Jim and Martha Thomas attend SEC baseball tourney in Alabama
Carri, Larry, Ali and MC Hutchens and Caitlyn Brooks spent the holiday weekend at Pickwick.
Get well wishes go out to Mike Kazemba, who was involved in a slight aquatic mishap Sunday. Get better soon!
Grace Dunlap and Meredith Collins are enjoying a week in Destin, Fla., before heading off to separate camps in June.
Jim and Martha Thomas (and their cats Peaches and Bear) traveled to Hoover, Ala., via their RV for the 2008 SEC baseball tournament. They spent a wonderful week getting to know lots of SEC baseball fans who take over the Hoover RV Park for the entire week. Not only did they have a great time in the RV park, they also got to enjoy a full week of SEC baseball. Regretfully, the Ole Miss Rebels lost the final game on Sunday. But - it was still great that the number eight seed made it to the championship game. The Thomas family has already booked a space for next year’s tournament!
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Remembering World War II
War was something new for us here in America.
Of course, Holly Springs had been through the War Between the States, but in the 1940s, we were actually living through this. It was exciting, but excruciating. There wasn’t a dull moment in World War II.
The pain of waiting at home was bearable because we had no alternative, but the suffering over those killed or missing in action was true agony and made war casualties of all of us. We never knew who would be next. The newspapers and newsreels kept us informed. If we received letters from servicemen, the letters were censored and didn’t tell much news. There wasn’t a family in America that wasn’t affected by this war.
We had many heros in the war. The town mourned in 1944 upon hearing that C.D. Collins had been killed. He was on an LST (Amphibian) crossing the English Channel in the narrowest part without an escort when hit by a German torpedo. About 3,000 men perished. This disaster caused the Allies to regroup and delayed D-Day a month as replacements had to be sent.
John Paul Hurdle was to come home after the mission he was flying into Germany. He was a gunner in the back of a plane that was shot while over France. All of the crew escaped but John Paul, who was the last to bail out before the plane exploded and he never made it. We grieved over John Paul, too. These were hometown boys and we loved them.
There were others also: Robert Algee of Byhalia, R.H. Boswell of Mt. Pleasant, David DeBerry of Red Banks, the youngest of the DeBerry boys, John Allen, Freeman Chambers, who was our first casualty, William Cox, Cary King of Potts Camp, Aaron Rhea, Martin Sidney Stroupe of Byhalia, Cornell Valentine of Slayden, James Whaley, Leo Thomas, Eugene Lanier of Holly Springs. Then there was T.A. Sowell who was killed over North Africa. His father had moved to Chicago in the 1930s.
Our former mayor, John Dabney Brown was a gunman on the plane that was shot down over Germany and we didn’t know whether he was dead or alive for three months. After his plane was hit, the crew bailed out and when they landed on the ground, the Germans were waiting for them. They held John captive 16 months. He and his fellow prisoners were made to march over 600 miles. He said he crossed the Elbe River six times. Many died of illness or had frostbite. They suffered cruel and inhuman treatment. The Nazi guards would shoot them at the slightest provocation. Our prayers helped bring him home safely. We prayed a lot at this time.
The Japanese on Formosa, which is now Taiwan, held prisoners for months, captured Henry Gatewood and we didn’t know what happened to him. In this particular prison, Henry was one of 11 prisoners to get out alive. He suffered terribly at the hands of his captors. We were thankful when he returned OK and felt his homecoming was a miracle.
Another former mayor, James Bright Buchanan was on a plane that came over the horizon in the midst of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, in time to see the holocaust and the culprits’ planes going back home. However, on this mission there were no guns on board as they were on their way to Okinawa and were picking up guns in Hawaii.
Later Jim was bombardier on a plane with a faulty compass and they had to ditch in the Pacific. They were afloat about a week when a seaplane PAY scooped them up amid 40-foot waves. Their life raft had no supplies as they all fell into the ocean upon unloading it. The town held a constant vigil all week waiting to hear from him.
Ira Christy was a pilot whose plane was shot down over France on Ira’s 27th bombing mission. The entire crew parachuted out and landed below in the arms of the waiting Nazis. It was January 1945 and they had to walk from Frankfurt to Nuremberg, sleeping on the ground, scrounging for food, living off the land. They wore the same clothes the whole time. Ira returned safely, but his camp was the last to be liberated in Europe.
Mrs. Olson’s son John was on the Bataan Death March in early 1942. He was missing in action the whole war. Later, we learned he had been prisoner of the Japanese. We rejoiced with his mother when he returned from the war.
Bin Cochran was an Annapolis graduate who was lost at sea for a while. His adventure was recorded in Life magazine for posterity, but in the meantime, we were all praying for his safe return and our prayers were answered.
All of this living drama played hard on our heartstrings and we were thankful when this war ended.
The war stories will continue in part three, next week. Come in and see us at the Square Museum, 111 Van Dorn Ave., 662-252-3669. We just got in a wonderful shipment of embroidered ball caps in red and royal blue for the guys and girls. At $10 each they are a real steal.
The shipment is limited so get yours soon.
Swanee’s Good News Happy Hour
This week on “Swanee’s Good News Happy Hour” we will have two wonderful guests with us for your listening pleasure.
Rebecca Jarnigan, professional storyteller, will visit and tell us all about her profession and maybe a story too. She is so delightful and entertaining and is known all over for her interesting stories.
Then we will have wonderful Seth Adams, Ole Miss quarterback from Oxford. He will tell us all about the upcoming season and what is planned for us Ole Miss fanatics!
As usual we will have Holly Springs history, wonderful stories, poems, weather and music too. Don’t miss us and remember we are on WKRA AM 1110 from 3 to 4 p.m. and again on Saturdays at 10 a.m. with a repeat program. See you there!
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