Reagan Bearcats - Memories from the early days
This section contains some interesting stories about "stuff" that happened in early-day Reagan. Many of you can identify with these happenings.....others won't have a clue and will have to dig deeper (ask one of the old timers!!)
We need your stories and pictures of early day reagan.
Send me your memories via an email and I'll add them here.
Reagan Story by Jessie Wyatt Inmann
I just received this great story of Reagan memories from Jessie Wyatt, daughter of Rev. Wyatt, the Reagan Baptist preacher from the summer of 1947 to the summer of 1951. Included with permission of Jessie Wyatt.
The mini-van pulled into the small town where the happiest
years of my
childhood were spent. I had joined my sister, June, to
meet our sisters and
families in Temple to celebrate our mother's eighty-third
October 1998 afternoon was very pleasant and going home,
June wished to show
her son where we grew up.
Reagan, Texas, has always been a quiet farming community in
Cotton, corn, wheat and watermelons grew in abundance. I
was barely seven
years old when we moved there in the late 1940s. Our
father was called to
pastor the First Baptist Church. The town population was
hundred families including the immediate outlying farms.
included a small Negro community at one edge of town and in
Mexican and Polish communities. Most worked the farms
along side the
owners; many were share croppers themselves, my dad
Such fond memories of good people such as unforgettable
neighbor Mrs. Henry Robbins. To a young child she seemed
very old. She
lived in a two story home alone; once a year she allowed my
sister Joan and
me to spend ten minutes in her very neat walk-up attic. It
was a treasure
trove of antiques. We were not allowed to touch anything
but loved the
privilege. She invited dad to pen his hogs with hers, in
return he fed and
processed them all.
No one had AC other than fans, windows and doors stayed
open and unlocked.
Mrs. Robbins listened to my older sisters practice piano
and called mother
to tell her to correct any minor mistake. She had taught
piano in her
Downtown Reagan consisted of two blocks of main street and
street which ran directly into the school housing first
grades. All but seventh had two grades to a room. Eighth
graders and up
rode nine miles on a school bus to Marlin, the big city.
Along with the school, the two blocks of main street had
the U. S. Post
Office; Dunham's Grocery; a feed/seed store; a general
store/gas pumps; beer
Joint; abandoned red brick building which long before had
been a movie
theater and in our time a Five & Dime Store for six months;
and, a yellow
and red abandoned, boarded up train depot.
The main street was one block off the highway with railroad
between. Facing the highway were Kirkpatrick's huge
lumber yard no longer
in use, Pete's Diner/Grocery and another beer joint.
All our years in Reagan, one train came through each
midnight, making a
eerie, lonesome whistle while slowly moving through town.
Most times we
slept through: we named it "The Midnight Creeper". When we
we scared ourselves by talking of the tragic morning my dad
found a severed
foot still in a boot on the tracks. Following the blood
trail, he found a
hobo had crawled up into an old car behind Scoggin's
Grocery and bled out.
We never knew if he had tried to board or jump off the
Scoggin's Grocery sat on the intersecting street on the way
Beside it sat the home of Mrs. Bea Davison, our phone operator.
Standing in her
living room was the switchboard which was no larger than an
upright piano with many plugs connected to wires waiting to
be plugged into
a specific connecting hole above. We all had Party lines,
our ring was one
long and two short. Our wooden based crank phone was wall
mounted. If a family had a phone at all, it only had one phone. Many families did without phone service in Reagan.
The community's life circulated around the family, church
and school. We
also had a Methodist Church and a Negro Baptist Church.
The churches often
combined for community activities. Dad was invited to
preach in the Negro
church several times. Sadly, they never accepted our
Likely, our worship at the time would have inhibited their
worship. I am thankful I was taught to be respectful to
As children in Reagan, our moms knew where we were at all
definitely knew when we were expected home for chores or
was present at their respective tables for this meal: this
was family time;
occasionally, we were allowed to have a friend or we shared
their meal. On
nice school days, we walked the eight blocks home at lunch
for a good
homemade soup or sandwich, big pickle and mom's wonderful
chocolate with a big marshmallow, then, back to school.
We climbed trees, built tree houses, built dirt houses only
to have the boys
swipe our bricks and sticks used for walls, chased fire
flies at night, lay
on blankets identifying constellations and playing "Piggy
Wants a Signal"
long after dark. A group of kids always gathered in our
big side yard for a
game of baseball or croquet. I had great playmates in
Benny, Jean, Beth and
Each Friday night, our school gym/auditorium was open and
to rent skates for 10 cents for the whole evening. The
parents sat in the
bleachers catching up on the latest and keeping eyes on
the teenagers who
tended to pair off and disappear.
We gathered often on church grounds or home yards for
homemade ice-cream or
The mini-van came to a halt. We were in disbelief at
fields. Where were the school, stores, depot and railroad
tracks? Not a
trace evident. Nothing was left of the downtown but the U.
S. Post Office
and a small beauty-gift shop. The old lumber yard still
The three churches still stand. Many homes of the
townspeople who worked in
the stores and school are gone. A number of the old
farming families still
occupy their homes, a few elders with their grown children.
The farmers now
have to go to Marlin for groceries and feed.
A good town can literally be razed but fond memories cannot
be destroyed and
can continue to live on for my nephew and grandchildren
through this and
© Jessie Innmon, 10/03
COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS
Remember when Gene Autry and Roy rogers and Dale Evans rode the silver screens on weekends in Bremond and Marlin and the Reagan boys and girls played cowboys and Indians at every opportunity? Well here's a couple of cowgirls in full costume! This is Jessie on the left and her sister Joan. The photos were taken near the Baptist Parsonage on the west side of HW6 in 1948!(photos curtesy Jessie Wyatt innmon of Austin, Texas)
THE OLD REAGAN GIN TANK
How many of you remember the pleasures of swimming and fishing in the old gin tank located just up the street from Kubiak's Garage (formerly Robins Blacksmith Shop)??? What a great place for kids back in the 40's and 50's! The tank was stocked with Bass and catfish and many a trophy fish went home as the major part of supper!
Luther, Daniel, Leonard, Carl Wayne, Benny, Blake, and other boys frequented the tank when I was a young lad.
The old gin tank has been a part of Reagan's herritage since the 1880's.
It seems like you could land a big perch or bass just about every cast of your cane pole under the shade of those big willow trees that grew next to the water. Then if they were'nt biting, it was time for a dip in the cool waters of that fabulous pond!
Toward the end of one especially dry summer, the tank was down lower than normal and several of the boys including Luther, Daniel, Blake, Benny Morris and others decided to sein the tank and see what fish could be caught. Several times, huge bass were temporarily caught but leeped over the net with their great swimming and fighting ability. Never the less, several of the boys took home a good stringer of fish that day. And the big bass lived to fight another day!
Reagan Gin tank that we fished and swam in as kids during the hot summer days in Reagan. Carl Wayne Evans now owns the early-day treasure of Reagan.
THE BENNY MORRIS ROADSTER
How many of you remember when Benny Morris got that Model A roadster back in the early 1950's and toured the gravel streets of Reagan with as many classmates stuffed inside as was possible!
I know Carl Wayne Evans, Daniel Kubiak, and I were treated to rides in that great touring car. Wonder where it is now??
Or how about the 3-wheeler motorcycle that my brother, Dan Kubiak, bought in Marlin. That World War II vintage Harley was fun on wheels! Often we raced Benny's roadster with the motorcycle up and down the gravel roads of Reagan...What fun!!
