Ratcliff loves talking about Ferriday’s famous folks
FERRIDAY, La. – When Glenn Ratcliff talks about the famous people of his adopted hometown, he comes to life.
&uot;The place Jerry Lee used to play? It was just as you’re going out of town. The vacant lot on your right – that’s where it was. … Kids were too young to be in there, but they snuck in anyway.&uot;
Ratcliff, who was born in Monroe but moved to Ferriday in 1960, volunteers at the Ferriday Museum whenever he is needed, greeting visitors and guiding them on tours of displays depicting the town’s famous sons and daughters.
There are displays with memorabilia of three famous first cousins who grew up together in Ferriday: country star Mickey Gilley, legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart.
Others include blues and jazz artist Leon &uot;Pee Wee&uot; Whittaker, journalist Howard K. Smith and Ann Boyar Warner, wife of Jack L. Warner of Warner Brothers Studios.
&uot;When you’ve got as many famous people as Ferriday has, you should want to show it,&uot; Ratcliff said.
For Ratcliff, who retired in 1992 after 32 years of managing Concordia Drug Store, volunteering at the museum, on North E.E. Wallace Boulevard, hardly seems like work.
&uot;Mr. Whittaker gave us that trombone to use in the display right before he died,&uot;&160;Ratcliff said, pointing to an instrument mounted on the wall.
&uot;Here’s where Mickey Gilley signed his name and dated it,&uot;&160;he said, pointing to a signature in the museum’s guestbook.
Ratcliff was also quick to point out that the guestbook also contains the names and hometowns of visitors from as far away as Europe and Australia.
&uot;You get to meet so many people,&uot; he said. &uot;You’d be surprised how many people from overseas have been to this museum.&uot;
In fact, besides the extra facts he has learned about Ferriday, meeting people is one of the things Ratcliff enjoys the most about volunteering at the museum – and it seems that he goes the extra mile to make visitors welcome.
Once last year, he even bought soft drinks to serve to a group of 25 people from Monroe. &uot;Well, they were older people and they had been touring all day,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;Thought they might be a little thirsty.&uot;