When Pogo’s Father Visited the Ok’fenok’ by Larry Purdom
Our memory returns to the good ol’ day of PogoFest and to the man who helped put our little corner of the world on the map. He was Walt Kelly, as almost everyone knows, the cartoonist who created Pogo and his lovable menagerie of wise swamp critters.
Back in 1955, Kelly got to thinking that, if he was going to make his living off the Okefenokee, it might be a good idea to visit the area. So it was that the famed cartoonist arrived for his first visit to the Okefenokee swamp, a trip made in conjunction with Kelly’s being the keynote speaker at the annual banquet of the Waycross and Ware County Chamber of Commerce. The session was a “complete sellout,” according to chamber manager Frank Barfield, held at America Legion Memorial Auditorium. The figure of 350 attendees was noted as “the largest crowd ever to attend the annual chamber meeting.”
Retiring president Cecil Herrin called the session to order, after which he delivered the gavel to incoming president E.L. “Razz” Bowen. “Dinner music was rendered by Mrs. Jack Murray at the console of the Wurlitzer Electric Organ.” Mr. Kelly entitled his talk, “The American Press- the Last Free Voice of the Free World,” but the president of the Cartoonist Society of America laced his talk with plenty of lampooning. One of his best-received lines was, “The best humor in the country is straight reporting from Washington.”
Kelly visited the Okefenokee in a time of drought, but his visit coincided with a fine rain, for which he received plenty of praise from the local dignitaries. While at the Okefenokee he was feted with just about every kind of swamp vittles known to man, including rattlesnake and possum prepared with much praise by local swamp chef P.D. James. He also enjoyed “Cowhouse Bluegill” prepared by James. Kelly admitted he felt a little bad dining on possum, as the marsupial had been so good to him, along with Albert the alligator and company. At the time, Pogo was read by more than 40 million people a day in the newspapers of America.
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April, May & June 2023
Jewish American History in Waycross, GA
Despite the extreme level of population turnover, the Jewish community of Waycross began to organize in the 1920s. In 1920, Jews in the area first gathered to pray together. Four years later, 13 men officially organized a congregation, with Alex Gilmore as its first president.
October – Jan, Feb & March 2023 When Pogo’s Father Visited the Ok’fenok’
by Larry Purdom
Our memory returns to the good ol’ day of PogoFest and to the man who helped put our little corner of the world on the map. He was Walt Kelly, as almost everyone knows, the cartoonist who created Pogo…
October – December 2022
Gram Parsons Guitar Pull by Dave Griffin
Ingram Cecil Connor III, known to the world as Gram Parsons, spent the first 12 years of his life in the small, South Georgia railroad town of Waycross.
It was here in Waycross that he hunted and fished the Okefenokee Swamp …
April – June 2021
Waycross Entertainment History by Marla Howell
Waycross has a wealth of history but more specifically we are addressing two areas being those who performed live at our City Auditorium and the magnificent theaters of our town, one that hosted three world motion picture premiers.
January – March 2021
The First Peoples of Okefenokee by “Turtleman” Chris Adams
The South Georgia we know today is far different than that which was known by the very earliest inhabitants of this region. One place however with a familiar look about it is the Okefenokee Swamp. Having remained much the same for around …
January – March 2020
‘We’re On the Right Track’, by John Jordan
In ancient Greek Mythology, the Phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is reborn. To say OHC has been reborn would be a stretch; however, to say an awaking is occurring is spot on….