The Wesson Scene

Published 5:00 am Sunday, July 9, 2000

“The School” is what everyone called it. There was only one andhad always been just one. No private or parochial school in Wesson.First built on that spot in the late 1880’s, the Wesson Schoolburned right after and was rebuilt as it is now around 1891. It wasconstructed with large-size buff brick, with huge Italienate-styletowers on the two southern corners, stairs in each and the schoolbell in the west tower. Walls were 27 inches thick, 93 largevertical windows (each with many large frames); ceilings were 14feet high. The downstairs auditorium with its slatted benches withbacks was the scene of plays, public recitals and annual displaysof student theatrical talent. It provided a stage (on the westside) for traveling shows like magicians. Some recall a man and akangaroo, each wearing boxing gloves, putting on a prize fight.Recalled also were musicals, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Charlie’sAunt.” That stage was the “Broadway of Wesson.”

You just read memories of the Rev. Graham R. Hodges, a beloved84-year-old who grew up in Wesson and thought it important enoughto collect and publish facts along with his and others’ memories ofthe beautiful old Wesson School. It is a vital part of Wesson’shistory and one remaining piece of our history.

Thanks to all who are diligently working toward its restoration.Lura Greer and Marie Watts are two who’ve not given up on thisproject. At the risk of missing names of others, I’ll just saythanks to all of you who will join in making this dream come true.If you’d like a ride down memory lane to look at this historicsite, it’s located on Eighth Street off Railroad Avenue.

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This week my dear cousin, Frenchie Fortenberry from Nashville,Tenn., came back to Mississippi to visit, and Wednesday was my day.She and I had a special time together. In a tour of Wesson, the oldWesson School was a delight to her, as well as the Co-Lin CommunityCollege campus (where her mother had attended many years ago).While lunching, Al McSweyn told us that one of Col. Wesson’sdescendants had come to Wesson the week before (looking for a pieceof history in her family, I’m sure). She was also fromNashville.

Frenchie and I had hoped to have Carla Tigner join us, but shewas out of town. On Thursday, she came back to Wesson for awonderful time spent with Carla. Carla’s mother, Alberta, was adear friend of Frenchie’s.

Elsie Hodges moved to heaven this past week. We extend sympathyto the Rev. Graham Hodges, the dear one that we have mentioned andthat we owe so much for Wesson’s history begin penned. The Rev.Hodges’s address is 8006 Chariot Lane, Liverpool, NY 13090. TheRev. Hodges had recently lost his brother, Dr. Lucien Hodges.

We are so thankful that Marva Rutland has improved so much froma health challenge from several months ago.

David Furlow, son of Robert and Sherry Furlow, is attending theNick Bollettieri Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He will returnJuly 11 to share what he’s learned with his teammates. This timewas dedicated to enhance his soccer skills. The Furlows are at homeon Anderson Road where they’ve lived for 15 years. Sherry has acaregiver service. Her phone number is 643-9004.

Brian Greer, son of Larry and Carolyn Greer, and Lura Greer’sgrandson, just made us prouder than ever. Brian recently had goneto Hawaii for the international competition. He was in a group of17 who’d qualified out of 139 from Mississippi. They won firstplace. Brian is first trumpet at Madison Central. Congratulationsagain, Brian. We are so proud of you.

Sylvarena Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School will be held onJuly 10-14 from 6-9 p.m. Come for a great time of learning moreabout the Bible and a lot of fun. There will be outback games,also.

Our Baby Sam spent Thursday night and Friday with us. That isalways a special time for us.

All matter can be traced back to the creative force of faith.Bible hope is built on the promises of God (Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews11:6 and Hebrews 10:38).

Have a blessed week and call at 643-5894 or 643-0505 with yournews.