Everything Matters

Everything Matters
Zim's Bottling of Strawn

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Daddy wouldn’t let that happen
The Tudor Community speaks
By Jeff Clark

I’m sorry I haven’t written in awhile. It’s been a tough year.
I went to see Chrystal Falls last Friday. Several had pointed me in her direction, once they learned I was interested in Tudor Road, in the now-vanished Tudor-Gourdneck Community.
Mrs. Falls was born a Jackson in 1917, at the foot of County Knob, a landmark mountain hugging the eastern boundary of Eastland County. Her older brothers walked to the Tudor School all the way from the Knob. Her daddy later bought a closer place, on Tudor Road when she was six-years-old. He didn’t want six-year-old Chrystal to have to cross the creek, on her way to school.
She thinks the Tudors or Mitchells might have owned their farm first. You remember me telling you about that fine rock cellar at the turn in the road? That cellar was already there when they moved in. As was the house, also still standing.
The one room Tudor School sat by the cemetery, opening its one door as far back as the 1870s. Some called the place Gourdneck, don’t ask me why. The school cistern, located off the corner of the school building, still waits out there in the woods. Mrs. Falls attended first through sixth grade, the year the school closed down, the first year of the Great Depression for most – 1929.
Her family shopped in Strawn and Mingus. Mrs. Falls’ mom liked cornbread and there was a corn mill in Mingus at the time. They shopped for groceries at Watson Brothers in Strawn. That was an all-day trip back then.
Mrs. Falls was the only student in Tudor’s first grade. There was another girl in third grade. Miss Vivian was her teacher. Also Walter Michell’s wife, Mabell. She was of the Pope Family.
That old wooden building hosted school during the week. Saturdays were for Easter egg hunts, picnics sometimes. Sunday was for church. Fourth of July was ice cream, turned by hand in a wooden ice cream freezer – one of her favorite days, she recalled with a smile. Everyone from the community was there –maybe fifty, maybe 100. Mrs. Falls graduated from Strawn High School.
Whenever there was a Tudor Community church revival, the minister stayed at the Jackson house (her mom cooked). Her Dad was a Baptist. Tudor Road used to continue on straight into Strawn, she said. I’d wondered if maybe it ended at Peter Davidson’s first place, between Strawn and Thurber (neither town was there in 1856, back when he first landed on the banks of Palo Pinto Creek).
Mrs. Falls dad was Willie Jackson (William Henry Harrison Jackson), who married Nora Gailey. Mr. Jackson was a fine man, one of four children.
Willie’s dad abandoned the family when the boy was small, up in Arkansas. Just up and left. Eventually those four kids were taken away from their mom by some judge. Willie remembered seeing his mother sob as the kids were removed from their home.
So this is the part I was telling you about, when someone you’ve never met teaches you something. Just like he’s standing right there in front of you. Willie talked about being hungry as a child. You don’t hear that from folks, not in this country. Not today. He never forgot that. But listen to this.
After the judge took Willie from his mom (and his siblings, who were separated), he ended up with the Vaught Family in Desdemona. I’m not sure if Willie was adopted or just taken in. They worked him like a slave, beat him even. This became his life, for awhile. One Saturday that family hooked up their wagon to go to town, gave him a long list of chores to do “or you know what’ll happen to you”. Then they left.
Eleven-year-old Willie took off, escaped, wading up the middle of Hog Creek so they couldn’t track him in the water. The Vaughts later seined their tank, thinking maybe he’d drowned himself. Think about that for a minute.
Willie went up the creek, then took off north and a little east, cross country, through the brush. After many, many miles of up and down valleys and desolate wild country, he ended up at the Gailey Place, east of Tudor Road, south of the Tudor School. Willie had never seen the Gaileys before in his life.
He knocked on the Gailey’s front door. Grandma came to the door. “I’m hungry,” he said. “Can I do some work?” The Gaileys fed him, took him in, and raised him like one of their own. Willie worshipped Grandma Ada Gailey, the only mother he’d ever known, since being taken from his own mom’s wing so young. Willie lived in the Gailey house with the kids. He was the one who wrote out the verse that’s on Grandma Gailey’s tombstone in Tudor Cemetery: “She was a kind and affectionate wife, mother and a friend to all.”
The Vaughts didn’t find Willie until many years later. Grandpa Gailey told them they’d better just leave the boy be. That struggle made Willie a better man.
As an adult, Willie rode to work on horseback at the Number One Thurber mine, digging coal. He was devastated when the mines shut down. There’s a picture of the Number One mine in the Thurber museum, I’m told.
Willie also farmed and ranched. The family planted a garden – did okay. “We were never hungry. Daddy saw to that. He’d never let that happen,” Mrs. Falls wanted me to know. They didn’t have electricity down Tudor way until after she married.
Some names I heard, but don’t yet know. Dutch and Walter Mitchell (brothers), the Popes, the Gaileys (Mrs. Falls’ mom Nora was the oldest).
Mrs. Falls moved away when she was 24 (marrying George Falls). They traveled all over the world, after a childhood of staying close to home. The Falls’ trip to the Holy Land was a “trip of a lifetime,” she told me.
Times are hard right now, in Texas, all over really. Picking up the newspaper, watching the evening news can be the toughest part of the day. There was a time, not so long ago, when survival grew from the sweat of one’s brow. When folks had problems, they prayed, usually together. When young Willie Jackson showed up hungry, what he asked for was work.
“We were never hungry. Daddy saw to that.”
I hope things are good with you. Please take care.

