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PECOS, Nov. 19, 1996 - Turning 90 should be a memorable occasion. And it
was for one Pecos woman who was honored with a special party on her
Fannie Camp, who turned 90, was privileged to celebrate her birthday
with numerous friends and relatives.
The long-time member of the Pecos Business and Professional Women's
Club, Inc., was honored on Nov. 2 by members of BPW with a celebration
held at The First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
A host of family and friends attended the special event.
"It was just lovely, the church was decorated beautifully," said Camp.
Camp received her guests in front of a wall where pictures depicting her
life history were displayed. A large balloon bouquet added a festive
flare to the montage.
"I love those balloons, they're just so colorful," said Camp.
Connie McAllister sang, "It Is Well With My Soul" and "Great Is They
Faithfulness," which she felt exemplified Camp's feelings.
A brief family history was read by Catherine Travland.
BPW President, Karon Shelton, made and presented the honoree with a vest
Camp had indicated she would like to have.
Mrs. Camp was born Nov. 6, 1906, in Lamar County, and was the fourth
child of ten children. She graduated from Deport High School in 1926,
and married Tom Camp on April 28, 1928.
The Camps moved to Pecos during the Great Depression.
"Those were some terrible times during the Depression, but I still have
some fond memories," said Camp.
"Tom had a job as manager of the V-H Ranch at that time," said Camp.
And soon, because the cowboys loved her cooking, Mrs. Camp became the
boss of the chuck wagon gang.
They were blessed with two children, a boy they named Tommy Joe and a
girl they named Billie June.
When the children were school age the Camps moved to Pecos.
"I had various jobs in Pecos beginning as a helper to Dr. Bryan," said
Thereafter she worked at Franklin's Variety Store, managed Safeway for
ten years during the 1940s, and worked seventeen years for Hubbs Office
She lost her husband on March 23, 1963.
"I never did remarry, that was the one and only time I was married,"
At the age of 69 years Camp retired briefly and did some traveling. She
was then hired as Director of the Senior Citizen's Center, a position
she held for six years.
She has served on all BPW standing committees, was president two years
in 1966-68. Served on the Merchant Ration Committee, Chamber of Commerce
Board, President of City Federation and as Lodge Deputy of the Rebekah's.
She has served on HUD Housing Committee, President and Secretary of
Gleaner Sunday School Class of FBC, President of Garden Club and
presently serving as secretary of The Garden Club.
Camp had an array of cards from well-wishers on her birthday, including
some from friends as far away as California.
"I love receiving cards and I love sending them," said Camp.
Camp stated that the postal delivery service is excellent and her
mailman, Ruben has been a godsend.
"He is just great and I love receiving mail," said Camp.
Camp is very thankful for her two children, her six grandchildren and
Many were here to help her celebrate the special occasion.
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The month of November has been good so far. Mother Nature is being very
capricious - there was a small wind and rain storm one night in the
first week, then mostly lovely warm autumn days.
It probably will rain before this column is printed since I have bragged
about the beautiful weather. Surely these pretty days will give way to
winter time soon. The backyard of green here now wears a brown blanket
of post oak leaves so that does tell us something. The crepe myrtle and
pomegranate trees have provided lovely bits of color for some weeks.
Nice events have been happening. We have attended two concerts, both of
them at Mims Auditorium on the Howard Payne campus. The Fort Worth
Champber Orchestra, with John Giardino conducting, presented music by
Bach, Barber, Rachmaniov and Dvorak. There were 35 musicians, 12 of whom
The next day they were to play for two groups of public school students.
This select group is the official traveling orchestra for the state of
Texas. Their music was excellent and the audience was very appreciative,
inviting several encores.
The other concert was presented by John Bayless, a pianist par
excellence. Born and raised in Borger, Tx. John Bayless began his
interest in playing the piano when he was four years old. In his family
playing and singing was a part of life. His mother was his first piano
When he graduated from Borger High School he went to New York to enroll
at the Juilliard School of Music. What made his concert so special were
the comments on the story of his life as he introduced the various parts
of the program. His music ranged from classical to rhythm with personal
arrangements and improvisations.
