Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 20, 2014

A special journey

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — It was a long and most unusual journey for an old school yearbook that’s sure to bring a few extra special memories for one Pauls Valley alum.

Literally found in the wall of a local house being remodeled was a 1957 PVHS yearbook with a special message written inside to his father by Eric Driskill when he was just a youngster.

Driskill, a local 1987 grad himself, doesn’t really remember writing in the yearbook that belonged to his late dad, Harrell Driskill.

Still, the words penned by Eric all those years ago, ‘To a cool guy, your son, love Eric Driskill,” will likely be a special keepsake once his father’s old yearbook is in his hands.

“I was kind of floored,” Driskill said about his father’s yearbook being found with a note inside written by him as a young boy.

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s pretty phenomenal. I was almost in disbelief.”

When first told about it Driskill wasn’t sure he was the one who wrote the message. A digital photo of the message confirmed for him that it was indeed his handwriting.

The yearbook’s journey actually began last summer when Ray Loper and his son Hunter, an eighth grade student at the local junior high, were working in an old house on South Pecan as part of a remodeling project.

While tearing out a wall they found a whole variety of items had been stashed inside.

“We found that book and a whole bunch of newspapers,” Loper said.

“We found a lot of different items someone had put in the wall behind the sheetrock.”

Not sure how the items got there or when, the father and son thought maybe a family relative had once lived in the house.

They hung onto the book until Hunter took it with him to school this past week, maybe see if someone could help to find the rightful owner.

That triggered a series of events starting with junior high math teacher Sharon Bratcher.

When the teacher’s husband Steve Bratcher saw the book it was truly eye-opening for sure.

“A lot of people had written messages in the yearbook,” Bratcher said. “There was this one that stood out because it was in red ink.

“I realized this was Eric’s dad’s yearbook,” he said about seeing the message written by the younger Driskill.

“We went to school together. Eric is a Facebook friend of mine.”

Bratcher posted the amazing find and got in contact with Driskill.

Now he intends to mail it to his friend in St. Louis, Mo., sure to add an unusual twist to the memories of his father.

“The hero of the story is this student,” Bratcher said about Hunter. “What he did was find the yearbook and save it from being destroyed.

“Now it’s become this cool local story with Eric getting this yearbook that belonged to his father.”