I’ve been reading the old Times-Echo columns of Virginia Tyler again. They are certainly an interesting glimpse into the Eureka Springs of yesteryear. It seems that everyone in town of a certain longevity knew and remembers Virginia Tyler. People remember her wit and kindness, but they especially recall her love and knowledge of all things Eureka Springs. I’ve also heard some unexpected gossip hinted at about her. I asked a guy I know, “Are the stories about Virginia Tyler true?”
“All of them,” he answered.
That didn’t clarify matters much, but I decided it really wasn’t my business anyway. A deceased lady known for her kindness, writing, and love of Eureka Springs and the Ozarks; I can’t help but feel that I should be on her team.
The tone of her writing was usually both eager and earnest, sometimes even breathless, like she couldn’t wait to get it written down. I made up the following as an example of the type of story she’d tell. She was walking to the New Orleans Hotel to meet the Ukulele Club in the lobby when she met a tourist in an old Ford with bald tires from a little town in Minnesota. She told the tourist about the old lady that rode a Jersey cow because she had a little dog named Nipper that had been brought to town by old Mr. Miller. When old Mr. Miller died he bequeathed Nipper to the old lady because she always laughed when little Nipper chased his tail whenever someone recited Latin. And, of course, the funny part of the story was that old Mr. Miller had retired from the same small town as the tourist in the Ford with bald tires. And Virginia Tyler regretted that she’d only had a few minutes to talk to the tourist because it was her turn to put out the snacks. Some of her stories are amazing.
I hope that the silly rumors that circulate won’t discourage people from seeking out Miss Tyler’s columns. I also hope that when the columns are read and enjoyed that the readers can’t help but feel the same fondness that I have for Virginia Tyler.