June 2007

This is a re-print of an article that was printed in the Monroe Journal in June, 1954. Three of us had birthdays a few days apart - Emily Fuller and I on June 3, and Loretta Fodrie on June 4. Our parents let us celebrate with a birthday dance. The original article was written by Miss Virginia Neal, the society editor of the Monroe Journal (became the Enquirer-Journal in 1965). Miss Virginia went to all the parties, weddings, and social events and wrote about “what she saw.” She worked for the newspaper from 1927 until 1991 and was the society editor for about 50 of those 64 years. From her intricate descriptions, it is easy to picture the decorations and refreshments. No one today writes as beautifully as did Miss Virginia Neal.

“Tuesday evening from 9 to 12 o’clock at the Monroe Country Club, Miss Nita Kendrick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde H. Kendrick; Miss Loretta Walters, daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth G. Walters; and Miss Emily Bivens, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. John Neal Bivens, entertained with their sixteenth birthday dance. The girls wore white evening dresses with corsages of red roses, and Miss Bivens had an orchid.

The ballroom was decorated to represent a southern colonial tea garden. Garlands of ivy were looped to the chandelieres, and white floor baskets, filled with graceful bouquets of white daisies, feverfew, lilies, larkspur, blue hydrangeas, and trailing red abelia, flanked the ivy-showered wall lamps in scalloped effect along the walls. A white picket fence entwined with ivy enclosed the south end of the ballroom, where refreshments were served from a beautiful table overlaid with a white cover adorned with a corner arrangement of pink double larkspur, white daisies, and feverfew before a graduated half-circle of pink tapers in crystal prism candelabra. The punch bowl held lime punch which was served with mixed nuts, and cakes iced in colors of pink, yellow, and green, topped with contrasting flowers. Napkins were inscribed with “Nita - Loretta - Emily.” Banking the fireplace and mantel back of the table were groups of evergreens with a cluster of magnolias centering a runner of foliage. The fireplace at the other end of the ballroom was grouped with small native pines and feverfew which camouflaged the nickleodeon used for dancing.

Invited guests: Misses Martha Lou Fuller, Jerry Hardin, Phyllis Helms, Llew Baucom, Jane Howie, Mary Kathryn Nicholson, Nanci Neese, Betti Rose Davis, Carole Elliott, Ruth Hancoth, Anne Smith, Sue Rogers, Lynn Gettys, Betty Hargett, Vangie Hinson, Mary Ann Bivens, Gale Kendrick, Jane Hadley, Georgia Hancoth, Jane Howie, Shan Helms, Betty Sue Davis, Margaret Broome, Sarah Frank Helms, Bitsy King, Frances Donna Taylor, Julia Ann Howie, Elizabeth Shumaker, Patricia Helms, Penny Niven, Betty Sue Chaney.

Marilyn Williams, Sarah Everette, Linda Crawford, Mary Bernard Helms, Ann Tucker, Wanda Connell, Carole Holloway, Kathryn Small, Brenda Coble, Sara Lou Richardson, Libby Sikes, Patsy Lentz, Dolly Mills, Jane Secrest, Rita Graham, Carolyn King, Marian May, Carolyn Clark, Margaret Norwood, Pat Scott, Martha Kendrick, Sarah Upchurch, Kay Crooke, Ann McGuirt.

Messrs. Shannon Hallman, John Hinson, Sammy Matthews, Bill Cooper, Max Correll, Henry Copple, Bill Hester, Rusty Freeman, Sammy Phifer, Larry Howell, Howard Baucom, Dan Davis Jr., Emmett Griffin Jr., Max Hargett, Keebie Benton, Jimmy Carnes, Larry Dorminy, Mike Mills, Sam McGuirt, Horace Vann Williams, Sammy Goodwin, Johnny Lee, Butch Shumaker, Clayton Helms, Richard Bullard, Bruce Liles Jr., Olin Sikes III, Alton Russell, Bruce Griffin, Bobby Beaty.

Craven Williams, James Pitt, Jimmy Williams, Bill Boggan, Tommy Nash, Gary Faulkner, Frank Broome, Roger Earnhardt, Paul Standridge, Kenneth Mitchum, Don Goodwin, Richard Herring, Paul Steele, Bobby Baucom, Billy Walters, Howard Tucker, Bob McGuirt, Henry B. Smith Jr., D.L. Miller, Bob Browning, Wayne Tice, Arnold Mills, Joe Sells, Bobby Eagerton, Leonard Richardson, David Eagerton, Steve Walters.

Billy Laney, Gerald Hasty, Herman Snyder Jr., Larry Hinson, Kenneth Baucom, Jerry Carnes, Jerry Helms, Maurice Walters, Buddy Wall, Lee Alexander, Jimmy Sell, Bob Thornton, Robert Clark, Sonny Curry, Bill Morrison, James Holloway, Sam Howie III, David Rogers, Jimmy Williams, Joe Stowe, Louie Reid Poag, Buster Montgomery, Buddy Efird, Robert Morrow, Bobby Smith, and Johnny Correll.”

In 2004, Loretta and I (Emily was not able to join us), along with Nancy Neese Bragg whose birthday is June 6, celebrated the 50th anniversary of our 16th birthday dance.

If you have an idea for an article, please contact me at or write to the newspaper.

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