By Eddie Best

President, White County Historical Society, 1998-2000

You can take the boy out of the country but ...

Euin and Eloise Scroggins have come a long way. He grew up at Cleveland in northern Conway County, Arkansas, near Lost Corner where his grandfather Leroy, who fought the Yankees at Pea Ridge, was laid to rest. After attending Scotland public schools, Euin joined the Navy in WWII. He left for the war with only one possession, a safety razor rolled up in a rag in his pocket, and traveled more than 100,000 nautical miles, crossing the Equator twice, before he came home to marry the Brunson girl from Judsonia. Together, they made it through the University of Arkansas and many challenges along the way, including the worst tornado in Arkansas history. It came to their home on March 21, 1952. Fortunately, Latta Brunson had been an excellent mason and carpenter. The house he built for his daughter and son-in-law measured up. "All I had time to do was slam the door and grab little John, who was nine months old," Euin recalls, "then turn my back to the storm and hunker over him. That house held but the tornado sucked the rocks out of the wall outside, all the way to the roof."

That was at Judsonia. Later they moved to nearby Searcy, where Eloise taught math at the high school and Euin began a white-collar career with the state. But his job was in Little Rock. So for more than 20 years he commuted, much of it with cross-the-street neighbor Luther Hardin, whose name is on a building at the State Capitol and a street in Searcy. Luther and Chrystal’s son, Lu, became a popular member of the State Legislature and a strong candidate for the U.S. Senate. Lu and John Scroggins, now an engineer for Entergy, grew up together on quiet little Lynwood Drive in Searcy.

Euin retired a few years back but Eloise continued to teach at the Beebe branch of Arkansas State University, until her health failed and she gave it up. She taught in White County for more than 50 years.

For a year, my wife Pat and I lived next door to them in Searcy, where we enjoyed their down-home wisdom and friendship. Together, we explored the White County woods around the old Brunson homeplace near Providence to see the "Yankee Trail." We talked about life before electricity and refrigeration. On a spring afternoon, we sat in the shade and discussed featherbeds and tin roofs. Euin told of a successful friend who, too, "grew up on the farm." When this friend built his final dream home, he put a tin roof on it, because few things were more pleasant to his memory than the sound of rain on a tin roof. "When Euin heard about that, he had to have a tin roof, too," Eloise laughed. Euin looked impish, but did not comment. Later, when the conversation was breaking up and the lawn chairs were being folded and put away, he quietly motioned with his finger to follow. He pulled back the shrubbery beside his house and revealed he had built a time machine. What brought joy to this experienced retired professional, who had seen wonders of the world in his youth, was a strip of old tin roofing, some two feet long and a foot wide. Ingeniously, he had placed it beneath his bedroom window on four bricks, carefully located where the water drips off the roof. There, during night rains, Euin dreams of his childhood. In restful slumber, he rides his machine back in time, miles away to Conway County and the euphonious shelter of an old tin roof that was home.

... you can’t take the country out of the boy.

Euin & Eloise Scroggins