By Stacy Hilton Vanzant
It’s not unusual for Focus Magazine to find local historical imagery connected to articles we cover in the magazine. More often than not those images are lacking names, locations, or other information that we can share with our readers. A few years ago we did an article on the Mills Home in Thomasville. Many of you may recall the article and the cover photo was of three young boys eating watermelon. At the time the article was published we didn’t know the context of the picture, who the children were, or even when the photo was captured. After a month or so of the magazine’s being available to our readers, we were able to identify the boys’ names and information about the photo from call-ins and letters. It was amazing to find the names of three orphan boys taken more than 30 years prior to being featured on a Focus magazine cover.
The most recent issue on Coble Dairy published in March 2017 proved to be no different. We found this lovely photo of a young girl picking up cartons of milk from a front porch. As an editor, the photo took my breath away when I found it in a stack of photos at Jerry Smith’s house and his Coble Dairy collection. When I saw the picture I knew it had to be our cover photo. Jerry had no information on the image. For that matter, he wasn’t even sure the photo was taken locally. I recall saying to Jerry, “Ya know, it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve identified someone with the magazine. If this is a local photo, I can about bet that we will find out who it is.” Jerry looked at me with an inquisitive gaze and I reassured him again, “It is very possible.”
Three days after the magazine hit the streets of Davidson County and the cover image was uploaded on the Facebook page, we found her! Sure enough, local lifetime resident Kathy Everhart was the unknown little girl on the cover. Kathy’s daughter, Leigh Strickland, posted on our Facebook page that it was her mother. I was ecstatic! In three days we were able to identify the image and all the stories that go along with it. Once I connected with Kathy she was bursting at the seams with excitement. She could not believe that her picture was on the cover of our magazine. Not only was it her picture, but a photo of her that she didn’t have a copy of.
Kathy, an avid reader of Focus Magazine, picked up a copy a day or so before and put it in her car. “I always look for a copy and get one for myself and my mom, Margie Everhart,” recounted Kathy. “That day I just set it aside in the car and forgot about it. A day later I picked it up and yelled, ‘That’s me!’”
That’s right. In the early 1950s when Kathy was a little girl around the age of three, her mother was asked if some photos could be taken of Kathy for an advertisement brochure for Coble Dairy. Kathy’s mother, Margie, worked for Coble Dairy as a receptionist, and the higher ups at the company thought Kathy would be perfect for the shot.
“When I saw this photo I asked my Mom if she did my hair like that or did they pay someone,” said Kathy. “My mom kind of chuckled and said, ‘Oh, of course I did your hair like that.’”
Kathy’s father, who is currently in his early 90s, was at home the day she brought the photos to show her mom. “Daddy, do you see the little girl in this picture? Do you know her?” she said to him. “Why of course honey, that’s you!” he exclaimed. When we found the image in the stack of pictures it was black and white. With the help of our designer we added a little white washed color over the image to give the robe a little hue of pink and make the bear a slightly watered down brown. Funny enough, Kathy was excited to share that the robe she was wearing that day was a light shade of pink and that the bear was actually brown.
It has been a fun experience showing up in Focus Magazine according to Kathy. To her and her family it has brought back a many pleasant memories that they’ve been able to share. Since the article, Kathy and Jerry Smith have connected and now Kathy has copies of the cover image and another one taken that day to have for her own.
The Everharts weren’t the only images identified as a result of that issue. We have received additional information on a photo taken by H.L. Waters from the Davidson County Historical Museum of the boys milking cows. These boys were orphans from the Junior Order Home and they milked cows for Coble Dairy. They milked 25 cows per day, but based on the stories from those who identified the boys, they often drank more milk than what they took back to the dairy.
These are just many of the fun stories we can share that happen after Focus magazine goes to press. We hope you have enjoyed a follow-up to history!