In 1955, teachers go phonetic and boy scouts get fishy

Posted 8/11/20

Note: It’s confession time. After last week’s Meteor had already gone to print, I suddenly thought, “I should check what C.C. Springfield’s age was in 1955, when the Heath horse photo was taken.” I did and realized that he was only 16. I don’t think the Meteor then would have credited him with the photo. I asked his daughter, Jennifer, if he did photography, and she replied that he did not but his father did. “Our” local C.C. carried the same name as his father, Calvert Collier Springfield, (1909-1969) in Huntsville. Many local photos from the mid-20th century are credited to him. I’m sure this isn’t the first mistake my Musings have included, and I doubt it will be my last.

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In 1955, teachers go phonetic and boy scouts get fishy

Posted

Note: It’s confession time. After last week’s Meteor had already gone to print, I suddenly thought, “I should check what C.C. Springfield’s age was in 1955, when the Heath horse photo was taken.” I did and realized that he was only 16. I don’t think the Meteor then would have credited him with the photo. I asked his daughter, Jennifer, if he did photography, and she replied that he did not but his father did. “Our” local C.C. carried the same name as his father, Calvert Collier Springfield, (1909-1969) in Huntsville. Many local photos from the mid-20th century are credited to him. I’m sure this isn’t the first mistake my Musings have included, and I doubt it will be my last.

This is the second of two articles offering a peek into the mid 20th century, when the country was still in its post-war boom and liked Ike, but hated polio.

In 1955, special classes prepared 26 Madison County teachers, plus a few from nearby counties, to use the then-new “Sloop Method” (a phonetic teaching process designed by a teacher at Texas A&M Consolidated) for reading instruction.

Teaching reading through phonics was to start at Madisonville Elementary in the coming school year. Madisonville Elementary teachers attending the classes included Mignon Willis, Hope Rhodes, Marie Dean, Willie Bell Pritchett, Velma Trappey, Sue Reimer, Dorothy Williams, Sara Farris, Alice Colwell, Pauline Carroll, Billye Shine, Mary Berta Smith, Louise Knight, Lorene Hilbun, and Rosalie Etheridge. Midway instructors were Mrs. Grady Wakefield, Alexandra Hardin, Louise Carter, and Lucille Bates. North Zulch teachers included Mrs. L.E. Gibbs, Paralee Cleveland, Connie Benge, and Lois Brown, and Normangee instructors were Mrs. L. O. Wright, Hilma Martin, and Ola Mae Copeland.

Mid-month a pilot sent a short-wave radio message that he was about to crash about 15 miles west or southwest of Madisonville. Sheriff Trav Connor immediately went to the North Zulch and Iola areas and while in Iola learned via police radio of a fire sighted southeast of Madisonville. That proved to be burning bulldozed timber on the Pete Brelsford ranch. Search for a crashed plane proved fruitless.

Midway Boy Scout Troop 773 reported to have enjoyed a fish fry and two nights camping overnight at the Trinity River. Members were Jimmy, Tommy, and Donald Finney, J.W. and Jimmy Wiseman, Larry Wakefield, Charles Yauls, Joe Wayne Sowell, Terry Simpson, Billy Don Bates, Joel Fraley, Ben Dillard, Jr., and Tommy Jackson. They were accompanied by Scoutmaster Bill Blow and committee members Martin Fraley, Ben Dillard, Sr., Harold Jackson, and Clyde Maples, as well as O’Neal Sloan, who caught and served the fish.

The feed mill built and operated the previous year by Roy V. Dean had been bought by Martin Standley and was being moved to his place off East Highway 21. Standley pledged to continue offering the same grinding, mixing, and syruping operations that Dean had offered. Mr. Dean sold the mill because he planned to return to Vick Lumber Company as Manager on September 1.

Three North Zulch students received degrees from Sam Houston State Teachers College. Bobby Hurry, a math major, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Billie Joe Williams, an accounting major, got a Bachelor of Business Administration. English major Marie Hibbetts received a Bachelor of Science Degree.

In those days, our Meteors included many “personals” or news bits from residents or little communities around the county. The following in this paragraph came from two different personals. Mrs. Paschal Rawlins (Julia) had been busy with grandchildren. She spent time in Houston with grandson Gregory Restivo, who was recovering from both bulbar and spinal polio. He was allowed at home every night with his mother but spent days receiving treatments at a facility. Later, back in Madisonville, Mrs. Rawlins honored granddaughter Linda Jack with a party at their home for her 8th birthday. Guests included Linda McWhorter, Paula Kay Rogers, Susanne Goodrum, Bruce Mathis, Betty Spikes, Sharon and Nancy Stone, Laquita and Shelia Freeman, and Kenny Restivo.