How many of you played in the touch football games that sprang up in the streets across from the Methodist church?? I know Carl Wayne and Blake Evans, myself, and my brothers, Dan, and LB were regulars in those great games played in the gravel streets that ran in front of the Reagan Methodist Church.
After talking with former classmate Jessie Wyatt Innman,I learned that similar sporting events took place on the west side of the HW6 in the vacant lot next to the Baptist Parsonage. Of course, the tree-covered lot adjoining the Baptist Church was another major playground (baseball and capture the flag). And the Reagan school campus was great for both football and baseball games that just seemed to happen without too much planning.
FIGHTING GRASS FIRES IN REAGAN
How many of you were part of the fire fighting brigade when grass fires sprang up on the school grounds? And wetted your toe sack in one of the concrete watering troughs at the Kubiak place....The grass on the Reagan school campus was mowed once or twice a year but often was allowed to grow quite tall. Then in the dry times, a spark from a firecracker or a carelessly thrown cigarette would usually set the grass a blaze. Someone would report the fire to the telephone operator who would then sound the siren located on a telephone pole. Every able-bodied person would come running with his or her toe sack.
Since the Kubiak house was the nearest source of water, they would come there to moisten their toe sacks to fight the fire. We would turn the faucet on at the round water trough and open the side gate. People could run in and dampen their toe sacks and go right back to the fire. The trick was to lash away at the leading edge of the fire by working from either edge. The fire was usually being propelled by a south or north wind, depending on the time of the year that the fire happened. Usually after a couple of hours of serious fire fighting by everybody in town, the fire would be brought under control.
Afterwards, all the kids would go down to Pete Saxonís place where he would serve free refreshments to the heroes of the day! What a deal. Singed eyebrows, blackened clothes, blackened faces, and smelling like smoke but proud of our accomplishments. Generally speaking, I donít recall anyone getting seriously hurt fighting these fires. Even the younger boys participated. There would be all kinds of critters out in front of the fire including snakes, rabbits, rats, and wild cats.
OWLS IN THE BELL TOWER OF THE REAGAN METHODIST CHURCH
How many of you remember when the Methodist church got owls nesting in the bell tower? Eventually when the odor began to interfere with church services, someone crawled up into the tower and vacated the owls, and particularly their chicken bones and small critter carcuses that were behind the fowl odor (pun intended).
Reagan Methodist Church. The bell tower was home for nesting Owls and the parking lot made a great football field!
How many of you got an ice cream sandwich and coke at Pete Saxon's place on a lazy Sunday aftertnoon. Pete Saxon was never without his famous sunglasses and hat and wore expensive shoes which we got to shine on a periodic basis to earn a coke or cup of ice cream with a movie star in the lid!
We also were entertained with his stories of his younger days when he ran the mile and made it to the state track meet.
How many of you enjoyed Ben Jefferson's BBQ cooked in an old water cistern out behind my dad's garage (Kubiak's Garage)? Later Ben moved the business to the old Reagan National Bank Building when Dad closed down his business.
Or the halloween when the outhouse appeared on top of Dunham's grocery store with the title, "Sheriff Howell's Office" painted on the door!! The older boys talked of an incident when a wagon was hoisted up on the same roof! "Boys will be boys" as Sheriff Howell used to say meaning he had a good idea who was behind the prank but wasn't going to spend a lot of energy solving it.!
Do you remember when Reagan played Marlin in football and Reagan won (photos curtesy of Julia Whatley, one of my teachers in the 50's that now lives on a farm near Troy, Texas).
REAGAN ELEMENTARY TEAM BEAT MARLIN
ELEMENTARY FRIDAY AFTERNOON, 19 to 13
"Stalwart defensive play highlighted by sharp tackling resulted in a 19 to 13 victory by the Reagan Elementary school over Marlin elementary school.
The game was played Friday afternoon on Reagan's field before an enthusiastic crowd that packed the sidelines. When the first half ended, the score was tied 6 to 6.
Reagan scored first on a left end run by Boyce Moudy and Marlin tied the game shortly afterward.
Reagan crossed the goal line again in the third period when Boyce Moudy carried over once more behind good blockers. Rosy Moudy carried the ball for the extra point. In the same period, Marlin scored and converted and the game was deadlocked at the close of the third quarter.
Early in the fourth period, Reagan scored again and maintained their lead until the end of the game. Marlin and Reagan have played twice with each team winning once. The two teams will meet again in a week or two in the third and sugar game of their series".
REV. WYATT'S HOBO STEW OUTING!
Remember the Cookout at Fish Creek? One of my most enjoyable memories of the church youth group was the Fish Creek cookout. Reverand Wyatt and three or four adult sponsors from the Baptist Church organized a Hobo Stew event for the kids of Reagan one Saturday night. The men built a big fire under a cast iron pot and Reverand Wyatt put on his famous Hobo stew to cook.
A second fire was started under a huge fallen oak tree. Soon the flames from this old tree seemed to reach up and touch the starlit sky. While the men watched the stew, the kids got up a great game of capture the flag. It was extremely exciting being played at night with the darkness providing excellent cover and even a slow runner had a good chance of sneaking up to free a prisoner or attempting to steal the flag.
Soon the delicious aroma rising from the cast iron pot was too much for us. None too soon came the call to supper that we were all waiting for. There is nothing quite so good as a plate of hobo stew cooked oven an open wood fire for a bunch of hungry kids! After supper, we sat around the campfire and sang songs and told ghost stories. For a kid, this was indeed Heaven; an event I'll never forget!
How many of you remember the big hail storm we had in Reagan the night the tornado struck Waco inflicting so many casualities. At the Kubiak homestead, we placed wash tubs over our heads and ran out to get the livestock under shelter. Every time one of those baseball size hail stones would hit the tub, it sounded like thunder. We managed to protect most of our cows and calves that otherwise would have been killed by the hail.
Another thing I remember about that storm was that fish were flopping all over the yard. Apparantly, a twister had passed over a creek or tank and picked up a ton of water and fish and deposited them on the church grounds and our lawns. With the heavy rains, many of the fish were able to float safely back to the creeks.
FORT PARKER EXCURSION
Our Methodist preacher, Joe Philbrick, organized a trip to Fort Parker near Groesbeck.
About 15 of us crammed into two cars headed toward Kosse for our trip to Groesbeck. During the trip, we learned about the early day raids on Fort Parker by the Comanche Indians and how dozens of white settlers were killed and scalped by the Indians. We were fascinated by the story of Cynthia Ann Parker who was taken away as a captive and forced to live with the Indians. The fort and museum were incredibly impressive and I can recall reading every book I could get my hands on about the Indians and their way of life.
Fort Parker left a deep impression on the kids from Reagan. This was real history! Just imagine the terror that Cynthia Ann Parker experience seeing her familay attacked and scalped by the Indians and then being captured by the Indians.
But the most impressive thing was getting to go out in a boat fishing in Lake Fort Parker. While we were standing around waiting to get a boat, I recall seeing pictures of huge catfish that had been caught in the ancient lake. One of the fish filled an old flatbed truck! Maybe we'd catch such a monster! But no such luck. After floating around the lake for several hours in the hot sun reflecting back off the deep blue water of the lake, all we had to show for it was a bunch of sunburned faces and a couple of perch that we threw back.
