It’s in the Water

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!

6 thoughts on “It’s in the Water

  1. Bob Ittner October 16, 2020 / 3:30 pm

    Ron, what a wonderful story and a great life. Thanks for sharing. Bob Ittner

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. What's in the Water October 16, 2020 / 4:00 pm

    Dianne Whittington

    Ron,
    When you and Glenn reconnected at I think the MHS 20th year reunion, it was like you two had never been apart. I knew who you were in High School but you really entered my life then and have never left. I cried the first time I heard your story and I cried again today but not out of sadness. You and Elena are two very remarkable people that have done a remarkable thing. You have touched so many people in this life and I hope that your story will now touch so many more. Thank you so much for finally sharing :0) and now I want everyone to hear about your Bicycle Trip across America!

  3. What's in the Water October 16, 2020 / 4:01 pm

    Suzi Northcutt Griffith

    Beautiful! Thanks for writing this story.

  4. What's in the Water October 16, 2020 / 4:01 pm

    Linda Wofford

    What a beautiful story, Ron! Thank you so much for sharing! LMW

  5. What's in the Water October 16, 2020 / 4:04 pm

    Ron Peavy, 1961

    Yes, growing up in Midland was a SPECIAL time and SPECIAL place. As I read the stories, I experience many mixed emotions: laughter, tears, smiles, humility and incredible appreciation for the dedication and commitment of so many talented “Midlanders” from our era. Not only do I have a tremendous appreciation for our classmates and friends but also for their families who all contributed to making Midland an incredible environment.

  6. John McElligott October 17, 2020 / 4:58 am

    Ron sorry for the lateness of this comment but I’ve been a fan of yours since I met you in junior high and then followed you in high school for several years. Your life has been exceptional and I’m glad people appreciate it. Please continue to help us since the foundation will be starting up under the direction of Don Patteson. This is something that you could be a big help with.

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