas

Tulsa World cartoon on the University of Texas (to magnify and read, click on cartoon)

 “Although he [OU president David Boren] passed on opportunities to directly criticize the University of Texas—whose television network has been blamed by many for destabilizing the Big 12—Boren made it clear that the two schools may not end up in the same athletic conference.”
—Wayne Greene, “Boren in charge,” Tulsa World, September 20, 2011 

I had planned to publish a different post this week. However, because of the current question and even controversy of whether the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University should leave the Big-12 football conference—to some degree because of the actions of the University of Texas—I decided to substitute this one.

It is a letter that I wrote back in the 1980s to the governor of Oklahoma about his recent appointment as the chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board, and particularly about his suggestion that the state of Texas be invited to join that same board.

Since the sentiments I expressed in that letter twenty-eight years ago seem to be resurfacing in today’s headlines, I have decided that it is my civic duty to pass them along for the consideration of loyal football fans from both the state universities of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

A Letter to the Governor of Oklahoma
About the State of Texas

“We don’t give a d—- about the whole state of Texas,
the whole state of Texas,
the whole state of Texas.
We don’t give a d—- about the whole state of Texas,
cause we’re from Arkansas!”
—1960s Arkansas Razorback Football Cheer

Arkansas Razorback

In 1983 after I had lived in Oklahoma for six years, I wrote a letter to the governor of Oklahoma about an important recent event involving the governor and the state of Texas.

This was during the time when the University of Arkansas was the only non-Texas team in the now-defunct Southwest Conference and regularly played the University of Texas in football. The University of Oklahoma, just across the Red River from Texas, also played its arch rival and ours. 

Gov. George Nigh of Oklahoma

Gov. George Nigh of Oklahoma

1926 S. Bixby St.
Sapulpa, OK 74066
(918) 224-7729

July 23, 1983

The Hon. George Nigh, Governor
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Esteemed Sir:

Please allow me to offer my congratulations on your recent honor of being named chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board, such august body with which you were instrumental in associating the great state of Oklahoma.

As a displaced Arkie, beneficiary of a long and illustrious Southern heritage, now living in exile in your state for lo these six long years, I cannot but laud your courageous stance, to say nothing of your unquestioned integrity and obvious good sense and taste, in opting to thus link yourself and your fair state to the rising SOUTHERN STAR.

You are to be commended for your foresight and vision, attributes that will serve you well in your new position of leadership.

A French-speaker and travel enthusiast (I have had applications on file for months with both the Oklahoma and Arkansas departments of tourism), I wholeheartedly concur with your stated views on the importance of developing international tourism and investment in the South.

However, Sir, with all due respect to your honored person and eminent position, I cannot but question the wisdom of your obviously ill-considered statement that it might prove beneficial to solicit to membership on this revered board the state of Texas!

Surely you jest! Shall we also consider inviting the Russian bear to join NATO? Shall we grant statehood to Cuba? Perhaps, Sir, you would suggest that we award the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously to Attila the Hun!

I ask you, Sir, a Texan sitting on the same honored board (not to mention at the same table!) with decent, honest, down-to-earth, unpretentious Arkies and Okies? Unthinkable!

Why, have you so quickly forgotten the past villainy of these grandiose braggarts, these merciless marauders of the gridiron, these orange-shirted, finger-pointing, Stetson-strutting scourges whose avowed purpose and heart’s desire is to grind forever under their boot-shod heels the very flower of young Arkie and Okie collegians?

Are the bitter lessons of so many heinous Saturday afternoon massacres to be so easily cast aside in the headlong dash to embrace our common (oh so common!) and ruthless enemy? Shall we, the last great hope of modesty and humility, also bow the knee to the arrogance and tyranny that are synonymous with the very name of Texas? God forbid!

Must I remind you, Sir, that among themselves Texans refer to Arkansas and Oklahoma as “outlying provinces of Texas”—as though anyone could ever outlie Texas!

Shall we truly be sacrificed to the “Mouth of the South”? Never! And again I say, NEVER!

ARKIES AND OKIES ARISE! REMEMBER FAYETTEVILLE AND LITTLE ROCK! REMEMBER NORMAN AND STILLWATER! (FERGIT YOU, DALLAS AND AUSTIN!)