Fort Parker lake was a great outing for the kids of Reagan. We didn't catch many fish but were impressed by the pictures of the big catfish filling the back of a flatbed truck. We didn't know such monsters existed! Swimming in the roped off area was fun. However, years later, I remember reading about a kid that was killed by water moccasins in the same swimming area.
After the fishing trip, we went swimming in the fenced off portion of the lake. Out about 30 yards in deep water was a floating dock with diving boards. Most of us could swim a little but none of us felt strong enough to swim out to the dock. However the minister, Joe Philbrick and Dan attempted the swim. Dan got most of the way out to the dock and ran into trouble. I think he attempted to turn around and went under. At any rate, he was in serious trouble and Rev. Joe Philbrick, who was only about 5'6", swam out and helped Dan keep afloat by bobbing up and down pushing up from the bottom of the lake. In the meantime, we got an inner tube out to them and the near tragedy was averted.
REAGAN'S OLD PLANK SIDEWALKS
Remember the sounds of footsteps running down the wooden planks of main street Reagan, pausing in front of the windows of the five and dime, going past the grocery store and bank and on down to the Reagan Post Office. Which one of us ever forgot our mail box numer (Box 105) and combination (JK, MN)
RECESS-THE BEST PART OF THE SCHOOL DAY!!
Remember recess on the Reagan school play grounds swinging, sliding, merry-go-rounding, playing cowboys and Indians. The freedom to play whatever you wanted at recess time. The excited sounds of the Reagan children filling the air....gunfights between gunslingers and rangers, war whoops of wild Indians, skip the rope activities where several girls would skip a large rope manevered by two volunteers. They were good...and the sad sounds of the old school bell reminding us that recess fun was over and calling us back inside to our classes.
Remember the tall slide (even taller than Jack's beanstalk and the "Joggin' (johnny) Stripes! And of course the bigh swing set and the See-saw boards! What fun!
MISS TRUETT-1st and 2nd GRADE TEACHER
Remember Miss Truett's 1st and 2nd grade spelling bees. Tough words but most of the class remained standing for the longest time. We had good spellers. Then there were her coloring contests. You had to be good to beat Nona McCaleb or Georgia Scroggins but on one occasion, a boy topped them all!
The following memories come from Jessie Wyatt:
you remember having to keep a white hankerchief in your
occasionally having to pull it out and place your hands on
it so Ms. Truett
could inspect everyone's fingernails to see if they were
kept neat and
I think it was during my third or fourth grade (1948 or 1949) when someone
gave the school a
ton of plaster of paris and some rubber molds. We got to
go upstairs for
one hour once a week to make and paint molds. Once we got
to carve things
out of ivory soap. That was the only time I ever saw
upstairs and the
REMEMBER THESE TEACHERS AT REAGAN
Mary Kirkpatrick (1953)
Mrs. Tom Kelly, 1950
Berthie Crow (1946)
Mrs. T.D. Taylor
Sibyl Moorehead Burnett
Dorothy Ruth Lane(1945)
Mrs. Tom Kelly (1945)
Cecil Phillips (1946)
1st and 2nd Grades
Mrs. A.B. Lewis
High School Teacher
THE REAGAN GYMNASIUM
Remember all the events that went on the Reagan gymnasium? Basketball, roller skating, square dancing, band concerts, donkey basketball, piana recitals, class plays, country music shows, the Sinclair show, volleyball, halloween carnivals, Christmas pagents, Easter Pagents, and the list goes on. On cold rainy days when the weather kept us from our regular outdoor recess, our teachers would set up skating recesses!
This photo taken in the early 1950's
shows some of the 3rd graders getting their skates on.L-R: seated, unknown, Karen Kirkpatrick, Ernest Cobb, Cathy Cox, and Albert Pecina. Assisting other skaters were Hal Curry and William Gregg.
(Photo curtesy of Karen Kirkpatrick). I can also remember the tough job that Mr. McCaleb faced one summer refininshing the gym floors which were used for virtually every school and community activity including Donkey Basketball (live donkeys were brought into the gym); basketball games, volleyball games in bad weather, and the Sinclair oil show. In 1959, the Gym was packed to overflowing and attendees covered the Reagan campus as the first annual Reagan Reunion and Homecoming was held.
Remember riding our bikes through the gravel streets of Reagan! I did a lot of bicycle repair in the 50's as my dad ran the blacksmith shop and we had tools!
I could repair a briken chain, take up a loose chain, fix brakes and of course patch those intertubes that were forever going flat when we ran over a goathead which seemed to be everywhere in those days!
Remember playing touch football with the older boys in the streets in front of the Reagan Methodist Church. Sometimes the Stewart's (colored family that lived near us and had lots of kids) joined in. My brother L.B. and myself still visit with hattie Mae Stewart everytime we're in town.
MARBLES, TOPS AND MUMBLEPEG
Remember playing marbles for keeps. The Stewart boys were pretty good. Then there was the switching game ("change 'ems" whereby a bee bee was substituted for the big shooter when you didn't want to be hit and vice versa when it was your turn to shoot. Then came the term "anys" and "no anys" which meant you couldn't swap out, or could, whichever the case. Lots of fights arose over those all important marble games. How about spinning tops. Then came the killer tops (tops with sharpened points that you could throw down on top of someone's top to kill it! Top spinning was big at one time.
Then along came "mumble peg?" in which you drew a circle and threw a pocket knife. Then cut off a section of the circle making the target increasingly smaller! The last person to land a knife into valid target area won.
We also made our own bows and arrows and got quite good at it. Course the big thing was playing cowboys and Indians and mimicking Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Whip Wilson, Lash Larue, or one of the other famous cowboys that rode across the golden screen.
Remember the cowboy movines at the Strand and the love shows at the Palace theatre in Marlin. My brother, Dan and I worked in the cotton fields in cotton season and shut down Saturday noon to hitch hike to Marlin or Bremond to catch a movie. Those were the days!
Remember spinning our tops on the school sidewalks. Some of the boys like Blake Evans and Luther were pretty good! I kept a bag of tops and sharpened a couple as "killer tops" in the top destruction derbys!
CAPTURE THE FLAG-GREAT KIDS GAME
Do you remember playing "capture the flag" at the Baptist Church at night.After each church meeting, the youth group would assemble on the church grounds with it's massive oak trees to play "capture the flag". There was no other game as thrilling and one that so many kids could play.
Reagan Baptist Church
Capture the flag was started by elected two captains who in turn, alternately selected team players (primarily by speed). Then a field was laid out with a dividing boundary marked by trees or boxes. About 50 yards from the dividing line, each team had a flag in a circle on the ground. Anytime a player from one team crossed the boundary line into enemy territory and was tagged, he had to go to prison. To free a prisoner, a member of your team had to run to the prison and tag the hand of the prisoner before being captured (tagged) by the enemy. Then you and the prisoner had a free walk back to your side of the field. Another rule of the game, the opponent's flag cannot be captured until all prisoners had been freed. To win the game, you have to free all prisoners (one at a time) and then run over, pick up the flag and return to your side of the field without being captured.
REAGAN BEARKAT BULLETIN
Remember the Bearkat Bulletin produced by the Reagan School in the 1940's and 1950s? Milton Turnipseed came across a copy of the April 10, 1952 Bearkat Bulletin that gives us a snapshot of what was going on in the Reagan Classes in the spring of 1952.
Under the heading, "WHAT THE ROOMS ARE DOING" came the following.
The 1st grade is reading fast in their new books. Cherry, Gary, David, Frank and Robert Kilgore are in the lead but Dan, Betty, Martha, Kathy Y. and Byron are not far behind.
