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San F ra n c isc o to G eorgia

At the co n clu sio n of the American Bankers A sso cia tio n C onvention in
San F ra n c isc o on W ed nesd ay, O ctober 1 8 , 1 9 6 1 , we (M r. and M rs. Sherman
Drawdy, Mr. and M rs. Frank W . Thomas of W ash in g to n , M r. and M rs. R u ssell
A. Blanchard of Augusta and N ita and I) ch ecked out of the S t. F ra n cis Hotel
for our return home w ith a lit t le added trav el to be included along the w ay.
S in ce it had been n e c e s sa ry for me to remain for a m eeting of the
E xecu tiv e C o u n cil, we had to move rap id ly.

Each of the cou p les had sen t one

bag home by ex p ress from the hotel w ith a ll our sp e c ia l c lo th e s and our so iled
o n e s.

W e were attem pting to reach the San F ra n cisco Airport for a 4:3 0 flig h t.

Although we said ab so lu tely nothing to the d riv er, it becam e pretty obvious
after we se ttle d back in the cab that the driver w as eith er trem endously anxious
to get the bankers out of town or he wanted to make another trip b e c a u se the
speed lim it meant ab so lu tely nothing to him.

It would be an understatem ent to

su g g est that we lo s t no time enroute from the hotel to the airport.

In f a c t ,

getting aboard Trans-W orld A irlines Flight 9 8 — to Las V egas did not speed up
J
our trav el much.
Our flig h t w as an uneventful but beau tiful one as we soared over D eath
V alley w ith a spot p lainly marked to show the lo w est point in the con tin en tal
United S ta t e s .

We arrived at the airport in Las V egas w ith any number of out­

stretch ed arms aw aiting us - arm s, th at i s , of the one-arm ed bandit ty p e.




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Proceeding im m ediately to the Sands H o tel, our thoughtful frie n d s,
Mr. and M rs. G eorge S a n ck en , Jr. had already reg istered for u s .

T oo, as we

reached our room, they had provided a b o ttle of champagne plain ly marked,
"C on gratu lation s to the Kim brels" .

G ardenias had a lso been provided for a ll

the la d ie s w hich started us w ell in Las V eg a s.

Some of the group stopped

along the way long enough to se e if the slo t m achines re a lly worked.

They did

and for the h o u se, of co u rse.
W ith little form ality, we qu ickly drove to the downtown se c tio n away
from the strip where the Sands is lo c a te d .

As we turned onto the main s tr e e t,

the neon lig h ts and e le c tr ic sig n s were alm ost the equal of d ay lig h t.

Fearing

we might becom e so involved in the surroundings we would forget that important
item a lit t le la te r , we went for dinner at The M in t.

Like a ll the other p la c e s ,

the dining room w as at the extrem e rear with banks of slo t m achines and gambling
d e v ic e s a ll a c ro ss the front.
The dinner w as p leasan t and quite eco n o m ica l.

In f a c t , everything had

becom e econ om ical by that time as ea ch couple had in v ested the sum of $100 in
the trea su ry .

The "unbonded" treasu rer w as Sherman Drawdy, who proved la te r

to be as much a m aster of money on a trip as he is with it in h is own bank.
That, how ever, w as probably the only good investm ent we made in Las V e g a s .
We were d estin ed to try p ra c tica lly a ll of the slo t m achines in town - a
few at e a ch lo c a tio n .

S in ce our sta k e s were low , we tried to stic k to the sm all

m achines with nearly everybody ev en tu ally winning a ja c k p o t.

The only trouble

was we had fille d the jack p o t with our money before it emptied so most of us
were right back where we sta rted .



After covering the p lace pretty thoroughly,

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we decided to return to the San d s.

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Along the w ay, though, R u ssell Blanchard -

up to h is u su al tric k s - decided we should stop at the Stardust H otel and se e
what w as supposed to be the outstanding show in tow n, Lido de P a r is .

So the

Kimbrels and the Blanchards were placed in the w aiting lin e after a rather
generous palm greasin g of the matre d e.

W ith the re s e r v a tio n s , we thought we

were pretty w ell se t only to find we were in lin e behind about 200 other p eo p le,
army c u e -lin e s ty le , w aiting to enter a fter the fir s t group had clea red the dining
room.
W ith a ll of t h is , though, the show w as worth every b it of the effo rt.
G ir ls , y e s , but with one or two e x c e p tio n s , and then in a rather subdued w ay,
the g irls were fully clo th ed .

