Former B-E librarian visits newspaper

Submitted by Bonnie Edgington

Carrie Gass from Bishopville, stopped by The Advertizer Herald Publishing Company to visit the hometown newspaper office. She was surprised to hear that the former owners, Carl and Betty Kilgus, no longer owned the newspaper, and she was delighted to be remembered by the Publisher, Joyce Searson, as a very familiar face in the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Library during her high school years.

Gass was carrying a 1968 B-E High School Novel in hand in which she used to reminisce showing the old pictures. During the years 1958-1968, she was the teaching Librarian in this area which began her tenure at Richard Carroll High School for eight years and for two years, at B-E High School’s library as a full time Librarian. During the integration process in 1965, she volunteered to transfer to B-E High School Library as the first black to work on staff at the time.

Gass came to the Bamberg area for a day trip to visit friends and the schools. She was disappointed to not get to see her best friend who wasn’t home. When asked who she was, Carrie said, “Her name is Lucia Odom; to know Lucia is to love her.” When asked what she thought of the changes in these many years in Bamberg, she said, “There have been a lot of changes to the schools, the town, and the community in how they’ve grown.”

When Gass left the Bamberg school system in 1968, she became a Librarian at Mt. Pleasant High School, where she retired in 1993. But... she remembers Bamberg as a place where she began her journey as a public servant. She said, “If my mother had not needed my care back home in Bishopville, I could easily have made Bamberg my home.”

She attends yearly class reunions at Richard Carroll High School. She said, “I’m so proud of many of the students who have gone on and excelled in their chosen fields of work.” The students are the reason why Gass keeps in contact with the school.

On her next visit to the Bamberg area, Gass said she will contact Miss Odom beforehand and not surprise her. The big surprise to Lucia will be her name mentioned a few times in the local newspaper.

To all Bamberg residents who remember her presence in B-E’s library as a teenager growing up, she said, “I want to give my love and best wishes to all whom have remembered me.”