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  Recollections/Emails (Page 15)
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  Abercrombie, Clotiele B.
Abercrombie, Loyd D. Sr.
Abercrombie, Virgie Blalock

Armstrong, John
Bain, Pamela
Bento, Lola
Box, Dorothy Womack
Campbell, Lu
Holbert, Pearl Shaw
Challis, James E. "Ike"
Cole, Beaver
Coleman, Howard
Cronkite, Walter
Degnan, Julie E.
Duch, Greg
Erikson, Charles Henry
Ezell, Alta Reigh
Farrell, Hal
Gregory, Doug
Grenley, Martha Rogers
Grigg, Horace
Grigg, William N.
Hannon, Bill
Harris, Howard
Johnson, Joe and Bobby
Kronjaeger, Jim
Lester, George
Lester, George - Playmates
Lummus, Darlene
Lummus, Don
Martinez, Nelma Cummins
Mayhew, Bessie
McAllister, Mark

Meissner, J. Raymond
Moody, Mildred
Motley, Pete
Nelson, Ron
Plant, Sally
Platton, Mike
Read, Osceola Jefferson
Robertson, William Judson
Robinson, Jimmie Jordan
Mack Thornton Rogers
Ryan, Terri Jo
Seacrist, Debra
Shaw, Marjorie
Stanley, Glenda G.
Taylor, Bob
Taylor, Jim
Thompson, Bill
Vail, Mary Lechtenberg
Vento, Eduardo
Vinson, Allen Earl
Vinson, Melvin
Williams, William B.
  Bob Taylor from an email  
  I am Bob Taylor. I was born on June 13, 1937 to Bennie Taylor. Her first husband, a man named Bowlin, died of pneumonia. Bryan Bowlin was my half-brother and died in the school explosion. He was 12 years old and died along with two cousins, David Scott and Earl Scott.

Aunt Bertha Scott, wife of Jeff Scott, and my mom were outside the school waiting for the three boys to take them to get Easter baskets and new garments. I suppose that they were waiting in one of the cars pictured in front of the school building.

My mother never talked much about the disaster and outside of the little wooden trunk with some of Bryan's possessins and the 8X10 framed photo that always hung on the wall (the photo in the memorial) I never thought much about Bryan in that I never knew him. After looking at the pictures, and realizing that I was in one of those cars (in utero) the story has had a profound impact on me. As a parent and now a grandparent I can only imagine the anguish felt by my mother as she and aunt Bertha witnessed the explosion and walked struggled through the debris searching for their children. Uncle Bill Scott, David's father found all of the boys. He died prematurely of complications of excessive alcohol consumption.

I remember him to be one of the kindest, gentleness man that I ever knew. Mom had me to take care of some three months later and gave birth to my sister, Sharon, some three years later.

Aunt Bertha had a son, Clyde, and a daughter, Sylvia, to take care of and I suppose that gave them purpose to continue life. Sylvia's daughter, Sandy Duncan, gave Aunt Bertha's life a real purpose in that from a very early age, Sandy took dance lessons eventually going to broadway, television and movies. Aunt Bertha was with her every summer spent in Dallas for dance lessons. Sylvia would have been in the school that day but was in Henderson at a typewriting competition. I don't think that Clyde was in school then.

I recall him as a hero on the New London football team when I was a pre-schooler. He died prematurely of lung cancer. Mom said that Uncle Bill stated after the funeral service for David that he felt like just walking down the road and never coming back. In his way, he did. Mom, Aunt Bertha, and Sylvia are all dead now. I heard bits and pieces of the story from all of them at one time or the other, but when Sharon, my sister, sent this website to me and I looked through, it the enormity of the disaster struck me.

David and Earl Scott's names are on the memorial; however, Bryan's is not. Mom and dad did not have the money to have it done at that time and it just did not get done. Sylvia talked of having it done and Sharon and I talked about it. We just let it go after mom died in 1987. I am grateful for the work done on the website and appreciate that Bryan in finally memorialized with his contempories.

Thanks to you and all the others responsible,
Bob Taylor
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  Jim Taylor Remembers  
  For a long time I had heard that a song had been written and recorded about the New London School Explosion, but hearing about it and obtaining the words and music were two different things. Recently, I received the following letter from Mr. Jim Taylor, son of the gentlemen who wrote and performed the song. Below is Mr. Taylor's letter to me and scanned images of the book and song (used with permission) ... Bill  
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  So Close to Death by Sandy Warren (Date of article unkown.)  
  Bill Thompson  was in his fifth-grade English class, the last class of the day. He was in the mood to flirt with a little girl named Billie Sue Hall. Problem was she was sitting two seats away. He persuaded another little girl to trade seats with him, so he could sit right behind Billie Sue.

It was about 3:05 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, only a few minutes before school was to be let out for the day. Down in the basement-level shop class, teacher Lemmie Butler turned off a electrical switch on a sander. It sparked and a very fiery explosion raced the entire 253 foot lenth of the building.

Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hall lived. The little girl he had traded seats with died under a heap of twisted concrete, bricks and metal.

"I felt so guilty about that for a long time," he said. I thought God had made a mistake, and I should have been dead. But I came to terms with the guilt, that maybe I had caused her death. It was in God's hands, and God makes no mistakes.

Mr. Thompson said he thinks about telling his dead classmate's family what happened that day, but he never has. Still he might reveal his secret to them one day.

"I started to call her brother and tell him, but i just didn't know if it would hurt the family or not."

The London school explosion yielded many dramatic stories about the victims and the heroism of the rescue workers who arrived from the fields to salvage the dead or save the living. Many of the bodies were unrecognizable. Many of the parents identified dead children by the clothes they had on when they left that morning.

Yet others were perfectly preserved without a scratch. Thick clouds of dust, stirred up by the explosion had suffocated them, doctors said.


February 2002: Sandy Warren passed away about a year ago.
This article is reprinted by permission of her mother.
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