Senior scrapbooks help Remember When

Published 2:49 am Saturday, August 20, 2016

Do you remember this Marty Robbins song from 1959? “Cap and gown; You’ll be so pretty in your cap and gown, but I’d imagine it’s a wedding gown, on our graduation day…When they sing the alma mater, I will sing along, but a voice deep down inside me will sing the wedding song. I love you, and if my graduation wish comes true, what I imagine you’d imagine, too on our graduation day.”

sue_bass_wilsonA senior scrapbook was brought to me recently by Marianne Kilpatrick whose mother Virginia Boles carefully preserved it, and now Marianne treasures this keepsake memory book. It belonged to her grandmother, Vivian Dawkins, who was a 1929 AHS graduate. The embellished cover is titled “REMEMBER,” and the front inside page reads, “The School and Campus Days of Vivian Dawkins.”

Why am I writing about senior classes and graduation at the beginning of this school year? Let me share some information contained therein so those of you who have children or grandchildren who are seniors in our various Covington County schools can be encouraged to purchase not just a scrapbook but a senior scrapbook for your graduating senior. History will be preserved and the life of that special one many years later may be inspiring and important to relatives and to those who came after even though they may not have ever even known that person personally. This scrapbook helps the Covington Historical Society to preserve and publicize an important part of the history of the county.

Vivian Dawkins was one of 52 graduating students that year 1929, the year the stock market crashed and the year of the local flood of ’29. The class motto was “We can because we think we can.” The class flowers were roses and sweet peas. Class colors were white and green. A line from the class history reads “Out of school life into life’s school.” The first school newspaper, “The Bulldog Growl,” the Feb. 1, 1929, edition, Vol. 1, No. 1, was inserted into her scrapbook. (That school publication was later renamed “The Andy Hi-Lite.”)

In The Andalusia Star News, December 28, 1967 edition, Editor Ed Dannelly wrote of a class reunion of the Class of 1929 in his column, “In the Andy Swing.” The group concluded their 38th year reunion get-together held at the Point A Lodge by singing their class song, “Carolina Moon,” which according to Dannelly “left not a dry eye in the crowd.”

“The Bulldog Growl” holds such a monumental place in the history of the Class of 1929,” Dannelly stated (since that was the first year of the Andy High school newspaper, the predecessor publication of The Andy Hi-Lite.

Advertisers in the school newspaper and the school play program in 1929 were businesses in town that are long gone except for one. I will list it last. These supporters of the school included Chero-Cola Co., Jitney Jungle, The Fashion Shoppe, Brown and Broughton, City Drug Store, Wilder Mercantile, Covington Stores Co., Timmerman Insurance Agency, Andalusia Mfg. Co., I. Berman and Son, City Café, J. J. Moates Auto Co., A & P, Young’s Sandwich Shop, The Star Pressing Club, Studstill-Mathews Motor Co., J. M. Taylor Auto Co., Coca-Cola Bottling Co., A. M. Riley, Druggist, Andalusia Bakery, Brawner Motor Co., P. Lewis, Optician, First National Bank, Andalusia National Bank, Kilpatrick and Mashburn, The Taylor Shop (Dry Cleaners, Hatters, Gents), The Covington News, and Andalusia Motor Co. (Phone 11, Church St.) who recently celebrated their 100th year in business.

Class night was held at the “Grammar School Auditorium” on May 31, 1929. (The East Three Notch School would have been 15 years old at the time.) Commencement was staged at the First Methodist Church on June 2, 1929, and Graduation Exercises were held the next day, June 3. Prominent on all three printed programs was the name Miss Ann Long who later became Mrs. William Albritton and who played the violin at those occasions. Mrs. Albritton was a dear, sweet, angelic, and talented piano teacher in my school years of the 1950s and 1960s some 30 years later. She was also choir director and organist for the First Presbyterian Church for years and years. Mrs. Raymond Miller of “frog croaking fame” at a wedding in the old First Baptist Church was a soprano soloist at Commencement where the Methodists even took up “offering” at the event! Heavens!

A newspaper clipping secured in the scrapbook details a spring reception held for the AHS and “grammar school” faculty at the O’Neal Building where Mrs. T. E. Henderson and Mrs. Hill Guy entertained. “The ladies made a beautiful picture with their vari-colored evening gowns. The hall was unusually attractive, the columns entwined with English ivy and the lights hooded with lanterns in rainbow shades.”

