Dear Classmates, My thoughts and prayers are with each of you during these uncertain days and months. Mitzi and I did not want to disappoint you as your class reps. We have taken advantage of our time at home by making some calls.
Nina Franklin, with her usual cute personality, assured me she was still “percolating!” She lives alone, still drives short distances, enjoys reading and doesn’t know what she would do without her church. Among her dearest possessions are the Milestones from the two years she attended Coker. Rereading what friends wrote in them years ago brings her great pleasure and reminds her how close we all were. After graduation from Auburn, Nina taught P. E. until retirement. We both agreed that Miss Moody is smiling down on Coker for bringing back her beloved field hockey!
Joan Carter McKissick, being the wife of the winningest high school football coach in all 50 states, has lived quite an exciting life. Her husband John is a legend in the game of football, winning over 600 games and 10 state championships. He was athletic director and head football coach at Summerville High School for 62 years and passed away last November at the age of 93. There are 4 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren to cherish his memory and care for Joan. One grandson, Joe, is following in his grandfather’s footsteps. He coaches football at Oceanside High School in Mt. Pleasant. I can just picture Joan through all those years walking into the football field (which bears her husband’s name) every Friday night during football season ready to cheer John and the team to victory. Joan asked about Barbara Spears. The two of them lived in Lamar at the same time.
Although Jean Stevens Edwards graduated in ‘52, she still feels like one of us since she originally was in our class. Jean has lived in a Raleigh, North Carolina, care facility for 18 years, along with 600 other residents. Her husband Jim passed away 8 years ago. Quarantined, with meals being brought to her door, she feels fortunate that there have been no cases of the virus where she lives. She enjoys reading and like many others is spending time “going through things.” We reminisced about the luncheon she and her husband attended with others of our class at the President’s home. We felt so special eating from china that had belonged to Guy Propst. Stay well, Jean, and we are proud to claim you as one of the class of ‘53.
We will always be indebted to Cat Rice Tharin for the boost she gave our Endowed Scholarship when she added hers to the class of ‘53’s. I thanked her again because she gave us the incentive we needed to keep working toward the goal we had set. Cat and a daughter live in the home she and her husband purchased in the ‘60’s. She’s so proud of her 14-year-old great-grandson who competes in rodeos, roping calves. Doesn’t that sound just like something Cat would have enjoyed doing?!! Her great-granddaughters are 8 and 4. Even though Cat has had some health problems through the years, she told me that she nor her doctor refuse to give up.
What fun Ina Claire Bryant and I had remembering our freshman year in Memorial Dorm where we lived across the hall from each other. Since we had only seen each other once since 1950, we had a lot of “catching up” to do! After teaching for years in high schools in Hartsville and Darlington and then at Southwestern Community College, she retired. She has 3 daughters, 8 grandchildren and 12 great-!!. After living in Sylvia, N. C. for years, she recently moved to an independent living apartment in Hendersonville, N. C. where she maintains the library. Although facing some back surgery, she declares that she is planning on living to be 110!! Knowing her, I wouldn’t be surprised if she does!!
I loved my talk with Elizabeth Watford Watkins in which she expressed such joy and peace while sitting on the porch with her husband, watching the beauties of Nature. Prior to staying at home, they spent time at their Garden City Beach condo. They attended weddings of two grandchildren last year, flying to Texas for one and driving to Virginia for the other. Their youngest granddaughter is graduating from Agnes Scott this month and one grandson is in the Army in Germany. In all, they have 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Frances Sorrell Harris and I talked of Hartsville people whom we both knew. Beauty salons had already opened in Florida, so she was ahead of me in getting hair done!! She had lost her husband and two of her daughters, and we send our sympathy. We spoke of the Coker students whom she had gone to Dreher High School with: Mitzi, Jane Cureton Williams and Jane Woodward Truett. Since, I have thought of other girls from Columbia whom I remember. Frances lives alone, and it seems there are many of us who do also.
Visiting with all of these former Cokernuts has brightened my days. Thank each of you for being so receptive to my call. There were others I tried to reach but couldn’t. I did learn that Felicia Brown McElveen is now living with one of her daughters near Lake City, and Meta King Foster has moved to Santee and has become quite an artist. For one reason or another, I could not reach Martha Ann Anderson Blackwell, Martha Lyons Shealy, Betty Tally Earon, Sally Lynne Leech and Helen Coachman Shipley. Girls, I tried!!
Charlie Chewning remains in Bethea Baptist Assisted Living. Since the quarantine, we have not seen her. Most of the time, Betty Jean Lee Hunsinger and I, who regularly call her daily, have not been able to get her phone to answer. It has been several weeks since we have talked with her. It is very frustrating for us and for her too.
Very exciting news!!! Our precious Beth DuBose Cottingham is writing a book!!! Don’t you know it will be wonderful, and we’ll all want an autographed copy?!! She and Jo Anne Boyd Sires are such close friends. We could not be prouder of you, Beth.
