A couple of weeks ago I asked for some sleuthing assistance from Peabody Gazette-Bulletin readers. A woman from Derby had come across a 1936 Peabody High School class ring and she had no idea how it had found its way into a cache of jewelry that had belonged her mother. She contacted us to see if we could put the word out about the long forgotten class ring and find some relatives of the owner.
The ring had an ‘S’ engraved in the inside. The woman had done some basic research and found that only one person in the PHS class of 1936 had a last name that began with the letter ‘S’. Bess Smith was that woman. She is listed in the PHS-PBHS alumni books as Bess (Smith) McClarin and the book notes that she died in April, 1999.
I contacted the woman who found the ring and told her we would publish the information and see if an identity surfaced. She responded that she hoped a family member might read about the ring and contact us.
So far, no such luck. If any of you know or think you know of the whereabouts of Bess (Smith) McClarin’s family members, please contact us at our Marion office (620) 382-2165 and we will make arrangements to connect you with the lady in Derby who has Bess’s ring. If we hear nothing in the next couple of weeks, we will tell that nice lady not to expect any contact information.
Another item that has been more or less hanging out there for several months is the stack of slate blackboards that I have stored in the two-seater outhouse in my backyard. I want to get them out of that poor sagging building because their weight is creating structural havoc with what is probably the last standing outhouse in the city limits. I know no one cares if there still is an outhouse in the city, but I really do want to save it. It is cute and I like it.
The Mister bought a dozen or so three-foot by five-foot blackboards at an auction of surplus inventory, fixtures, and architectural salvage from the old three-story limestone school in the 200 block of N. Maple St. back in the late 1970s. He had a plan for those slabs of slate, I think. He brought them home and stacked them on the floor of the outhouse intending to use them somewhere soon. However, the plan never reached fruition and during the past 40 or so years the floor and walls of the structure have begun to separate because of the weight.
I like the outhouse and its adjoining chicken roost. I need to get rid of those slate chalk boards. I announced this plan in the fall and had takers for four or five of them. They are free to anyone who wants one. Here is your chance to own a piece of Peabody history. Make a tabletop, a slate entry to your house, your patio, or the front door of a vacation home. Cut them up and make small chalkboards for family or friends who went to school there. Pick one up and sell it on eBay – asking price there for that size vintage chalkboard is about $100 each. I do not have the time or energy to deal with eBay buyers, shipping arrangements, or wheelin’ and dealin’. My offer to you is, “come and get it.”
My phone number is (620) 983-2771 and I have an answering machine. If I am not here leave a message. I am willing to accommodate your pickup plans. Remember, the slate chalkboards are free — how can you say no?