It is no exagg eration to say that the sta g e - the

lig h tin g , the c o lo r, the s e ttin g s , even w ater f a l l s , storms and liv e tre e s - w as
as beau tifu l as any anyw here.

It w as an e x c e lle n t performance w ith most of the

m usic in French but in no way lim iting the p leasu re of the en tertain m en t.

This

had been preceded by a " dum b-w aiter" stro llin g through the dining room dropping
d is h e s , pulling t i e s , p ra c tica lly knocking p e o p le's h ats off w ith tray s and even
picking up a palm plant to sw eep through and e x c ite everybody.
wonderful show!
to other p o in ts.

It w as a

W e fe lt the to ta l charge w as quite rea so n a b le when compared
They apparently s t ill e x p e ct the money from the gam blers and

not from th e se so u rc e s.
Early Thursday morning, O ctober 1 9 , we had b rea k fa st at the Sands and
promptly at 8 :0 0 , two air-co n d itio n ed C hevrolet Impala fordors were d eliv ered .
There im m ediately developed some qu estion as to who w as the b e st driver but
th at did not d eter any of us from proceeding to Hoover Dam and Lake M eade some



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40 to 50 m iles aw ay.

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It w as a b eau tifu l d riv e.

Hoover Dam (some q u estion as

to the name being changed to Bolder Dam) is a c ro ss the Colorado River to form
Lake M ead e.

It is a huge and dram atic work of en g in eerin g .

As we stood at

the top and looked at an autom obile parked near the b a se of the dam, it
resem bled a sm all c h ild 's car giving you some id ea of the height of the dam.
The lak e w as beau tiful but not more so than Clark H ill L ak e.
From th is p oin t, we drove along Route 466 to our eventual stop at Grand
C anyon.

The drive w as through a dry a re a , many r o c k s , tumble w e ed s, no

hom es, with fe n c e s along the road of one strand of barbed wire to retain the
c a t t le .

To u s , it appeared there could be very few c a ttle b e ca u se there w as

lit t le to e a t.

We were im p ressed , how ever, w ith the e x c e lle n t highway and a

queer red c o lo r.

E v id en tly, th is had som ething to do with the type so il they

used in the co n stru ctio n b eca u se we were la te r to se e sev era l of th e se highways
throughout Arizona.
The ele v a tio n along th is drive w as an average of about 4 ,0 0 0 fe e t but
it w as not n o tic e a b le b eca u se it w as fla t as a plateau and no mountains were
o b v io u s.
As we reached Grand C anyon, we had no time w hatever to sp a re. Warned
that the most beau tifu l time w as as the sun w as s e ttin g , there w as lit t le time
before the sun went out of view .
God could m ake.

W e rushed to the Canyon to se e a sigh t only

This v a st Canyon hewn out of the rocks with ju s t a mere

tric k le of w ater appearing at the very bottom although it w as the Colorado River.
There were a few tre e s growing along the sid e and the settin g of the sun provided
a k a le id o sco p e of color - every p o ssib le hue and color of the rainbow .



An aw e­

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insp iring sig h t if I have ever se en o n e.

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Even the A th eist, if he would only view

th is m a je stic g re a tn e s s , must assu red ly reco g n ize a Supreme Being.
Ju st at sundown, the Indians gave a dance on the rim of the Canyon
w hich we were able to o b serv e.

Then we browsed through the curio shop and

moved on to dinner in the restau ran t.

W e spent the night there in the Bright

Angel Lodge sharing the bath with the D raw dys.

This w as not a p articu larly

d is ta s te fu l arrangem ent; we had the p erfect answ er - none of us took a bath !
Before re tirin g , we went down to view some in terestin g p ictu res an old
gentlem an had made through the y ears as he and h is brother had helped explore
the Grand Canyon.

He appeared to be about 80 y ea rs o ld , rather sm all of

stature and said he probably knew more about the Grand Canyon and the Colorado
River than any living in d iv id u al.

He had been employed by the government to

d irect se v era l of the exp ed ition s search in g the Canyon.
Friday morning, O ctober 2 0 , we had b rea k fa st in the Bright Angel C offee
Shop a fter having looked around the rim of the Canyon and taken many photo­
g rap h s.