Mr. and Mrs. Cleo Singletary and children Sally, Danny, and Mary Jack, visited two nights in Pasadena with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Shipp.

Joe Wayne Keefer and sister Vivian Keefer spent a week in Dallas with their sister, Mrs. Pat Audri, and her family.

Mrs. R.P. Westmoreland and Pat and Dickie had returned from spending a week vacationing first in Corpus Christi then with the Lee Roy Wilsons of Aransas Pass.

Mrs. David Reed and her three children, Don, Dona Lee, and Nickey Dee, and Rosa Windham and Jackie Zulch spent a week at Wood Lake near Groveton.

Mrs. Maurine Wilson and Connie and Mrs. Jeff Farris and Angela spent a week vacationing in San Antonio.

Mr. and Mrs. Neil Lindsey, of Jacinto City, spent the weekend in Madisonville with their parents, Mrs. Noel Lindsey and Mrs. J.W. Burtis.

Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Whitmire had grandsons Mike and Steve Murray as weekend guests.

Buddy Barrett and Buddy Wilson, students at the University of Texas in Austin, spent a weekend here with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Barrett and Mr. and Mrs. Lee Roy Wilson.

Mrs. James Goodrum honored daughter Susanne (now Morris, our County Clerk) with a “picture show party” for her birthday. Guests were Janis and Jackie Dee McCann, Sandra

Manning, Peggy Whitmire, Lynda Ratliff, Linda Jack, Linda Shiflet, Linda Fannin, Nancy Fannin, Earline Singletary, Sheila and Sharon Ray, and Wayne Morgan.

Any newspaper’s lifeblood is advertising, though back then, each edition contained several ads for merchandise sold at the Meteor. Back then, one could do much more in the Meteor Office than just buy a newspaper, place an ad, or pay for a subscription. One could rent typewriters for $2 per week or $5 per month. A free typewriter table was available with the purchase of any model Smith-Corona or Remington portable typewriter, with 10 models to choose from for $73.77 to $133.50. Esterbrook Desk Pen sets were offered for $3.75, and known as the pen that fills itself and the world’s largest selection of point styles. Expanding files could be bought in three colors and sizes, and ledger sheets in colors to avoid eye strain. Bug-proof shelf paper, treated to control and prevent ants and silverfish, was available for $.49 a roll.

Continental Trailways station operated out of Steele’s Café and Bus Station, phone number 61. Destinations and rates quoted included Dallas for $3.70, Houston for $2.45, Corpus Christi for $7.90, and Brownsville for $11.45, with tax to be added to all.

The Linda Lee Dress Shop carried the popular Lanz line, with the “fall’s colorful imported cotton dresses styled in unmistakable continental fashion” and priced at $25. Also offered was a clearance sale on summer dresses for $7.95. The Ramon and Louis Beauty Salon was in the back of the shop, and by dialing 650 one could contact the shop or the salon.

Reed’s Furniture and Hardware advertised five-piece chrome dinettes in red, gray, yellow, or green, regularly priced $69.50 but for a limited time at $53.88.

Fred Evans’s Humble station informed customers “Don’t give your old tires away! We allow $2 per tire on trade-in for new Atlas Premiums guaranteed two years!”

Cleere Grocery’s big ad included Libbey’s frozen strawberries, two 10-oounce cans for $.49. A 12-bottle carton of Coca Cola cost $.41 plus deposit.

Curtis Burnett advertised a sorrel Shetland stallion at stud for $15 and guaranteed, at his barn one mile north of Madisonville. Contact by phone 685-W.

Marvin Walton, of the Hollis community, offered 40 feeder pigs weighing 100 pounds each, all Duroc or Poland China.

N.B. Wilson’s ad offering sale of a good tin cistern included the telephone number 492-W-2.

Other ads brought to mind other almost-forgotten establishments, including the Plaza Theater, the Mustang Drive-In, First National Bank, Joe Webb Insurance, Riddle Funeral Home, Bendix Laundry, Joe L. Cooper Insurance, Chambless Auto, Madison Building Products (Van Wehmeyer and W.E. Duncan), E. P. Thomas Hardware, J.B. Hensarling Motor Company, and more.

Madison County Museum has a Facebook page under that title. If you participate in that social media, I hope you will check out at the page and “Like” it. Also, if any of the above jogs memories, perhaps you will share them on that Facebook site!

Madison County Museum, is located at 201 N. Madison St., Madisonville, TX 77864, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 6. It is closed at this time indefinitely. Hopefully soon I’ll tell you about it opening back up.

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