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The Legend of Pearl

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The Legend of Pearl

Beverly Manley

The Legend of Pearl

Foley, Alabama

In 1941 as the US was entering the Second World War, a young lady named Pearl was turning 17.  She lived in Daphne but made the trip to Foley each weekend to visit her best friend who lived there.  Foley was a hub of military activity in Baldwin County.  Between Barin Field, Ft. Morgan and the two POW camps, there was a great number of military men in the area.  USO activities were routinely held in the American Legion Post 99 which had come to be known as USO Hall.  It is now the home of the Gift Horse Restaurant. 

Pearl would usually try to hitch a ride with the army supply truck that ran between Daphne and Ft. Morgan on Fridays so that she and her friend Olivia could work the USO dances.  She was usually found at the lemonade table.  She and the army driver, Joey, soon fell in love and the rest is history.   They would dance away the weekends at the USO hall to their favorite song, Glen Miller’s “String of Pearls”. They were very happy until Joey received his orders to go to Europe.  As he was about to depart he presented her with a string of pearls as a marriage proposal.  They were wed before he left and she moved to Foley to wait for his return.  Instead, she received notice that he was missing in action. 

She never lost hope for his return.  She would wander the streets in the blue dress and pearls she wore to see him off.  She seemed to lose touch with reality and lived more and more in her memories.  She would wander into the skating rink that took the place of the USO hall and later when it became a hardware store she would enter asking if anyone cared for lemonade.  She would find her way to the train depot each evening and await her beloved’s return.  Eventually, Pearl died a quiet death. 

Soon thereafter, people began reporting seeing a mist moving down the street that resembled a woman in a blue dress. The hardware store employees reported hearing the haunting strains of Glen Miller and occasionally caught a glimpse of a couple floating on air as they danced.  She would be seen on the bench outside the defunct and crumbling train depot.  In 1971 the train service ended but a steam engine was run for the bicentennial.  Most of the passengers were dressed in colonial garb, but one was wearing a WWII era navy dress.  When the City of Foley decided to demolish the depot, John Snook, owner of Gulf Telephone Co. purchased it and moved it to Magnolia Springs, believing the city would one day regret its demise.  Of course he was right and the building was returned in 1995 and became the City of Foley Museum.  During its 24-year absence, no one reported seeing Pearl.  However, now that it is back in its rightful place, a ghostly specter can sometimes be seen on the bench facing the tracks, still awaiting her beloved.