Jeff Clark is the author of "Tabernacle – The Back Road to Alameda and Cheaney," writes about lost Texas places and characters for Texas newspapers, and is a senior citizens’ insurance agent in Central and West Texas. To pass along story tips, please email jdclark3312@aol.com.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

County Poor Farm
A Little Girl in the Woods

By Jeff Clark

We may lose everything.

There's a depression heading our way. That's what the newspapers tell us. The economic kind. Here in Weatherford. Nibbling around the edges of our little town - taking its first taste.

Millions of everywhere-but-here folks have lost their jobs already. Swept away by the same tidal wave. Whose shadow we don't yet see. Most in this nation, in this town, live three paychecks from the abyss. It will frost my britches, if my parents were right.

A family doesn't need nice cars, a big house. You don't OWN anything. You can't DO anything. Why, your father and I made do with so much less. We didn't have to worry about tomorrow. We didn't have to.

Then a little girl calls out to me. "I survived," she whispers. "So must you."

That young girl's childhood, remembered by her through a prism of almost eighty years, haunts me this day. She was my storyteller. I didn't see it at the time. I visited her home expecting a Great Depression story of hardship and woe. That cup was handed back to me, overflowing. But in the midst of today's woe, her small farm girl's smiling stories keep bubbling to my surface. In the swirl of terrible suffering, humiliation, of death, there had been joy. I pull out my notes from our visit. I listen to her words.

Parker County Commissioners bought land for the County Poor Farm in 1883. It operated until about 1946. The county still owns the site, about three miles south of town. A few of its buildings, along with its lonely pauper cemetery still wait out there.
Individuals and families deemed insolvent were "sentenced" to live there, many decades ago. When neither family nor neighbors would take them in. Many were old. Were infirm.

Pride still governed our society back then. These folks weren't happy to be out there. They weren't looking for a free ride. Weatherford resident Nila Bielss Seale remembers those times as a girl. Remembers those people. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Bielss were the Poor Farm's caretakers. Hired by the county from the late 1920s through the early 1930s.

"It was like a big home," she said. "All the people there were like aunts and uncles. My mother and dad took care of them. They were doctor, nurse, and psychologist".

The Poor Farm consisted of two 160 acre tracts of land. The superintendent and his family had a home out there. The house still stands, barely. There was a barracks-like dormitory across the road from the family's house. Each Poor Farm resident had a room off its center hallway. The dormitory had a large porch across the front where the residents would often gather.

The Poor Farm's large barn, smaller outbuildings, and a water trough inscribed by Nila's daddy in 1923 also still remain. There's also a shack of a house off by itself, being eaten alive by a tree, shared back then by a blind man and the farm's Delco electrical system.

Joe C. Moore was one of the early Parker County Commissioners. He reflected on the court's thinking in starting the poor farm, in a Weatherford Weekly Herald story September 21, 1911: "Editor: I desire to answer some of your questions as to why the county poor farm was purchased, how used and what revenue it produced. About 1881, soon after A. J. Hunter was elected county judge, B.C. Tarkinton, Joe C. Moore, Frank Barnett and W. A. Massey were commissioners. After an investigation, this court found that other counties had farms that were a source of good revenue, a large savings to the taxpayers, and a good thing in general."