Respectfully yours,

Jimmy Peacock

PS I shall be on vacation in Paradise the week of July 31; however, I shall be crossing back over the Oklahoma line August 6 or thereabouts and shall be available for personal consultation on this momentous issue at that time.

cc:   Governor of the State of Arkansas (Bill Clinton)
        Governor of the State of Texas (Mark White)
        The Tulsa World (David Averill, OK Mag, Sports Ed., Gary Percefull
        The Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman (Editorial Ed., Sports Ed.)
        The Arkansas Gazette (Robert McCord, Forum Ed., Sports Ed.)
        The Dallas Morning News (Editorial Ed., Dave Smith Exec. Sports Ed.)
        The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (Tyler Hardeman)
        The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (Director)

Note: When I shared this letter recently with a Texan he responded, “There must be something in the water in Oklahoma and Arkansas,” to which I replied, “You’re right, there must be, since Texas has been trying to buy water from both states for decades!”

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Our country has lost its sense of humor. We need an American humorist. There’s been no one since Will Rogers.”
—Herbert Hoover

“I’m not a stand-up comedian, I’m more of a sit-down humorist.”
–Jimmy Peacock

In the past I submitted the following humorous anecdotes—without success—to different departments of Reader’s Digest. I have reproduced them here in only slightly edited versions to omit such items as personal names. 

All in a Day’s Work

As a forty-year-old member of the publications department of a large Christian evangelistic organization, I had found the secretary chair I was using less and less suited to my age, status, or especially my aching back.

Secretary chair

Secretary chair

After several attempts I was finally able to appeal my case up through organizational channels to the International General Manager—a lady—who assured me that I would be assigned a swivel armchair.

When three more painful months had passed with still no word of my promised armchair, I sent the following memo directly to the lady in question (with emphasis in italic):

TO:        Int’l General Manager
FROM:   Jimmy Peacock
RE:        Promise of armchair (12/12/78)
DATE:    3/12/79 (3 months later)

“Blessed is the man that . . . sitteth (not) in the seat of . . . a maiden” (Ps. 1:1, 123:2).

Why art thou so far from helping me . . .?” (Ps. 22:1).

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint” (Ps. 22:14).

“I am feeble and sore broken” (Ps. 38:8).

“Look upon mine affliction and my pain” (Ps. 25:18). “Make haste . . . to deliver me; make haste to help me . . .” (Ps. 70:1).

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded . . . . forsake me not . . . ” (Ps. 71:18).

“(And) I will also praise thee . . . . My lips shall greatly rejoice when I  sing unto thee . . . . My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long . . . ” (Ps. 71:21-24). “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies . . . . Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Pr. 31:10, 31). “Exalt her, and she shall promote thee . . . ” (Pr. 4:8).

“Peace be to thee” (3 John 14).

Office armchair

Swivel armchair

 Needless to say, I received my swivel armchair posthaste.

 Jimmy Peacock
July 29, 1980 

Note: That chronic back ache from the early 1980s has now progressed to the place that I am in need of back surgery to correct it to avoid permanent and irreversible nerve damage. I have now submitted this memo (edited for gender) to God, my divine International General Manager.

Life in These United States

Several years ago, I, along with forty-four other high school teachers from throughout the United States, was attending a summer French-language institute at Kansas State Teachers College.

For weeks there had been a good-natured rivalry between those from the Middle West, who were by far in the majority, and those few of us from the South.

Finally, our cultural difference was made amusingly clear one evening when, in the course of a “bull session” in the dormitory, I (an Arkansan) and a buddy from Tennessee—both of us raised in the country—were discussing rural life when we were boys. One of us mentioned a “slop jar.”

“Y’all know what a ‘slop jar’ is, don’t you?” I asked our Yankee listeners.

Slop jar
A slop jar

Instantly, a native Chicagoan piped up, and in (what was to us) pure big-city Yankee ignorance, asked in wide-eyed innocence: “Is it for the hahgs”?

My Tennessee friend and I exploded into almost uncontrollable laughter—especially when I choked out, “Yeah, if you can get ‘em to use it!

Our Yankee classmates waited patiently with puzzled looks until we could get our composure enough to explain that a “slop jar” is what we in the South used to call the old-fashioned, bucket-shaped chamber pot found in every rural Southern home. Obviously, the mental image of a hog perched on a chamber pot was more than we country boys could bear with a straight face!

Jimmy Peacock
July 30, 1980

Note: I attended a second such French-language institute at Kansas State Teachers College in the summer of 1965. Later I earned a master’s degree in French from the University of Arkansas and taught French in college. In fact, I taught, and indeed designed, foreign language teaching courses at Arkansas State University. Yet I never had an undergraduate degree or even a major in French. Just another example of my statement that I have never held a job for which I was qualified on paper.

