Campus Alert

Parking Closure of Certain Floors in the Lumberjack Village Parking Garage. Click here for more information..

Stephen F. Austin State University

Jacksonville High School Cheerleader Mary Alice Bone Remembers 1946-47 (September 2017)

Jacksonville High School Cheerleader Mary Alice Bone Remembers 1946-47

By Deborah Burkett

World War II was over and the country was in a good mood. Carefree high school students prepared for football games in the Tomato Bowl. The refrain of the school song could be heard at pep rallies and parades.

"Years may come and many days may pass away; your memories of old J'ville High will always stay…"

And stay they did - with Mary Alice "Pid" Bone (Adamson) aka, Dr. Bone. When we met recently for an interview, her memories of high school were fresh, easily and happily recalled. Born August 30, 1930, Mary Alice Bone provides an interesting and important perspective in terms of an earlier time.

According to Mary Alice, "Activities during football season were a very big deal…The Indians and Maids were recognized at many events…" One city newspaper clipping read, "…Mary Alice Bone has been named (student) sponsor for the Jacksonville High School football team for the 1946 season, with Carol Lang and Betsy Lacy as co-sponsors. The group includes eleven other girls also selected as Maids for the year…"

Mary Alice explained, "Each boy on the varsity selected a Maid (later changed to Maiden). Willie Frank Roddy picked me. Then I was elected (student) sponsor which was an honor but filled with responsibility. After every home football game there was a reception (dance) in the gym. So on Fridays I worked with the Maids; we decorated the gym…hung crepe paper streamers...handed out cold drinks…ran the reception…"

"The cheerleaders decorated the goal posts in the Tomato Bowl-that wasn't easy-I actually climbed the posts myself…" she laughed. (Note the accompanying iconic cheerleader photo in front of the Tomato Bowl. L to R: "Pid" Bone, Betty Lacy, Johnny Childs, Charlotte Acker and Mary Gossett)

As Mary Alice and I examined her scrapbook, page after page contained unique pieces of memorabilia. There were two miniature goal posts constructed of pipe cleaners and decorated with small pieces of blue and gold ribbon. Attached to each goal post was a paper football which served as a place card. One read: Willie Frank Roddy; the other "Pid" Bone-dates for the football banquet. (Photo of Mary Alice with her scrapbook taken by Deborah Burkett)

Written neatly on the scrapbook page were the words: the goal posts were sitting on gum drops. At the Liberty Hotel these were just a part of the creative decorations on display. Following the banquet a formal reception was also held at the country club.

Additional information saved by Mary Alice included the following newspaper clipping. A column by the late Ed Kiely entitled, In and Out of the Dressing Room: "…The members of the Jacksonville High School's 1946 squad and their dates were honored Saturday night at the Maids' Annual Football Banquet at the Liberty Hotel. Coach Bailey Drennan presented certificates of the Jacksonville letter 'J' to the 26 members on the A Squad. Reserve letters were also awarded to every member of Coach Ray Tripp's B squad and Coach Mosley gave junior letters to junior squad members..."

Photo of the 1946 "A" Squad is taken from the high school year book. The line consisted of Willie Roddy, John Jones, Bobby Adamson, Freddie Newton, Gordon Hugghins, Bill Terry and Vernon Hall. The backfield was: Tony Trujailla, Johnny Mack Petri, Danny Wilson, and Max Treadwell, not shown Harold Anderson. Bailey Drennan was the head coach.

Mary Alice shared, "It was a tradition that the sponsor of the Indians and Maids would start the Homecoming Game in the Tomato Bowl by ceremonially performing the kick-off…In my senior year the honor went to me. To keep from embarrassing myself, Ralph 'Dub' Summers the kicker for the team worked with me…In practice, I could knock the ball down field. When the moment came, well, I'll describe my performance this way…my kick wasn't what I hope for, but not as bad as it could have been," she said with a smile.

In the scrapbook were many snapshots of high school friends around town-just having fun. "I was the only one with a camera so I took most of the pictures…" she said.

Also preserved were colorful, official programs for the away football games. One was with Gladewater, Oct. 18, 1946, and another with Conroe, Nov. 8. Each program priced at 10 cents.

Printed programs for home games in the Tomato Bowl were not so elaborate but treasured items none the less. These listed the "probable starting line-up" for clashes in the Tomato Bowl with Carlisle, Oct. 4, and with their arch nemesis, Lufkin, on Nov. 22.

Periodically pep rallies were held downtown for upcoming games. Cheers such as the "The Locomotive" could be heard for blocks. But a real crowd pleaser was: "Chew Tobacco, Chew Tobacco, Spit on the Wall--Lufkin, Lufkin, Can't Play Ball."