Moore says there were then thirty-eight people on the county indigent list who were each receiving $3 - $10 monthly. Parker County spent about $3,000 annually on its poor, back then. So the county bought this 320 acres, he said.

"George Abbott and wife were employed to superintend the farm with instructions to feed and clothe well all inmates of the farm, and to give each of the inmates a task according to their fittedness or ability."

The farm was free and clear of debt after only three years. The commissioners additionally used jail inmates to work at the farm. They received credit against their sentences.

All thirty-eight paupers under the county's financial support were then notified of the day and time to assemble, to be taken to the Poor Farm. Steaming Nazi locomotives pulling wooden-slatted cattle cars pop into my imagination as I write this. Though that's probably not fair. I'm sure some thought, in Parker County back then, these people must've brought it on themselves. They had it coming.

Apparently only about half showed up, Mr. Moore tells us, "showing that the county had been paying out money to those who had other means of support." No such testing goes on today. Far as I know.

The Poor Farm usually had between fourteen and twenty people living there at any one time. Those that were able worked in the fields, gathered eggs, raised hogs and cattle, milked or helped cook and clean back at the dormitory.

Aunt Mary, one of the residents there, was a cook while the Bielss Family lived there. The woman showed kindness to young Nila. "Aunt Mary made the best tea cakes," she remembered. Once Nila's pet goat Billy, who followed Nila everywhere, somehow got into Aunt Mary's room when the little girl was visiting. Though Billy created quite a mess, Aunt Mary, known for her organization and cleanliness, acted like nothing had happened. 

Aunt Mary grew tired in her later years and decided she was not going to help out around the farm any longer. Her back was bothering her, she said. She could no longer get around, she told some others. One afternoon, Nila's dad came up to the dormitory's porch, where Aunt Mary was still feigning illness. He let a harmless snake loose that promptly sought Aunt Mary out. Terrified of snakes, she leapt from her chair and took off, promptly cured of her affliction.

"We were almost totally self-sufficient," Nila said. "The people there were very busy people. My mother and dad alternated each month in buying groceries. Mother would get mad if the grocery bill was over twenty dollars for the month (for about eighteen people). My dad butchered hogs after the first cold spell and cured the meat. The cellar was full - the walls were lined with fruits and vegetables my mother put up."

During harvest season, when they would thresh the wheat, county commissioners would pay people from Weatherford one dollar a day to work (during the Great Depression). And people from town would come out, to help out - to get paid.
Nila's dad would salt meat and hang it from the rafters. When Poor Farm folks became ill, her mother or dad would sit up all night with them.

Nila had a horse as a little girl. The commissioners apparently had confiscated the animal from someone, to stop its abuse. "The horse wasn't quite right," she remembered.  "He would be perfectly sweet and normal, then all of the sudden just go crazy for a little bit." Nila loved that horse. One day she was riding him up by the big barn, through some old tree stumps. The horse had one of his episodes. Threw her through the air and onto the ground. Her dad was nearby. Thank goodness. Made sure she was okay. She remembers this part. He told her to get right back up on that horse. So she did.

The Poor Farm owned a few other horses to pull the plows and wagons, even a couple of Percherons at one point. Nila remembers her dad being partial to mules. These teams would take corn to the gin in Granbury in a wagon, and would help harvest the wheat. When it was ready.

Nila's father often woke up at 3 a.m. to begin his endless work around the farm. Near the end, most of the farm's residents were advanced in age. Were not a lot of help.
"Daddy liked to whistle," Nila told me. "He was known for that. You could hear him, even at three in the morning, out there whistling." He was a deacon in the local church, where her mom taught Sunday School and played the piano. Before they were married, Mr. Bielss had to sell his beloved horse Penny. He needed the money. He wanted a proper wedding ring. He sacrificed.

Nila's folks were good people, were hard workers. Nobody helped them out much except for Moses, Mr. Taylor, and sometimes Aunt Mary. "Mr. Taylor, who was blind, would want to help out more, but we were always afraid for him, when he got around the big saw," Nila told me. He was a nice man, she said. Mr. Taylor.

Nila remembers her family having a small record player. One day she and her brother Eldon were playing "He'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" so loud that her mother could hear it down the hill. They got into a storm of trouble. Before electricity was common, the farm had a Delco unit powered by a windmill to run a few things, like the single bulbs that hung from a few of the ceilings. The Delco was located in same little house that Mr. Taylor lived in. The blind gentleman.

