By Don McAlavy: Local Columnist
Bob Vivian, back in 1978, gave me a 1924 Clovis High School “All-Band” photo. What appeals to those who see it in the Curry County History book, page 77, at the Clovis library, is Selecta Cumpton, the band’s mascot, whom everyone called Midget.
As a child she was so small that the family could only find soft baby shoes to fit her.
To save wear on them, her brothers of normal size would carry her the long distance to school in Chicago where she was probably born.
She came to Clovis to live with her relatives. Mrs. Charles (Myrna) Smith was a second cousin. Midget was her grandfather’s brother’s daughter.
It so happened that “Buster Brown,” a dwarf, and his dog Tige were in Clovis in 1924 promoting Buster Brown shoes at Rhodes Men’s Store. He was invited for supper at Midget’s home here, and they hit it off right from the start.
Let’s back up and learn about Buster Brown. In about 1878, George Warren Brown invested his savings and founded a little company in St. Louis to manufacture and sell shoes.
A young Brown Shoe executive met Buster Brown’s creator. Yes, I said creator.
Buster Brown was a mischievous cartoon character created by cartoonist Richard F. Outcault, and Buster Brown was known throughout the land. Buster Brown, in the cartoons, not only had a dog name Tige, but a sister Mary Jane, and all the kids loved those three characters.
George Warren Brown met Outcault and bought the name “Buster Brown” from the cartoonist. The shoe company made marketing history when it sent on the road a series of dwarfs, each one dressed as Buster Brown and accompanied by a dog name Tige. The years the Buster Brown characters were on the road were from 1904 through 1930.
In Clovis, Selecta “Midget” Cumpton was popular, beautiful and a real young lady. Midget started each home football game with a kickoff. It was said that the games would have been “pepless” without her.
She lived in Clovis for three years, became the mascot for the Clovis Schools All-Band and graduated in 1924. The band was created by Professor Ward V. Croft of Clovis, a music teacher.
In that year of 1924 many graduated, but this Clovis Schools All-Band also had some elementary students, too, one I remember was Bob Vivian. Other band members were Gordon Fitzhugh, Andrew Sutter, Dale Campbell, Roy Walker, Gaylord Cravy, Herman Phelps, Chester Marsh, Bill Nichols, Coleman Lish, Otis Kelley, Coyt Jackson, John Tipton, Vernon Osborn, and Stuart Long, to name most of them. A lot of them were seniors.
Buster Brown and Midget later married and became Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Cliston and settled in Austin, Texas. They had three little children. Then she became a grandmother. I think that’s wonderful. There are several photos of her in the 1924 CHS annual if you can find one, but first look at the photo in the Curry County History book, page 77, in the Clovis-Carver Public Library.