HONORED: 1947 Miss Brundidge celebrated

Published 2:13 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Juanita Holmes Bush vaguely remembers the night she was crowned Miss Brundidge.

“That was 70 years ago,” Bush said with a smile. “But I’m sure I was surprised and excited. I have a photograph from the newspaper of my friends, Dorothy Lee Helms (Laney) and Eva Nell Whittington (Steed), with me on that night. We were young girls back then.”

On Saturday night, Bush once again took center stage at her Alma Mater. She was introduced to the audience of the Miss and Little Miss Brundidge pageant at the Pike County High School Fine Arts Building as the first young woman to be honored as Miss Brundidge. The year was 1947. World War II had ended and she and her classmates at PCHS had high hopes for their futures.

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“Times were very different,” Bush said. “Times were simple and girls didn’t have the opportunities they do now. The Miss Brundidge Pageant was one of the few things we could compete in because girls didn’t play sports. I was a cheerleader and got to cheer for the football team.”

Bush also took advantage of the opportunity to compete in the Miss Troy Pageant. “The pageant was an opportunity to meet girls from the city and make new friends,” she said. “The way I got to be in the Miss Troy Pageant was that I worked at the Thrifty Store in Troy and that qualified me. I didn’t win but I had a good time.”

Other than school and church activities, going to the picture show and to square dances were the special things for young people to do.

After graduation from Pike County High School, Bush attended Judson College for two years.

Then, a young man from Troy, Ellis Bush, came into her life.

“Back then, young men who wanted to become ministers were given opportunities to take the pulpit,” said Bush, who was in the congregation one Sunday when young Ellis Bush preached. Evidently, at some point during his sermon, his eyes fell upon a member of the congregation, Juanita Holmes.

“He asked me for a date and five weeks later we were engaged,” Bush, said with a smile. “Ellis was teased that the reason he was interested in me was because I could play the piano and sing. Those are good traits for a preacher’s wife.”

Together, they attended Howard College, both majoring in English. After graduation in 1951, he entered the ministry and she became a preacher’s wife, roles that suited each of them perfectly.

Today, Bush makes her home at Noble Manor in Troy. She continues to enjoy life with her family and friends. She cherishes the memories of the life she shared with her husband, her family and all the memories that make up “such a wonderful life.”

When the first Miss Brundidge was crowned in 1947, she had no idea where life would lead her, but with God leading the way, it has been a remarkable journey.

Bush applauded all participants in the Miss and Little Miss Brundidge pageant and congratulated the winners of each division.

India Moultry, Pike County High School, was crowned Miss Brundidge 2018 and Kaylei Humphrey, Ozark City Schools, was crowned Little Miss Brundidge 2018.

The winners in the other divisions were: Tiny Miss Brundidge Mia Gibson; Petite Miss Brundidge Julianna Knight, Pike Liberal Arts School; Young Miss Brundidge Emma Crawley, Goshen Elementary; Pre-Teen Miss Brundidge Aicey Hawkins, Charles Henderson Middle School; and Teen Miss Brundidge Payton Sasser, Pike Liberal Arts School.

Parish Adams, Miss Brundidge 2017, and Jamari Cole, Little Miss Brundidge 2017, relinquished their crowns after representing the city of Brundidge with pride and distinction during their 2017-2018 reigns, said Reba Davis, a pageant coordinator.