The w eather w as beau tiful and as we started to le a v e , we sw itched

a u to m o b iles.

The firs t day the Kimbrels and Drawdys had ridden to geth er and

now we sw itched to ride with the Blanchards along Route 6 4 .
no b etter driver than Mr. Drawdy.

R u sse ll w as rea lly

We continued to se e more of the Canyon and

to se e far more tre e s than we had the previous d ay .T h ey were la rg ely pinnon and
ju n ip er.
None of us wanted to sp oil the legend that to u rists are the most g u llib le .
We rounded a curve in the Painted D e se rt only to find three a ttra ctiv e Indian
child ren sittin g by the sid e of the road overhanging a c l i f f .



Stopping to take

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th eir picture - to w hich they were read ily a g reeab le and learning that th eir
names were R ena, Lena and Sara - we started to le a v e only to be to ld , " 5 0 £ ,
p le a s e " .

Being c h e a p -s k a te s anyw ay, we ju s t se ttle d for a qu arter.

Through

the Painted D e s e rt, a s the name would im ply, we found no t r e e s , a little sa g e ­
brush and e le v a tio n s of fiv e and s ix thousand fe e t - only the grandeur of the
wide open country and a range of co lo rs of red , brown and y ello w .
We turned off to get g a so lin e at Cam eron.

It w as shown prominently

on the map and we exp ected to find a rather n ice sp o t.

It would compare

favorably w ith B on eville as there w as a n ice se rv ice sta tio n , post o ffic e and
Indian trading sto re .
saying " h o t e l" .

W e did not in v e stig a te but a c ro ss the way w as a sign

There were no autom obiles ou tsid e so any g u ests who had

spent the night had evid en tly le ft before our a rriv a l.
As we le ft Cam eron, we n oticed more growth and p a ssed the h ig h est
point in Arizona some 7 ,4 8 8 fe e t on our way to F la g s ta ff.

This is a n ice com ­

munity where we had lunch and v isite d the Low ell O bservatory and drove through
Arizona S tate C o lleg e - a n ice group of a ttra ctiv e buildings and a student body
w ith sprinkling of Indians and N eg ro es.
From F la g s ta ff, we traveled along Route A89 through Oak C reek V alley another of G od 's beau tifu l c re a tio n s .

As we approached the rim of the v a lle y ,

it w as obvious our d eclin e would be rapid.

We made p o ssib ly a h alf dozen

h orsesh oe bends and found o u rselv es right at the foot of the h ills in a beau tifu l
h eav ily wooded area quite sim ilar to North C arolin a and North G eorgia m ountains.
A touch of fa ll w as evident as the le a v e s were a bright hue.
dom inately m aple, aspen and ponderosa p in e.



T rees were pre­

As we le ft the v a lle y along

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Highway 79 to P hoenix, much of the drive w as through w a s te la n d s , rock and
saguara c a c t i.

It w as not until about 20 m iles from Phoenix th at irrigation

becam e evident for the b eef c a t t le , o ra n g e s, grapes and other c ro p s.
a s ile n t tribute to the v a st value and im portance of w ater.

It w as

The co n tra st

betw een dry and irrigated land is strik in g .
In P hoenix, original plans had been made to stop at Cam el Back Inn.
Fortunately for u s , though, th e se had been changed to th e H otel V alley -H o
w hich w as an e s p e c ia lly n ice m otel.
more s a tisfa c to ry for our purpose.

It proved to be id e a lly lo ca ted and much

A ctu ally , it w as in S c o tts d a le , A rizona, a

suburb of Phoenix w hich is growing fa t m aintaining a com pletely W estern
atm osphere.

They ad v ertise th em selv es as "th e most W estern of the W e s te r n ".

Our firs t evening on the town w as to the heart of S c o ttsd a le and
"Lu la B e lle " .

T here, we enjoyed the Gay N in eties atm osphere even w ith the

rinky-dink p iano, b ra ss ra il and w a itr e s s e s with frilly aprons and h earts on
v e lv et ribbons around the n e c k .

N ita tried the sirlo in but most of the r e s t of

us had s e a food - shrimp c reo le or fis h .

It w as a very d eligh tfu l ev en in g .

