Sent to The Frederick Press and The Frederick Leader, August 16, 2011
|Dr. and Mrs. H.M. McClure with daughter Dorothy, 1945|
Click on photos to see larger.
Scrapbook captures life in 1940s Tipton
Good scrapbooks are memory books. When put together well, they serve as a life record of photographs, news clippings, cards and personal notes.
The Tillman County Historical Society recently received a wonderful scrapbook from the estate of Dorothy Mae McClure. Ms. McClure, born in 1934, was raised in Tipton. Her father was Dr. H.M. McClure, a Tipton dentist. She was the only child of Dr. and Mrs. McClure, and grew up in a large house in the 200 block of East Main.
|Dorothy Mae Nellie McClure with dolls Anne and Lois.|
Dr. McClure had a good dental practice in Tipton and was fondly known in town as “Mr. Spit Please.” He maintained an office on the second level of a building in downtown Tipton.
Dorothy received a scrapbook for Christmas in 1940 when she was six years old and in the first grade. The book was carefully maintained through her senior year of high school, serving as a complete record of her life from ages six through 18.
Because the book was tended carefully, it is a remarkable look at a young life in 1940s Tipton.
The book opens with Dorothy’s first grade report card and class picture. Dorothy’s teacher that year was Miss Minnie Thacker, and she made all “A”s.
Throughout her elementary years, the scrapbook contained report cards and class pictures except during the World War II years when no school pictures were taken.
|Tipton 1st grade class of Miss Minnie Thacker, 1940-41|
Every year the Tipton elementary students presented at least one play, and there were always snapshots, play programs, and clippings from the Tipton newspaper.
In 1941 the Tipton elementary production of “Characters from Story Book Land” was so impressive that they took it “on the road” for performances in Frederick and Altus. Dorothy played the part of Puss in the Boots. She wore an elaborate cat costume and the scrapbook noted that her long white tail got a big laugh at Frederick.
Many other school plays followed.
At the Tipton Fair in 1941 when she was seven, Dorothy rode a ferris wheel for the first time and she was afraid. The 5-cent ticket for the carnival ride was kept in her scrapbook.
|Ticket for 1941 Tipton Fair ride.|
On October 28, 1941, a circus came to Tipton. The Al G. Kelly and Miller Bros. two-ring circus featured acrobats, wire walkers, jugglers, cowboys and Indians, and all kinds of performing animal acts. Cost of admission for children was 15 cents and 35 cents for adults. The circus is where Dorothy first saw an elephant.
She also kept photos of her pets in the scrapbook – Bunny Boy the rabbit; Inky, her big black dog; cats Snowball and Brownie.
In the fall of 1942, eight-year-old Dorothy Mae had the experience of picking cotton. She proudly wrote, “I picked 48 lbs. my first afternoon, 47 lbs. the next.”
|"The last picture that I had with Grandpa."|
As a young child, Dorothy Mae spent happy summers and weekends at the farm home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, who lived near Olustee. In March 1943, just before she turned nine, Dorothy made the following notation: “March 20, 1943 – Grandma and Grandpa had a car wreck at 1 o’clock going home from Altus. Grandpa died March 21.” After her grandfather’s death, her grandmother, Mrs. Grace Anderson, moved to Tipton.”
When Dorothy turned 10 on July 8, 1944, she had a birthday party at her home. The following children attended: Roger Johnson, Dana Kay Pickrell, Jimmy Asbill, Smitty Asbill, Vonda Choate, Nell Worthington, Barbara Miller, Darla Van Gronagin, Gerry Van Gronagin, Marybeth McWhorter, Lanny Dale Curry, Eddy Jones, Elinor Ann Harris, Jane Ann Johnson, Marjorie Raffeus, Donald Heffner, Janice Newson, and Mary Hines.
Among her gifts were 25 cents, socks, a sewing set, perfume, toy dishes, a box of soap, hair bow, puzzle, funny books, a silk scarf, and war stamps.
Dorothy’s father became ill in September 1944 and spent months in the hospital followed by a long recovery period at home. According to a clipping from the Tipton newspaper, Dr. McClure suffered a broken blood vessel in one of his lungs. The paper said, “Perhaps there has been no other person in Tipton more sincerely missed than has Dr. McClure. He has been the local dentist for so many years and worked so tirelessly with hardly a let up, that he overstrained himself.”
On July 4, 1946, the week of her 12th birthday, Dorothy Mae made her first trip to Craterville Park. She wrote, “Lee Owens took Daddy and me,” and she pasted pictures of park attractions that she saw and enjoyed. These included photos of the Craterville swimming pool, park rides, bumper cars and skating rink. High point of the Craterville visit, though, was getting to see Roy Rogers and Trigger.
She glued a picture of the famous singing cowboy and his horse in her scrapbook and wrote, “I saw Roy Rogers and Trigger in person. Trigger danced, counted and threw a kiss to the boys and girls.”
Next week… More from Dorothy Mae McClure’s scrapbook.
CARDS and PHOTOS from Dorothy McClure's scrapbook follow.
|Dorothy's first grade report card, 1940-41|
|Cast of Tipton production, "Characters from Story Book Land", 1941|
|"Characters from Story Book Land", 1941. Dorothy is in costume, 3rd from right.|
|Dorothy as Red Riding Hood for another school play.|
|"Teacher and her two pests -- Pat and me"|
|Dorothy with Bunny Boy|
|Seventh Birthday, 1941|
|Dorothy's 2nd grade class, Tipton, 1941-42. Mrs. Gladys Osborne was the teacher.|
|School Halloween play, 1941. Dorothy is the ghost at right.|
|"Home Sweet Home" -- The McClure home at 212 East Main, Tipton.|
|Note about the death of Dorothy's grandfather.|
|Roy Rogers and Trigger. Dorothy saw them perform at Craterville Park on July 4, 1946.|
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org