A Foreword from the Founder

By John McElligott

Why write when you can’t spell? Why talk about water drinkers in Midland, Texas when they hated the taste? Well… I am not sure, but I will try to give you something to think about and a reason to laugh, smile and cry.

 This blog is written by you, the guys and girls of Midland.  It is not just a bunch of gibberish about something that is fiction; it’s real and comes from our memories.

This blog comes from us Midlanders who lived during a time period that was different from any of the others during our lifetime.  The focus is on the 1955 to 1965 classes at Midland High School and later Robert E. Lee High School. This block of time was special and produced all different types of personalities and each and every one of us has a story.

Now the blog timeline begins with me standing on a sidewalk in Terminal in my underwear, and will end when my heart stops beating. If you close your eyes and breathe slow and deep you will see your sidewalk and remember the day you saw the beginning of your life.

So why a blog? Why just write about anything that comes to mind?  Well…that is the point!!! If you ‘thunk’ it then it’s worth hearing about, and if you write it down it will last forever!

You will read stories that are funny and some that are sad. The laughable stories will make you smile and smiling is therapeutic. The stories that make us tear up and sad, make us not only humble, but more intuitive. Both make you a better person.

Remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”  Or those famous words by Babe Ruth, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Now I will close by introducing the choice of foreword writers!

Dennis “Wemus” Grubb was never a childhood friend, but I watched him play music since my senior year in High School. At all the high school reunions, he would bring out his bands of the past. He will be asked the impossible by me and that is to put the Blog to music. We hope to have plenty of stories about his absolutely fascinating life. I do recommend that you put on your Depends when you read his stuff.

The contributors of this blog have stories and music throughout. Please enjoy!  Remember that this blog will not only be continued by us and our children, but their children, too.

Dianne Whittington of course is my favorite person of all, and has pushed the blog since the beginning. I mistakenly (and repeatedly) called her husband of 50 years, “Denton”. He is now officially called “Glenn” (his real name). Dianne will contribute and inspire our ladies of Midland to continue to write stories.

Linda Mills is our most mentioned classmate from her class of 1964.  She posted the most memorable last thoughts and words of Bobby Garst. Denton and I are looking for more stuff from this talented lady. Sorry, I meant Glenn.

Bobby Garst (RIP) wrote the following piece several years before he passed away, and it seems most fitting to use as the foreword to this blog. Please enjoy it here: https://whatsinthewaterinmidlandtexas.com/category/garst-bobby-rip/

Terminal, Texas

by Bekki Maier Welch

I can remember back in the day when we moved to Midland. Well.. I don’t really remember because I was only four. There wasn’t any housing available in Midland, so we lived in Terminal, which is the airport, but at the time it was also an Army and Air Force base during the war. It was a great place to live. It was like a tiny town. We had a grocery store, fire dept., police dept.,school, library and on Saturdays they would show cartoons and Abbott and Costello for the kids. I went to school there through the third grade, then we were bused into town. Eventually businesses started moving into Terminal. We were called the Terminal Termites. Well I could go on and on about Terminal, but on to other things.

In reference to the name of the book (What’s in the Water in Midland, Texas) the water in Midland was terrible, and still is but not as bad as it used to be! People would come to visit and nearly throw up. We didn’t have bottled water back then so if you lived here you drank it. We were used to it and  would laugh at people that came to see us.


Plane Crash October 24, 1956

by Carole Scrivner Bearden

I was 11 years old, walking home from 5th grade at Jane Long Elementary with some classmates.  I wish I could remember who was in our group, but it may have been some nearby neighbors like Sherry Traylor, Jo Beth Barkley or Sue Ann Yeargain.  The date was October 24, 1956, a comfortable autumn afternoon, when we heard a huge crash and looked up.  Two planes had collided in the air above the Permian Estates. 
Suddenly airplane parts and body parts began to fall around us!  I dashed home, across Thomason Drive, up Howard Drive, yelling to my sister that their had been an explosion and I was going to look around.  No policemen or fire trucks had arrived yet, but groups of children wondered around the 7 block area.
Later we would learn the military jet, containing an instructor and student pilot, were on a training mission from Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring.  The Cessna carried a father, mother, infant, and parents of the mother.  All 7 passengers died.