S c o ttsd a le w as named for the C iv il W ar G en eral W inifred S co tt for whom
W in ifred , K ansas w as a lso named.
On Saturday morning, O ctober 2 1 , with the w eather s t ill b e a u tifu l, we
had b rea k fa st at the V alley -H o C a fe .

By th is tim e, I had come to r e a liz e that

when you are told to meet for b re a k fa st at eight o 'c lo c k , th at had no meaning
w h atso ev er.

You were supposed to be p resent for b rea k fa st at 7:3 0 and anyone

should have known th at!




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By th is tim e, the la d ie s were getting the upper hand and it w as off to
S c o ttsd a le for a shopping sp re e .

We ended up at G old w ater's Departm ent Store

w hich is regarded in the re ta il trade - we were told - as superior to Neiman
M arcu s.

G old w ater's is ow ned, we understand, by the brother of Senator

Barry G oldw ater who m aintains h is home and re sid e n c e in P hoenix.

L a te r, we

drove through Phoenix with the aid of a c ity map and did fa irly w e ll.
Lunch, served in the Kimbrel room at the V a lle y -H o , co n siste d of
sand w iches purchased by the Drawdys and Thom ases at a downtown b u ffet.
We lived it up w ith sand w iches and the champagne Buster and U llan ee had pro­
vided in Las V eg as.
Promptly at 2 :0 0 p .m ., we met the driver from Tanner Grey Line who w as
to drive us about the c ity - fir s t to the D e sert B o ta n ica l G ard en s, a n on -p rofit
ed u cation al in stitu tio n having the la rg e st c o lle c tio n of c a c t i .

Only about 10%

of the p lan ts are from Arizona but have been accum ulated from a ll over the world.
The garden is lo cated in the Papago Park w hich is m aintained by the c ity - some
of it in its original s t a t e , to show the people ju s t what the area w as lik e before
they were able to h arn ess the w ater in the h ills and bring it in to provide th is
p a ra d ise .
From the g ard en s, we drove through P h oen ix, along Cam el Back Mountain
and Camel Back Inn.
G oldw ater.

We p assed the home of E llio tt R oosev elt and Senator Barry

We then went to M ountain Shadow s, another b eau tifu l hotel being

enlarged by D ell E. W ebb.

Our driver w as a native of the area and apparently

quite fam iliar with the surroundings.




Anyway, he talked a good gam e.

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To start the n igh t, C atherine and N ita pooled th eir "r e s o u r c e s " and
arranged a b eau tifu l can d lelig h t c o c k ta il party on the b alcon y terra ce ou tside
the V alley -H o room overlooking the pool.

W ith a ll the assortm ent of hors

d 'oeu v res and fe llo w sh ip , it w as a good beginning for the evening and a lo t
of fun.
For supper, we went to G e n e 's B u ffet.

We got back to our "ra is in g "

on c h ili and common food - good se rv ice and d e lic io u s .

This fellow Blanchard

is a d eceiv in g individual and after we had fin ish ed d inn er, nothing would do
him but try the night life a g ain .

S o , it w as a c ro ss the way to the Red D og,

s t ill in S c o tts d a le , and s till with the w estern atm osphere.
the ra il and boastin g "th e la rg e st ch an d elier in the w o rld ".
I would not su g g est it is the most b e a u tifu l.

Here again with
L arg e, y e s , but

There were about ten o il burning

lam ps wired w ith e le c tr ic ity sittin g around the ed ges but re la tiv e ly few c r y s ta ls
hanging.

A little dancing and then back to the V alley -H o for p le a sa n t sle e p

and fre sh for another day.
O ctober 2 2 , Sunday, was the birthday of a sw eet g ir l, N ita .

W h ile we

paid tribu te to h er, we were never able to get her to t e ll us ju s t e x a c tly what
y ear she w as born.

W ith a big b rea k fa st at the V alley -H o C afe as g u ests of

the Thomas co u p le, we were soon on our way for another d a y 's tr a v e l.

We

drove through Arizona State U n iversity where they had been celeb ra tin g
Homecoming w eekend and a fo o tb all game with O regon.

A beau tifu l sch ool with

many new build ings and a rather com pact campus Then we drove to M e s a , Arizona and the Mormon Tem ple.

After a

le is u re ly walk around the gardens and a look at the Temple - from the walk 


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we returned to the Adm inistration Building for a n arrated showing of s lid e s of
Arizona and the Tem ple.