Humor in Uniform

In years past, the National Guard’s 39th Infantry Division, made up of units from Arkansas and Louisiana, met together each year for its usual two-week summer encampment in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

On one occasion, contrary to the customary separation of troops by state, my four-man tank crew was assigned as armor support in joint maneuvers with a full company of French-speaking Cajun infantrymen from South Louisiana.

The cultural differences between our two groups soon became evident. Just how different we were was brought home both clearly and amusingly by a remark made by one of my tank-crew buddies as we sat rather uncomfortably by ourselves at break time—four lone Arkies huddled together in a circle surrounded by a seeming sea of swarthy, mustachioed Gallic-types, all furiously rattling away in (what was to us) an incomprehensible jargon.

After suspiciously eyeing for some time the dark, jabbering militiamen all about us, suddenly my friend leaned over to me and in pure Arkansas tones drawled confidentially: “Peacock, you know whut? Ah feel lik’ a dam’ pris’ner o’ war!” 

Jimmy Peacock
July 28, 1980

Note: In addition to teaching French in high school, college, and junior college for ten years, I later served as a French-English translator in an international Christian ministry in Tulsa. And I did all that without ever having set foot in any French-speaking country, which I did in 1983 for two whole weeks. After spending twenty-five years learning, teaching, translating, and interpreting French, I have now spent twenty-five years losing it, for lack of use. Today my only contact with French is my daily Bible reading which I do in the same French Bible I used to translate French thirty-four years ago. And I still can’t understand Cajun French.

* * *

Tall, lanky, slowing-moving, and easygoing, my “laid-back” brother, Joe, was most definitely not the military type.

Je and unidentifed girl

Joe and unidentified girl about the time of his National Guard service

Despite the concerted efforts of the officers and noncoms of the local National Guard unit (which he had joined only to avoid being drafted), Joe steadfastly resisted all attempts to mold him into anything even vaguely resembling a soldier.

The ultimate test of this martial tug-of-war finally arrived during summer camp in the form of the big Saturday-morning barracks inspection. This particular inspection was especially important since it was to be conducted by a spit-and-polish Regular Army colonel.

After hours of feverish preparation, everything was (supposedly) in ship shape, and all was going well until the moment when the inspecting officer stepped in front of Brother Joe.

Eyeing the amateurishly made bunk that sagged disconsolately in the middle like a worn-out hammock, the colonel turned to Joe, who was slouching in a Gomer Pyle imitation of attention. “Son,” the colonel inquired in a fatherly tone, “did you ever think about turning that mattress over?”

With exaggerated sincerity and a twinkle in his blue eyes, Joe drawled in mock astonishment: “Why, Colonel sir, if I was to do that, my blanket’d be on bottom!

While the colonel stared at Joe in a mixture of surprise and disbelief, the entire barracks held its breath in anticipation of the coming explosion. Finally, after a long moment, the tension was broken when the veteran officer, seemingly recognizing a hopeless case when he encountered one, heaved a long sigh and, shaking his head, turned and walked on without a word.

Jimmy Peacock
July 18, 1980

Note: Although he suffered decades of hardship, adversity, and health issues that eventually led to his death, Joe never lost his “laid back” personality. Nor did he ever lose his unshakable faith in God or his undying love for his family. 

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Marion Williams Peacock

Marion Williams Peacock

Since September 6 is Mari’s birthday, I decided to insert a post as a tribute to her, much like those I have already presented about her father, my father and mother, our son Keiron, and Mari’s high school Clique.

When Mari retired from teaching in 2008 one of the younger teachers in her school who had great admiration, respect, and fondness for Mari decided to make up a secret Power Point program to present as a tribute to Mari on her final day of school.  Since it was to be a surprise, Tammy Makinson asked me to provide biographical information, photos, and music to use in preparing that presentation.

Tammy Makinson
Tammy Makinson

It is basically that biographical information and those photos and musical pieces that I now offer in the following tribute to Mari. Since it has been three years since it was composed, some of the photos, especially the ones of our two sons and grandsons, are now a bit dated. But generally the material is presented just as I provided it to Tammy who took from it, added to it, and made up her Power Point presentation. It was a wonderful surprise to Mari and a resounding success with all those who, like Tammy and me, love, admire, and esteem her.

My Tribute to Mari
A Labor of Love

 Her real name is Marion, Marion Williams,
Or at least it used to be,
Now it’s Marion Peacock,
A name she got from me.

—First verse of “Mari,” a poem by Jimmy Peacock

Birth and Childhood

Marion Elliott Williams was born on September 6, 1942, in St. Mary’s hospital in Dermott, Arkansas, located in Chicot County, which borders Mississippi and Louisiana.

