Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw

When I was a Sophomore in High School, I went to the Principles Office one day to get some information. Our high school band director, Mr. Len Lastinger was also in the office. During some discussion and "howdy-dos", he asked me if I would like to be in the band. Now the Big Blue and White band of Tifton High School was known far and wide as the biggest and best band around. No school could match the Big Blue and White. I had no formal music training but he told me he needed someone who could "hold a steady beat" for the band on the Bass Drum. Uncle Len, as we all called him, said that he would show me how to play the drum and that I would have no trouble. I was a student that was in most everything. I sang in the Glee Club (which was also known far and wide), I was active in the Thespians (putting on plays), and I was generally involved in a lot of things. Uncle Len said that I had the talent and he wished I would play the bass drum for him. Of course, I said "Yes", and that started my band career. Another story on that later.

The drums were located at the rear of the band room at the farthermost point in the semi-circle arrangement of the instruments. One day at practice, I happened to look across the heads of the band members and spotted The Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw. She was playing a flute up on the front row near where Uncle Len stood. She was blond headed, blue eyed, five feet two inches and a general "knockout." When I suddenly noticed her I said: "Who is that!" She was also a majorette so that tells you a lot about her beauty because the Big Blue and White had the prettiest majorette corps you ever saw. Anyway, I decided I would try to talk to her when we left the band building after practice. That's exactly what I did. I made sure I left as she did and I took up my place next to her as we walked across the back campus. "Man, that was a hard practice session wasn't it", I said. "Yes, it was". That's all. She wouldn't talk to me. I tried a couple of other approaches. Same basic response. She was toting an armload of books and tending to her business. Well, I tried that approach several more times with varying success so I decided that maybe she wasn't for me. I thought, "let her go, there's more than one monkey in the jungle."

I found out that this pretty girl, Carolyn Gibbs, was working at the Tift Theater each day and that's where she was going after band practice. I also found out that she lived about two blocks up the street from me. How had I missed her! Amazing! Anyway, one day I was walking up College Avenue going to a ball field where I was going to meet some friends and fly model airplanes. I was walking up the street (we walked in those days) with my plane and all the paraphernalia that goes along with flying it, when, much to my chagrin, there was this pretty girl sitting on the front porch of her friend who lived near her and they were sitting there talking. I wanted to eat that plane. Get rid of it. Too late. So, I spoke to them and went on my way trying to hide the plane on the opposite side of my body. Didn't work.

A couple of days later while leaving band practice, I was walking across the campus by myself when someone said: "Did you get your plane to fly?" Lo and behold it was her...The Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw! She actually spoke to me first! "Yes, I flew it, but I really don't do that kind of thing very much." Anyway, we talked as we walked and I and suddenly I found that we were at the Tift Theater in downtown Tifton about half a mile away. I did that many times. Our friendship developed, we dated for a couple of years after which we were married on June 16, 1962. We have been side by side for fifty four years now and she has made a wonderful Pastor's wife. She is still The Prettiest Girl I Ever Saw.

William F. Harrell

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