Written by Ronald (Ron) Peavy
With encouragement from Midland friends and family, I will try to capture the impact that growing up in Midland during my teen years has had on my life.
I was born in South Carolina in 1943. Prior to ending up in Midland, Texas, our family journey took me through Tennessee, Arizona, back to S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Abilene, TX and ultimately Midland in the spring of 1956 where I enrolled the last six weeks of school in the 7th grade at Cowden Jr. High. The 8th grade, I attended San Jacinto Jr. High where I became friends with Glenn Whittington and Billy Owens. The following year, I attended Alamo Jr. High which was not fully completed when school started. I recall wooden boards and plywood set up at various locations to keep us out of the mud—good luck with that, we were kids!! Fond memories of the year in Alamo spending lots of time with Glenn and Billy. Also, remember Alamo defeated San Jacinto in football that year—what an upset!!
As time passed, I was very fortunate to associate with friends in Midland who accepted me and my family for whom we were. Comparatively speaking, my family was at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, but that is one of the aspects I so dearly appreciate about the “Midland experience”. I spent many hours in the homes of Glenn Whittington, Knox Nunnally, Billy Owens, Jody Black, John Daughtery and Dickie Dixon. They, in turn, spent time in our home—the confines of a small mobile home on Midkiff Drive. These friends and their parents (along with my own) gave me the confidence, determination and motivation to explore life and do the best I could do to meet the challenges that lay ahead.
I LOVED Midland High School. I think I was one of the few students that regretted graduation and moving on to my next chapter. As so many of you, I could share literally thousands of wonderful stories during this time—the friends, students, teammates, coaches, teachers, sand dunes, L Thomas, Hogan Park, bomb scares, Youth Center, Chief Drive-in (anyone hide in the car trunk? 😉) –soooo much more!
The love of basketball, Jim Poteet and my brother took me to college in Pasadena, California—Pasadena Nazarene College where I was fortunate enough to play for four years. I earned my degrees and teaching credential which led me to a wonderful and exciting professional career in education. For 45 years, I was a teacher, coach and ultimately a superintendent of schools in three different school districts, coming out of retirement four different times.
From 1969 to 1974, I served in the Marine Corps Reserves—what an experience but it also helped me face future challenges.
My life has been wonderful but as many of you have shared, life has its gifts and challenges. My greatest challenge came in 1972 as an incredible tragedy struck our family. In January of that year, my sister-in-law passed away at the age of thirty-five. Six months later, my brother, age 39, lost his life in a vicious car collision that killed him as well as the mother of three in the other vehicle. For our family, this left four children, my nephews and nieces, without parents. As a twenty-eight-year-old single man (never been married) and an admirer of my older brother, I left my position as a teacher and the head basketball coach at Montebello High School (east Los Angeles) to raise four children (ages 3, 5, 9 and 11).
Joining the four children in Big Bear Lake, CA, I took on teaching and coaching duties at Big Bear High School. In 1973, I met the most incredible lady in my life. Elena, my future wife, was hired as a foreign language teacher at the same high school where we met. In 1975 we were married and took on the task of raising these four children. Forty-five years later the children are fully raised giving us seven grand-children and two great grandchildren. A side note: my brother and sister-in-law adopted three of the four children when the children were babies.
I share this story because I believe family, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers and ministers in Midland gave me a foundation that allowed me, Elena, and our children to successfully meet this challenge. In Midland, I was fortunate to be surrounded by people, young and old, who demonstrated love, compassion, commitment and perseverance. Was it “in the water”? I don’t know, but I do know that the wonderful life that has been given to me and my family could not have been the same if I had not been exposed to the “water” and environment of Midland Texas. Thank you each and every one of you!