As told by Loving Wife, Cindy Klatt
I came from two wonderful families, poor but hard working. My Grandpa and Grandma Klatt brought my Dad and his two brothers and one sister from Germany to America before World War I. Another boy was born into the family in America. Dad had wanderlust and moved from East Texas into Midland in 1926. He worked for Texas Electric. Then he and his brother put in a blacksmith and welding shop. My Uncle wanted to move to San Antonio, Dad could not keep the business open. He then went to work for the bombardier base, which is now Midland International Airport. During the war, he was a machinist instructor. All his time in Midland, he was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department. My mother and all of the Thomas family came from Erath County moved to Escota, Texas and then to Midland, Texas in 1927. Mom and Dad met and wed in Midland, Texas. There were three of us born to Mom and Dad. By this time Dad had become a paid firefighter and then Fire Marshall.
Eddie Wayne Klatt was born January 4, 1946 in the oil town of Midland, Texas at Western Clinic prior to the building of Midland Memorial Hospital. At six years of age, I began the first grade at South Elementary School. I also attended South Ward which was on the corner of Main Street and New Jersey. In elementary school, Eddie, John Barker, Butch Parks and Charlie Huggins played Little League Baseball, although being segregated, we played with the kids from Carver as well, William Merritt, John Lee, Marshall King, Wesley DeWit and others. When we went to our high school reunion at the White House, we renewed our friendship with Williams Merritt and John Lee, who we had not seen in years.
Then I went to Cowden for 7th – 9th grade, then Midland High School. In 7th grade, I played center and guard on the offensive line and John Barker was quarterback. Butch Parks was a defensive back. Charlie Huggins played offensive line. There was so few of us many played both ways – offensive and defensive. During the summer, John and I worked. I was fortunate enough to have my grandfather and then my brother own a business and I got to work for them. Mom and Dad made me save the money for school clothes.
Mr. LeMaster helped our 7th grade football coach due to Coach Tibbets having cancer. The kids LOVED Mr. LeMaster – he was close to our age. He has remained a good friend all of these years.
John Barker came out of the showers at Cowden. Joe Steele, who was mechanically inclined and was the team manager, had wired the equipment cage to electricity. He called John over to the cage. John sauntered over there, grabbed the chicken wire and it almost knocked him out the door. He was trying to get Joe and Joe trying to calm John down during the laughter. All of us were laughing at the incident, John didn’t think it was so funny. Cowden had the reputation of being the ruffian’s school. It was a block or two from Midland High. We had guys go to Midland High just to pick a fight. However, we were all good – har har.
There was an infamous place in Midland directly behind Cowden on Texas Avenue, we knew it as the “Donut Shop.” They made other things besides donuts as an alternative to the cafeteria. If you went to get a donut, you best get back quick or you didn’t have a donut. There was more bloodletting behind the donut shop than any bull fight!! I just had to mention the “Donut Shop.”
I left out an individual, who I felt very close through the time – we went through Cowden and Midland High School together – Jimmie McDaniel. Jimmie, Fred Kee and I ran around frequently.
Girls – when it came to girls, we were too busy dodging trouble to date or be serious with girls. In Elementary School, Frieda Holder, Becky Dilliard, Margaret Hetrick are some girls I remember. Becky and John Barker married later in life. We got to renew our friendship. I never knew any of the guys as tough as they were, be disrespectful to any of the girls. There were some really nice girls in Junior High and High School. One of them in High School was Cindy Schumann – she was very nice. This story we will take up later.
A bunch of Midland graduates from my class didn’t have the resources to go any farther than Odessa College, which was the only higher educational institution. When we graduated we carpooled back and forth to Odessa College for 2 years. I thought I wanted to go to University of Texas in Austin. However, Charlie Huggins had a brother living in Denton. Charlie talked me into going there for a visit. We had a FUN party that convinced me that I should attend North Texas State University.
I quit college, came back to Midland and began with the Fire Department in 1972 – worked there until I retired in 2009.