The 2nd Grade always enjoys reading their weekly reader.
On Monday, the 3rd and 4th Grades divided into two equal teams and played baseball. The captains were Jack and Johnny. Jack's team won the first game and the second game was a tie. Lee, Darrell, and Johnny were pitchers.
The 3rd and 4th Grades had a wonderful time on their hike Tuesday. Thanks to the 5th and 6th Grades for the flowers.
Come and see the front board in the 4th Grade room. So far, Mary Bess, Evalina, and Martha have drawn Easter pictures. Come in and see them.
The 5th grade girls, Ida Lois Whatley, Georgia Scroggins, and Nona McCaleb are responsible for Easter display in the hall. Wonder what the boys, Durwood Funderburk, Leonard Kubiak, Carl Wayne Evans, and Thomas Cobb have been up to?
All of the grades are continuing to enjoy the new books!
Under the CAN YOU IMAGINE Column
Sanra chewing only one piece of gum?
Jean Stricklin not liking Carl Wayne Evans?
Durwood Funderburk not getting ink on his mouth?
Robert not liking Nona McCaleb?
Bertha not dreaming about a TV set?
Mr. Whatley teasing the boys?
Jean Strickland without pretty clothes?
Sandra Grant not liking Daniel Kubiak?
Geneva not mad at a boy?
Donavan Kirkpatrick not winking at some girl?
Norman Short not trying to make people laugh?
Frances and Geneva not talking?
The 1st and 2nd grade girls not wanting to hold Miss Turuett's hand?
School without lessons?
Under the DID YOU KNOW Column
That Jean Strickland has two boy friends?
That Bertha doesn't like John because John likes Beth?
That Sandra Grant likes Boyce Mounty?
That Thomas Cobb has been winking at Ida Lois Whatley?
That Georgia Scroggins has a picture of Bertha and Charles Bruce?
That all the boys now know that Jean Strickland does not have a temper?
That Harold Funderburke has HF+NMc on his shirt? Robert had better watch out!
That the paper is getting to be a little to Gossipy (Signed Carl Wayne Evans)!
That Butch has curley hair?
That when you look in a tablespoon, your picture is upside down?
Under the "HATS OFF" Column
To a very cute girl in the 6th grade. She has grey eyes and brown hair. She is 4 ft. 11-1/2 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds. Her favorite sport is basketball. She likes music and likes to compose poetry and draw. She is a collector and likes to collect 15 things but stamp collecting is her favorite. She has about 800 stamps. Her favorite song is "Whispering Hope"
She likes all school subjects and plans to become a school teacher. Her great ambition is to marry a preacher, and play the piano for the church. She wants to tour Europe and Africa when she grows up. She likes to take care of baby rabbits. Her name is Elizabeth but we call her Beth!
Under the Heading,"EASTER PLANS"
Norman Short is going to practice baseball.
Charles Droche is going to work.
Bertha Fulton is planning a good time at home.
Joacin Canalez is going to Marlin Park and hunt Easter eggs.
Robert doesn't plan ahead.
Harold and Durwood Funderburk are going to Texas City.
Buddy's daddy is coming home.
Josephine is planning to hunt Easter eggs. Mr. and Mrs. Whatley are going to Baytown.
Cherry Kelly is going to Anson.
Paulette is going to the river to fish.
Dorothy K. is going to Bremond.
Patsy might go to Marlin Park and hunt Easter eggs.
Wanda is going to stay at her two homes.
Emily plans to go on a hike.
Bobby plans to work and play.
Miss Truett is going to Kosse and maybe on a trip too.
Geneve is going to have company from Houston.
Frances is going to Waco.
Beth is having company from Oklahoma.
Pete Railsback says he'd rather come to school so he could see Georgia Scroggins.
Sandra Grant is expecting a good chicken dinner.
Jean Strickland is going to help eat the chicken at Sandra's house.
Donavan Kirkpatrick is going to stay home and catch up on his reading!
Under the Heading, "DONKEY BASKETBALL TONIGHT" column.
(picture of a donkey). "I don't look half as silly as they're gonna feel. So come on folks up to the gym tonight (April 10, 1952) at 8:00PM. The folks call it donkey basketball. You be the judge.
Those who are going to try to ride us include: Clark Morris, Gene McGuire, J.V. Scroggins, Bob Swinnea, Linda Young, Coutter and Waite, Franklin and Jo Anay Cobb, and Calvin Whatley. 50cents adults, 25 cents students.
I remember attending the donkey basketball event. The donkeys would immediately begun bucking when a guy would climb aboard and be as gentle as a lamb when a lady climbed aboard!
The donkeys had padded hoofs and two teams were formed to play basketball shooting from the backs of the donkeys. Then someone would get thrown off! Don't remember who won but the donkeys were very well trained and it was quite an exciting event for us kids!
Many a Sunday afternoon, from the summer of 1945 through the summer of 1955, the Kubiak family spent out on the front porch hand cranking ice cream or cutting a watermellon and listening to the Methodist Church congregation sing Rock of Ages and other songs of inspiration. Our family were Catholics and we attended attended St. Mary's Church in Bremond where four generations of my ancesters attended church.
However, we often attended both the Reagan Baptist and the Reagan Methodist Church vacation bible schools and special events put on for the kids like the hobo's stew down on Fish Creek. Course we were treated with the beautiful sounds of the Methodist choir every Wednesday and Sunday night.
Do you remember "trick or treating" on Halloween night in Reagan?? One of our favorite stops was at the home of J.V. Scroggins. Since he ran a store, he often had fresh fruit and candy which was in short supply in other homes in Reagan! But you had to be careful or you might get a potato instead of an apple. J.V. had his sense of humor and I know cause I once got the potato one halloween!
At the Kubiak place, we had endless visits from cousins coming over to play on a Saturday or Sunday night and the endless games of hide and seek. Particularly, when the hay out behind our house grew tall and thick and we had our secret trails to hide! With the wide open spaces and safety that we enjoyed in Reagan, the entire place was a playground. Then there was the school grounds for baseball games and checking out the slides and swings!
Although most of the Reagan kids were relatively poor by today's standards,
we were rich in others.
At the Kubiak household, we raised much of our own food (milked cows, had laying hens, raised a big garden and had an orchard),
we ate well! Sunday dinners when uncles and aunts coming over, mother (Mrs. Connie Kubiak) would cook fresh fried chicken, home made bread, home made butter, have fried corn off the cob, butter beans, dew berry pies and fresh cold milk! Every once in a while, she baked cinimmon rolls! What a treat!
Every May, I walked (and later rode my bicycle) down the road past the Waite Cemetery and down to the Little Brazos River to pick dewberries. I'd bring a 3-gallon bucket full home with each trip and Mother would make up the best fried pies and dewberry cobler!!
Do you remember the summer days (before cotton was ready to pick) and the swimming trips to the refreshing waters of the rock quarry near Blue Ridge.
Course on one of those trips, I met with near disaster as several of us boys were riding in the back of Dad's ole pickup and my brother, Dan, swerved to miss hitting a dog but throwing me from the back of the pickup while travelling at a high rate of speed. I can still recall my life flashing before my eyes and taking forever to hit the pavement and gravel. I landed on all fours but before I came to a stop, I had scraped the hide from my elbows, chest, legs, arms, and face!
When my brother found me in a pool of blood, he thought I was dead. He rushed me home and put me under a cold shower. Now that was pain! After a miserable several days, I recovered without so much as seeing a doctor.
