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Growing Up Grapeland


By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – As part of the “Growing Up Grapeland” series, The Messenger caught up with the 1956 Peanut Queen, Mrs. Linda Faye (Jones) Skidmore. Mrs. Skidmore was in attendance at a Sunday afternoon rehearsal for the 2016 Peanut Queen’s Coronation and recalled how things were when she ran for the title.

“It certainly wasn’t like this,” she laughed. “We sold raffle tickets and whoever sold the most raffle tickets and collected the most money, was the Peanut Queen. We put out ‘penny a vote’ cans all over town and sold the raffle tickets for $1. We had the coronation on Saturday and it was in the old gym. They would present the Queen and all the candidates and they had a contract with some type of talent agency that sent a troupe here. I think it may have been Bobby Lars and they put on several skits, sang songs, danced and performed comedy.”

She added, “They also had a Junior Court with Junior Lady-in-Waiting candidates. The ladies-in-waiting were the seventh and eighth kids. I can’t remember when they started the coronation but some of the first Peanut Festivals were over on the end of the High School, what’s now the Junior High. They held it under the trees with crafts and food booths and the festivities would move from there right to the football game.”

Mrs. Skidmore added, “I was Peanut Queen in 1956. I sold chances and raffle tickets and that was how I got to be Peanut Queen. The VFW got the money and they auctioned off one of the first TVs in Grapeland. They sold the raffle tickets for it and I remember Carol Herod won it. The TV was a round screen, black and white Philco television. It was pretty cool! We got to go and watch TV at our friend’s house.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.