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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: A Skunk Visits Jackson High School

flickr user Christa Gampp
When a student placed a skunk in Jackson High School in 1938, principal Mark Scully took matters into his own hands. In the picture above, the skunk is played by an actor and is not the skunk in question.

In the fall of 1938 Mark Scully was named the principal of Jackson High School in Jackson, Missouri. Young Mark Scully said that his days as principal and teacher in Jackson were some of the most enjoyable of his 47 year career. Well…all but one.

Early one morning in the late autumn of 1941, Scully opened the door to the high school and immediately recognized the powerful odor of a skunk – the smell penetrating every corner of the building.

A quick survey located the body of the small creature directly under a radiator in the main corridor. In a manner distinctive of his administrative style, Scully determined that he would locate the culprit and that he would do so quickly.

He was confident that this was the act of a student from a local farm. He quickly located the bus rosters, and identified a shy young man who delivered fresh milk to the Scully family. Scully liked the youngster and believed that he was someone he could trust and who could help identify a likely suspect.

When the young man, who we will call “Richard,” came to school, Scully met him, took him to the office and with the bus rosters in his hand, sat down next to Richard. He said, “Now Richard! I want to know who would do this terrible thing!”

Richard paused…and then began to cry and confessed to the action, saying “Oh Mr. Scully…I’m sorry. I did not know it would be this bad.” Case closed.

Years later when Dr. Scully was president of Southeast Missouri State University, Richard came to visit and both of them had a good laugh about the skunk who came to Jackson High School in the autumn of 1941.

It seems like Almost Yesterday.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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