He has played with the New York Philharmonic and many other orchestras
in the states and abroad. He lives in New York where he teaches at
Juilliard and does much composing in addition to his concert tours. He
will have a new CD album out later this month which I hope to purchase.
Should you, at any time, have the opportunity to hear this man play it
would truly be worth your while.
I believe he is the finest pianist I have ever heard, certainly the most
uniqely gifted. There will not be another Community Concert Series
program until January.
We got through the election, finally. The entire political season,
including the two party conventions, was more boring, annoying and
ridiculous than ever this year. Talk is now about campaign financing
reform - more to the point and for the pleasure of everyone (not running for office, anyway) would be changes in the entire election process.
How about a two-month time limit on campaign time? My first thought was
one month but decided that national candidates might need time for one
day in each state, not to play favorites. There should be no personal
bashing, each candidate should state a platform and let the public
decide. Most of us are able to make up our own minds, aren't we? More
answers and suggestions come to mind but then no one asks me the
Then came Veterans Day. According to available news sources there were
observances of various types in many places across the country. There
was no public ceremony locally, at least that was advertised. The
Brownwood newspaper published an article of brief interviews with five
veterans, one from each conflict, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam
and the Gulf War. These were most interesting, making one all the more
appreciative of all those patriots who have served the United States
through the years.
Not many survivors of World War I are left - the gentleman pictured
locally will be 100 years old on Nov. 26, God willing. He still has
vivid memories of his service in the Navy.
Regardless of what some might thing, I am not as old as dirt but I do
remember Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. we lived in Fort Worth and,
though I did not understand why, the ringing of church and school bells,
the blowing of shop and factory whistles made quite an impression.
Then Fort Worth was in the category of a "town" so all the noise was
more centralized. Our street was paved with bricks so the cans and hand
bells tied behind cars made lots of noice. yes, they had cars then!
That is another area of wonderment through the years - the evolution of
the automobile industry. In fact most of the happenings during my
lifetime have been amazing. The "nineties" have truly been wonderful.
Do we appreciate enough this country in which we live? We are not
thankful enough, that I know.
That leads right into throughts of the season which is upon us -
Thanksgiving. We need to remind ourselves it is not just one day of
feasting with family and friends, even though most of us, I hope, voice
a special prayer at that time. It should mean we look around to realize
there is too much still wrong with the world.
One does not have to wait, for New Year's Day to make a resolution - "If
there is one deed that I can do, If there is one need I can supply, To
make some person have a better time, Then, with all my heart, I will
During Thanksgiving week this year will be National Bible Week, Nov. 24
through Dec. 1. This is a time to call attention to the benefits of
regular Bible reading and this observances has been sponsored for 56
years by the Laymen's National Bible Association. Chairman for the
Campaign this year is George Gallup Jr., one of the nation's foremost
opinion researchers. He is servings as the chief media spokesman and
will make the major address at the Nov. 22 luncheon that will inaugurate
the week in New York City/
The LNBA was founded there in 1940. National governmental leaders are
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, U.S. Congressman Robert C. Scott
of Kentucky, Governor Lawton M. Chiles of Florida and Mayor Ronald Kirk
of Dallas. Senator Lugar and Congressman Scott are entering statements
into the Congressional Record from the floor of their respective houses
reminding their colleagues and the American people of the important
place the Bible has in the history of our nation.
Governor Chiles is to proclaim Bible Week in Florida and he has notified
governors of all U.S. states and territories requesting them to join him
in proclaiming Bible Week among their constrituents. Mayor Kirk was to
write mayors in more than 3,000 cities and towns asking that Bible Week
be proclaimed in their respective municipalities.
