Valley View Baptist Church and School

These are pictures of the Valley View Baptist Church. It was just a short distance across our pasture and creek. This is where I became a Christian at age 12. The memory of that first step I took to leave the pew and walk down the aisle to take the preacher’s hand is with me now and I feel sure will remain for the rest of my life – because it changed my life. I was baptized in a creek a few miles from the church – one with water. In West Texas not all creeks had water all the time. The church consisted of one large room. For Sunday School it was separated by drawing curtains over portions of the room. In the summer time we sometimes had classes outside under the scant shade given by the only trees in the area, mesquite. There was no air conditioning, our heat was somewhat relieved by a hand held fan – usually furnished by the local bank or funeral home. In the winter heat was furnished by one pot-bellied stove that burned coal. The sermons were long…(two hours were not unusual) Seemingly unending to us children. There wasn’t any such thing as a nursery for children. The younger ones went to sleep with heads in mother’s laps. Revivals were held in the summer, two weeks long with services mid-morning and at night. The climax came with “dinner on the grounds” and the food was out of this world! Mother (a Presbyterian) and Daddy (Church of Christ) became Baptists because this was the only church within miles in this sparsely populated West Texas community.


Minister, unknown children, and Mother (right).

If you stand quietly in a certain mesquite grove on the bank od Lone Wolf Creek, you may hear the ghostly laughter of phantom children still at play. Nearby are ruined remains of an old schoolhouse, shaded and crumbling under the Texas sky. A marker tells you that this is the remnant of Valley View School. It was located in Lone Wolf Valley, deriving its name from Indian Chief Lone Wolf. This is where I went to school from 1929 to 1935 – first through the seventh grades. The mesquites have crowded ever closer through the years. Now they form a dense thicket that protects a place that was once filled with life and learning. In 1905 a group of the community’s citizens met under a mesquite tree to plan how to build a new school. There were no funds – no government grants – so they dug into their pockets. Some gave $25, some $50, etc. Mr. Edmond Seymour donated the land. Mr. Seymour was a veteran of the Civil War. He was a soldier and an Indian fighter. He was in the last battle on Lone Wolf Mountain. (We lived on the farm that Mr. Seymour’s heirs had inherited. I spent many happy times riding my horse, Nellie to Lone Wolf Mountain to explore and look for arrow heads). They built a one-room school. Through the years, additions were made. When I began first grade there were two rooms. In 1930 two more rooms were added. It was the center of community activity (especially before the church was built) the site of box & pie suppers, ice cream socials, etc. In 1942 the school was closed, consolidated into the Loraine district.

 




We lived in this house until I graduated from grammar school, then I went to Cross Plains to live with Grandmother and Grandaddy Garrett to attend high school. Shortly after Mother’s death Aunt Minnie came to live with Daddy and I. She stayed a few months then Aunt Bernice, Uncle Herman, Rex and Delmar moved in with us. After I left for Cross Plains Daddy’s health had deteriorated to the point that he was unable to farm. He lived in Colorado City, Texas for a few months then left for an extended stay in the Veteran’s Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Notice the vines on the house. They were morning glory vines planted to help shade the front porch and kept alive by buckets of water I carried throughout the summer from the windmill. It was not easy to have flowers in that dry climate.




1935 - elementary school graduation, Valley View
Margie Brown - I liked her a lot, especially her name - so much that I gave the same name to my only daughter!
Juanita Davis - She was a year or so younger than myself, byt was a friend during elementary school, and the only person from that era that I exchanged rare letters with later in life.

1934 - 6th Grade, Valley View.
From left: Mr. Sims (standing), James Nunn, (unknown) Dillard, Edith (unknown), Hollis Mize, Travis Burleson, Earlene Brown, (unknown), Russell Saunders (my heart throb!), Kenneth Hoover, Clista Hoover, (unknown), (unknown), Christine Thomas, (unknown), Margie Hamilton, Helen Nunn, Bernadine Rone, Burt Moody (standing right).

1935 - 7th Grade, my last year at Valley View. I was 13 years old. I don't remember some of these long-ago classmates, but those I can identify from left to right, top row: (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), Rollo Davidson, Mr. Sims, (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), next row: Clista Hoover, (unknown), Earlene Brown, (unknown), (unknown) Eggleston, (unknown) (unknown) next row: (unknown), (unknown), Christine Thomas, Me, Helen Nunn, (unknown), Kenneth Hoover, (unknown), bottom row: (unknown), (unknown), (unknown), Lee Brown, Russell Saunders, James Nunn, (unknown), (unknown).

Maola and Rollo

Rollo was my teacher this year. I was thrilled to have him as my teacher but never knew quite what to call him...Uncle Rollo…or Mr. Davidson. Neither seemed quite right in a classroom setting. So I compromised by not calling him anything. Rollo teased me in succeeding years about making him nameless. Rollo and Maola lived in a small house by the school that year. I think that it was a difficult year for them. Mr. Sims was a weird old man. He was the principal. The students didn’t like him and he made life hard for Rollo as well. This was the period between Rollo’s graduation from McMurry College and beginning his 40-year career as a Methodist pastor. Having Rollo and Maola living nearby meant a lot to me. They had a hand in molding my life into what it was to become. For instance: without Mother’s guidance I fell into the habit of mounting my horse, Nellie, and riding about the country side on Sundays – rather than being in Sunday School and church. Maola and Rollo used gentle persuasion to change those habits and establish more appropriate priorities in my life.