Only th o se with s p e c ia l perm its and b u s in e ss are

allow ed to en ter the Tem ple.
and very sp e c ia l e v e n ts .
were b eau tifu l.

It is primarily a p lace for w edd ings, fu n erals

The shrubbery, the lan d scap in g and the buildings

We found it an in terestin g stop w ith a refresh in g atm osphere

for Sunday morning.
As we le ft M e s a , the heart of A rizona, we were proceeding to T u cson .
Here w as by far the b e st agricu ltu ral country through w hich we had p assed with
date p alm s, citru s and cotton in abundance.

W e saw many Indians and Frank

saw one e s p e c ia lly in terestin g Indian girl at the root beer stan d .
we stopped at the public park in F lo re n ce , for a p icn ic lu n ch .
ta b le s and a thatched roof.

For lu n ch ,

We had co n crete

Here a g a in , the Drawdys and Thom ases had made

the p u rch ases even to providing a birthday ca k e for N ita .

Birthday n ap k in s,

ligh ted c a n d le s , a knife for the cak e and a ll the cerem ony made th is probably
the most unusual birthday party N ita ev er c e le b ra te d .
Leaving F lo re n ce , we p assed the Tom M ix monument w hich marked the
spot where he met his d eath .

By th is tim e, we had been taking so many

p ic tu re s, the la d ie s remarked that they were more photographed than the
c e le b r itie s in Hollywood.
Arriving in Tucson about m id -aftern oon , we proceeded to the Holiday
Inn.

Not for lo n g , though, for th e se people were not much on re stin g !

were saving that for another day.

Someone su gg ested that we lea v e promptly

for N o g a le s, M ex ico about 70 m iles aw ay.
n eed ed .

They

The su g g estion w as a ll that was

O ff we go along an e x c e lle n t road and through the beau tiful a g ricu l­

tural v a lle y where cotton and grain were in abundance and irrigation again




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w as the premium product.
At N o g a le s, we simply had to drive through the gate w ith no d ifficu lty
from the M ex ican custom s who accorded us a very cord ial w elcom e.

We drove

down the main stre e t of the town appearing to be about the s iz e of M ille d g e v ille .
As we parked the ca rs at the cu rb , a lit t le fellow a c co s te d us to know if we
wanted someone to w atch the c a r s .

We figured it might be ch eap er to pay him

than it would be to encounter d ifficu lty la te r .
w atch them .

W e a ccep ted h is proposition to

After a b rief look at the curio sh o p s, we entered the H otel Fray

M arcos de N iz a .

After being told that the most popular M ex ican drink w as

te q u ila , most of the people ordered teq u ila c o c k ta ils but I thought a fruit punch
would probably serve me b e tte r.
After making sev eral of the sh o p s, purchasing some s ilv e r , n e c k la c e s ,
perfume and c u rio s , we were d irected to the b e s t p la ce in town to e a t.
name e s c a p e s me.

The people were extrem ely courteous and the se rv ice w as

splendid but a b it more c le a n lin e s s would have h elp ed .
com bination ch ick en and b eef p la te s .
a string trio .

The

W e ordered M ex ican

During the m eal, we were serenaded by

The troubadours were probably invited by the management to pay

the Am ericanos a v is it .

It was an ex p erien ce in eatin g and w hile the meal was

not terrib ly b ad , the hot sau ce they provided with the to r tilla s at the start
probably would be the outstanding part.

The price we understood w as rea so n a b le

but there a g a in , we were operating on the fa t of the land and our great trea su rer!
It w as b ack to T u cson .
through the American cu sto m s.

We exp erien ced no d ifficu lty as we p a ssed
They simply asked us if we were c itiz e n s of

the U nited S ta te s and of what our p u rch ases in M ex ico c o n s is te d .



W hen we

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told them , they spoke co rd ially and we moved alon g .
On M onday, O ctober 2 3 , we had another beau tiful morning and b rea k fa st
at the Holiday Inn.

P ancakes and w a ffles were ex ceed in g ly good at th is point.

Everybody w as on the move again and we drove about 12 m iles to Old T u cson ,
the s ite of famous movie productions of the Old W e s t, miniature settin g of
barroom s, ra ilro a d s, Indian v illa g e s , a m ayor's o ffic e and with policem an
stro llin g about town ready for v is ito rs to take p ic tu re s.