According to the German Protestant news agency, EPD, a Latin Bible, that
some scholars believe to have been Martin Luther's personal Bible was
recently discovered in Stuttgart, Germany. Found among thousands of
other Bibles stored at the Wuertemburg State Library, it was apparently
purchased and unknowingly by the Duke of that provice in 1784. It is
signed by Martin Luther and is covered with numerous handwritten
marginal notes which are believed to be in his own hand writing. It is
possible that his lectures and translated the New Testament into German
Back to events - also in November, of a different nature entirely, is
the hunting season for both deer and ducks which opened on Nov. 2. There
are signs "Welcome Deer Hunters," everywhere, nearly. This is another of
the differences we find in living here. Not only Brown County but the
surrounding counties also depend greatly on the boost for the economy
during the fall season. Many land owners profit also by leasing areas
for deer hunting.
Changing the subject again - a local news story came by way of an E-mail
message, to the City Attorney, via the City of Brownwood's web page on
the Internet. The inquiry concerns the birth place of Joan Crawford.
Should a younger person be reading this the question might be "who is
that?" (unless they watch old movies on TV), Joan Crawford was one of
Hollywood's brightest stars for almost half a century. She died in 1977.
Two people in Los Angeles are working on a new biography of Joan
Crawford whose birth name was Lucile Fay Le Sueur. In doing resarch the
writers learned that her maternal grandparents lived in Brownwood.
Earlier biographies state that she was born in San Antonio but no
records have been located there or in Brown County. The writers were in
Texas and Oklahoma for about three weeks the latter part of October.
They left an E-mail address and would appreciate hearing from anyone who
might have information.
When I was in Austin attending the TFWC Fall Board Meeting I bought a
book "Phantoms of the Plains," a collection of West Texas ghost stories.
Two people quoted are Steve Balog, former Deputy U.S. Marshal, and Pat
Towler who was with the Pecos school system for a number of years and is
a resident of Balmorhea. Did you know about the Reeves County Courthouse
Many of the people and places named in the stories are familiar to me.
The book is interesting reading. The author, Docia Schultz Williams, was
a guest speaker at the Board Meeting.
It was good to read in the Enterprise that Walt Holcombe has been
recognized for his unusual talents. I got to see some of his early
efforts. It is awesome that someone can use a pencil or pen in such a
way - not only to create the cartoons but to connect the drawings into a
story for the book. We wish continued success, Walt.
Mail time is eagerly awaited here - first thing I check to see if we get
any "real" letters, then we read The Enterprise. Real pleasure comes
with learning the good things happening in Pecos and the sorrowful with
those who have loss of loved ones - because we are losing friends.
Thanks can be given for having known those who leave us. The picture of
the new football score board reminds us of the many times we went to
games there, the players, coaches, parents and other friends who were
Pecos will always be great to me - so many good years there, but sorrow
too - anyway, memories keep a light in my life.
To all of you - God Bless! Vaya Con Dios! Have a Good Thanksgiving and
remember - Love One Another!
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By SARAH CHRISTIAN
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Mary Allison wanders through the hallways of Beth
Abraham Hospital, handing out candies, hugs and smiles.
Allison, 82, is not a patient or an employee at the Bronx hospital, but
one of a special group of women affectionately called the Golden Gals.
They are all at least 80 years old, and they have been volunteers for
``The patients keep me young and alive,'' Allison said. ``I love being
Norma Gindes, director of volunteer services, said the work of the six
Gals and the rest of the hospital's volunteers is irreplaceable. She
figured that her approximately 200 volunteers give about 2,000 days a
``They really provide incredible services. Without their help, we'd be
in a lot of trouble,'' she said of the volunteers.
Nearly 32 million older people bolster volunteer rolls across the
country, and they work slightly longer hours per week than most other
age groups, according to statistics from Independent Sector, a coalition
of nonprofit groups that surveys volunteers nationwide every two years.