The GIANT GRASSHOPPER STORY IN THE MARLIN DEMOCRAT
Talking about the old quarry reminded me of the spoof that the Marlin Democrat newspaper played on us one year in the early 50's. The lead story one week was about some major tracks found down near the old quarry and dammage to the fence across the road. They speculated about what a large beast it must be to make such tracks.
Our interest had been peaked! Then they ran the story on the front page with the highway patrolman shooting what appeared to be a giant grasshopper using a tommy gun. The story talked about how the prehistoric eggs from the quarry must have hatched out!!! We were afraid to go out in the back yard until we learned the story was a hoax. The phot had been stage by combining two shots, one of the patrolman in the distance with his tommy gun pointed and the second with a closeup of a sizable grasshopper. The result was pretty realistic!!!!
Do you remember Buell's garage when it was still located in Tarbox? By the way, do you know the origin of the name for Tarbox? Milton Turnipseed recalls it had something to do with the early railroad and possibly a Tarbox used to store tar? Anybody else have a clue? Other theories include the possibility that some pioneer had a business greasing early-day wagon wheel axels with tar which might have worked like grease ??
ROBBINS BLACKSMITH SHOP CHANGES HANDS
My Dad, John Kubiak, bought the old Lonnie Robbins Blacksmith Shop in 1945 and ran it as Kubiak's Garage until the early 50's. I can still recall watching my dad pound out red hot metal on the anvil after heating it in the forge; then helping to turn the handle on the forge and watching the flames rise above the coals.
I still remember smell of the coal dust on the shop floors from over a hundred years of burning coal in the forge and pouring the coal dust out on the dirt floors.
One of the most amazing things in that old shop was the giant electric motor that powered several big mechanical devices including an electric hammer through an arrangement of belts. One of the devices was a saw mill blade that could cut large logs up into lumber.
When Dad shut down the blacksmith shop around 1952, he sold the tools and machines to a museum in Waco. One of the neatest tools was a big device used to repair wagon wheels. The oak spokes and quarter round pieces that formed the rim were stacked several feet high. The metal rims were heated to get them to expand before putting them back on a wagon wheel. Hot and dirty job but a big part of blacksmithing in the early 1900's when folks used wagons as the primary way of getting around in Reagan.
Along about 1952-53, someone came along and bought the brick from all the commercial buildings along railroad street and the town business district vanished over night. Several of the older kids helped clean and stack brick for days on end for 50 cents an hour (top wages in Reagan).
CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
Do you remember the elephants and the big tents coming to Reagan to put on a circus. The circus people allowed us free tickets for feeding the elephants (which ensured we'd bring back the rest of the family to buy additional tickets!) We loved the circus and the little travelling moving theatre tents that came around once a year or so.
TRAVELLING THE REAGAN COUNTRY ROADS IN THE 1940's
Did you ever experience the clay roads out in the country past the Waite Cemetery when it rained (before they gravelled the roads). The Kubiak family lived out that road in 1945 just before moving into Reagan. Many a day, my Dad John Kubiak and my older brother Dan would come home covered with mud from tip to toe from pushing our family pickup to get it unstuck. Some areas of that same road up by Little Brazos River just couldn't be travelled except by horse or wagon after a heavy rain. Course that all changed when they gravelled the roads in the early 1950's.
HALLOWEEN CARNIVALS IN THE GYM
How many of you remember the halloween carnivals that were held in the Reagan gynasium every fall of the year until they closed down the schools. Do you remember bobbing for apples, going fish in the fishing booths, or going through the spooky haunted house set up in the old dressing rooms beside the stage!
Halloween carnivals were a big doing in all the Reagan Classes and a chance to raise funds for school needs. Each class had some money-raising event (fishing for paper bags with treasures inside was always a favorite).
REAGAN PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT WAS TOPS!
Remember swirling through the air on the "Johnny Stripes" or swinging high on the swings...or sliding down that giant slide out back!! Recess and Sunday afternoons were fun times!
Sliding down the king size slide behind the school and then sliding down one of the poles that supported the slide. I only recall one kid breaking an arm during a fall from the top of the slide but for the most part, nobody got seriously hurt. Course you don't see the big slides anymore. That was a holdover from the turn of the century.
-- Playing Marlin in boys basketball in the 6th grade (Reagan's last basketball team in 1953).
-- The sound of the freezer being cranked; the delicious ice cold treat that emerged from the rotating cylinder of that freezer on a hot summer night.
-- The sounds of flying corn cobs during a corn cob fight in the barnyard.
-- The Reagan Bear Cat fight song being sung at pep rally. And who doesn't remember the words sung to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song!
-- The cool rain drops falling from the sky on a hot summer day. Getting caught in the shower and not caring if you got wet.
The excitement of getting up on Christmas morning and racing to the tree to see what Santa brought. For most kids in Reagan, it was never much! We were poor folks.....
SHERIFF JOHN W. HOWELL, HIGH SHERIFF OF REAGAN!!
Remembering Sheriff Howell always brings a small to my face when I think back to those days in the late 1940's and some of the events that transpired along the streets of town.
Reagan was too small a town to have an organized city council or mayor, let alone a police department. We did however have our very own old west sheriff, John Howell. Sheriff Howell always seemed like a tough hombre, particularly to the kids. He carried a big pistol and wore a badge on his vest and occasionally rode a horse just like the cowboys in the movies on Saturday evenings. In bad weather when he wasnít riding his horse, he was driving an old model A Ford.
One day, I was down at the post office checking our mail box when someone came running down the street yelling, "Sheriff Howell- Come quick! Two Drunks are fighting at the saloon... and they got knives!"
Sheriff Howell asked which saloon they were in and the guy pointed up the street toward the bank. Sheriff Howell raced toward his old model A and then to our amazement, turned right before reaching the saloon and headed home!
SHERIFF HOWELL CUT A DASHING FIGURE ON HORSEBACK!
Early one Saturday morning around 1946, Sheriff Howell rode into town on horseback and made his way over to the post office. I was out of school and had finished chores at home so I was at my Dad's blacksmith shop. Two ladies were coming out of the door, as Sheriff Howell was dismounting. As he reached up to tip his hat, he lost his balance and fell from the horse and landed in the dirt. As his startled horse backed up, Sheriff Howell started a curse but caught himself in mid sentence, "Hot D..ell Old Roan!"
Then there was the halloween prank and the unccontrollable laughter that erupted along the business district when the Reagan town folk discovered the new Sheriff's office on the top of Dunham's Grocery Store the day after Halloween night! Some of the older boys had put an outhouse on top of the roof and painted "Sheriff Howell's Office" on it!
Do you remember the smell and sound of brand new school clothes on the first day of school. Oftentimes, that was the only time we wever got new clothes. Most of the time it was hand-me-downs with patches on the knees and elbows.
NORMAN SHORT FAMILY MEMORIES
The following scenes of bygone days comes to us from Norman Short, a former Reagan resident:
" The Charlie Short family moved from Marlin to the Reagan area in late 1949. I was in Mrs. Tom Kelly's fourth grade class and Mr. Longbottom was the principal.
My grandmother Pearl Short would send the kids over to Mooreís drug store to get soft drinks
and she would always ask us to bring her a Dr. Pepper. She sure knew how to make good iced tea and banana pudding. I remember Uncle Mike Short keeping horses in the back yard.
We lived on the Roscoe Kelly farm for a couple of years until my dad gave up on farming and we moved into town.
