Imagine a young man or woman who decided to enlist in World War II. After sharing the news with family and neighbors, the person sets out to visit with friends.

If the enlistee lived in or near Pineville, one of the adult friends he or she probably visited was Bonnibel (Brown) Sweet, who co-owned Brown’s Sundries with her sister Jean from 1929 to 1978. The drugstore was a popular hangout after school and on weekends. Not surprisingly, a fond relationship developed between the two sisters and the youngsters who visited their store.

When a local enlisted person stopped by during WWII, Bonnibel gave each a silver dollar to carry. It was a reminder that the person was always in the thoughts of family and friends. Bonnibel told each enlistee that she would love to receive photographs and letters.

Out of friendship and appreciation for her thoughtfulness, many servicemen and women did write letters and send photographs. Bonnibel saved the cherished items and placed them in an album.

About 75 years later, Bonnibel’s grandson Michael Goodman surprised the McDonald County Historical Society with a donation of his grandmother’s album that contains 120 photographs. Unfortunately, few have names on them.

Because the gift is a historical treasure trove, the society is determined to identify the veterans and display their photographs in the military room at the museum, located in the old courthouse on the square in Pineville.

The society is posting the photographs one at a time on the group’s Facebook page and is asking anyone who recognizes the veterans to contact the society at mcdonaldcohistory@olemac.net or call 417-223-7700. So far, seven people have been identified. Some veterans may have been from nearby towns and communities or adjacent counties. To view the photographs, visit the society’s website at mcdonaldcohistory.org. When the site opens, click on the Facebook button.

In honor of Bonnibel and Jean, the society has added a 1950’s drugstore at the museum. The room includes a black and white tiled floor, red upholstered seating, a marble countertop and an antique cash register and mirror. One wall has a life size photograph of Bonnibel standing behind her counter. Donna Lou Goodman, one of Bonnibel’s granddaughters, helped create the display.

Photographs of the drugstore are included in the virtual museum tour that can be seen at the society’s website.

Comments or suggestions? Contact Frankie Meyer at frankiemeyer@yahoo.com.

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