Memories of Midland

Story as told by Charley Huggins

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The audio of Charley’s story is transcribed below:

I remember in high school on Friday and Saturday nights when we didn’t have anything to do, we would go “paper” girls’ houses. We would go wrap these girls’ houses in toilet paper. Two of my friends, Clyde Jones (MHS 64), and Roy Vaughn (MHS 63) and I would go and wrap these girls’ houses. Clyde’s girlfriend was Carol Osborne (MHS 64) and we wrapped hers several weeks in a row!  Carol’s Dad got tired of us doing this and one night he came out and Clyde had just jumped off the roof. He had been up there on the roof and he had thrown a roll of toilet paper down the chimney! As soon as he jumped down, Mr. Osborne was standing there, and Clyde took off running. I was waiting in the car and I took off, and I picked him up down the street. We quit papering houses after that!

I also remember that one summer night I decided to go out East of town towards the community of Greenwood where they raised watermelons in a field and we (I can’t remember who was with me but it was 2-3 of my friends) took my parents car and went out to the field and put some of those watermelons in the trunk. I backed out and I saw a pick-up truck coming down the road with headlights. We wanted to get out of there in a hurry and I backed out over a culvert because we didn’t want to get caught.  Like I said, I backed out over a culvert and I didn’t realize it until we were down the road a little bit. I ran out of gas because what had happened was, I knocked a hole in the gas tank. So, there we were out there in the middle of nowhere. This was WAY before cellphones and stuff. Somehow, we got a tow truck to come out and towed my car to my house. It was about 2 o’clock in the morning. My mother was waiting on the front porch and as you can imagine she was wondering where we were and what we were doing. You can imagine the shock on her face when she said, “ car!! I am telling you she was so mad. What we had planned to do with the watermelons was take them and throw them in the front yards of people that we knew. So that is what we did in the summer in West Texas because we didn’t have much else to do!

We would have summer dances on Wednesday nights at the Midland Youth Center. Jay Hainey was the Director of the Youth Center and they would have live bands. We would have a good time going to these dances. They had a soda fountain there and you could get milkshakes and ice cream and stuff like that. It was really fun. I spent a lot of time at the Youth Center because it gave us something to do and it was really fun! A policeman by the name of Preacher Roberts used to stand at the front door and make sure kids weren’t drinking or anything before you came in. He made sure you weren’t pulling any shenanigans. He was well known around Midland and was really a nice policeman to us kids. He would talk to us.

My brother, Bockey, that was his nickname, his real name was Tommy (Class of 61) was a Golden Gloves Boxer. He was pretty good. He weighed about 135-140 pounds, and he could box pretty well. He won a lot of trophies. There were tournaments in the summer.  My older brother, Bobby (Class of 60) had to fight in the heavier class because he was heavier.  He was in light to heavy weight class. One time he almost had to fight Casius Clay (he later became Muhammad Ali). Turns out he didn’t fight him, but he was next up had he won!  There was another boxer in Midland named Don Marshall. He went to the Nationals for the Golden Gloves. He went to Texas Western in El Paso. It’s now called UTEP. He was an offensive lineman and he had a pretty good career out there. He lived down the street from us over on the south side. He had been at Cowden and then he went to Midland High School. So that was pretty neat. People would come to visit us. Bobby brought these trophies from Bockey. He would tell his friends that he had won the trophies. I would be here, too, and I would tell them, “Hey these aren’t his trophies…these belonged to Bockey. Of course, that would not go over too well and he would put a few knots on my head. We sure had a good time growing up in West Texas. We found things to do and I didn’t know any better. I thought West Texas must have been about the best place in the world until I came to North Texas in 1966. I found out there were trees, lakes and vegetation, and just beautiful country. Not like a desert, like it was in Midland. I never moved back to Midland again. I went back in 1967 for one summer and I worked at Snow White Laundry where my dad worked. He got me a job there and I worked that summer. I decided after the summer of 1967 I didn’t ever want to go back. So, I never went back to stay again. I would go back and visit my dad and my step mother. When I was married, we would take the kids there to visit for the holidays. My mother died in 1967 and my dad remarried a woman named, Barbara Parkinson. She used to live next door to us on West Kansas. He met her and married her. She had three daughters. They all graduated from Midland High School. Miriam (MHS 59), Cynthia (MHS 1961), and Harriett (MHS 1966). So, dad and Barbara married and now there were 3 boys and 3 girls. That was pretty cool.  When I would take my kids back to Midland for the holidays or Christmas they would ask me, “Dad how did you stand living here.” Honestly, it was the only thing I knew. Plus, we just found things to do. We would go to baseball games out at Brave Field which is now Christianson Field where Midland College plays football. It was part of Hogan Park. We would be the Bat Boys for the Midland Braves. That was fun. I found out that there were some things in West Texas that were fun. After I got down to the Metroplex I decided that I liked that. We moved to Denton in 1980. I have lived here ever since and made a nice home. When we moved here in 1980, Denton only had one high school. It was a town of only 65,000 and now it’s a town of about 200,000 with four high schools. I can’t believe that Midland still only has the two high schools. There is Midland out on Lincoln Highway and Lee High School out on the north side of town. They have always had freshmen schools.

I remember back in my 4th grade year in 1956 there was an Air force Base out in Big Springs. They had fighter pilots and they would sometimes fly over Midland. Once a private airline flying out of Midland forgot to check and get clearance and they accidently collided in the air. We went out to the western part of Midland to Thomason Drive. My dad and mother and me and my brothers went out there to see what was going on. It was really bad. Luckily it was during the day and many people were not home. I don’t recall there being any fatalities of the residents but all the people in the two planes were killed. There were 4 passengers in the private plane and 2 passengers in the military plane. That was really scary and I had nightmares for 2-3 weeks after that.

 The next year in the 5th grade I had a teacher named Francine Weaver at South Elementary. She had gone to Texas Tech and she really loved it and she would tell us about it. She drove a 1955 Packard and it was a really nice car back in those days. She ended up teaching in Midland for forty some years. She was a really, really good teacher and one of my favorite teachers. I kept up with her for many years. Later in life I told her she was one of the reasons that I started teaching. I liked the way she taught and she was good to the kids. She had good firm discipline. Everyone loved her. After she retired, she started the Volunteer of the Year in Midland. She would go out to the prisons for women and she would witness to them and tell them about the Lord. She had a lot of success. I would call her when I went home to visit and talk to her and tell her that I admired her. She was one of the reasons I taught school and she always thought that was pretty cool.

In the 6th grade we moved over to 903 West Washington and I went to school at West Elementary. That’s where I met Bill Wood and Eddie Hendrix. We were in the same class. Then we all graduated Midland High School in the class of 1964. Bill is was a prominent attorney in Denton. He was a defense lawyer. He had a lot of success. He played football as the quarterback. He played basketball and baseball. He went to the University of Virginia, I believe. I don’t know where he finished up. I kept up with him when he moved to Denton. His son went to Denton High School and I would see him around sometimes. Bill was also at the class reunion in 2008 in Washington, D.C. Laura Bush was the Class of 64 at Lee High School. She and George W. hosted us and we all had a reunion. It was really, really nice. There was a bunch of us that went. George and Laura took pictures, individual pictures, with each couple. I still have the picture in our living room. We also got a picture of the Class of 64 outside on the steps of the White House. That is something I will never forget. It was very enjoyable. I was able to see a lot of people I had not seen since I graduated from high school, and some of them I haven’t seen since then.

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