MY UNLIKELY PATH TO TASTE THE MIDLAND WATER

Written by Drew H. Steele Parham

Since no one has written recently about their journeys to  get to  Midland, I thought I would venture forth in the hopes that others will tell their tales . I also hope others will decide to come to Kingsland for the August ” Meet and Greet” so we can have a few laughs during this horrific Covid Year 2020.

I was born in June 1945 in Wichita, Kansas while my daddy was serving in World War II. My mother, Fayallena Hutchinson Steele, was born in Wichita and had lived there her entire life. All her family lived there so we were surrounded by aunts, uncles , cousins, etc. The Hutchinson clan was well known in Kansas then and even now in parts of Kansas.

My father, Thomas A. Sproul Steele, Jr was from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was  born  there  and his entire family had lived there for several generations. My  grandfather,  Dr. Thoma s A. Sproul Steele, Sr, was a descendant of those  who  had emigrated from Ireland.  My grandmother,  Helen Rosalind  Drew, was also a descendant of Irish emigres .

At my birth, I was given 3 surnames of  my proud family  in Pennsylvania  and Kansas  :  DREW HUTCHINSON STEELE. I always have cherished my name and my family genealogy as did my parents and their families.

When World War II ended,  Navy  Lt.  Tom  Steele  was  honorably  discharged  and  we  started  our  tour  of the oil patch. Daddy had been preparing for this day for some time. He had attended the Naval Academy and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with his degree in Petroleum Engineering. His first choice was go to Broadway as a song and dance man as he had tapped danced his way to competitions throughout the East Coast and had a classically trained voice. (Several of you may remember hearing him sing at Club 15 as he closed the evening down with his rendition of “Good Night, Irene.”) He won the final competition to go to New York when his mother said that he would go to the Naval Academy as he had received an appointment. He reluctantly had to refuse the prize of studying in New York and the runner-up went on to be a big star in the movies, Gene Kelly.

Daddy , Mama and I began our oil patch adventure in Michigan. We lived in West Branch, Michigan and Reed City, Michigan while Daddy worked on the oil rigs in the Michigan winters for Ohio Oil Co. All pictures from this period have snow and snowsuits.

Next stop was Hobbs , New Mexico and warmer temps. I was now able to play outside and I got to have playmates. Daddy was head of the Ohio Oil Co camp in Hobbs . I attended Kindergarten and First Grade in Hobbs and later ran int o 2 kids in Midland from those days : Davianne Monroe and Jimmy Caffrey.

1952 brought the Korean War so we are on the move again. Daddy was charged with moving to Washington, D. C. and working on the US Petroleum Allocation during the Korean War. We lived in Arlington, Va. and Daddy worked in D.C. What a great year that was!!! My second grade year was fabulous! I attended a private school that had classes ½ day and even taught French. Mother and I would drive all over Virginia and D.C. when classes were out and we got to see everything: Monticello , Mount Vernon, National Gallery of Art , etc . On weekends, we would go to Atlantic City and the beach! Daddy’s mother and sister would sometimes join us from Pittsburgh.

Korean War ends and Voila. The Steele clan is headed for???? Nobody at Ohio Oil could decide where Daddy should go. So…. my parents decide to spend the time in Tucson, Arizona ! After a month in Arizona where I am having a great time, Ohio has Daddy ‘ s next assignment: Midland, Tx. Where??

I remember our first house was on College and I attended West El ement ary. I remember Mother and my teacher  having a confer ence  with me after about a month.  She said that I did not know how to stu dy. What was study? I moved so often that nobody had used that word . I had not a clue what it meant. Welcome to Midland schools!! !

One day Daddy announces that he is the new District Petroleum Engineer for Ohio / Mar at hon Oil Co and we will be staying in Midland for some time?        WHAT? And they will be buying a house??

What??    We moved so much, that my parents never bought houses.

My parents bought their first house at 113 Ridglea Dr and I attended Bowie Elementary. I learned to study, make friends and be part of the community of Midland. I had never done any of that before and I am so lucky that Daddy was given Midland as a stopping place.

I got a fabulous education in Midland Public Schools which was a basis for my BA in Spanish and French from UT Austin plus a Masters in Counseling and Supervision . I joined Girl Scouts, Tri Hi-Y, and had piano lessons. I enjoyed ballet classes with Geo rgia Hairston for 10 years, learned ball room dancing from Mrs. Gilbert and danced in the community theatre production of MUSIC MAN. I learned to play bridge with Ann Hinkle and our mother s. I learned to sunbathe and play golf at Ra nchland Country Cl ub. I skied in Ruidoso, shopped in Santa Fe, and fished for trout every summer in Colorado.

AND THAT’S HOW I FINALLY GOT TO DRINK THE MIDLAND WATER !

Hugs to you all , Drew

5 thoughts on “MY UNLIKELY PATH TO TASTE THE MIDLAND WATER

  1. Bob Ittner July 27, 2020 / 11:42 am

    a wonderful positive story Drew. Where did you fish in Colorado?

  2. david white July 27, 2020 / 12:38 pm

    Quite a long treck,but what a wonderful place to land. I remember and will always cherish our friendship. Would like to be at the party in August but can’t. Maybe someone will help me navigate the video part of the party. It would be great to see you all.

  3. Bob Ittner July 27, 2020 / 6:18 pm

    Wonderful positive story Drew. Where did you fish in Colorado?

  4. linda wofford July 27, 2020 / 8:39 pm

    Love your story, Drew! So glad you made it to Midland and stayed there!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Dianne Whittington July 28, 2020 / 3:06 pm

    I am so glad to see that you finally came through with your story!! It was definitely a journey but it sounds like a fun one. Glad you finally got to Midland and that we continue to be friends to this day.

Leave a Reply