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Bill Cotter

A world's fair mystery solved!

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A few years ago I shared this picture of four young ladies enjoying some Bel Gem waffles.


We had a lot of speculation on who the young ladies were, but no way to track them down. Well, last week I supplied the photo to Associated Press for a story on waffles at the Fair, hoping one of them might spot themselves.



Dear Mr. Cotter!
I was utterly amazed when I read the AP story that ran Earth Day, April 22, with the headline "U.S. met a new fluffy treat 50 years ago" by Ula Ilnytzky, and there was a picture of myself and three of my high school friends eating the belgian waffles that debuted at that World’s Fair! You took that picture!

I kept saying “That’s me! That’s me!” What are the chances (probably the same as winning the lottery!) that one of your World’s Fair pictures featuring me and my girlfriends would illustrate this story!

I don’t suppose I could get a copy of your photograph, could I?

Thank you!
Carolyn Bratton


What a great surprise to hear from you. People have asked me for some time
now if I knew who the girls in the photo were, and all I could say is "I
hope they spot themselves." And here you are. Which of the young ladies is

I've attached a copy of the photo for you. If you would like to get some
current publicity I'm sure the reporters would be interested. If you're
still in the NY area we could get you eating waffles again.

Are you in touch with the others in the photo?




Dear Mr. Cotter!
Wow! I am so happy to have gotten in touch with you! Many thanks for your kind reply and for the photo! The quality is much better than the one in the paper!

Yes, we all are still alive and well! We were there on a high school trip from our home town of Bluefield, WVA. From left to right is “Doc” Woods, Patricia Baldwin, myself (Carolyn Bratton) and I think Anne Rees Stuart.

It would be fun to re-do the photo but we’re all scattered about!

Many thanks for all of the archiving you’ve done! You have a great passion for it!

Carolyn Bratton

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What an awesome story Bill, and what an awesome end to a 50 year mystery! Of course it really wasn't much of a mystery until you presented the photo of seemingly random people that, naturally, got PTUers thinking "I wonder who those ladies are?". It seems very appropriate that the mystery was solved on the anniversary of the opening of the Fair too! Thanks so much for sharing that with us.

Speaking of the anniversary, I was very disappointed not to be able to get out to FMCP for the anniversary festivities (especially the opening of the NYSP and your presentation).

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That's wonderful! You must be so happy. What a nice memory you returned to those girls. :-)

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