Written by Fred Underwood (MHS Class 51′)
My memories of Midland began in July 1949. We were living in Mexia, TX. Dad came home and announced that we would be moving to Midland. The Pure Oil Co had a long-term contract to sell all its oil at a price that had been overtaken by inflation. I spent my first two weeks of my junior year at Mexia High School. In geometry class, we did nothing but memorize the twelve theorems upon which all proofs were based. This effort became germain my first day in Mrs. Phillipus’ geometry class at Midland High School.
Early Saturday morning, Mom and I got in the car and began our trek to Midland. I sobbed until Waco because I was leaving all of my friends.
West of Waco, everything was new, and I was on a new adventure. Our route eventually took us to San Angelo. We turned north toward Big Spring; about halfway to Big Spring, a road joined from the left. This road took us directly to Midland. About 12 to 15 miles out, we came over a rise, and lo and behold; There were three or four very tall buildings right in front of us.
Sunday, we moved into our apartment in an ex BOQ building, the second floor.
Monday, I was in the principal’s office being registered. A red-headed gentleman came in and asked if I played football. I replied, yes. He said I am coach Rutledge. I’ll see you at the training field at three-thirty. He also became my typing teacher.
I found out that two other newbies were in the class, David Laverty (retired Presbyterian Pastor) and Guy Vanderpool (Retired from NSA). Also, Glen (Gus) Baker, Professor Emeritus at Texas A & M. This turned out to be a ready-made club, and we did many things together for the next two years.
The rest of the day was in classes. When I went to geometry, I found that Mrs. Phillipus had a different way of teaching. She had maybe up to ten problems written on the board. We were instructed to solve the problems. If you needed help, raise your hand. The problems that you didn’t finish during class were the overnight homework. After maybe thirty minutes, Mrs. Phillipus saw that I was just sitting there. She asked If I had a problem? I replied, No, Maam, I’m finished. (The two weeks in Mexia had paid dividends. She said, Let me see your papers.” She returned my material without comment.
Tuesday, the same thing happened. Mrs. Phillipus told me when I finished to look around and go help anyone who had their hand up,