By Gere Gaige
Arrived pre-school age in Midland first in 1949, with my geologist dad (Magnolia Oil Company in those days, with “Pegasus”, its flying red horse) moving us from Illinois to a red-brick duplex on Nobles Street, not far from Big Spring Avenue, Johnny Henderson’s grocery and the Spudnut shop next door.
Dad ordered an FHA financed house to be built by James Chestnut’s dad a bit further west on Nobles (616) closer to the “A” Street Park. That house backed up to the cemetery (spooky) and its dirt alley was a great place to find horned toads, jump away from rattle snakes and chase blowing tumbleweeds. Started first grade there (North Elementary) and lasted through some of the fourth – with a big interruption of budding friendships in the middle. (Explains why most of you did not know me in those years.)
During first grade, my brother and I were shipped to Michigan for two years to live with grandparents while our mother was confined to a Sanitarium with tuberculosis and dad continued his Permian Basin geologist duties finding oil for Mobil back in Midland. A medical experimental program of the day cured mom there, using a newly discovered drug – penicillin. And we traveled back to Midland to resume residence for part of my grade four.
In spite of being in and out of Midland, memories of that time include Cub Scouts with Scott Gilmore, James Chestnut, Dudley Houghton, Ricky Swords and others. Then began a series of moves every two to three years for Mobil Oil assignments for my dad to Dallas (grades 5-6 in Highland Park), Roswell, New Mexico (grades 7-9) and then back to Midland…. where we built another house on 3 acres along a dirt road in Melody Acres at what was the end of Midland Drive at the time.
That’s when MHS and its new swimming pool became my home for three years…. and I was able to refresh friendships with those I remembered from six years earlier, and make new high school friends with the many more that had been introduced to the fast growing city since I had last been there.