Bankhead House & Heritage Center
Site of Fateful Reunion 60 Years in the Making
By Brenda Beard
It is a warm Sunday afternoon during the summer of 2012. John K. “Jack” Taggart III, his wife Libby and their daughter Anna were spending a weekend in Jasper with his sister Kathy Taggart Stough and her husband Tommy. It was a small family reunion but it was about to be a big family reunion!
The Taggart family lived in the Bankhead House during the 1940s and early 1950s so Jack wanted his family to see his one-time home and the remarkable restoration that had taken place.
It was all a matter of timing that fateful day. As the Taggart family arrived in the parking lot behind the house, two cars stopped in front of the house to read the William B. Bankhead historical marker. A very nice lady walked to the front door and I invited her to come in. She casually mentioned that her grandmother, “Big Mama,” had worked for the Bankhead and Taggart families and that she had lived with her in a house near Ninth Avenue on the Bankhead House property. I then said “Well, you are not going to believe this but Kathy Taggart is in the house right now!” She immediately ran in her direction calling her name. It turns out she was Mary Adella “Maybelle” Thompson, Kathy’s childhood playmate and friend. As the story starts to unfold, Jack immediately goes out to the cars still parked in front of the house where he discovers his childhood friend Bobby Bean, Maybelle’s brother.
Sixty years had passed since they last saw each other. Bettye and Dickie Freeman and I (all high school friends of Jack) witnessed a most joyous, tear-filled reunion. Could both of these families arriving at the exact same time have been just a coincidence? I don’t think so!