Reminiscing With Miss Hattie

By CAROL LINDLEY,

Competing live on stage at the Neshoba County Fair

Yes, the sights and sounds of the Neshoba County Fair still linger in my eyes and ears from over 50 years ago.  For those who aren’t familiar with the fair, it is a sight to behold!  It has been named the state’s biggest houseparty —  especially during political years.

It is here that you talk with, shake hands with, and listen to some of the political speeches which linger through the conversations of folks spending a week during this event. Where else can one catch up on old political news, listen to new ideas on how to run the great state of Mississippi and how to implement each new concept.

And yes, it is hard to believe that brother, Bubby, who was about to enter the ninth grade and some of his buddies decided to enter the Talent Show at the Fair. And the winners were automatically selected to be on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, which was really big honor in those days.

Yes, The Roadrunners were to perform at the Neshoba County Fair. And who would have the honor of driving them to the Pavillion for their opening performance? Why, big sister Carol would be driving as many as she could get into her 1964 Starfire Oldsmobile convertible with white leather interior and a button by the radio for air-conditioning. After all, who wanted to ride with the top down and get all sweaty by the time we got there.

Well, it did take one other car, as hard as we tried to get everyone in the red convertible, it just couldn’t be done.

We weren’t sure how many selections they were allowed to perform, but would probably include Hang On on Snoopy, I’m a Roadrunner, Twist and Shout, and Gloria.

Included in the band were Eric Measells, vocals; Bill Lewis, drums; Joe Townsend, guitar; Clark  Gordan, guitar and back up vocals,; and Bubby Johnston, bass guitar and back up vocals.

We learned that the winner of the talent show was determined by applause of the crowd, and we just knew that the RoadRunners had won since we had so many people from Scott County in attendance.

But, we did not win — maybe came in second place we thought.

It was a big thrill for them to play at the Fair. Bub still remembers walking onto the stage at the Founder’s Square Pavilion gearing up for the first performance.

Oh, and Bill, Joe and Bubby were about to be ninth graders, Eric was going into the tenth grade and Clark (the old man) was going into the eleventh grade.

Yes, it was so exciting to perform at the Neshoba County Fair in 1958, but it was also exciting for big sister Carol to accompany them to their first musical competition!

Carol Johnston Lindley is Miss Hattie.  You can write to her at 395 Peps Point Road, Hattiesburg, MS 39401 or you can email her at hattie1014@bellsouth.net

 

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