W e were told two movies

were scheduled to be shot there very sh o rtly .
Back into town and a quick look at the U n iversity of Arizona w hich has
an enrollm ent of about 1 4 ,0 0 0 stu d en ts.

It is a beau tifu l campus with a palm

lined drive lead ing into the main adm inistration building and the ROTC building
around a c ir c le .

The buildings are modern and lea v e the appearance of an

e x c e lle n t u n iv ersity .
As alw ays w ith a delightfu l trip , time w as running out and it becam e
n e c e s s a ry for us to rush to the airport to c a tc h American A irlines Fligh t 798 at
12:00 noon.

Aboard the D C -7 , we were served lunch as we flew over the d esert

area of New M exico and changed from M ountain Standard Time to C entral Standard
Tim e.

It w as at th is point when we were thinking of Arizona th at the famous

la s t words of our frien d , Frank Thom as, cam e, " I'v e seen i t ! " .
Claim ing our baggage at the D a lla s Airport, we proceeded by cab to the
S h e ra to n -D a lla s Hotel in the Southland Life C en ter, an ex ceed in g ly modern
hotel of 29 flo o rs .

We found the rooms beau tiful and com fortab le.

Not to make

everything move sm oothly, though, our treasu rer sen t h is su it and two pants to
the " c le a n e r s " only to re a liz e shortly that he had le ft the tidy sum of $120 in



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h is p o ck et.

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A c a ll to the A ssista n t M anager and a little exch an ge with the v a le t

though, had h is money returned by the very same young man who had picked up
the su it and who claim ed he had not rea liz e d the money w as th e re .
W hether our money w as running low or w hether the la d ie s were a n tic i­
pating shopping the next morning, our sty le of eatin g reduced it s e lf to the
counter of the Minute Chef in the Sheraton Hotel for dinner.

It w as not bad , in

fa c t , it w as b etter than we had eaten at some of the swanky jo in ts .

Strollin g

through the Southland Life Building and along the str e e ts in D a lla s doing a little
window shopping fin ish ed the evenin g.
Tuesday morning, O ctober 2 4 , again for b rea k fa st in th e Minute C hef
w hich v e rifie s we had not done too badly the night b e fo re , we shared b rea k fa st
w ith the Thom ases and proceeded im m ediately to Neiman M a rcu s.

They were

celeb ratin g the A m erica's Ju b ilee and even the e s c a la to r s were d ecorated as
San F ra n c isc o c a b le c a r s .

The Golden G ate Bridge hung overhead and the b a ck ­

ground m usic w as recorded sound from the San F ra n c isc o a re a .

It w as a grand

and b eau tifu l store with p rices in keeping with the sty le of the ad v ertisin g but
M rs. Drawdy com m ented, " I can find what I want b etter at R ic h 's " .
At tw elve o 'c lo c k , we moved to the m arvelous Republic N ational Bank
for lunch w ith our frie n d s, D eW itt Ray, Norman Ramsey and Gene Zorn.
bank dining room w as as beau tiful as the re s t of the ban k.

The

Follow ing the

lu n ch eon , we had a tour of the bank and le a rn e d they had 1 ,4 0 0 em ployees
w ith 140 o ffic e rs and no b ra n ch e s.
As we returned to the h o te l, relaxin g in the room of R u ssell Blanchard
a little after four o 'c lo c k , we learned that an em ergency m essage had been le ft
for us from Thom son, G eo rg ia.




As we were returning the c a l l , we learned with

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sa d n ess the news from B ill L e v ere tt.

13

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Through the effo rts of M r. Drawdy to Ken

Navarre and our urgent prayers to the Good Lord, we were on a D e lta Flight at
6:00 p . m . , E astern Standard Tim e, to Atlanta aboard a Convair 8 8 0 .

We were

in Atlanta at 7: 30 where our ca r w as w aiting and sped to Thomson by about
10:45 p. m.
W hile th is delightfu l trip had ended rather sad ly and abruptly, it had
been frought w ith wonderful ex p e rie n ce s and m arvelous travelin g com panions.
Our b le s s in g s have been m ultiplied m any-fold by the friendship of such splendid
people and we sh a ll not soon forget the many p le a sa n t hours we sp en t.