Midland Memories Part 3

Written by Fred Underwood

During the summer between my Junior and Senior year, two events of note happened.  First, we moved from Terminal to a house we rented at 1100 West Illinois.  When I walked out the front door and kept on walking across the street, I found myself on the walkway to the main entrance to Midland High School.  Across the street to the right of our house was the Youth Center.  To me, it was an ideal location.  I enjoyed school so much that I was the first one to school almost every day.  The second event was that I became sweet on a young lady who could sing like a diva.  To spend more time with her, I joined the Youth Choir at the First Medothist Church.  The Minister of Music insisted that I sing tenor instead of the melody.  When I got it right, I fell in love with harmony.  A song was put in my heart, and I didn’t care which one it was.  Just so you know my status, when I sang, I perceived that I sounded like Jim Neighbors.  When I heard my voice recorded, I realized that everyone else was hearing Gomer Pyle.

Football season started immediately.  Our ineligibility year was over, so Gus Baker, David Laverty, Guy Vanderpool, and Fred Underwood became members of the practice team preparing the Varsity for the games.  Coach Tugboat Jones and his single-wing offense did very well.  In District play, we lost to Odessa and soundly beat Lubbock  Lubbock then beat Odessa.  We were all set to be in a three-way tie for District Champions.  All we had to do was to earn a win over little Lamesa (the district doormat).  Alas, we lost 14 to 12.  As I recall it, after the end of football season, the sweet young thing that put a song in my heart dumped me for a basketball player.  I still thank her for putting that song in my heart.  She now lives in Albuquerque

I took every math course the school offered and all the science courses except biology.  I thoroughly enjoyed my two years living in Midland.  After graduation, I went to the U.S. Naval Academy and retired 32 years later.  By that time, I had no connections left in Midland.  So we retired in Appomattox, Va.

Growing Up in Midland

Written by Harry Miller

Things I remember growing up in Midland Tx!!
Goat heads and sticker burrs
Dugout forts , in vacant lots, covered with plywood and then dirt.
Christmas tree forts from thrown out Christmas trees after Christmas 
Catching toads after rains. 
Catching tadpoles ,tadpole shrimp and ferry shrimp in rain filled pounds. 
Clod fights
Actually going out onto the tarmac to get on a commercial plane or to great your friends after a plane landed. 
They were prop planes then.
Wearing a suit and tie to travel by plane and having to use the barf bags in rough weather. 
TTA Trans Texas Airlines

click here to read more

Memories of Midland- Part 1

By Paula Crites Pieri

Some people think we are making things up when we talk about how wonderful things were in the 50s and early 60s.  I have never talked to anyone who grew up during that time that ever said anything bad about it. So as I scan the paper, and watch TV News, and see what a terrible shape the world is in today, I thought I would write a little about what it was like growing up in the 40s, 50s and 60s and how different it was then than it is today. Some things are better now, Women’s Rights, race relations, medicine-we have nicer houses, and bigger and better “things”. However the essence, the quality, the honesty and the simple pleasure of our life during the 50s is so hard to explain…but I will try. 

Growing up in a small West Texas town may not seem very exciting; however, I had such wonderful memories of my childhood that I just had to write them down, before they are forgotten. Midland was a small town then and we knew most everyone. Many of the friends I made then are the friends I have today.    

Click Here to continue reading

Memories of Midland- Part 2

By Paula Crites Pieri

I went to North Elementary and remember it fondly. We used to walk to school every day gathering a little group of friends as we walked along. I still remember those kids and can recognize them in our 3rd grade Rhythm Band photo. When I was in the 5th grade, I was playing Deep Roving Right Field, hoping no one would hit a ball my way, when I met a little girl, Emily Stall, who had just transferred from West Elementary. She was to become my best friend and still is today. She lived on the corner of A Street and Club House Drive, just across from the Country Club, then the Elks Club, now the park with the lake. Most of our calls ended with “Meet me at the corner I have something to tell you” and I would run down the alley and we would meet halfway. She introduced me to the world of bossy big sisters and snoopy little brothers.

I went to Cowden in Jr. High. The “cut off” for Cowden and the new school, San Jacinto, was Cuthbert, the street behind Storey. All my friends went to San Jacinto and I went to Cowden. I didn’t really enjoy Cowden, since I didn’t know that many people. Thank goodness there was High School.

click here to continue reading