The football schedule that 1928 fall season of Miss Dawkins’ senior year listed Andy being victorious with Brantley, Red Level, Hartford, Troy, Enterprise, Straughn, and Opp but tying with Greenville and losing only to Dothan (7-6) and Florala (6-0).

The autograph section of the senior memory book tells a lot about Miss Dawkins who was apparently quite a good artist. Classmate Roy Hodges wrote, “I have enjoyed seeing the work that you have done with your pen and brush and here’s hoping you great success in the future.”

Valedictorian Gladys Love penned, “I can proudly say that I was a classmate of the artist I shall always remember, the sweet and dear brown-eyed girl.”

Louise Caton poetically wrote, “When the golden sun is sinking and your care of life is free, while of others you are thinking, won’t you sometimes think of me.”

Kathryn Rushton in beautiful penmanship wrote, “You are always so sweet to fix pretty things for parties and banquets. You are a good classmate.” (Kathryn Street was named for her. Her father Mr. Will Rushton was one of the developers of the Rushton-Snead Subdivision near the present day high school.)

Alice Brooks’ inscription went like this, “When I go out into life’s work and look back over my high school days, I will always remember you as one of my friends.”

Robert Givens wrote, “In later years when you are known as a famous artist, Andalusia High will be prouder than proud to claim you as one of her former graduates.”

Lenton Pruitt jotted down these words, “When you go out into life, may you always seem as happy as you have been in high school.”

Other classmates such as A. C. Wilder, Wilma Proctor, Vera Tisdale, Byron Mathews, Sam Gunter, H. D. Wilson, Elton Stokes, Thelma Chapman, Georgia Lowman, Ruby Adams, Ed May, Donald Southwell, and Myrtle Everage who have descendants living today in Andalusia exchanged calling cards with Miss Dawkins since they appeared affixed in the autograph section.

Some students were humorous with their posts such as “When you and I get married and have twins, please don’t come to me for the safety pins!” Another poem exemplary of students of the time reads, “When you are married and living on a hill, please send me a kiss by a whipper-will!”

Many of the autographs created by the classmates referred to Andalusia High School as “dear ole Andy Hi.” That is no different than today, eighty-seven years later. We are talking about TRADITION! By the way, these 1929 seniors attended high school at the Church Street School built in 1923 for the city school upper grades.

A classmate of Miss Dawkins wrote in that senior scrapbook, “I wish you a most happy journey through life!” And she did according to her Granddaughter Marianne Capps Kilpatrick who states that her grandmother married the young man she was dating in that last part of her senior year, Paul Jones, who arrived in Andalusia from Texas to work with the railroad. They had eight children, one died in infancy. After the eldest, Paul Jones, Jr., Marianne’s mother was the second born, Virginia Jones (Capps) Boles.

The family states that Vivian Dawkins Jones (1910-1984) was an amazing artist. She painted in the mediums of water color, oil, and acrylics and exhibited all over the southeast. She also wrote and illustrated four books of poetry titled “My Reverie,” “Silence of Spring,” “Always With Love,” and “Sentimental Trails.”

Vivian Dawkins was the daughter of Frank Carroll Dawkins and Minnie Pearl Chesser Dawkins. Letters in the scrapbook were addressed to 91 College Street. Mrs. F. C. Dawkins signed all of Vivian’s report cards which were carefully tucked into the pages of the senior scrapbook. Carroll Dawkins as he was known served on the City Board of Education. From 1943 until the time of Carroll’s death in 1966, the Dawkins home was on Albritton Road.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jones, nee Vivian Dawkins, were married in October 1929. Paul worked for the Central of Georgia Railroad as a telegraph operator and the railroad transferred him around quite a bit. Columbus, Georgia is where they lived for many years.

In closing, I will again urge you parents and grands who are inclined to do so to purchase a senior memory scrapbook for your student. It just could be a treasure not only for the student to reminisce about in later years but also for those distant relatives and lovers of history yet to come to understand the lives of those in another era. Let me share one last inscription from the Dawkins scrapbook, “Someday you will be glad you didn’t forget to REMEMBER (WHEN)!”