Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Trip to Mineral Wells - Looking Back and Forward at 2016 Reunion

Mineral Wells High School
Class of 1962
Fifty Year Club Meeting 
Saturday June 11, 2016
Grace and peace to you fellow classmates. Heading west on 180 from Weatherford I saw a railroad bridge going over the highway. I could make out on that bridge the fading big letters in white: “H O M E” and I knew I was nearly there. Placed there by members of the class of 1960 to honor an English teacher who drove over from Fort Worth, it had once completely read “Melvin Go Home,” about 50 something years ago. The complete details of the painting are locked in Mr. Frank Waddy’s mind somewhere. The other side of the trestle said: “Melvin Stay Home,” until it faded away.
I drove into Mineral Wells from Dallas a little after eight in the morning. I noticed the big cross on the hill and the helicopter display just as you turn into town. I wanted to turn off and visit Clark Gardens but did not have the time. I noted where the new high school was as I drove west into town. The welcome sign seemed so big and I stopped by the old cemetery to get a photo. As I drove by the banks at Oak and Hubbard I remembered that a year ago I was looking for tornado damage, but did not see much then.

At Fourth and Hubbard a Texas flag and a Confederate battle flag flew from a well kept porch and I snapped a picture of our junior high a block west from there.

My goal, of course, was Jones’ Cafe and breakfast. Lots of trucks in front, baseball hats on customers that were not turned backward, and very efficient waitresses. I saw that the final bill was about a third less than what I pay in Dallas, and the food and coffee were great. Chicken fried steak was going to be the lunch special! I drove out SW 5th Avenue past our high school, now the school district headquarters, and ended up at the Woodland Park cemetery where it took me about ten minutes to find my parents markers that were completely covered with grass.

From there I headed north on Oak until I was at the 200 block of North Oak where my folks had their store. I spent a minute there looking around and headed on north to the Famous Well on NW 6th Street. I got some water and a birthday present for my wife there, looking at the historical items there was special. A block away on 7th Street I got out at our old house and picked up a few bluebonnet seed pods from the front yard and put them in the back seat to plant at home. I wondered at the transformation of the old Waddy house and grounds across the street. It looked like a movie set from the 1930s, but brand new. I told Frank at the reunion later how much it meant to me to be able to walk through their kitchen when I was a kid and have his mom, Gertrude, hand me a piece of her wonderful fried chicken.
About ten as I walked in the new high school someone from the 1967 greeter table handed me a program and tried to sell me a raffle ticket. Lots of people filled the entry hall. I headed for the coffee.


As I rounded the corner to the table area I was first greeted by Bill McQueary and Tom Shaw who were at a table with a 1962 Ram sign on it. Also, there were Suzanne Cliett Marsden and her husband, and soon Asher Cohen, Jr. and his wife, Kathy, joined us. Then Glenda Johnson came up and we all visited for a while. Sheriff Ray Patterson was the last to show up. Sitting at our table was Linda Taylor from the class of 64 and Bill’s wife, Barbara Ward, from 1965. Ms. Taylor asked me if I used to teach world history at the high school and I said “no, that was my brother.” She said she had taken history from him.
Wish I could give you a transcript of the very focused conversations at the table, it was fun visiting. Topics like Elmhurst, ballroom dance lessons above the Penny’s store, lost friends, the local draft board (think Vietnam), Jannelle White’s brothers, previous reunions, flooding in the Crystal Canal and whether or not you swam in it, stories of a number of unanswered marriage proposal letters to a certain class member, etc.

I thought I better register and went to the table controlled by Nancy Martin Buzbee, Linda White Moore, Melody Tuggle Carroll, and Lynn Tompkins Waddy. They showed me a list of who was registered, and said that Pallin Lee and Sue Hill were there the previous night, but would not be at the Saturday event. I noticed that some names on the list I had not seen yet. Because I had put Ms. Primm’s name on the back of my registration form for the award, I asked Nancy about the teacher who got the fourth teacher Hall of Fame award, and was so pleased to hear from her that Ms. Primm had won a close race for it! Registered, but so sorry I did not see you were: Lynda Lee Fox, Judy Smith Lee, Monty Sanders, Delores Bailey Sybert, Tommy Youngblood, Jim Hughey, Mike Hopkins, Delores Bolton Ayers. Like I said, Pallin and Sue came on Friday. So over twenty registered or attended. More than last year. Pretty, pretty good. Wait till 2017 and let’s all show up.

The class group headed into the comfortable auditorium about 10:45 and the program started. We got all the 1962 people in one area, a row or two, and took a couple of photos. The speech by the representative of the class of 1966 was about twenty five to thirty minutes long. Officers for next year for the 50 Year Club were named and someone from the class of 1962 named “Waddy” was mentioned, I think, it was corresponding secretary, probably Eugene. The pledge to the flag and singing the Alma Mater were memory lane stuff. Each class stood up with their class representative as the roll of classes was called, and a list in the program told who had passed since June 2015 from each class. That meeting was very efficiently run but there were no stage lights so people on the stage were in the dark. President Hank Gayler gave a report on the progress restoring the cottage, mentioned money a few times, and adjourned us to lunch. I asked Hank how close the Primm vote was after the meeting in the lunch area and he said that the board had to break the three way tie. The previous winners that she joined were Mr. Pat Simmons, Mr. Curt Scharnberg, and Mrs. Winnie Fiedler.