How I enjoy competing with Sarah Sampson Bell’s son, Greg (the Judge) in Words With Friends on my IPad. If you aren’t familiar, it’s like the Scrabble game. Sarah is so good about calling. Her son, Joey ( a pediatrician) and his wife Vicki spend Monday through Thursday each week with Sarah. She looks forward to that!
Betty Jean Lee Hunsinger and I visit daily on the phone and share our concerns about Charlie. She has been attending “drive-in” church where her son-in-law delivers the sermons. She keeps in touch with Jean Fore McDaniel and Mac in Sacramento. They are well but it has been some time since they have come to their Pawley’s Island home.
Like you, my life has been different from anything I have ever known. However, the thoughtful deeds my family, church, neighbors and friends have done (almost spoiled me) have kept me grateful and mindful of my many blessings. Stay well. May we all soon be able to return to and be thankful for the life we were blessed with. God bless each of you. Pat Chapman Huff
Hello Sweet Coker Friends from Mitzi DuPre Matthews. There is sunshine in my house even though we’re having a few stormy days and nights. It’s a good time to write while it’s raining and we’re all staying in because of some crazy virus. At our age we’re thankful for each day, aren’t we? I’m ready for heaven anytime also! Pat and I have done some calling of our classmates, even if you only went to Coker for one year.
Joyce E Bell drives everywhere, walks her dog in the park and works on her garden. Recently her last sibling died. There were five children. They are postponing his service until Joyce is able to fly..because of the coronavirus. So sorry for your loss. Will pray for you.
Jennie Herlong Boatwright is still cute talking on the phone as always. She’s one of the few of us who still has a husband. Phillips is 93 and has some health issues and Jennie has some also. Sarah lives close to them and takes them wherever they need to go. Phillips and Jennie have four children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Kathleen Kay Lightsey ’54 and I had a nice phone visit. She is at Still Hopes in West Columbia, SC, so they can’t have any visitors. She went to Coker for two years, got married and transferred to GA. She and Harry had four children. She and Mary Kay Rickenbaker ’58 are my first cousins. Mary has re-married to a retired Baptist preacher. His name is Joe Truell and they live on Lake Wylie. Mary Wysong Kay 1926 and Mit Wysong DuPre 1929 were sisters and they hung around Coker a lot especially when we were there.
Betty Carol Mobley Bynum said her husband Bundy has been ill and she had to give him infusions through a port three times a day for six weeks. While he was in the hospital she couldn’t go to see him..because of the virus so their son Bill came over to stay with Betty Carol. That was a blessing! She told me her dining-room table was set up as a clinic.
Had a short nice visit with Lynne Eidson Dudley. I think she was with her son. She said she remembered me. She was a town student.
Toula Latto is a retired Physical Therapist. She moved from Charleston to James Island 18 years ago and has been very happy there. Toula puts on her mask and gloves and goes grocery shopping. She still walks a lot.
Mickey McDowell was so much fun to talk to. He’s the husband of the late Anne Merck McDowell. He sold the farm and lives in a duplex in Clemson. He has a maid who cleans, cooks and buys his groceries. His yard man keeps his yard looking good. Mickey’s and Anne’s son checks on him daily and his daughter who lives in Greenville comes over and takes him places. He misses his wife Anne so much still as she passed on 11 years ago. He also misses the farm, but is very content to be where he is. He doesn’t drive anymore but still has his Chevy truck.
I couldn’t get in touch with Ann Buddin Coker. I do know that her husband Donald passed into heaven this year. Am praying for you. So sorry.
Sara Huggins Fowler says, “she’s still kicking”, but has rheumatoid arthritis. Her son died suddenly of a heart attack and her sister died very close to the same time. It’s been some years ago. I’ve heard you never get over losing a child even at 48 years old. So sorry Sarah and we’re praying for you.
Daphen Yarborough Edge lives in Florence at the Presbyterian Home. She says..we’re just a bunch of old ladies here riding tricycles!!! That’s a three wheeled bike. My daughter Kay and I had a nice restful visit with her before the virus kept us secluded in January. She has a cute cottage there. We went out for lunch and talked a lot. She’s still so beautiful and seems to be in pretty good health.
Well I’ll wrap this up by telling you I’m alright except.. “I’m a pain in the back!” All my vitals are good! PTL. Am working with a pain stimulator on my spine. Had surgery January 13, so I’m working with adjustments. Think it’s beginning to work. My daughter Lettie Matthews Gilligan ’77 and her husband Tom have moved from Kansas City, MO to Jacksonville, FL. Am glad she’s closer to me now! My other daughter Jeanne takes me back and forth to Mount Pleasant to SSI where they are working on my back. Kay goes with us sometimes. Guess we should all have some health issues at our age, but we thank the Lord we’re still here and hope we can serve Him in some way. I love each of you bunches, Mitzi DuPre Mathews