Poor Farm residents washed their clothes in big black number five wash pots. The man named Moses kept pecans in a Maxwell Coffee can. He cut those pecans into laser-perfect halves. Moses did. Moses was paralyzed on one side. Had a peg leg that he made himself.

Nila told me about Mrs. Baker, who'd been addled after being struck by lightning. It stayed with her. Mrs. Baker. Whenever a storm approached, Nila's parents had to comfort her fears.

Nila told tales of a happy childhood at the farm. At the Poor Farm. Where her parents took care of so many. Nila never lacked for anything, she wanted me to know. Nila bottle fed her goats. Had a menagerie of livestock to keep her entertained. She listened to Little Orphan Annie on the family's radio.

Around 1946 the dormitory building where the residents lived was moved to the 100 block of Throckmorton in Weatherford. It there served as a home for the aged. The move was the end of the true operation of the Poor Farm. The building was later relocated to Rusk Street, where it still stands.
I drive past it. Often. Though I've never ventured up to it. Wouldn't be polite.
After World War II, the federal and state governments increased social services for the poor and the elderly. For the nation. Not just Parker County.

The Poor Farm pauper cemetery still sleeps off in the woods. The place was forgotten until the early 1980s, rediscovered by a group of hunters. It appeared to have about forty adult graves. And one child's grave. No one knows for sure.

The earliest documented burial was 1904. The lonely site had no fence. At that time the county commissioners were considering selling the farm. The Parker County Historical Commission persuaded commissioners to let them restore the dignity of the cemetery. This, they did.

Later in 1986 a historic marker was awarded by the state, now visible from Tin Top Road. A right-of-way was established from Tin Top to the cemetery. The Parker County Abandoned Cemetery Association continues to maintain the cemetery, with the help of donations. They do this, to this day.

I need to finish this story. There's much to do. To prepare for. I feel nauseous. Unsure.

I need a snake to scare me off this porch.

One man living at the Poor Farm was insistent that he not end up in the pauper cemetery. When the time came, Mr. Bielss buried him off in the woods. Wayne Thompson, who ran a dairy on the property in the 1950s remembers three lone graves off together near a lone tree, about a half mile away. This man's presumed to be one of the three. But I'm not sure.

J. G. Godley's death was particularly tragic. Godley died of suicide November 11, 1929. Nila recalls that Godley was once a wealthy man (related to the family that started the Godley community to our south). He was divorced, was 87 at the time of his passing. He apparently squandered his fortune and died a pauper at the farm. He was always very bitter and depressed, Nila told me. Many times he pleaded with her dad to kill him.
One morning the Bielss Family was having breakfast. Before sunrise. The cows down the hill started bawling. Her dad got his lantern. Said he'd better go check on what was wrong. On what was the matter.

Mr. Godley had cut his throat inside the farm's two hole privy. In the Poor Farm's out house. He lay dead on the floor. The county death certificate lists no relatives and no birthdate. The November 12, 1929 Daily Herald obituary shows one daughter in Austin. I never found her.

Nila remembers Mr. Godley being buried outside the paupers' cemetery fence by her father. County records show his final resting place as Oakland Cemetery, in an unmarked grave. Stories about Mr. Godley conflict around this town, even today. I believe that little girl, though bottom line, Mr. Godley is lost as well.

The Poor Farm Cemetery has one of the highest ratios of unmarked graves in Parker County. Out forty known graves, only one had a marked headstone. There is a newer granite marker listing the people who died at the farm, but were buried in other locations. The Abandoned Cemetery Association did that.

Association members Mary Kemp and Billie Bell spent long hours going through records trying to learn the names of those interred at this cemetery. Mary helped me with this story. Nila was its ringside witness.

I don't know how this story comes out. The Poor Farm. Parker County. The American nation writhing in doubt and uncertainty. Today's headlines could be an echo to that earlier time.

We could be in for the surprise of our lives.

The Poor Farm woods south of Weatherford probably hold this nation's answer. The souls in that graveyard. The whispers in those trees.Those times seem so foreign. Listening to that little girl. To the slip-sliding past. Our future's out there. A cradled secret, walking around in the faded front overalls pocket of another time. But those folks aren't talking. Not today. Not to me.

