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Local History

Sally Rand

  Sally’s Visit Fans Memories of Ozarks.

Letter to the editor in the Sunday News-Leader, September 20, 1970, page E 5.

“Uncle Frank Fellows was ‘Uncle’ to everyone, but his wife, Aunt Daisy, was one of my maternal kinswomen, so he really was my uncle.

“As everyone knows, the Ozark Empire Fair was his pet project.  From the time ‘it hit the fan’ for me in ’33, it was Uncle Frank’s big dream to present Sally Rand at the Ozark Empire Fair.

“And so it came to pass in 1941.  All the family gathered, and there we are in the accompanying photograph. [See below]

“Uncle Frank and his family before him made ‘Springfield Wagons,’ those prairie schooners that took the sturdy pioneers and their possessions ‘out West’ into Oklahoma Territory.  When the railroads took over, Uncle Frank’s company went into making ‘show wagons’—the best!  Big railroad shows still move in the wagons Uncle Frank built.  Fast tractors tow them fr om the railroad flat cars to the lot or fairgrounds and back, but Uncle Frank’s wagons still carry the show.

“Uncle Frank sent me a beautiful flatbed red wagon for a wedding present on Jan., 1942.  Clear to Red Lodge, Montana, if you please, and by rail.  High class, I always say, Uncle Frank was!

“It was to Springfield that Mama and Papa came after their wedding and the wedding reception was given in Elkton by Uncle Will and Aunt Annie Palmer.  Uncle Will (father of my dearest kinswoman, Mrs. Mildred Pruett, 1036 East Sunshine, and grandfather of your young Dr. Paul Pruett there) is now 103 and lives in Bolivar near his oldest daughter, Elta Reeser.

“It was May of 1903 and my parents, the William F. Becks, moved into ‘light housekeeping rooms’ right in town, near the Springfield Post Office where my father worked.  It was there my young and soon pregnant mother dreamed her dreams, started my baby clothes, made do with what she had, and baked her fat golden loaves of light bread in a little square oven on top of a one-burner kerosene stove.

“It was here she met her dearest friend, a beautiful girl who was always my ‘Aunt Lucy’ Newton until her death three years ago.  She, too, was a bride, and mama met her one afternoon after spotting a little jersey cow in a yard.  She timidly asked the lady in the hammock (who was Aunt Lucy) if she could buy some fresh milk, because Mama took a dim view of any milk that wasn’t hand-milked.

“Mama and Aunt Lucy immediately became fast friends.  They used to lie in the hammock and watch me grow until it came time for Mama to go back to Grandpa’s farm at Elkton for me to be born April 3, 1904.

“These were such happy times for Mama in Springfield, and she has always told me such fun stories about them.  I wonder it that little apartment is still there…?

[Signed] Sally Rand

 There are many newspaper articles about Sally Rand in our catalog.  She became best known for her fan dance at the 1933 Worlds Fair

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