Ni­chols Shares Mem­o­ries Of SWC

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Rachel Dick­er­son

Bertha Ni­chols, a life­long res­i­dent of South­west City and a reg­u­lar at the South­west City Se­nior Cen­ter, re­cently shared some mem­o­ries of her life.

She grad­u­ated from South­west City High School in 1943. There were 27 in her grad­u­at­ing class, and four are still liv­ing, she said. She mar­ried Bob Ni­chols in June 1947. They had two sons, Dr. Robert Ni­chols of Fort Scott, Kan., and Neal Ni­chols of Over­land Park, Kan.

Bob was a part­ner in Ni­chols Broth­ers store, where Bertha worked for about 30 years, she said. In 1976, a fire de­stroyed part of the de­part­ment store in­clud­ing men’s and women’s cloth­ing and dry goods, she said.

She and Bob were al­ways in­volved in the com­mu­nity. He was mayor for 28 years, she said, and she served as 4-H leader for sev­eral years.

“Bob was a mem­ber of Li­ons, and I was a mem­ber of Lady Li­ons,” she added.

They were in­volved in the Old-Timers Day Pa­rade in 1991.

Bertha al­ways made pop­corn balls for Hal­loween, un­til her num­ber of trick-or­treaters ex­ceeded 200, she said.

“When it got over 200, I had to quit,” she said.

“I think our town is a great place to raise chil­dren,” Bertha said of South­west City. “Kids are just bet­ter when they’re raised in a small town. They have more free­dom.”

She con­tin­ued, “To me, my kids were easy to raise here. They had Honey Creek that they could hunt and fish. They had Lit­tle League here. It was easy to raise my chil­dren here be­cause that was the days you didn’t have to worry if they went down to the creek, which they did a lot.”

She said the town has changed a lot over the years. The Sim­mons plant has come to town, bring­ing more peo­ple; and more busi­nesses have shut down. She said the town used to have two de­part­ment stores, two drug stores, a hard­ware store and more.

“We even had a theater here at one time,” she said.

Ev­ery Satur­day the city used to have a draw­ing for money, up to $25. “The town would be to­tally crowded. At least 100 peo­ple,” she said. At Thanks­giv­ing, the city would throw tur­keys off a high build­ing and let peo­ple catch them.

“Our town has changed, but I’m still happy to live here,” she said.

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

South­west City res­i­dent Bertha Ni­chols is pic­tured at the South­west City Se­nior Cen­ter.

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