Vickers keeps memories alive with words
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 1:00 AM
Ovid Vickers has been a Neshoba County Fairgoer and observer for 58 years.
The long-time East Central Community College English instructor, now retired, has written many articles about the Fair and made observations.
He is a columnist for The Fair Times, a daily paper distributed on the Fairgrounds.
He sums up his definition of the Fair as follows:
"What is most interesting about the Fair is that no day is the same at the Fair," Vickers said. "Different people come to visit. Unexpected events take place. It's all part of the Fair.
"The Fair stays dormant for 51 weeks of the year. But for one week, it is very much alive and has a spirit all of its own. People grow up going to the Fair and then move away. But like when bears know when it is time to hibernate, they seem to migrate back to the Fair almost every year," Vickers said.
Vickers has been coming to the Neshoba County Fair since he first moved to Decatur and started teaching at East Central Community College in 1955. He only planned to stay one year but fell in love with Mississippi life and never left. He met his bride here, a Neshoba County girl named Carol.
In 1982 when an opening came, he built his own cabin 334-D. But after all this time, he still calls himself a "newcomer" to Fair life. He saves his memories of each Fair year in a scrapbook.
Vickers is as much a writer as he is a teacher and has composed hundreds of columns and articles that appeared in The Neshoba Democrat, the Union Appeal and The Scott County Times. But he stopped writing his weekly column a while back.
"I love to write and have since I was a student," Vickers said. "My eyesight is failing now. I quit writing the column but I still write. My fingers know the keys on the keyboard and Carol is my proof reader."
Earlier this summer, he published a book on the history of ECCC, titled: "The East Central I Knew: A History of East Central Community College."
"East Central Community College became a college in 1928," Vickers said. "When I first came in 1955, some of the original faculty was still here.
"When I started as a teacher, there were about 800 people on campus and everyone knew everyone," Vickers said. "Most of the faculty lived on campus. Very few students even had cars then, and today, parking is a problem."
Vickers noted many changes over the years. For example, nobody takes shorthand anymore. The college, which grew out of an agriculture school, no longer has an agriculture program. And does anybody even know what a slide rule is anymore, or how to use one?
In his book about ECCC, Vickers talks about such longtime faculty as Mrs. Stelle Newsome, who taught home economics; Mrs. Janice Sullivan, who taught education; and, Mr. Frank Cross who taught chemistry.
"East Central has had some outstanding teachers over the years," Vickers said. "This book covers the history from the beginning in 1928 through today."
When he finished writing his book, he gave the transcript to the college foundation which published it. All proceeds went to the college.
Vickers said there were around 40 copies still available for sale.
In addition to writing, Vickers enjoys traveling. He has been to Europe 14 times and last year visited St. Petersburg, Russia.
"I love to go," he said.
Vickers still writes for the East Central publication, "The Warrior."