Barbara Odum and Charles Graham – 1947
Barbara Odum and Charles Graham – 1947
Tommy Abbott and Billy Watts – 1947
Wynelle Prather and Barbara Odum – 1947
Above picture on the left: Pat Taylor, Charles Graham and Laura Taylor as pep squad leaders. Picture on the right is the annual staff of the Lohah working hard. Charles Graham, editor standing on the left.
I missed Bob a lot. He joined the Marines in December and it was nice for awhile just having a room to myself for the first time in my life at age 16. There was a time in the Spring semester of my senior year at Morton High School that I was late. You usually got demerits for getting to school late but I avoided that by selecting athletics for my first hour. This was a relaxed part of the day for just going into the gym and shooting baskets etc. Coach was usually in his or her office getting the day started with hard subjects that he/she was teaching in classroom settings.
What broke up my routine of getting to school a little late was Ruby Burns, my overseer of my editorship of the school annual “The Lohah”. Her first hour was free and she wanted to work on and get the staff organized to work on the Lohah. I liked the comradery. This book needed to be assembled and into the hands of those who bought the book by the end of the year. We had been doing some of this work in the fall semester but we had been procrastinating. We shifted into high gear.
I was getting involved with the church youth group as well. Brother Foutz saw some potential in me as a preacher and was encouraging me to think about attending Freed- Hardeman College in Tennessee. It was a two year college where they were training preachers for the Churches of Christ. He had two children in high school and I enjoyed being associated with Barbara and Bobby Foutz at school and at church. Brother Foutz was a very good preacher and some other congregation hired him away from the Morton Church of Christ. I was disappointed about that but it was not long before our elders hired a Brother Brown from California. He was from the Brea area.
Brother and Sister Brown brought with them a younger sister of Sister Brown’s and her name – Barbara Odum. Brother Brown also encouraged me to become a preacher but he was not too strong in a college education. He thought that I would be fine starting to preach at smaller congregation and get started that way. I am not sure today if I got more interested in preaching or Barbara Odum.
I did start preaching at smaller congregations and was fortunate to have a friend, Tommy Abbott who had a car. He had a girlfriend by the name of Wynelle Prather. He would transport me and Barbara and Wynelle to these preaching engagements. I was getting pretty interested in Barbara but she seemed a little distant to me. It seems that she had her eye on Billy Watts. My intuition was right in that they later married and went to New Zealand as missionaries.
My relationship or lack of relationship with Barbara came to a head one Sunday Night when the youth group from Morton went to Lubbock to hear a sermon by Norvel Young. The girls sat together and the boys sat together in spite of the fact that I ask Barbara to sit by me in church. Going back to Morton that night she sat closer to Billy Watts than she had ever sat with me.
School was ending and I was getting ready to get out of Morton. My interest in preaching seemed genuine and I kept taking engagements at smaller congregation as long as I could find a reliable transport. My eye was still set on Freed-Hardeman College.
Senior Favorites – Morton High – 1946-47
Annual staff hard at work – 1946-47
Pep Squad and leaders –
THE SENIOR YEAR!!! The fall of 1946. The summer had been great. I had been in the mountains of New Mexico with my folks. I was running a theatre projection machine after a hiatus of about 9 months. My brother, Bob had stayed in Morton that summer working at the Morton Tribune setting type and that type thing. He went out for football at Morton High and was a good half-back. Very fast runner. I had saved up some money so I did not have to return to work and was not looking for a job during the school year.
At my Dad’s insistence, I had stopped working at the Wallace Theatre around Christmas of 1945. I was able to start back to church pretty regularly. I even got involved in the Junior play that winter and spring semester. The play was named “Lindy Lou”. My part was a minor part of the play but it was good to start some extra curricular activity at school. I had even got on the “B” squad in basket ball.
But now it was time to start my senior year in high school. Things started happening with the family. Mom and Dad were still in charge of the café to get the prospective owner in place. They spent most of the time in Ruidoso however. George decided to marry a young lady who was a student at Texas Tech. Her name was Zylphia Neely. This marriage took place on October 18, 1946. They had to drop out of college because Zylphia’s mother did not approve of the marriage at all. She took Zylphia’s money for college and diverted it to another daughter. George and Zylphia moved to Morton and took over the running of the café. I can remember an occasion when I went to the café to eat and Zylphia was pretty nauseated. In fact I think she had to go outside and vomit. One of my sisters took me aside and whispered that Zylphia was pregnant. Their first son, Andy Graham (George Andrew Graham III) reads these blogs and may recognize that he was having an impact very early in his existence.
Bob was working hard on his football training for the fall start of the school year. We were still living in Mary’s and George’s house. George and Zylphia were kind enough for awhile to find a small place to live so we all (Mary, Katie, Bob and me and Janie) did not have to bail out and find separate quarters.
Mrs. Burns asked me to be the editor of the school annual. This was called the “Lohah”. It turned out to be a decent publication. In the foreword I wrote: “Here is presented without apology to the students and faculty of the school at Morton, the article that has been welded from many raw products by the staff and a large and able group of assistants. While publishing this annual we have held paramount the idea and duty of recording in permanent form a complete and interesting review of the school year, 1946-47. We trust and hope that this book may live to serve that end toward which the staff has been working. CHARLES GRAHAM, The Editor”.
One picture in this annual shows me as a Pep Squad Leader. Bob is shown in his football uniform in addition to the regular picture in the annual. Janie is freshman that year as shown in the annual. I was surprised when Bob told me after that fall semester that he was not going to finish high school. Instead he was going to join the Marines. He and Bill Deaver joined the Marines but Bill was sent home because he lied about his age and his parents would not sign for him. That left me with a room by myself at Mary’s and George’s house.
All year long I was wondering what was I going to do with my life. Stay tuned.