Discovering a Tennessee connection in Las Vegas

Jacque Hillman 
Community  Editor
The Jackson Sun

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The world is truly a small place. I traveled thousands of miles to Las Vegas to an editor’s convention last week, sat down to talk with a congenial guy from Washington, D. C., who turned out to be from Paris.

Walter Veazey is now the assistant managing editor for features at Scripps Howard News Service.

He told me about one of Paris’ famous citizens, Dr. E. W. Grove who founded the

Paris Medical Company and invented Groves Chill Tonic, Bromo-Quinine and the Four-Way Cold Tablet. His company was later sold to a St. Louis pharmaceutical firm. Then Dr. Grove created the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N. C., which is nationally known.

Veazey explained that Dr. Grove’s tonic was a boon to ladies of the 1900’s. They were not allowed to drink, but the tonic had plenty of alcohol.

As we waited for author Pat Conroy to speak, Veazey said he messed up his perfect attendance record in high school by skipping two days.

"How is Casey Jones Village going?" he asked. "I hitchhiked to Jackson to hear Casey Jones’ fireman speak. He was supposed to sing the Casey Jones song, but he sang a different version that was pretty bawdy. They hadn’t planned on him doing that, I’m sure."

The other time Veazey skipped school, he said it was when they were filming "Raintree County" starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. He hitchhiked to the movie site and sat on a hill to watch.

"They broke for lunch and Taylor and Clift came walking straight toward me. He veered off to the right and she kept coming. She smiled and said, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be in school?’ I told her I’d skipped. She smiled at me again. And I was just frozen in place. I couldn’t think of anything to say. Finally, I said, ‘Would you like my tuna sandwich?’ and she said, ‘Why, yes, thank you.’ So I gave her half of a sandwich."

Veazey smiled in remembrance and shook his head slightly. "She was so beautiful."

In the mega-glitz city of gambling, it was great hearing West Tennessee memories that glowed far brighter than all the lights in Las Vegas.

Reprinted from The Jackson Sun, Jackson, Tennessee
2002 ~ Used by permission ~ The Jackson Sun retains full rights.

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We truly appreciate Ms. Hillman securing permission for us to reprint this article and
The Jackson Sun for granting permission.

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Walter Veazey was a member of  the Grove High Class of  1961.