Wanted Dead or Alive: Stephen’s Elementary Students Identified

Sherlock Holmes Pipe and Hat

Sherlock Holmes Pipe and Hat (Courtesy Wikipedia)

My mystery bones associate “Identified” with the John and Jane Does in handout or online flyers, or the homicide victim in Next of Kin, my crime fiction novel in progress. A real-life mystery is solved with the IDs of first grade students in Mrs. Mabel Buffington’s 1945-1946 class at Stephen’s Elementary School in Chowchilla, California. Everyone is accounted for because Keith’s Hollister’s mother had the foresight to write each child’s name by rows on the back of his class picture seventy years ago. (Can you believe we’ve kept these photos that long?)  My thanks to Keith and his wife Doris who shared this complete list.




First Grade Mrs. Buffington


FRONT ROW: Seated left to right: Betty Lee Green, Viola Carr (my twin), Judy Green, Jean Younglund, Esther Lee White, Norma Eaton, Violet Carr (Me), Mary Wood, Pearl Sheaon (Shahan), Eva Cherry, Margaret Ann McGowan, Donald Roy Robinson, Lawrence Ashcraft.

SECOND ROW (L-R): Carlin Gene Lawrence, Kenneth McPherson, Keith Hollister, Ralph Shelton, Danny Shepherd, Mack Wade, Eva Bailey, Loretta Jay, Lauralee (Laurali) Pittz, Joe Lester Nix, Joe Lataski, Eugene Bryant, Charles Bollinger, George Brewer.

THIRD ROW (L-R): Mrs. Mabel Buffington, Donald McPherson, Jackie Pittz, Vern Pickrell, James Eaton, Donald Fountain, Harold Stinson, James Odell young, Delbert Carson, Gene Hillhouse, James Allen, Jerry Kirsey, Leonard Smith.

Now, 70 years later, these students are wanted―dead or alive. If you see yourself, a family member, a friend, a neighbor, anybody you know, please email current information to info@carrtwins.com.

Questions for all Violet’s Vibes blog followers:

  1. Do you still have your first grade class picture?
  2. Are the names on the back?
  3. Do you have contact with at least one classmate in that photo?

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Memoir, Writing

One response to “Wanted Dead or Alive: Stephen’s Elementary Students Identified

  1. I may have my first grade picture – I remember seeing it when we first started digitizing all our photos. I am reasonably certain the names are not written on the back, but I am in touch (through Facebook) with several classmates.

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