Other memories preserved in the scrapbook included pressed flower corsages and a place card souvenir from a Mexican supper given for cheerleaders and their dates. Mary Alice's date was John Cole, a tall good looking fellow. Being tall and willowy herself, she remarked, "He was the only one who called me shorty…we dated a good long while…"

There were other fond memories of John, but her first date with her future husband (Bobby Adamson) was on May 3, 1947, at the May Dance. She had caught his eye earlier while swimming with a group of friends at the Tank (pond). She explained, "I love to swim…dove into the Tank and stayed."

"Later, Bobby told me he had to jump in too because he wanted to ask me to the dance that night. It was in the days before home hair dryers, so to dry my hair quickly, I put my head in the oven…" she laughed.

Another bit of Jacksonville High School memorabilia is her letter jacket, "Cheerleaders got a real letter jacket. I was head cheerleader my junior year…I took that responsibility seriously…I watched the football game carefully and coordinated the cheer to fit the play on the field…"

I soon discovered Mary Alice "Pid" Bone was a multifaceted individual; her life not all high school hijinks.

Mary Alice's mother, Frances Gaynelle "Nell" Bailey Bone, was born in Georgia in 1895…Nell's mother passed away when she was 9 ½ years of age… It is ironic that years later when Mary Alice was 13, she would lose her mother, "Nell" who passed away at just 48 years of age.

With the approach of World War I, there was a need for nurses. "Nell" worked as a nurses' aid at old University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, to pay her way through nursing school.

After additional schooling which included college in South Carolina and Kansas, "Nell" came to Jacksonville to work. She joined a former mentor, Miss Baumberger, who had been hired as Superintendent of the Cherokee Sanitarium, which was organized in 1919, by Drs. John N. Bone, F.A. Fuller and J. T. Travis.

Dr. John Bone, a widower with children, married "Nell" September 29, 1921, at the first Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville.

As I met with Mary Alice over a period of weeks, a question came to mind--what made this Jacksonville High School cheerleader such a successful and accomplished adult.

Certainty one's family makes a difference. The Bone family history is connected to Old Douglas near Nacogdoches, to Larissa, Mt. Selman and Jacksonville. Mary Alice's grandfather had an office in Larissa then moved his medical practice to Mt. Selman.

She told me, "…My father had an office in the old saloon there. When he moved to Jacksonville, his office was upstairs in a building located approximately at 114 E. Commerce Street. In the summer, I occasionally worked a week or two. I was my father's office girl. He paid me 10 cents a day..."

"I thought about being a doctor ever since my mother gave me the following advice. I remember, she was in her room at our house on Bolton Street…she was very ill, unable to be up and around… I told her I wanted to be a nurse…Mother responded, 'Oh, no, don't be a nurse; you will learn just enough to want to do more…If I had it to do over again I'd be a doctor…'" (See accompanying photo of Mary Alice with her mother "Nell")

Mary Alice continued, "I take great pride in the fact that there's been a Dr. Bone practicing in Cherokee County for 150 years…I'm part of that tradition. I began working as a physician in this county in 1963. Currently, I'm volunteering at the Mission House Clinic in Bullard."

Jacksonville schools also played a part in the making of this successful woman.

Mary Alice elaborated, "In the 1930s, I attended the 'new' East Side School as it was called then…located on the corner of Ft. Worth and Beaumont Streets. I enjoyed my time at Jacksonville High School too. (I) Received a good foundation in foreign languages-took classes in Latin and Spanish. Later at Trinity University, my German teacher recognized that I came with the necessary background for college."

Over the years, Mary Alice has received many awards and accolades. I'll mention just one.

The Times Herald posted the following on June 7, 1955. "Girl Gets Award, George L. MacGregor; Vice Pres. of Southwestern Medical Foundation presents the Ho Din Award to Dr. Mary Alice Bone of Jacksonville, who received her medical degree Monday night. Dr. Bone is the first woman to win the award presented by the foundation to a graduate of University of Texas Southwestern Medical School for the 'spirit of medical wisdom and human understanding.' "

She also won $1,000 in cash! Present at the ceremony was her proud father, Dr. John M. Bone. Dr. Mary Alice Bone is the second of her family to receive their medical degree from Southwestern. Her brother, Dr. Robert Donnell Bone, received his M.D. degree in 1946.

During one of our last interviews, I asked if she had a final comment. She thought for a moment then added with a smile, "I still keep up with the team…listen to all the football games on the radio…"

After all these years, "Pid" is still a devoted Jacksonville Indian!

Mary Alice and her high school scrapbook.

Mary Alice 'Pid' Bone on left.

A Team.

Mary Alice and her mother, Nell.