Talented Tuesday

Today is Talented Tuesday. While I think I come from a line of very talented ancestors, the person that came to mine in my family was my Great Aunt Cora Cook Thomas(1893-1987). She was a concert violinist and supposedly she went to Juilliard School of Music. I am not sure when she attended this prestigeous school, but it was probably in the period from 1914- 1920 something. From there she toured and then settled back in Texarkana, Arkansas and taught violin and other stringed instruments. My mother, Norma (Nancy) Sain McGraw took violin lessons from her and so did I. 

My family lived in Texarkana from 1956 to 1961, and this is the time period I knew her. She was very flamboyant. Her signature color was red. She three cook sisters 1950sdressed in red and her car was red. She had long black hair and always wore it up in a bun. She is the one in the middle with my grandmother Jessie Cook Sain on the left and their sister Margaret Cook on the right. This picture was probably taken in the early 1950s.

Cora had a Chihuahua and if I think long enough I might remember the dog’s name. The dog was always put in a little dog carrier when we visited and would bark at us from its safety. Cora was married to “Ernie Pie.” (Ernest R. Thomas 1899-1974). I am not sure when they married but it was late in their lives. She was older than him and lied about her age to him.

I had a period in my life when I dreamed of being a concert violinist, but truth be told I just was not talented. I did not have the ear to even tune my violin. But I did learn to appreciate music and am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from Cora.

This morning I was curious and goggled Cora Cook and found her in a couple of places. One was at the Texarkana Genealogical Society Page where it shows her as a senior in the Arkansas High School 1913 roster. Then there was a mention of her on the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program page regarding the Texarkana Municipal Building. In the description of the history of the building, there is mention of it being used for concerts, including recitals of guitar students of Cora Cook. I believe I have seen a picture of my mother on this stage with a group of Cora’s students in the early 1930s. I will have to see if it is in my possession.

Here is a picture of the sisters in the same order as the picture above when they were a lot younger, about 1904:

3 cook sisters about 1904

Till next time, MK



  1. November 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    What a precious picture of the girls.

  2. Rebecca said,

    August 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Interesting post. Ernest Roy Thomas was my great-grandfather, by his first wife Ethel. He later married Cora Cook, who was a music teacher in Joplin, Mo before they moved to Texarkana.

    • mkaymac said,

      August 2, 2012 at 12:09 am

      My great aunt Cora called your great-grandfather Ernie Pie. I would love some information about his family. I never knew he had any children or was married before. When we lived in Texarkana (1956-1961) I took Violin lessons from Cora and they entertained my family at their home many times. One time Ernie took my brother and I on a road trip to Shevreport, LA once when he went to the base there. As I remember he was a very kind man. He would of have to of been to put up with my great aunt Cora.

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