PHOTO COURTESY MARION BROWN
In our December issue, I told you about Stella Stevens, the Memphis girl who went on to fame and fortune in Hollywood. Most of our readers, it seems, knew bits and pieces of the life of Stella — real name: Estelle Eggleston — but there seemed to be some confusion about where, exactly, she attended school while she was living in Memphis.
I later turned up an old yearbook photo from Sacred Heart that showed the young girl when she was in the 10th grade there. But some readers insisted that Stella/Estella also attended St. Anne School on Highland, which would have been much closer to her home on Carrington than Sacred Heart. Even so, the evidence was lacking.
And then I got a nice email from one of our city's top-top historians, Dr. John Harkins, author of Metropolis on the American Nile and other very fine history books, and here's what he had to say:
"I wish that I had known you were going to do an article on Estelle. She did indeed go to St. Anne's parish school at Highland and Spottswood. I am going to attach her fourth-grade class picture for you. Can you tell which is she? If not, let me know and I will point her out. I did not attend St. Anne until the sixth grade, but we were in the same class for a couple of years. She is not in our 1952 eighth-grade graduation photo and must have transferred before then."
Here's the photo John sent me (he got it from Marion Brown, who attended St. Anne's — just trying to give credit where credit is due). I think it's pretty easy to spot Stella; she's the pretty little blonde girl sitting in the third desk, in that first row next to the blackboard (closest to all the boys, of course).
Okay, in the world of Stella Stevens, where does this leave us? We have confirmed that she attended St. Anne at least through the fourth grade. Yearbook photos show her at Sacred Heart in the 10th and 11th grades. So ... where did she attend junior high school, between grades five and nine? I'll let you know when I find out.
Many thanks, John, for passing along the nice photo. I wonder if any of the other kids in the picture remember Stella, and have stories to share of her before she became famous?