Jeff Clark is the author of "Tabernacle - The Back Road to Alameda and Cheaney," writes about lost Texas places and characters for Texas newspapers, and is a senior citizens' insurance agent in Central and West Texas. To pass along story tips, please email jdclark3312@aol.com.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Black Mount Pleasant School Forges

Two Communities Into One

By Jeff Clark

Race riots may be coming to Weatherford.
That was the talk around town. Images of angry police dogs, fire hoses and bloodied protestors across the Deep South paraded across Parker County TV sets in the early 1960s. Some feared a repeat performance here.
When Weatherford schools opened that first 1963 day of integration, all was quiet. The reasons are both simple, and complex.
Our mystery begins in church. Two years after the Civil War ended, blacks organized the Prince Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on Oak Street. This oldest “still in business” church in Weatherford was named after the Rev. A. Bartlett “Bart” Prince, its first elder (as is Prince Street, near the first black public school). The church’s building went up in 1871, and was modified in 1912.
The “CME” sign in front meant “Colored Methodist Episcopal” until the 1960s, when it changed to Christian Methodist Church. It’s believed to be the second oldest CME church in the nation. There’s no Texas Historical Marker here.
Within this pioneer church’s walls, black students received their first education, until the county built them a schoolhouse. Smythe’s 1877 “Historical Sketch of Parker County” lists thirty-seven county schools that year, each tied to a geographic “community”, save one: School No. 33 – The Weatherford Colored School. Seymour Simpkins taught thirty-nine “colored” students. Prince Memorial pillars Willis Pickard, Rev. Henry Johnson and Rev. Prince served as trustees.
The “Colored School” gets mentioned in the newspaper off and on down through the years. In 1887, land just south of West Oak and west of Prince was purchased for $200, its schoolhouse built in 1917. A brick school house replaced that structure in 1927. Today that forgotten brick schoolhouse stands proudly among the weeds.
The September 8, 1933 Weatherford Democrat lists five ward schools that year, plus the “Colored School”. Tillie Woods was principal and Ella Varnel was the teacher. The “Colored School” taught Cub Young, who pitched against Satchell Paige in the Negro Baseball League. Weatherford’s Negro League team played where Weatherford High School is now.
Leonard Smith entered first grade at Mount Pleasant in 1939, three years after it was renamed the Mount Pleasant School. The school’s two classrooms taught nine grades then.
Most black students walked to Mount Pleasant from four Weatherford neighborhoods – The Flat (First Monday Trade Day Grounds area), The Hill (West Oak Street area), Sand Town (near Akard & Sloan) and The Neck (near Cherry Park).
Black and white kids played baseball together, had rock fights, and cut up like children still do. Raymond George and some of his white friends walked to school together in the late 1940s. When they reached the Stanley School, the white boys went inside. Raymond kept walking.
“That’s just the way it was,” he said.
Mount Pleasant was a two room school, several grades in each classroom. Florine Roddy taught in the southern room, when Raymond was a student. The northern classroom was Lucille Rucker’s. Outside sat two outhouses and a water well whose pipe led over a trough. “One kid pumped while another drank,” Raymond told me.
Raymond remembers there being about fifty students, though that number swelled when migratory families came to town with the railroad or picking cotton. Raymond’s teachers (1946-1953) included Ella Varnell, Lucille Rucker and Mrs. Roddy.
“Lucille Rucker built the foundation beneath those black kids’ sense of respect,” Raymond said, “respect for others and for themselves.” Not only was she a good teacher, she was highly regarded by whites and blacks alike. Rucker made the boys play out back and the girls play out front during recess. “She taught us to treat the girls like ladies. Because of her, my generation of students stayed married, kept one job our whole lives, and successfully retired from those same jobs.” Still, when Mount Pleasant closed, Mrs. Rucker was forced to do odd jobs to survive. “She wasn’t taken care of,” he reflected sadly.
Wilson Hall was added to the northwest edge of the Mount Pleasant campus around 1944. Named after Superintendent Leonard B. Wilson, it was a barracks-like building used for classes and assemblies, with a stage on its west side.
Mount Pleasant sits high atop the western skyline of Weatherford, looking down on the Courthouse to its east. Below its majestic perch, blight stares back from where working black families once raised families. “Wood-burning stoves sat in the corners of each classroom,” Charlie Simmons told me, “replaced by gas heaters.” Flue holes still puncture the school’s two chimneys.
