In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

A Tribute and Celebration

We were the class of 1958, members of the Greatest Generation as well as children of the Greatest Generation. Born in 1940, we are also called members of the Traditional Generation.

Our childhood, post World War II, "was the best of times . . . it was the age of wisdom . . . it was the epoch of belief . . .it was the season of Light . . . it was the spring of hope . . . we had everything before us . . .we were all going direct to Heaven . . . ." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.) At least, that's the way I felt about it. We were truly blessed.

- Ouida Tomlinson -

This blog is a place for 1958 graduates of Meridian, Mississippi, High School to stay in touch, post their news, items of interest and photographs.

CLASS OF 1958 MEMORIES (Click to read all posts relating to sports, honors, graduation and other memories of our class in 1957-58.)




Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Bucket List

After WWII ended, my family moved from Mobile, where my Daddy had been working in the shipyard, back to Kemper County.  We bought a farm with a log house, a big two story barn, and all the out buildings and equipment to be farmers.  Yes, we even had a well and an outhouse, but the war was over and we were happy. 

Mississippi was in a terrible drought, and our corn and cotton did not keep our family fed.  After a few years, around 1947, my Mother and Daddy decided to sell the farm and move to Meridian in search of a regular paying job.  I started second grade at Poplar Springs School.  We rented a house on Poplar Springs Drive, and Daddy went in search of a job.  He applied at St. Louis Hide, which was owned by Sammy Davidson.  Daddy learned how to drive a big truck, but this had to be the nastiest, stinkingist (if this is a word) job a man could ever have.  He would come home smelling like rotting flesh.  He even had to brush out the maggots from his cuffs in his pants, but it was a good job that took care of the family, and we were grateful.  Daddy loved working for Sammy!  We just didn't like to run to the door when Daddy got home!  He always had to bathe first.

Marty told me that his Daddy didn't have the extra money to pay for a motel room when my Dad had to deliver the hides to New Orleans, so Daddy had to sleep on top of the hides.  Yuk!  And you thought you had it tough?  This job qualified my Dad to drive for Deaton Truck Lines out of Birmingham for 26 years, until he retired.
Because of my Dad's relationship with Sammy, I had to make a decision for my little family, so I turned to Marty for advice.

After Billy (Faulkner) died, I was left with 3 babies.  I had no money and needed a job really bad.  I went to Southern Pipe and asked Marty if he could give me a job?   He hired me that day.  I was given a good job that paid the going rate at that time, and again I was grateful to the Davidsons.  I worked for one week and drew a paycheck of $35.00.  This was a good salary for starting out pay.  When I got home, and asked my babysitter how much I owed her, she said $35.00!  What?   She said you have 3 children, ages 1, 3, and 5!  I couldn't let someone else raise my children for the same amount I made. 

I told Marty that I couldn't work for him, and I totally understood that he couldn't pay me more.  God really does work in strange ways. Marty helped me make a decision.  

Another man had been begging me to marry him, and I kept telling him that I didn't love him and would not marry him, but he made me an offer that I couldn't refuse.  After I told him about my problems, he said to me, "If you will marry me, I will work and support you and your children, and you can stay home and raise your children."  I told him that I didn't love him and it wouldn't be fair to him.  Then he said to me, "That's OK, you will learn to love me! And you only have to stay married to me for 50 years!"  I said, "Let me think about it!"  I was 23 years old, my Mother and Dad liked him, my brother liked him.  He was in the class of 1954 with my brother Ozell, where he played basketball.  His name was Wanzie Strickland and he came from a good family.  My children told me that he would make a good Daddy!  So I agreed to marry him.   He had just gotten back to Meridian from being in the Army, and was living with his parents.  We married that Christmas and he moved in with us, and yes, I did eventually learn to love him. 

Now I have a decision to make.  Our 50th anniversary is this Christmas, and I have been a good and faithful wife to him, and he has stood by his promise, but the deal is up!  What should I do to renew this contract?   He is old and has really bad knees and can't help around the farm here.  But he has been there for me through all of my health issues.  I keep telling him that my contract is up, but I am not about to let him get away.   

I asked him why he was so determined to marry me, with 3 babies, and he said, "It is in the Bible!  The Bible says to take care of Widows and Orphans, and I got 4 stars in my crown already!"   God Bless him!   What a journey this has been, and how blessed I have been.  I love my life, I love who I am, and where I live, I have the very best family anyone could have, and I know all of this was in God's plan for me.  This path He had me walk down for 73 years has led me over some rocky places, but I have been able to stretch out my arms and soar with the very best. 

Thanks to all of you who have left footprints in my life and walked this crazy journey with me.  If we have another reunion, I want to be there, but if we get too old, and I go before you do, I will save a place for you in paradise.   

I told Marty Davidson that if he had paid me more, I would have kept my job with him and never married again, so thank you Marty for helping me make this decision.  I have always wanted to thank him, and I was able to do that at the reunion.  We had a good laugh about all of this, and I was able to get this off my "Bucket List." 

Much Love to you all,
Maxine Reeder Strickland