When we lived on the farm we were neighbors with Buddy Chamberlain. He had a little donkey that the kids could ride.
I was named after Norman Dunham who was one the local grocers. Other businesses in Reagan were Heflinís Gulf Station, Scrogginís Grocery, Mooreís Drug Store, Kubiakís Blacksmith Shop, Bellís Garage, Jeff Burkeís Grocery Store,
Peteís Place, Sam Coleís Gas Station (which we later owned), Bell Telephone Co. Office, and Kirkpatrick's Lumber Company. Does any one remember Britain Moore having all those parakeets?
In 1950 we became members of the Reagan Baptist Church. The pastor at the time was a Brother Wyatt. Later pastors were George Carroll Burke, Joe Philbrick, and the McGuires. I think we spent more time cutting up on the back pews than we did anything else.
Remember playing baseball behind the school on hot summer days? On Sundays we might have all races and ages playing back there. I can just see Lokey Canales with his big black sombrero calling the balls and strikes!!!!
Donovan Kirkpatrick still remembers that Sunday afternoon baseball was big time entertainment in Reagan and he can still hear Lokey Canales calling out "Strikeee Beauutiful".
Norman also recalls a sweetheart banquet at the Reagan schoolhouse when he asked Martha Alice Matthews to come. She didnít have a ride so Mrs. McCaleb told us to take her car to go pick her up. I couldnít drive but Durwood Funderburk said he could, so off we go out to pick her up. As it turned out, she decided she didnít feel like going so we started back. We got nearly back to town and Durwood lost control of the car and we wound up upside in a ditch. I bet Martha sure was glad she didnít get in that car!!!!
Itís too bad the old school gym had to be torn down. It was our skating rink , basketball court, and concert hall all rolled into one.
Does anyone recall the donkey basketball game we had one time? Did anyone score a goal?
Many of the kids my age were very fond of Mrs. Rosia Gresham. She would put up with the noise that teenagers made when no one else would. It seemed like Benny Morris, Carl Evans, Nona McCaleb, and other kids were over there at least once a week .
One Wednesday night, Reagan was startled by a big explosion. Remember when the B-47 crashed up Northwest of Reagan out in the country? A bunch of us took off in Charles Kindredís Chevy to go see what had happened, but the authorities wouldnít allow us to get very close.
Mr. J.W. Howell was our local constable . He really liked his Fishhook Chewing Tobacco. One time I was riding out to the cotton patch with him and Mrs. Hazel. I was sitting in the back with the window down. All of a sudden he had to spit.
Bulls-eye, he got me. I knew to duck from then on.
One night after church, some of the local kids were out riding around with Charles Kindred (as usual) looking for something to do. We found a big Ex-Lax sign and decided to attach it to the city limit sign. About the time we got it put up, here comes a car. We thought it was an officer, so were getting really scared. It turned out to be Tommy Selma. Boy, did he get a kick out of that".
GEORGE MACDONALD RECOLLECTIONS
The following recollections of life in early-day Reagan came to us from George S. Macdonald , grandson of Sibyl M. Burnett (taught in the Reagan schools until 1946) and son of her daughter Marian Burnett who graduated from Reagan High School in 1927. George lived in Reagan from 1935-1945 and then again from 1949-1952 while attending college at U.T. George's Grandmother, Sibyl Burnett was married to J.R.Burnet (president of the old Reagan Bank at one time). J.R. and Sibyl divorced and J.R. Burnett moved to Cisco where he was a judge and served in the Texas legislature at one time. George's aunt, Eula Young, was a retired school teacher. His great grandmother was a Moorehead whose family came from the Bremond, Franklin area.
George recently sent me the following recollections of life in early Reagan that many of you will be able to identify with.
"I attended the Methodist church and Mrs. Burnett and my aunt Eula Young both taught Sunday school there as did Mary Kirkpatrick. Thaggard Kirkpatrick (owner of the lumber mill and unfortunately a died in the wool aggie) was one of the deacons. Thaggard was a fine upstanding Christian man.
The preacher of the Methodist church at the time was Rev. Bates. Can't recall his first name but he had a daughter named Burtis Ruth Bates. I last saw her in the winter of 49 when she was either a frosh. or soph. at SMU.
Robert Barnes was the preacher at the Baptist church. He had a daughter, Nell Barnes, two sons named Fella (Robert) and Biff. They later moved to Valley Mills Texas. The last contact I had there was with Biff in the fall of 49.
The pricinpal was Robert Hughes. who used to bust my ass with an M-1 rifle belt. I believe the principal prior to him was a Mr. Creagher. (sp.?) Hughes had a son by the name of Lynn David and I think a younger daughter. After Robert Hughes left The Bull family occupied that house. Jean (Bull) Angelo who you probably know, and Clifford Bull (deceased) along with an older sister were their sibs. Next to that home was a family by the name of Robinson. The Robinson daughters and my mother were close friends.
The businesses I can recall at the moment were Shaunfield's grocery, Buell's garage, and do not remember the name of the man who ran the drugstore. He later moved to Marlin and worked in the pharmacy across from the old hospital there.
Mr. Winzer lived in the apartment above the post office (I can still recall my old post office box, # 83.) His son and wife owned a farm on the way to Highbank. Their son, Jack Winzer, and I were good friends. Jack took agriculture at A@M and I believe worked for the state in some capacity along that line. He is deceased.
Jack Winzer, Lived above the Reagan Post office in the early 40's and good friend of George Macdonald. Photo taken in the spring of 1950 when Jack Winzer was a
freshman at Tarletin Jr. College (now Tarleton State).
There was a lady by the name of Mrs. Ward who lived next to the Baptist parsonage. I used to mow her grass. She had one son I believe named Charles. Not sure of that but him being a confirmed bachelor is the only thing I can remember about him.
Horn Kirkpatrick lived in a large white house on HW6. Francis Swinnea lived on the highway on the other side of the lumber company. When the railroad station was active, it was run by a Mr. Kelly. They lived in the house where the Hughes and Bulls had lived earlier. Mr. Kelly had a daughter Patsy and son Robert. They moved to Waller Texas. I remember playing on the cotton bales on the railroad station platform and watching the troop trains go through during the war years. Biggest thrill was the freight cars carrying tanks and other war equipment that rolled through.
By the way Mr. Kelly also ran the telegraph office at the train station. Also during the war there were many occasions when truck loads of German pow's would go by our house on the way to Highbank to pick cotton. They were always singing and would wave to me. Think they were damn glad to be out of the war. Many of the pilots in training in Waco would fly over and sometimes dogfight much to my pleasure. Occasionly men from the FBI would come by seeking info on one of my grandmother's ex students who had filed as conscientous objector's.
In regards to the bank. I am pretty certain it was never reestablished after the big fire. It was located across the street from the drug store and as I recall that corner lot has been vacant ever since. The telephones were the old crank variety and everybody had party lines if they had a phone at all."
George S. Macdonald
The following Reagan memories comes to us from Donovan J. Kirkpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), son of Thagert and Mary Holloway Kirkpatrick with more info about early day Reagan folks.
"Rev. Tommy Holcomb was the Methodist minister. His wife was Florence.
Mrs Willie Mae Heflin ran the gas sation. She was married to Hi Heflin. He drove a school bus for Reagan and farmed as I recall. They had two daughters. Billie Hi and(?). Billie Hi married Hedrick Maxwell from Marlin. He sold hats on the road. Their son is a Colonel in the Air Force and currently a Professor of Air Science at Texas A&M.
