PCHS Class of 1948: Remembering a simpler time
by Gary Hanner
Recently, four young women in their 80s met for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Pell City to reminisce about their days at Pell City High School some 65 years ago.

The four women are Bettye Simpkins Bowman, Ozzie Howard Seales, Bobbie Hall Ledlow, and Jeri Adkins Hollis.

Bettye Simpkins Bowman

Bowman said years ago, there were several classmates who would meet on a regular basis, but many have now died.

“Going to Pell City High School in the 1940s was great,” Bowman said. “Especially if Bobbie Ledlow was in it. We had a good time, and we probably should have studied more than we did.”

Bowman said being able to sit down and have lunch with three of her classmates 65 years after graduation is wonderful.

“God has really blessed me, and I know them too,” she said. “To be able to get out and do this is a blessing, because I know many of them can’t. It’s just great to have the mentality to answer these questions.”

The one thing that sticks out in Bowman’s mind about school was how members of the football team would put Ledlow on top of the schoolhouse.

“She was so small, and it was just easy to put her up there,” Bowman said.

Bowman attends Mt. Zion Freewill Baptist Church in Pell City.

Ozzie Howard Seales

Seales said it means so much to get together with the other ladies.

“We have been planning it for weeks, but it was like we could never get it together,” Seales said.

Seales said back in her high school days, everything was great.

“We had a great time, and everything was so simple,” she said. “It was so easy-going, and there was no trouble — nothing like now.”

Once she graduated from high school, Seales lived in Chicago for 20 years, but returned to Pell City 25 years ago.

“When I first went to Chicago, it was like a foreign land,” Seales said. “But I enjoyed living up there once I got used to everything.”

When asked how she spends her days now, Seales said, “doing a little of nothing.”

Bobbie Hall Ledlow

Ledlow admitted that the boys did put her on top of the school building — several times.

“I never got scared, because I knew someone would eventually come and get me down if I didn’t slide off from the snow,” she said. “All I ever wore to school was blue jeans because I never knew if I was going out a window, into a locker, or on top of the school building.”

Ledlow described her time at Pell City High as “heavenly.”

“We just had the best time,” Ledlow said. “I enjoyed every day, every minute of school. I think it is great to be able to meet these other three ladies. I love them all.”

Jeri Adkins Hollis

Hollis was the fourth lady to get to Cracker Barrel, and when she did, that’s when the entertainment started.

“Bettye and Bobbie were mean to me,” Hollis recalled. “They didn’t like me because I was the new girl in town. Bobbie would tell all the girls not to like me. I didn’t know why, but come to find out, I had her boyfriend. And I didn’t even know her.”

Ledlow said Hollis came to school with a purse, lipstick and makeup.

“We didn’t have any of that stuff,” Ledlow said.

“Well, I came from Trussville, Hewitt High School, and we were a little bit above these girls in Pell City,” Hollis said. “They noticed it, and I didn’t know it.”

When asked how it felt to meet with these other three ladies, Hollis said, “Well, Bobbie finally let me in.”

“Now Ozzie was my friend, and took care of me,” Hollis continued. “If you ever get in trouble, you need Ozzie on your side. That’s all that kept me going. I really missed her when she lived in Chicago.”

Dipping snuff

Bowman said she spent the night with Ledlow one night.

“Bobbie decided to have a dip of snuff, and I had to sit up with her all night,” Bowman said. “She vomited all night long.”

Ledlow said it was Bowman’s fault.

“We slipped some snuff, and decided to just try it out,” Ledlow said. “Bettye put some in her mouth first. I didn’t know where to put it in my mouth, and about the time I did get it in my mouth, Bettye slapped me across the back, and the snuff went up my nose. Oh, was I sick.”

Ledlow said that was not the only time they got sick.

“We were in study hall one day, and we talked some boys into giving us a chew of tobacco,” Ledlow said. “When we got through chewing, it was awful. Bettye and I both got sick that time.”

Hollis said she never took a dip of snuff with the girls, but she did put a girls’ face in powder or flour one night.

“It was a home economics initiation, and I thought we had killed her,” Hollis said.

When asked how often they would like to get together and eat, Hollis said at least every other day.

The ladies believe there was a 20-year reunion and a 50-year reunion of the Class of 1948.

When asked how many classmates were left, Bowman said, “Four and no more.”

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com

© 2013