Tag Archives: first grade

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?

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Filed under Events, Memoir, Writing

Wanted – Dead or Alive

Should I have created a more genteel title? Okay, how about “Looking for class of 1945-1946?” Misleading because it sounds like a graduating class.  Maybe, “Looking for Stephens Elementary first-grade classmates?” There were nearly one hundred first graders back then and only 39 in Mrs. Buffington’s class of 1945-46. (Did I say only 39? That was a huge class with no teacher’s assistant.)

How about this title?

Wanted Dead or Alive

Mrs. Buffington’s first grade class of 1945-46

While my twin, Vi Parsons, and I prepared for our March 10th book launch of Double Take, our stories of growing up in Chowchilla, California, we dug out childhood photos and memorabilia to display at two hometown authors events. Well, not exactly our hometown since we were born hundreds of miles southeast of Highway 99, but the town where life unfolded for us like purple morning glories on a spring day.

We compared first grade class photos, but they were different. Mine is the original with Mrs. Buffington dressed in her schoolteacher black dress, hatless, with 33 students looking like World War II refugees. Somehow, she wrangled a second photoshoot to include all 39 students after she donned her Sunday best hat and frock and prepped all of us to dress a little less like ragamuffins.

First Grade Mrs. Buffington

That’s me, front row, dead center, sitting between girls I don’t remember. My twin is second from the left between Betty and Judy.  I also recognize Necia, Eva, Pearl, Margaret, and Donald, maybe Lawrence in the front row. The second row stretches my sketchy memory cells with positive IDs for Keith and Loretta and Lorelei. In the back row, I recognize Philip and Gene, but a couple of others look familiar.

My twin and I are planning to organize a reunion of the “live” bunch and gather memorial information for the others. If you or family members are in this photo, or if you recognize a friend, email me at info@carrtwins.com.


P.S. Double Take by Vi Parsons and Violet Moore, published by Carr Twins & Co., is available from Amazon and www.carrtwins.com.





Filed under Blogging, Events, Memoir, Publishing, Writing