Her mother and father had married a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which occurred on December 7, 1941. Her father Grover tried to enlist in the armed forces but was turned down for flat feet; later he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to the South Pacific where he served until the end of World War II. He did not see Marion until he returned from the war. She was three years old at the time and did not accept him as her father because her father was a picture on her mother’s dresser. (See my tribute to Grover titled “The Passing of a Real Man” in an earlier post.)

Marion and her mother during World War II

Marion and her mother during World War II

During the war years Marion and her mother Mary Elizabeth (called “Bessie”) lived with Marion’s grandmother and grandfather on a farm near Florence, Arkansas.

Little Marion in her grandmother's hat

Little Marion in her grandmother's hat

When Grover returned from the war, he moved his family to McGehee (pronounced Magee), Arkansas, in the Mississippi River Delta about ten miles from the Mississippi River, where he went to work for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, a job he held until his retirement. (Grover died in 1989.) In about 1946, the family joined the First Baptist Church of McGehee in which Marion was later active throughout her childhood and youth.

Marion as Miss California

Marion as Miss California with the flowers she won in a beauty contest in elementary school (click on photo to magnify)

Marion started to school in McGehee where she was chosen as a beauty queen and played Cinderella in a school play. Later in McGehee High School she appeared in school plays and was twice chosen as a homecoming maid and as a band maid. She also played the part of the Christmas angel in the McGehee Community Nativity Scene.

Marion as a band maid in high school

Marion as a band maid in high school

While in high school she and several other girls from her class formed a group later called the Clique who have remained close friends.

Marion as high school homecoming maid

Marion as high school homecoming maid (second from back on left) with some of the Clique (the two girls behind her) (Click on photo to magnify.)

College and Marriage
After graduation from high school in 1960, Marion attended Ouachita (pronounced “WASH-a-taw”) Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where she majored in elementary education because she had always wanted to be a teacher. At Ouachita, she worked as a secretary for a college professor (Dr. Cecil Sutley with whom she recently reestablished contact after more than forty years) and was active in educational organizations, school plays, and other activities. She was also elected president of her social club called the High Hats.
Marion as a bathing beauty in college

Marion as a bathing beauty in college

It was while she was attending Ouachita that she began dating Jimmy Peacock from McGehee, whom she had known most of her life from school and church. Jimmy’s family had moved to McGehee in 1948 from the country village of Selma, Arkansas, about seven miles from Florence, where Marion spent her early years.

Marion during engagement

Marion during engagement to Jimmy Peacock

On December 27, 1962, Marion and Jimmy were married in the First Baptist Church of McGehee. Jimmy was teaching French and Social Studies in Holly Grove, Arkansas (population about 600-700). Marion (age twenty) began teaching there also before going back some time later to complete her student teaching and BSE degree at Ouachita. She and Jimmy taught in Holly Grove for five years (1962-67).

Marion in her wedding dress

Marion in her wedding dress in 1962

During this time their first son Sean was born in 1966, in the same hospital and town (St. Mary’s in Dermott) in which Marion was born. (Sean, a cinema graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, now works in film, television, and video.) When Jimmy returned to the University of Arkansas (where he had earned the MBA in 1960-62) to earn a master’s degree in French, Mari taught for a year in Winslow, Arkansas, a small Ozark mountain town twenty-five miles south of Fayetteville.
Sean in a deer stand in California

Sean in a deer stand in California a few years ago

After graduation in 1968 Jimmy began teaching French at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. It was there that Marion gave birth to their second son Keiron, who was born in 1970 in the same hospital and town in which Southern writer John Grisham was born (St. Bernard’s in Jonesboro). (Keiron, who works full time for the Oklahoma National Guard, is the platoon sergeant for the scout and sniper platoon of the 279th Infantry, currently deployed in Afghanistan.)

Keiron in Iraq

Keiron during his deployment in Iraq a few years ago

Later Jimmy taught in Baptist junior colleges in South Carolina and the couple did volunteer mission work as houseparents at the Arkansas Baptist Home for Children in Monticello, where Jimmy’s mother worked and died. Later they moved back to their hometown of McGehee, where Marion taught for three years until Jimmy took a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and moved his family there in 1977 (thirty-four years ago).

Marion as housewife and mother

Marion as housewife and mother

Teaching Years and Family Life

Marion began teaching at Jefferson Elementary School in Sapulpa where the family moved into their new home on Halloween Day. She taught for thirty-one years in Jefferson (Heights) Elementary, several times being named Teacher of the Year and later Head Teacher, a position she held the rest of her teaching career. Her own children attended Jefferson and later graduated from Sapulpa High School. Now her grandchildren attend that same elementary school where she continues to do substitute teaching and volunteer work.

