Remembering Sharon

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

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Sharon Burrell was a lovely little lady who always greeted me warmly. Most of my early meetings with her were at Tryon Federal (now Home Trust) when she was a teller there. Sharon was always friendly and courteous, and I looked forward to seeing her. 

Her late husband Tommy came to our house with other men of the church during one of my hospitalizations to do some yard work for me. Also, I asked her son Cale about my Uncle Wallace’s clarinet, which came to me when he died. I wound up donating the clarinet to the Polk County High School band.

Bandleader Cindy Gilbert gladly received the “antique” instrument, marveling at its age. I had hoped that she could get the repairs done, as mentioned by Cale, and then make it available to a cadet. No idea what happened to the clarinet.

I am really happy for Jeff Allison to be running the TDB and its other publications without giving up his duties as pressman. I suppose he just comes in earlier in the day! I had offered to show him around the place, pointing out how it was when I was a boy just starting to work there. Jeff has taken me up on that, although now I cannot go up and down long flights of stairs comfortably. However, we have visited together on the main floor.

We put out the papers by a process called “letterpress” printing back then, and “offset” was a dirty word. Too much ink would result in the printed image being deposited on the next sheet of paper (“offset”), only getting worse as the weight of the stack of paper coming off the press increased. 

When I was in the Air Force, my unit prepared original copy for “offset printing,” a process in which the image is transferred gently by chemical means (oil and water don’t mix). The heavy presses were replaced at first by a neat little machine called a “multilith.” Elbert Arledge had one in his shop as he transitioned from letterpress to offset printing.

The linotype machine went out the big window in the back room which now serves as office for the advertising department. We had a nice view of the phone company offices below; now there are no operators inside, only switching machinery. Ah, progress!

Seth Vining Sr. donated a printing press and several trays of type to Tryon School; we “Bulletin boys” set the type and published a little paper (size of the TDB then) c.1943. I think we managed to get out two issues of the “Tryon Peek” in the entire school year!

Hub Arledge donated one of his presses to the Polk County Historical Association Museum when it was in the Tryon Depot. More recently, he brought us a form and type which we placed on the press. Now we can print copies of Hub’s billhead for his former printing business, from which he has now retired. 

Enjoyed a great reunion with friend Digit Laughridge, who invited me to breakfast with him at the Café La Gaule. We met at the now defunct TJ’s restaurant south of Tryon several years ago; we had not seen each other since TJ’s closed. I asked him about his unusual given name, and got a story about that. We swapped yarns well into the day.

Digit is a talented calligrapher; he sent me two letters, addressed and written in a practiced hand. He used to write “Jackie” on his guest check at TJ’s. Always beautiful calligraphy. I used to do some of that, but never achieved the consistency that Digit does. I want to discuss that with him at our next meeting, to which I shall invite myself.  

Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or

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