Updated: Aug 29, 2022
A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a community page on Facebook entitled "I remember when...Orrick, MO." I have little to add to the community posts other than stories from my Mom and flash memories of one visit when I was six. This past week, those of who remember when the Beatle's first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was not a re-run have been talking about restoring some of the town's historic buildings through fundraisers, or maybe just get together with some homemade fried chicken, potato salad and watermelon and share stories.
From William E. Paulson in his 1975 memoir: Orrick as I Remember...Plus
"The Orrick picnic was really the event of the year. To many, it was considered "Homecoming Days." Natives or former residents of the community would come for miles for the event. Charles Ross at Huntington, West Virginia would wait to apply for his annual vacation until such time as the picnic dates had been announced. For years the picnic was held in the Dorton pasture in the southeast part of town (now known as the Endsley Addition). In later years it was held on South Front Street until the State Highway Department took over the street as a part of the state highway system. The picnics were then moved to between Elm and South Front Street on Creason. Most of the concessions were operated by local clubs and churches. It seems that the roads were always oiled shortly before picnic time."
"Nearly every Sunday there would be a basket dinner at one of the churches in the neighborhood. There were picnics. Fishing River was one of the favorite spots, under the Santa Fe bridge, also one-half mile north of Highway 210 on the Charley Ashley farm."
"The schools, Orrick, Albany, Hannah, Lillard, Flemming, Wallace, Red Brush, Hall, Union, Clevenger, Pigg, Egypt, Centennial, and Artman also Sunday School classes sponsored box suppers and pie suppers where the girls would bring fancy boxes for auctioning to the highest bidder. The girls would usually wink at their boyfriend when their box was up for sale. At times the competition was keen when a boy was trying to develop a relationship with a certain girl."
"There were 'party plays' where games such as London Bridge, Circle Left to Rouser, Shoe Fly, Needles Eye, and Post Office were played. Square dances were somewhere every weekend."
"We would hike to Old Mill Spring on the hill north of Orrick. Sometimes the hikes were on Sunday afternoon and at other times at night. Upon reaching the spring, fires would be built and roast wieners and marshmallows. In the fall we would collect Missouri bananas (paw-paws) and persimmons."
Today, when I think of "Homecoming" I think of football, hot dogs, and screaming for my team until my throat gave out. But I really like the idea of a "Coming Home" picnic and like Charlie Ross would love to plan an annual vacation to drive to Orrick with a box of homemade fried chicken and my mother's potato salad to share photos and stories and meet distant cousins.
Thanks again to William Paulson and his family for this book... every time I read it, I find new treasures. And thanks to the residents and their families of Orrick, Missouri for posting stories and pictures on Facebook and for sharing their kind memories of my mother's family.