The coalition's most recent survey, taken in 1994, shows 45 percent of
people age 60 to 75 volunteer 5 hours per week, and 36 percent of those
over 75 volunteer 4.4 hours per week.
The volunteers at Beth Abraham often operate programs that would not
otherwise exist, Gindes said, giving as an example 82-year-old Jasmine
Toumayan's arts and crafts group.
``It's very important,'' said 75-year-old patient Maria Fuentes, who
looks forward to Toumayan's classes. ``If we aren't doing this, we would
sit there in our rooms doing nothing and the day is longer.''
As useful and appreciated as they are, the Golden Gals may be a unique
phenomenon. Younger volunteers tend to give their time more in spurts
than in years of sustained service like that of the Golden Gals.
Gindes said many younger volunteers come to fulfill an obligation, such
as a school requirement, then leave. They are young and energetic, but
``Not that it (volunteering) is not growing, just that it's becoming
episodic. It's not like there are a lot who have been here for years,''
she said, with a nod toward 85-year-old Gladys Benjamin, who has worked
at Beth Abraham for 13 years assisting staff with birthday parties,
weekly gardening groups and other chores.
That trend toward the episodic is being seen throughout industries that
use volunteers, said John Thomas, a spokesman for Independent Sector.
``For one reason, people are busier. They don't always have large blocks
of time and not in the middle of the day.'' Thomas said. ``Also people
are more specific about what they want to do. They are more
task-oriented and want to see a start and a finish.''
Senior volunteers differ from the younger generations because they were
more often raised with the tradition and their lifestyles are more
conducive to it, said Tom Otwell, a spokesman for the American
Association of Retired Persons.
The older volunteers at Beth Abraham are often those who don't want to
give up a lifetime of caretaking, Gindes said.
Long before she had her own children, Josephine Gemelli - who at 92 is
the oldest of the Golden Gals - helped raise her 11 brothers and
``My mother had 12 kids. She needed help, so she kept me home,'' Gemelli
said. ``The principal came over and saw all of us and said `It's OK for
Josephine to stay home.'
``Oh, but I loved it. I love it now. I love taking care of people.''
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By DAN R. BARBER
The Dallas Morning News
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas - May Belle Cox, one of the Dallas Cowboys'
oldest, most die-hard fans, crouched in front of the television Sunday
afternoon, trying to jinx the San Francisco 49ers with her special,
The voodoo hand gesture worked. America's and Mrs. Cox's team beat the
49ers by a field goal in overtime.
``You should've seen me,'' said the longtime Park Cities resident who
turned 100 in June. ``I was down on the floor for that kick.''
No, really. On the floor. At age 100.
Mrs. Cox, a widow for 45 years, is one of those people we've all read
about. Never been sick. Never been to a doctor. Doesn't take any
She walks a mile each day, she said, and her only ailment is a slight
``I don't feel 100. This is the God's honest truth: I feel the same as I
did when I was 40 or 50,'' she said. ``I'm lucky to reach the age I
``I tell you, I'm a freak.''
One thing's for sure, she's crazy about the Dallas Cowboys.
Mrs. Cox is so enthusiastic about her team that she dresses up in one of
several game costumes to cheer the Cowboys to victory - Western skirt
and jacket. And she refuses to let anyone, be they family or friends,
inside her tidy apartment near Southern Methodist University after the
``The reason I don't have people over is they chatter,'' said the
outspoken and to-the-point mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
``They cannot keep quiet.
``I don't have anybody EVER interfere with my game.''
Mrs. Cox takes the Cowboys more seriously than she does herself, it
seems. She hides her face behind her hand like a vaudeville vamp, turns
her head to the side and chuckles loudly when she pops off on her
favorite topics - as if even she doesn't believe what comes out of her
On the topic of good health, for example: ``I know exactly what it takes
for health,'' she declared. ``I eat like a pig.''
Her diet rarely varies.
