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Lost in time: Eyeglass case becomes a mystery
by L.A. Story
Mar 25, 2017 | 2785 views | 2 2 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Peggy Drewry Smith purchased a piece of carport sale "junk" and rediscovered it 27 years later to find it is a mystery she would love to solve. / Photo by L.A. Story
Peggy Drewry Smith purchased a piece of carport sale "junk" and rediscovered it 27 years later to find it is a mystery she would love to solve. / Photo by L.A. Story
A Corinth woman bought a piece of “junk” at a carport sale in 1989, but it wasn’t until this year that she realized what she had.

Peggy Drewry Smith told her story with a sense of wonder.

“I think this is interesting,” she said.

She placed an old, worn, black eyeglass case on the cool marble counter. The edges of the case were rubbed almost to the underlying metal in some places and threadbare in others.

She proceeded to give the details with the flourish and buildup of a natural storyteller.

Smith may be familiar to her fellow Corinthians as the wife of the late Harold Smith. He owned the cafe “Hamburger Harolds,” which was a Fillmore Street fixture for many years until his health declined. He died in 2011.

In the summer of 1989, she and her husband had a friend named Hack Hamilton, who lived near Crow’s Neck. (She mentioned she and Harold liked to camp at Crow’s Neck for many years.) The three of them would go out early on weekends in search of carport sales.

It was on one Saturday morning where she found herself digging through carport sale items and found the eyeglass case at the bottom of the pile.

“I held it up to the lady having the sale and I asked, ‘How do much you want for this?’ and the lady said, ‘fifty cents.’ I said, ‘I’ll take it,’” recalled Smith.

Smith said she later tossed the case into a drawer and it lay there forgotten until 2017, when she decided to some cleaning.

She rediscovered the case in the process of clearing out the drawer and opened it.

Inside was a pair of round, black-rimmed glasses. She put them on and blinked owlishly behind the lenses. 
“Can you believe I can actually read with these?” she asked.

The glasses, by modern standards, would remind one of a certain wizard named Harry Potter.

The glasses shared the case with a small appointment card. It was tucked beneath the eyewear. The card was colored with age and dotted, possibly from the worn metal inside the case.

The patient’s name on the card was Mrs. W., (there was a second letter which looked almost like another “W”), Hooten, of Tishomingo. Mrs. Hooten’s next appointment was scheduled for Sept. 2, 1939.

Her appointment appeared to be with a Dr. Klein’s Optical Department at Bry’s in Memphis, Tenn. There is a phone number, but with an old exchange.

Smith, like anyone who loves a good story, wanted to know more about this person whose appointment for a simple eye exam was frozen in time 78 years ago. Her curiosity has been stirred. She hopes someone may find her and tell her about this woman with whom she is connected by a simple eyeglass case.

She could not locate any more information on Mrs. Hooten or Bry’s. She said she searched for a Bry’s in Memphis, but only found a clothing store that went out of business in 1929.

It is a mystery she wants to solve.

Until then, it is just an appointment lost in time.
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Rebecca Moss
March 27, 2017
This may be Effie May Taylor(?), the wife of William Wesley Hooten. They are both buried in Memphis:

Effie May was born 1885 in Mississippi and passed away while living again in Memphis in 1973. It is thought her maiden name was Taylor, but I have not been able to confirm that. William died in 1963 when they were again living in Memphis.

William's parents were buried in the Waterloo, Lauderdale Co, Al area, but graves were relocated during the flooding of the Pickwick Dam area of the TN River. William was born in Florence, Lauderdale Co, Alabama.

Effie May was born in Mississippi. In 1910 Effie and William were in Tishomingo Co, MS; 1920 in Poinsett Co, Ark; 1926-1935 in Memphis, TN; 1940 in Tishomingo Co, MS; and back to Memphis at the latest, in the early 1960's. They had 2 children: Riley born 1901; and Irene J. born 1908 in Tishomingo Co, MS. So it is possible that they had relatives in Tishomingo who received Effie's things. I have been unable to find who their daughter Irene married, so perhaps she lived in Tishomingo later and had her mother's glasses?

A death certificate can be received for Effie by ordering from the Shelby Co, TN clerk to find out for sure her maiden name and which relative signed the death certificate.

Look for online to find Effie Hooten's death certicate online to order.

Perhaps her family/cousins still reside in the Tishomingo area and more posting asking about her, may help find them and more info about Effie.

The censuses show William as a farmer and that Effie did not apply for a social security number until 1965 after her husband passed. So it is assumed she did not work outside the home and a SS# was not needed until she was elderly.

Isaac Newton
March 25, 2017

Bry's Department Store - 89 N. Main at Jefferson

In 1902, the store, founded by Nathan and Louis Bry, and I. D. "Ike" Block, opened at the SE corner of Main & Adams. Ike Block took over management of the store at the outset since his partners were also operating Bry Brothers - a wholesale firm in St. Louis. In 1905 they moved to a new store at Main and Jefferson, where they competed successfully for over fifty years with Lowenstein's, Gerber's, and Goldsmith's. Bry's was noted for its annual "Daring Sale" in which it dropped prices and doubled the number of clerks. In 1912, Bry's enterned the history books when it became the first store to sell sheet music written by W. C. Handy. This was also the first store to use ladies as clerks. Bry's anchored North Main and Goldsmith's anchored South Main. In 1956 Bry's was sold to Lowenstein's and closed in 1964.