Willie Robbins was a carpenter and painter in Reagan. He married Pauline Kirkpatrick, an older sister of T. K. Kirkpatrick. They had 3 girls: Lucia,Edwina and Anna Paul. I believe all 3 girls graduated from Reagan.
"Little" Tom Kelly was son of Roscoe. You need to add Pam. Seems like Claude Buell owned the garage before R. J. Dees bought him out.
Horne and India (Burke ) Kirkpatrick had 3 children; Elanor, Burke and William (Bill). I think Billy was on one of the Reagan football teams.
Dad use to talk about how good a pitcher Harrison Burke was. He ran a grocery store in Reagan. I remember him working for Ernest Boyles and later he had the old Shaunfield grocery. Lastly the lumberyard was in Reagan not Ozona.
Dad mentioned numerous time how the "Woodland girls" rode horseback to Reagan to school, even though they lived in Robertson County, because Reagan had a better school.
Mr Dees (R. J. 's dad) was a very successful farmer but went broke during the depression. The Restaurant over by the railroad, south of the depot about where Pete Saxon's place was, was a honky tonk in the late 40's early 50' s. Sam Cole ran it. He lived in that little house in a hole on the Highbank road in that turn before you got to Jimmy Hetheringtons and the Kindred place.
Sam Cole also ran the Sinclair gas station located on Hi-way 6 before Mr. Charlie Short bought the station.
The folks who lived behind the Sinclair station were Brittian and "Pete" Moore. Brittain built that great big bird area behind Short's Service Station and later worked at the Majestic Pharmacy and Ben's Drug store in Marlin.
Brittian's dad was the druggist in Reagan that ran Moore's drug store. I remember buying school supplies and ice cream there about 1946. (first and second grade. I think Beth Boettcher has the soda fountain that was there).
Mr Hughs, School Superintendent, lived in Herman Kirkpatrick's house. They had a son my age, Larry. I can remember eating supper over there and drinking tea out of Mason jars. I thought that was neat.
There was another Moore who was in charge of the Section Gang that worked on the railroad. Seems like Will Hickman, Ed Linton, Mose Rogers and others were in the gang. Black people who worked on the railroad were well respected in their community. It was a big deal. I can remeber the trains going by the house at all hours and Blimps flying over . This was during WWll.
Ask Bob Swinnea and Frances Short if they recall anything about someone greasing the railroad tracks as a Halloween prank? I thought it was funny. The railroad folks did not.
I noticed you mentioned the Guffys as an old family in one of your notes. Mr. Guy Guffy was probably related. He lived with his sister ( Mrs. Otha Moore) across the road from Benny Morris. He was an old man when I was a kid and somewhat of a character. Benny probably knows more. I recall the story about the family having to take his pistol away from him because he would shoot at the trains that passed through Reagan. He must have had a real beef with the railroad.
In regards to the origin of the Waite cemetary, my father mentioned a couple of times that Waite cemetary is there because Mr Waite's son was killed or died someway. Waite ran a beer joint and folks would not allow him to bury his son in the regular cemetary. So he established his own. Some of our Reagan old timers may be able to provide more information.
Reverend Bates first name was Burtis. He is the first Methodist minister I remember. Morning and evening services were held in those days and were pretty well attended. Seems like I remember Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. Young walking to and from church every Sunday during good weather. Daddy would pick them up sometimes during bad weather. Rev. Bates's daughter was named Burtis Ruth. The Bates family used to have Sunday dinner with us. I was very good at climbing trees at 5 yrs +. I remember climbing up a china berry tree and climbing out on a limb. Burtis Ruth, much older than I, said. "Jump and I'll catch you". I jumped and of course she moved out of the way. That was my first experience about how truthful some women can be. I saw her a few years ago at one of the reunions. She remembered the incident and laughed about it. Mrs. Ward's son was Harry Ward. He worked in the grocery store (Old Shaunfield store by the Post Office)with Harrison Burke.
We lived by the railroad tracks across from Hugh Davison's and across the tracks from where Carl Evans lives now. Henry and Elizabeth Anderson lived next to us. Henry made arrow heads out of scrap metal for Tom Davison and the Porter boys to use on their arrows. I was very envious but I suppose I was too young to have such.
Mr "Lige" (E. R.) Anderson drove a mule powered scrapper to build up the road berm up by Big Creek when they were building Highway 6.
Brother Wyatt was the Baptist minister in from the summer of 1947 to the summer of 1951. Rev. and Mrs Dorothy Wyatt had five daughters, Joan, Jessie, June, Jane and Jean. Rev. Wyatt was pastor when they built the addition on to the Baptist church. He also helped build the Kirkpatrick home.
Donovan also remembers that sometime after Bob Swinnea got out of the Air Force (that had to be after 1950), a group of folks use to ride horse back on Sunday afternoon. According to Donovan,"I think it was Bob, Mike Short (he was courting Francis Swinnea), Francis Swinnea, Pat Clark, Shirley Danford and some I can not remember. They let me ride with them, Bob and Francis were always nice to me as a kid and I remember I wanted to grow sideburns like Bob's. I was too young but my mother was less than pleased. The Swinneas always had good horses and probably still do. Bob is a good horse trainer".
Mike Short and others use to practice hardball in front of Mrs. Pearl Short's house. Norman can tell more about that.
Norman Short mentioned Tommy Selma. Tommy was with Patton's 3rd Army in Europe and suffered from "Shell shock" Guess we call that Post Traumatic Stress now. He never did get over it. Mike Short's older brother was in the 82nd Airborne and died during WWll.
Donovan J. Kirkpatrick (email@example.com)
How many of you remember the excitement of seeing an airplane land on the school grounds. Some of us had never seen a plane up close.
Playing soccer and being goalie for the winning team in the Reagan school tournament. Remember the track meets we used to have. Chin ups on the chinning bar was one of my strong suits. And we all could run. Heck, we ran everywhere in those days!
Remember when the kids took to building grass huts out on the school grounds.They brought in sticks and string to build the structure and filled in with the tall native grass that grew wild on the campus.
Remember having a Dixie cup ice cream on a hot summer day at Pete Saxon's place!
The guitar strumming and sounds of Hank Williams singing in the Reagan Gym to a group of entertainment starved families
Listening to Christmas carols being sung by the Methodist congregation on a Sunday night
A dinner of home-made bread, butter, and a plate of butter beans and mashed potatoes and gravy
Touch football in the streets of Reagan
Playing basketball in the gym in the summer; attending piano concerts, putting on square dances, attending the big oil company shows and country western shows...and how about the donkey basketball shows!!!
Riding my bicycle up the depot ramp by the railroad tracks
Swimming in the gin tank
Reagan kids spent a lot of time fishing and skinny dipping in the Brazos River, Mussel Run and Fish Creek, not to mention all the local stock tanks. But just to show you that not all Reagan kids were that uncivilized, check out the bathing suits and bathing caps sported by the Wyatt sisters in 1952! Second from the left is Joan Wyatt, then sisters Jessie and Jean and June on the end. The other two girls without bathing caps are relatives of the Wyatt family.
Remember playing dominoes under the trees in the yard on a Sunday afternoon with radio music in the background. With no TV's, we moved events out of the homes into the yards under the shady trees.
Remember getting a haircut under the trees. With large families, and cash in short supply, we had to make do with a lot of things like hand-me-down clothes and raising our own food.
