The other day I was rummaging in a cabinet looking for a manila envelope. I pulled one out that appeared to be the perfect size for what I needed. I was disappointed, however, to discover that it already had something in it. My name was scribbled on the front, but I had no idea what it was. When I opened the clasp and dumped the contents, I gasped.
Dozens of black-and-white family photos from the early 20th century tumbled out. There were photos of my mother and her family from the 1920s and later. Photos of my Goodlett cousins when they were young. And photos of the second wave of boys who visited The Last Resort in 1943, when Pud was looking for others to hang out with him after Bobby Cole, Rinky Routt, and the older boys had gone off to fulfill their military duties.
I was flabbergasted. And dismayed. I still can’t believe that I was not aware I had these treasures in my possession. My guess, from the notes on the back of some of the photos, is that my cousin Bob McWilliams had given me this packet at a family gathering some years ago and I had put it away without understanding the significance or the value of the contents. It had to have been before I seriously started working on The Last Resort, or the names of the young boys would have had more meaning.
As I started the project, I spent a lot of time trying to identify the Boy Scouts who joined Pud at the camp late in the journal. They weren’t household names for me. I tried running the list of names by my older cousins. I searched the archives of Lawrenceburg High School class rosters at the Anderson County Board of Education. I attended a wonderful reunion of all LHS classes, hosted by Eugene Waterfill '39 and Ambrose Givens '42 who, sadly, are both now deceased. What a memorable day that was, talking with people who could share stories about my mother, Mary Marrs '39, and my father, Pud '40.
After all of that, I finally had some confidence that I had accurately identified the boys. Three of them are pictured here: Bobby Paasch '44; Reuben “Junior” Jamerson '48; and Don Towles '45, who went on to become an executive at the Louisville Courier-Journal.
I’m heartbroken that I didn’t realize I had these pictures before I published the book, because they certainly warranted inclusion. But at least I can share them with you now. They have already made my interpretation of Pud’s journal richer, and I hope they make you want to take another look—or a first look—at the Journal of a Salt River Camp from 1942-43.