Marion in 1950s attire for school

Marion dressed in 1950s style for her elementary school

Retirement, Hobbies, Interests, Etc.

Marion retired in June 2008 after thirty-one years of teaching in Oklahoma, plus eight years in Arkansas. She spends her time volunteering at school, playing with her grandsons (whom she adores), helping Jimmy in his writing/editing business (which he operates out of the home), taking an active part in her church, and enjoying her hobbies (which are reading, gardening, and handicrafts—and getting with her Clique who have met together once a year since 1991).

Marion (right in long white dress) and her Clique in high school

Marion (right in long white dress) and part of her Clique in high school

Favorites

Besides her grandchildren, her family, her church, her husband, and the Clique, Marion’s favorites are . . .

1. Musician: Elvis Presley (she loves to listen to his music and watch TV programs about his life).

2. Childhood cowboy hero: Roy Rogers (on her wall she has a framed photo of Roy, Dale, and Trigger sent to her by her son Sean from Los Angeles).

3. Movie actor: Paul Newman (whose food products she buys); she also likes Patrick Swayze and Pierce Brosnan (and OU/Rams quarterback Sam Bradford).

4. Color: Pink (her signature shade—her Christmas wedding flower was a pink poinsettia).

Marion today, still pretty in pink

Marion today, still pretty in pink

5. Foods: Fresh coconut cake, fruit cobblers (peach, blackberry, etc.), Mexican food, and anything cooked Southern-style—especially anything hot and spicy.

6. Song: Anything by Elvis (especially his love songs) and “Oldies But Goodies” (especially Fifties Rock ‘n Roll).

7. Picture of herself: One taken when she was a little girl in elementary school (with a pink ribbon in her hair and a delicate little handkerchief pinned to her blouse).

Marion's favorite photo of herself

Marion's favorite photo of herself

8. Her husband’s favorite picture of Marion: One taken of her with the Clique wearing a long white dress, one in her wedding dress. Also one of her with the grandkids a few years ago in “hog noses.”

Marion with grandsons in hog noses

Marion with grandsons a few years ago in Razorback hog noses

9. Romantic spot: The Mississippi River (on whose banks she and Jimmy did much of their courting and where they once caught a five-gallon bucket of crawdads and proudly brought them home for everyone to see—a sure sign to their parents that they were truly in love!) (To see a musical video made at that very spot, go to: ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYVQCZOoUco&feature=more_related ).

10. Nickname: Mari (pronounced “Mary”) given to her by Jimmy after their first couple of dates. (Jimmy’s poem with this title will be presented in a later post about the love affair of the Peacocks.)

11. Outing: A day spent with her grandsons, Levi, eleven, and Ben, nine.

Marion's grandsons in park
A photo made a few years ago of Marion’s grandsons Ben (left) and Levi (right) in a Sapulpa park

Music Used by Tammy Makinson in Power Point Presentation about Marion (with links)

  1. Elvis Presley, “Memories” (Marion)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi74MF1L10E
  2. Bobby Darin, “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” (Marion) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNSlxuOh6fY
  3. The Penguins, “Earth Angel” (Marion)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jznZQXaSYPo
  4. The Shirelles, “The Chapel of Love” (Marion and Jimmy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMfrLFirGWc
  5. Elvis Presley, “Love Me Tender” (Marion and Jimmy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZBUb0ElnNY
  6. Elvis Presley, “Green, Green Grass of Home” (Marion and Jimmy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksVpFUtgbvA
  7. Elvis Presley, “America the Beautiful”
    (Keiron) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoSBtCUvOOE
  8. Whitney Houston, “Greatest Love” (Marion and her pupils) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KjpyHX7X-o
  9. Johnny Rivers, “Secret Agent Man”
    (Jimmy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iaR3WO71j4
  10. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails” (Jimmy and Marion) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY

Happy Birthday, Mari!

NOTE: For more information about Marion’s love for Elvis Presley’s music, especially his CD of love songs, see the earlier post titled “My First Encounter with Elvis Presley and His Music.” For additional information about Mari’s Clique, see the earlier post titled “My Annual Tributes to the Clique.” For more information about Mari and other photos of her, see the earlier posts “My Story Begins” and “My Lifelong Attraction to Black Beauty.”  For more about the romance between Marion and Jimmy, look for a future post titled “The Love Story of the Peacocks.”

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