The One-Year Bus Ride

White County Historical Society

So far as I know, the year I went to Beebe was the only time anyone went from Pangburn to Beebe to high school. At the end of the school year in 1932 the school board in Pangburn told the teachers if they could find a job anywhere else to take it because they didn't think they would have money to open the schools the following year. In fact the teachers were given warrants instead of money which they held until the board could redeem them.
The Beebe School was a part of the Jr. Agriculture College which was funded by the state and that's why so many people from the surrounding area went to school there. School was held in Pangburn in 1932-33, but it didn't start until November and there would be times when school would be closed for a few days because they ran out of wood. I think school was in session for seven months.
The bus I rode went from Heber Springs to Beebe. From Pangburn there was my brother C.E. and me, Judon Vaughan and Oleta Marsh. The college kids from Pangburn who went were Louis Crook Sr., Malcolm Peeler and Esther Marsh. We picked up Lula Mae Copeland in Searcy. From Searcy we went to Garner, McRae and Beebe. At that time the road was mostly gravel, however there was a stretch somewhere between Beebe and Searcy where half the road was paved and the other half was gravel. Everyone rode on the paved side even if that meant
driving on the wrong side of the road, then when they would meet a car they would get on their side. If someone misjudged the speed of the approaching vehicle and didn't get off in time there would be a head-on collision. Guy Brady drove the bus; he was from Heber and was in college. I can't remember what time we left or what time we got back, but in the wintertime it would be dark when we left and dark when we got home. It cost $5.00 a month to ride the bus.
There were buses from Bald Knob that went through Judsonia and Kensett,
another bus from Lonoke, and some time during the year the school in Jacksonville burned and those students were bussed to Beebe to finish the year. Fern Cowan, who later married Porter Rodgers Sr., was one of the teachers, Bro Erwin was the football coach and taught social studies, Miss Thomas was the Home Economics teacher, Lovard Davis was Agri teacher. His wife was Oleta Marsh's sister and sometimes Oleta stayed with them instead of riding the bus. Helen Bratton was my English teacher, Florence Nash was the senior class sponsor. Dr. Dale Alford's father was president of the college. There was a dormitory where some students and faculty lived, it cost $11 a month to live in the dorm. I saw my first football game while going to school there. The school didn't have a cafeteria, but they had a gym. Daryl Bailey, who goes to my church, said his father Russel Bailey rode a horse or mule from Higginson to Beebe to school.