Archive for history – Page 5

Stranger than Fiction

Paul H. JeffcoatToday, we would like to feature some musings from Bill Jeffcoat on his father’s fingernails.  The following was written by Bill, and has been edited to correct spelling and grammar.

“P.H. Jeffcoat since a teenager spent most of his life in the darkroom developing photos.  Certain chemicals in the developer tend to turn the fingernails a deep brown.  If the developer gets on your clothes, the stain is impossible to remove and Dad wore his smock most of the time.

“He died in 1976, with sixty years with his right hand in the developer.  He was teased about his brown nails many times.  At the funeral home on the day before the service, I went down for an inspection.  I was amazed to see that his nails were perfectly clear.  I asked the undertaker what he had done to remove the stained nails.  He replied, “It was the most amazing thing.  As soon as the embalming fluid entered the body, the nails turned clear.”

“The day after the funeral, I opened the studio as usual and a side panel of thick glass on our show windows had cracked from top to bottom.  I often wonder if my Dad was telling me something from the great beyond.”

Son, Bill Jeffcoat

The Power of the Office of the President of the United States

In this note, Bill Jeffcoat gives us a look at what it was like having the President in Abilene for a visit:

President Eisenhower in Abilene

President Eisenhower during a visit in Abilene.

I think it was in 1953 and President Eisenhower was going to come to town.  The Secret Service came into the Studio and requested of me to bring my high watt lights down to the Eisenhower Museum and man the switches for off and on at their signal.

I said, “I really do not have time to do that as I am going to be busy trying to take some photos there.”

He (the Secret Service agent) simply said, “The President would want you to do this for him.”

Well, while it was not a command, how could one refuse a request like that.

And so I did it and a funny thing happened.  I turned up the light, then moved away to take a photo, and somebody tripped over the cord and the tall light fixture crashed to the floor with the globe exploding like a bullet shot!  Next thing, the Secret Service men had their guns out in the Museum, afraid somebody mean had fired a gun.  Ike did not pay it much attention as he was viewing photos of his football team from West Point.  Meantime, I was out a $25.00 high priced light globe.  I never sent a bill to the government – heck, I would never know where to direct the billing anyhow…