Each large classroom had wood floors and large windows along two walls. One can see daylight looking up through fourteen foot ceilings to the sky. “These classrooms were filled with little desks,” Charlie told me. “There were kids everywhere.”
“Every morning all the kids would walk out here, to the flag pole,” he said. “Say their Pledge of Allegiance and sing a patriotic song.” The flag pole base remains. He showed me where the swings were, the slide, the concrete front porch to Wilson Hall. “We had more fun than you can shake a stick at.”
The schoolhouse road entered from Prince Street, rising up the hill then circling the school. The old schoolhouse sits on private property, contiguous to Love Street Park on its west.
This was a time of separate white and black drinking fountains in our city. Blacks couldn’t enter white restaurants (unless they worked there) or attend most theaters. Blacks could buy Texas Theater tickets, as long as they sat in the balcony. Raymond remembers walking through the Texas CafĂ© to the kitchen out back as a little boy, wanting to spin the bar stools around. He couldn’t since the place was whites only.
Weatherford had black churches, a black tabernacle, and a two-story black Masonic Lodge on Fort Worth Highway, east of the courthouse. There were few black businesses.
If black students aspired to go to high school, they were on their own. Raymond and Leonard went to Fort Worth’s I. M. Terrell High School. Most of these kids didn’t have bikes, much less cars to make the thirty-one mile journey each way.
Raymond’s dad John Lorenzo “J. L.” George stepped up between 1953 – 1963. He left his upholstery shop twice a day to drive black students to Cowtown in his Ford station wagon at his own expense. Local businessmen later chipped in to buy gas. When J. L’s car got too crowded, a bus was finally supplied. J. L. spent five hours a day toting school kids, losing this time at his store.
Mitchell Rucker was another pillar of the black community here, born in 1899. “He was respected by the white community,” Raymond told me, “but held at a distance.” In the white community, Rucker was employed at the M & F Bank as a janitor. In the black community, he was superintendent at Prince Memorial for over fifty years, taught classes to Senior Citizens for the WPA in 1944, taught soldiers at Camp Wolters and was a board member at Texas College in Tyler for forty years. Rucker was one of the main conduits between Weatherford’s white and black communities.
“Pappa Ike” Simmons was another black leader. He attended school at Prince Memorial, before Mount Pleasant was built. “Pappa Ike was more of a politician – he knew everybody, running that mouth 100 miles an hour,” Charlie told me. Ike and brother “Uncle Charlie Simmons” each raised families off shining shoes at the Palace or Texas theaters and at barber shops.
Many prominent white families had black nannies, butlers, and groundskeepers. There was a parallel but unseen black society here, one from which trusted black men like Rucker, Pappa Ike and J. L. George could communicate informally with the white establishment.
Equally important, several white leaders reached out to the black community – Jack Borden, Borden Seaberry, the Cotton Family, and James and Dorothy Doss, among a few others. Respected whites and blacks interacted, albeit at a distance. Though not treated equally by any means, attacking one group would’ve meant attacking their own.
Mary Kemp remembers when the integration meetings took place in the third floor study hall of the old Weatherford High School. “It was a great time for all, very peaceful. I remember thinking, ‘This is a great historical time.”
Charlie Simmons was one of the first black students at Weatherford High School in 1963. He did well, as hundreds of other black students had before, riding atop the shoulders of Mount Pleasant’s teachers and black leaders. “It was a simple transition,” he said. “Nothing happened.”
This would be another “happily ever after” Weatherford story, save one omission. Unlike so much of this great town’s heritage, the Mount Pleasant School hasn’t been added to the roll call of hallowed historic touchstone sites in our town.
Raymond George tried to ignite a movement to get Mount Pleasant a historical marker some years back, maybe have the site turned into a museum or park. The Mount Pleasant School site and several surrounding acres can be accessed from the city’s Love Street Park and four city streets. The old school’s roof stopped turning back the rain many years ago. This historic place is not long for the world.
The Mount Pleasant School marks a chapter in Weatherford’s history where two communities became one. Unlike much of the South, this town pulled it off peacefully and with respect. As I put my camera back in its case, I noticed graffiti on the wall of Miss Rucker’s last classroom:
“Hold on to the ones you love,
cuz you never know when you’ll lose them.”