By Dale O'Steen
During the preparations for the Jr/Sr banquet one year it was decided that we needed some limbs off some willow trees. Mr. Portman let the boys go after them by using an old bus that had the body taken off and replaced with a box simulating a dump truck. Lavell Cryer was one of the few licensed drivers among us, so he was designated the driver.
When the boys got away from school some fired up their cigarettes. No one was riding in the bed of the truck and there were too many to sit in the seat, so there were several riding standing on the running boards as we drove down this gravel section line road. Lawrance Wilcox, standing on the running boards, was telling a story and waving his hands when the Lavell hit a rough spot and swerved throwing Lawrance off the running board.
Lawrance knew he was going to fall and couldn’t catch himself so he kinda rolled up into a ball and rolled when he hit the ground. We all thought we had killed him but when we got stopped and went back for him he was still smoking his cigarette. When he rolled he protected the cigarette rather than putting his hands down and sliding on the gravel. He said he couldn’t go back to school looking like that so we took him to his house and I thought his mother was going to kill him.
We agreed not to tell Mr. Portman, but somehow he found out. The next day we were playing ball but Lawrance was sore and stiff and did not get out there. Mr. Portman confronted him and let us all know that he knew what happened. How did we live to graduate?
Postscript to this story. When this accident happed Lawrance had recently broken up with his Tishomingo girl friend. When someone told her of his mishap, she said, "I wish it had killed him". That girl friend and Lawrance celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary December 29, 2006.
Epilogue to Lavell Cryer's Driving by Dale O'Steen
One time Russett had a game with Hickory. Hickory is north of Mill Creek and further north than where you turn to go to Sulphur. Lavell Cryer had got permission to drive his dad’s car, and he took a carload with him: Lometa Word, Jerry Henry and others. While we were in the gym playing the game it started to snow. The snow was very heavy and you could not see where you were going. On the way back Lavell turned on the road going to Sulphur. Someone saw Lavell turn and knew that he was going wrong so he started following to get him to stop. When they were flashing their lights Lavell thought they were wanting to race so he just went faster. After awhile they did get Lavell to stop and told him he was going the wrong way. Lavell’s response “Play Hell!!”. I think they finally convinced him to turn around but it was difficult.
More on Teenage Resiliency by Dale O'Steen
Dillard Scruggs was notorious for being mischievous and was always getting into some kind of trouble. One time he and someone else were misbehaving in the hall and the janitor Mr. Dake saw them. They hoped he had not seen them so they hid in one of the storage rooms next to the gym door. Mr. Dake had seen them go in there so he just locked the door where they could not get out. His plan was to leave them in there for awhile then open the door and let them out. When he went to let them out Dillard was not there. He had opened the window and squeezed through some bars that were over the windows. The other person could not squeeze through. Imagine Mr. Dake’s surprise.
More on Teenage Resiliency by June Boyer
These is one of the stories my Dad use to tell me over and over each time I went to visit as we drank our morning coffee. For the older folks that grew up at Russett, this story is from William (Bill) (Son) Boyer. He was known as Son Boyer to all the folks he grew up with, that is what his Mother, Father, and all of his sisters called him and also his classmates.
A Russett Railroad Story
As you all know the Rock Island Railroad went right close to the Russett School and it went very slow as it passed and sometimes kids would hop on it and ride a little while to get themselves closer to their road because the kids all walked to and from school in those days. Well one day Daddy, William (Bill) decided to hop the train and ride it to the road Where you turned down to the Boyer homestead. (With Nine One One, this road is now named "Church Road"). Well he said as it passed the school and before it got to the road it began to pick up speed and before they got to the road it was already going faster than he expected and he did not know what to do. Well, as they got to the road he knew come hell or high water he had to get off, he jumped and went rolling, how he did not get killed, no one knows. When he hopped the train his older sisters saw him and they ran as fast as they could to get home and told Dad, "Son hopped the train!"
Well, when he recovered enough to go home Dad gave him, as said the only whipping Dad ever gave and he said it was for nothing because he had already decided to never hop that train again.
Eugene Henry says: "There are a lot of students that have asked me where I got the nickname of “Judge”. Well it all started back when Mr. McGilberry was superintendent. One afternoon after school was out, we were waiting for the bus to return from taking the students home at Randolph. Me and Jesse Gentry was cutting up in the study hall and I was sitting on the teacher’s desk and in walked Mr. McGilberry and he said in a loud voice, “Well, well Judge Henry”… From then on I was known as Judge by many students.