Christmas morning rushing down to see what Santa brought and later looking for sled tracks in the front yard
Square dancing classes at school.
The clay ball fights out behind the school grounds. Here on the clay hills , we discovered clay balls and at first we played who could throw a clay ball the farthest. Then the eventual happened. Several of the meaner kids started pelting other kids as they came up. Word of the fight spread like wildfire across the little campus and soon dozens of kids were joining in on the fracas. Soon there were two armies squaring off against each other and clay balls filled the air. Soon we dug out forts on two adjoining hills and stacked up mounds of ammunition. I don't recall anyone getting seriously hurt but the potential was definitely there! One day word got back to the teachers and we were forbidden from crossing the fence and leaving the school grounds!
Former Reagan Teacher, Dorothy Lane (Niesen) (1945-1947) (on the left)and fellow teacher, Bertie Crow, the music and 7th and 8th grade teacher.
Received the following hand written letter and Reagan memories from Dorothy Lane dated May 27, 2004. "Leonard-I was the 3rd and 4th grade teacher in Reagan from 1945 to 1947. I had two years of college at Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Belton. We looked at your website on Reagan-great! This is only my second time to attend a Reagan Reunion (the 2004 Reunion). I have many good memories of the two years that I taught there. My saddest memory was when Sallie B. Davison was killed. She was a great basketball player, my best forward. Also, Albin Snider, one of my boys, fell off and was kicked by a horse placing him in a coma for over six months. I am looking forward to the Reagan Reunion on May 29th.
Dorothy Lane Niesen
Memories of Dorothy Lane Niesen, 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Reagan schools 1945-1947.
"I was almost 18 years old, when I began teaching the 3rd and 4th grades in Reagan in September of 1945. The superintendent's wife, Mrs. A.B. Lewis, was a high school teacher but didn't want to teach the girl's physical education class. So, Mrs. Lewis taught my students math classes and I taught the girls P.E. classes. I also coached the girl's basketball team.
Reagan Girls Basketball Team (1945/46)
According to Dorothy Lane Niesen,
"I remember most of the girl's names: Sallie B. Davison, Mayme Heflin, Norma Jo Allen, Gladys McCaleb, Charlcie McCaleb, Jean Bull, Ann Rees, Mary Lee Rees, Florence Fenner, Ruth Ann Davison, Frances Swinnea (Pee Wee), and others.
My greatest thrill came when my high school team played in a tournament in Chilton and we beat Chilton! My parents lived in Chilton and my daddy went to the grocery store and bought food for our team to eat in their back yard.
On rainy days when we could not play ball outside, the girls skated in the gym. I never learned to skate very well. One day I wore a new dress to school. We skated and the girls formed a train behind me. I was about to fall, so I grabbed one of the poles to stop me. When I did, I slid down at the pole, tore the sleeve out of my new dress and bruised my arm all the way down. The girls were all so apologetic, but it was just an accident. We had a good laugh (remember in 1945, teachers did not wear shorts or long pants to school).
My classroom had a brick-covered wood stovepipe in it. It was not used, but it was open and mice sometimes invaded my desk. When I arrived every morning, some of the boys would open the drawers to my desk and shake them. Sometimes a mouse would run out! Yuk!
One day, it rained in the morning. Then the sun shone brightly. We had a slide on the playground with wooden sides. At afternoon recess, the little girls slid down the slide (back then, they all wore dresses). Some of the girls got splinters in their thighs. I took a needle and picked them out. (can you believe that! Today I would be sued for that). Course, we didn't have a school nurse.
The school cafeteria was about a block from school (across from the Scroggins grocery store). The children always wanted to eat fast and go to store to spend their pennies or nickels. As well as I can remember, I required them to remain seated at least 15 minutes before they could leave (mean teacher?).This was during the war when so many things were rationed. Mr. Scroggins could get a box of Fleers double bubble gum only occasionally. Each child was allowed to buy only one piece. Marilyn Scroggins was in my class. When the Double Bubble came in, she would sing out, "Miss Lane, the Double Bubble is here! You can buy all that you want!"
I found a coupon in a magazine which said that with 150 Double Bubble wrappers, I could get 48 8X10 American history pictures free. I had all the girls saving their wrappers for me. They were great pictures! I had them laminated and used them on my bulletin boards for my next 33 years of teaching! When I retired from Western Hills High School in Fort Worth in 1983, I gave them to an American History teacher at Dallas Baptist University.
In 1946, I helped Cecil Phillips, our excellent 5th and 6th grade teacher, sponsor a bus tour to Huntsville to tour the prison, Sam Houston's home, and Sam Houston's grave. Cecil was an excellent Texas history teacher.
In 1946, the Reagan Senior class wanted to take a senior trip to Fort Parker on a Saturday for swimming and a picnic. Of course, they needed transportation. Clark Morris, a school board member, had bought one of the first pickups manufactured after the war. One student asked him if the seniors could borrow it to go to Fort Parker. He said, "Yes, if you have an adult driver". Yes, I was only 18 or 19 years old, but I was the adult. I drove with nine seniors in the back (with no restraints). We had a great day. Just before we left the park, they dunked me in at the edge of the lake. You guessed it, I had to drive that nice new pickup back to Reagan in my wet clothes! Thank goodness we had a safe trip. Looking back, I realize how foolish I was to take on this responsibility! Thank you Clark Morris!
In 1945, my boyfriend, who is now my husband, was stationed with the U.S. Army in Tokyo, Japan in the 32nd Military Government. He sent a whole Japanese parachute to me which I took to school and spread it out in the classroom for the students to see. The pupils were all so excited to see the parachute.
One of the highlights of my 2 year stay in Reagan was riding the Creeper, the train, from Marlin to Reagan. My roommate, Margaret Clark and I would ride the Greyhound bus to Marlin at 5:00 PM. We would eat at Houston's Cafť, then wait to go to a movie at the Palace Theater, walk to the train station and board the Creeper at about 12:30 A.M. That was a unique experience!
There were four teachers who lived upstairs at the home of Claude and Teenie Buell. Room and board was $35.00 per month for the first year, and $37.50 per month for the second year. My take-home pay was $112.00 per month. Mrs. Buell was an excellent cook. On Sundays, she made the best fruit salad and potato salad! Margaret Clark and I were roommates. Bertie Crow, the music and 7th and 8th grade teacher lived in the room next to us".
Reagan Teachers, Dorothy, Margaret and Bertie boarded at the Claude and Teenie Buell place in the mid 1940's.
Fred DeVaney, the High School English teacher and Pastor of Marquez Baptist Church, had the room across the wide hall. He was the only one with a car!
Sibyl Burnett taught the 1st and 2nd grade pupils. Cecil Phillips taught the 5th and 6th graders. Luther Gresham once gave me a Christmas present and said, "Miss Lane, you won't like my present. My grandmother made an apron for you." It became a treasure because it was Luther's gift.
My fond memories of Reagan and my first two years of teaching could fill a book. I later taught three years at Hillsboro and 30 years in Fort Worth. In spite of the hundreds of pupils I've taught over the years, I still remember nearly all the names of my Reagan "kids."
I retired in 1983 at the age of 55. Long live Reagan, Texas!"
PS In 1946-47, Mary Truett was the 1st and 2nd grade teacher. Margaret Whetstone was the music teacher and Mrs. Tom Kelly was the 7th and 8th grade teacher."
Mrs. Dorothy Lane Niesen (Reagan Teacher-1945 to 1947).
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