In the lunch area appeared a healthy happy Jessie Wright Teddlie, and after a few words with her I hit the way back to Dallas and as I passed the Fort Wolters gate and by that cross, I pondered that it was a fun trip, and I wondered how many more times the Lord is going to be willing to allow me this yearly road trip back H O M E, before I’m called home.
Bob Samuelson
Wuz Up? Class Reporter
June 12, 2016

Jewell Primm, Inducted into 2016 Teacher Hall of Fame

Jewell Van Landingham Primm

Perrin School Faculty - 1947
Mrs. Primm taught a group of the class of '62 in English year after year. We were very fortunate to be part of that group. She was organized and out to inspire us to explore new and old worlds. She was a handsome woman and very elegant, eloquent, prim, and proper. She stood, we sat, for years. She introduced us to the dark dysfunctional aspects of human nature with the Greek plays and stories of human fear like those of Poe and George Orwell. She taught how history and literature go hand in hand, and she took us by the hand with great energy and led us on a life long journey through the history of England and more.
She had me memorize a passage from one of our study books from 1961 and 62, Tennyson's Idylls of the King, from The Round Table section: "Man am I grown, a man's work I must do. Follow the deer? Follow the Christ, the King, Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King -- Else, wherefore born?"
Lyda Jewel Van Landingham was born in Wise County on October 25, 1909. She grew up and went to school in Jack County. In 1910 her father, Addison Garland Van Landingham (age 34) from Arkansas and her mother Anna Whitaker Van Landingham (age 26) were living in Precinct 2 of Jack County. 
Children in the home besides Jewel were Addison E., age 11, and Jeral Dene born in Feb. 1907. In 1918 the roll of the Perrin school lists Jewel Van Landingham in the third grade and brother Gerald in the fourth. One can debate about her birth year, the "09" is whited out on the death certificate and a handwritten "10" placed as her birth year. The headstone says 1910. But the census taker Jesse E.
Terry, in Jack County dated his record May 5, 1910 and said Jewel was 7/12 of a year old on that date. So, if she was born in October 1910 she would not have been there for the census taker in May 1910. 
Jewel's father was listed as a farmer. Addison Van Landingham was a step brother to Jewel as the Van Landinghams were married about 1905. Anna's brother, Fred (Jewel's uncle) and his wife Mary Whitaker and their little girl farmed on the place next to the Van Landinghams. The census of 1930 taken in Jack county on April 30, 1930 shows Jewel Van Landingham, single, age 20 living on state highway 24 with her 23 year old single brother Gerald. Both are listed as public school teachers. Gerald was teaching in Weatherford in 1940, married in 1934 to Aline Corry with one child, Jewel's nephew, James Stuart Van Landingham born in 1939. James died in 2009.
In a 1940 school yearbook she is listed as Jewel Primm, an Elementary teacher in the Perrin School faculty. Who Mr. Primm was and what was his fate after 1930 remains a mystery. She is pictured among the faculty in the 1942 Perrin School year book. Her 97 page thesis for a Master's Degree in Science was presented to the graduate council of North Texas State Teachers College in August, 1945. It was titled: "The Relationship Between Mental Ability and Reading Achievement." See the text at: The 1948 yearbook lists her as an eighth grade teacher. By 1949 she is listed as the elementary grade school principal as well as teaching eighth grade. In 1953 a Burro yearbook shows Mrs. Primm as the English I teacher for Mineral Wells High School.

 Mineral Wells High School Faculty - 1962
She died of cancer after a twenty day stay in St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas on February 29, 1968. She is buried along side of her mother, Anna, in the Perrin Memorial Gardens Cemetery on March 3, 1968. Her last residence was listed as 511 West Hubbard, Mineral Wells, Texas. In 2010 she was nominated by Bill Ansley, MWHS class of 1961 for the MWHS Teacher Hall of Fame. Quoting Bill: she "taught us good manners, honesty, decorum, and ethics." He described her as "an outstanding teacher," providing "invaluable council and encouragement" and a "skill" teacher. Jewel's mother outlived her to be 96 and died in 1980. Her father died in 1962. Jewel's headstone displays an Order of the Eastern Star emblem with the motto (FATAL); "Fairest Among Thousands, Altogether Lovely." A good fit.

By Robert J. Samuelson
Source: Subject: Wuz Up? MWHS Class of 1962 - Isabelle Has Fallen and
Lyda Jewel VanLandingham Primm Date: February 1, 2015 6:18:56 AM CST