For breakfast, she has a ``huge'' bowl of oatmeal.
``I mean old-fashioned oatmeal,'' Mrs. Cox said, wrinkling her nose at
the mere mention of the instant stuff. ``And two pieces of toast. Plus
two cups of coffee.''
It's the same old story at lunch.
``I have a sandwich. A toasted sandwich and a banana.''
Over the years, Mrs. Cox said, she has discovered a few things about
good nutrition. Like how hard it can be to get through an afternoon on
just a sandwich and a banana.
So at 3 p.m. each day, she breaks out the Fritos and cheese dip.
``Here's what I've learned: If I wait until 6 o'clock, gas
accumulates,'' she said, covering her mouth as she lets loose with a
``For supper, let's just take Monday,'' Mrs. Cox continued. ``Monday I
have chicken and dumplings. A salad. Always ice cream. Every meal. And
``Now then, on Tuesday I'm going into casserole,'' she said.
No pork, no sausage, and except for a hamburger twice a week, no beef.
``Red meat causes arthritis,'' Mrs. Cox said.
Has she ever smoked?
``Noooooo,'' Mrs. Cox said, shaking her head.
``Yes,'' she said cheerfully. ``I used to have an Old Fashioned every
night until liquor got so high.''
Mrs. Cox's eldest child, John Cox, said he is amazed at how well his
mother is still able to get around.
``I bet she had a good time on the floor that last quarter of the
game,'' he said, referring to the Cowboys' game-saving field goal
``I can't get up and down from the floor , but the last time I saw her
do it she just bounces up.''
Mr. Cox, 75 and a retired Mobil Oil Corp. executive who lives in Canyon
Lake near New Braunfels, said he doesn't worry about his mother getting
too excited at games.
``She has been phenomenally healthy,'' he said.
He recalled that his mother was careful about what she ate while he and
his sister were growing up in the 1920s and '30s.
``She was health-food conscious even then, before anybody knew anything
about it,'' he said.
Bobby Bulger said her aunt is a remarkable woman.
``She's really a pistol, isn't she,'' said Ms. Bulger, a Dallas travel
consultant. ``She's got a fabulous sense of humor. And she's still very
``As far as figuring things and knowing things, she's just as bright as
she's ever been,'' she said.
About the only problem is her hearing, Ms. Bulger said. She said she's
tried to persuade her aunt to wear a hearing aid, going so far as to
offer to pay for it.
``She's so vain, she wouldn't do it,'' Ms. Bulger said.
Born on June 27, 1896, in Pittsburg, Texas, Mrs. Cox said she was the
fifth of eight children. Except for a brother who lived to be 92, all
her siblings died relatively young.
``I feel guilty,'' she said. ``My family didn't live this long.''
Her secret to a long life, she said, is attitude and activity.
``I don't have time to think bad. I don't have time to feel bad,'' she
Mrs. Cox has lived in or near the Park Cities for most of the past 82
years. She said her father, a lumberman, moved his family around East
Texas several times before settling in Dallas in 1914.
As a teenager, she was very popular with boys, she said.
``I had so many dates, honey, because I was fun,'' Mrs. Cox said.
``Everybody called me the lively May Belle.''
Did she ever let the boys kiss her?
``No. That's the reason I had so many dates. I had all the boys betting
they'd be the one to break me down,'' Mrs. Cox recalled, then paused.
``I got over that.''
Then along came F. Dudley Cox, whom she married in January 1918.
``I was only in Dallas four years before I got hooked,'' she said.
Mr. Cox was a builder who kept her and their two children hopping from
one house to another in North Dallas, Highland Park and University Park.
``I moved 22 times in 23 years,'' she said. ``Every one a beautiful new
Mrs. Cox wants to let the world in on another secret: how to live a
``Let me tell you something, it's not how many years you live, it's how
you live those years,'' she said. ``It doesn't matter if it's 100 or
``I'm the happiest woman at 100 years.''
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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