Posted on: Monday, January 12th, 2015
Dave Culberson (E&H '70) has been doing some work to clean out the home his parents lived in for many years on Hillman Highway. G.C.Connie Culberson (E&H '49) is now deceased, and his effervescent wife, Dot, has moved to Lynchburg. Dave has found a host of what one might call "questionable treasures," and he tells the story of one such find that turned up in a wood pile in the house's basement.
"As we were growing up, Poppa [Connie] had a reputation for recycling used furniture, cabinets, and other useful items that the college was discarding. My room often looked like a re-constructed E&H college dorm room.
When I was cleaning out the basement this summer to get the house ready for sale, I removed two trailer loads of old unwanted items, and a lot of scrap lumber. As I was tossing the last few pieces of wood into the trailer, I noticed writing on what appeared to be an old bed slat. Taking a closer look, I saw the words "Jack Butler, Phi Pi Alpha, '66" on the slat. The reason this attracted my attention was that in 1977, when my wife and I (Edith Allen Culberson '72) moved to Lynchburg, VA for my first job after getting out of the Navy, our State Farm insurance agent was Jack Butler. I thought surely this had to be the same Jack Butler (aka "Jake") that we knew and who graduated from E&H in the mid-60's time frame.
Most everyone at E&H knows that Mom [Dot} recently moved to Lynchburg, VA, from her home of 65 years in Emory. I decided it might be fun to take the old piece of wood to her to see if she might do a little detective work and locate Jack Butler, if he stilled lived in Lynchburg, and learn more about the story.
Incredibly, Dot did just that, and about two weeks ago she arranged for "Jake" to visit with us in her Lynchburg apartment, at which time she presented him with the relic. Jake also told us how he got his nickname (another story worth telling), and although his college days seem a bit fuzzy he seems to recall writing his name on the bed slat of the bunk above him while he was living in a corner room at Carriger. He said the bunks in his room were stacked 3-high, and he slept in the middle section, so it's easy to see how he might have written his name on the bed slat above his head.
It's quite amazing to me that this single bed slat survived all those years in Poppa's basement, and even more amazing that I spotted it before it sailed off into the landfill. This little bit of college nostalgia proves that some Emory experiences never die.