When I retired into this fascinating world of writing people’s stories, I never imagined the intriguing rabbit holes I, like Alice, would venture down in order to find possible answers to a wonder triggered by reading something I’ve written.
Recently, I opened an email that read, “Would you be so kind as to guide me to where an answer lies.” Down the rabbit hole I went, as Mr. Emory, a 1965 graduate from Central High School had returned to Fountain City after many years away. He was in search for the origin of the school’s red and black color combination. His diligent searching had turned up nothing so he hoped I could help find the answer.
Since the story that triggered his hope for my help was about the retirement of Central AP J.D. Lambert I went to him for answers, because even though I, too, am a Bobcat, I did not know the answer and my own best Google searching turned up as fruitless as his.
JD answered the bell with the story of Jennie Carter, the home economics teacher in the early 1910s, who the yearbook stated was the keeper of the athletic funds. Before she was hired, the school’s athletic uniforms were tattered and frayed, but after they became tailored due to her home economics skills, of course. The colors became custom as well, a consistent use of red and black.
Legend or rumor has it that she was dating a Georgia football player, but she ended up marrying a postal worker from Grainger County so there was no real confirmation of the rumor or legend. JD points out that there must be a Georgia connection, however, because the colors are definitely red and black and not black and red.
There was also the rumor that Central’s Coach Eubank may have been the link to the red and black as he was an all-Southern Conference guard at Georgia and heralded coach at Central but Lambert says the colors were set long before he was at the school.
We may never know for sure the origin of the red and black, but it is a fun story to keep swirling around as to how one home economics teacher and her romance with a Georgia football player claimed the legacy for decades of athletes in a very orange and white country.
All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org