George Washington Carver Basketball team, 1945-46

Rear, L-R: #6, W.C. Moore; #3, Charles Scott
Middle, left: Coach Gladys Williams Brown
Front, L-R: #5, Jessie Hardy; #7, Arthur Feagin; #4, Robert Scott

This page last modified on Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Overlook the mistakes
Ledger column for 5/19/05
Jerry Simmons

You've probably heard about the latest addition to our series of Scrapbooks, now in its 4th version. Yes, friends, "A Sawmill Scrapbook, Volume 4" is available at several places around town, including the Escambia County Bank, Purr-Fect Creations, and Southern Treasures. Looking back over the weeks before we took it to the printer's, I can tell you that was quite an experience.

I've done a little "desktop" publishing in my day - when I lived in Central Florida I published a monthly newsletter for the Florida Sod Association. Now don't laugh - that was an association of nearly all the landscape businesses in and around the Tampa area. There was some big money there! Naturally, I got little of it.

Then, I was the editor and floor sweeper for the "Marker 2," another monthly newsletter, this time for the Hudson (Florida) Yacht Club. Actually it was a bunch of poor people who owned sailboats and went on weekend sailing trips. We liked to call it a "yacht" club because it sounded good; the dues were only ten or fifteen dollars a year! The reason we were poor was we'd poured all our money into the holes in the Gulf of Mexico we called sailboats.

When the voices from outer space called me to come home from Massachusetts in 1992, I began my third tour of duty with Monsanto/Solutia. There I eventually had the questionable responsibility for a monthly, later quarterly, newsletter for all of the corporate Solutia Technical departments across the U.S.

Earlier this year, with the able assistance of Margaret Collier and the contributions of Louis Zadnichek III from Fairhope and others, the Society compiled and published a souvenir booklet about the steam engine, "Old 100." Then Margaret and I embarked on what would prove to be an all-consuming project: Scrapbook Volume 4.

One would think that with all that other experience behind me, this would be a snap. Not necessarily so. There were too many decisions to be made for it to be a snap. For one thing, we purposely decided there would not be quite as much in this book about "old" Century and Alger- Sullivan as in the previous books. Just about all the stories were told in the first three books and this one should reflect a little more recent past - say, the 40s and 50s and upward, instead of the 1900-1920 era. We also decided to try to take in stories about different areas, which explains some items about Oak Grove, etc.

We took all the articles from the Tri-City Ledger we'd written over the past five years or more, which amounted to nearly 300 articles and columns. In addition, we had to choose from stories which hadn't been used anywhere else. We needed to select photographs the society hadn't published previously, from the hundreds accumulated over the past eleven years since the last Scrapbook was issued.

Ok. Now that we had all that in place, the real decision-making began. There were things we left out - either because I thought or Margaret thought they were not appropriate or interesting - BUT when the final word was typed, I had the last say, since I did the typing. When the last draft was complete, Margaret saw I'd deleted part of a story she'd wanted to have in the book. Hmmmm what to do? We had already exceeded the number of pages we previously decided was to be the limit. I tried to diplomatically explain to her the reason I left it out - and she diplomatically let me have it my way. And we are still friends.

I got a little ahead of myself. The layout was critical. We wanted to have it look somewhat uniform throughout, and we chose a common typeface and size that is used in books to try to make it easy to read. We knew long stories did not often get read, and some of ours (mine) are long. As a result, we tried to break the book into readable sections with photos of interest - many of the photos are in color - and most pages are made with columns, like in a newspaper. That helps it have the feel more like a magazine, and everyone knows magazines are easier to read than books, right?

The reason I am saying all this is to let you know that this book took a lot of effort, planning and thought to get it printed and into your hands. I must say though, that immediately when we got the first copy in our hands we began seeing errors we'd overlooked.

I don't care if one proofreads a manuscript a hundred times; I believe there will be something you've overlooked. None of these errors are glaring nor do they take away from the meanings of the stories. They simply mean we are not perfect. So if you'll buy the book, which will help us pay our bills, and overlook the flaws we allowed to get past us, we think you'll enjoy it.

Call one of our members - or Margaret Collier at 850-256-2029; Jerry Fischer at 850-256-3980; or me, at 850-256-2661 to find out where or how you can get a copy. You can check out our bookstore at