Saturday, February 28, 2009

The influence of a teacher ....

This letter to the editor in the March/April 2009 issue of Oklahoma Today magazine brought back my own memories of Mrs. Powell and illustrates how one good teacher can have lasting impact on many lives:

I was raised in Lawton and moved to Tulsa in 1972. I always have wanted to tour Mattie Beal’s house in Lawton (Her White House,” January/February 2009), but can’t ever seem to make it to Lawton when the tour is scheduled.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Esther Powell, taught all about Mattie Beal and Mr. Rogers, the two winners of the land lottery. She wrote books about Oklahoma history and was the most wonderful teacher I ever had in Lawton. I have loved and admired her all these years. --Sharon Zimmerman Mercer, Tulsa
Mrs. Esther Thurman Powell was my teacher too, and I've never forgotten how she helped me through a difficult year. She was my teacher when I started third grade the fall of 1942. Shortly after school began my family moved Frederick, Oklahoma, then to Doheny Park, California, and back to Cotton County, where I found myself back in Mrs. Powell's third grade class at the end of of my third grade year. By that time she had the class doing addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. These were arithmetic problems I didn’t understand, and was too shy to ask for help at school or home. I was extremely worried that I would fail third grade. Mrs. Powell passed me. I was relieved and forever thankful to her for saving me from the humiliation of failing.

Many years later I told Esther about my stress about not knowing arithmetic and fear of failing. She replied, “Harold I knew you were smart and that California was way behind in teaching arithmetic.”

By the way, Mrs. Powell was a relative by marriage -- she married my dad's first cousin, Paul Powell, in 1941. She is 92, a dear, and lives with her daughter, Barbara, in Oklahoma City.
-Harold Powell

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thanks, Jack!

Vickie Keck Nowlin wrote:

I enjoyed reading Jack Jackson's bio. I grew up going to the Temple Church of Christ and was baptized at age 15 with my Dad, Dewey Keck, who was 55 at the time. He really thought alot of Jack and we asked him to be a pall bearer at Dad's funeral in 2001. When I think back on my early years going to church there, Ruth and Jack were part of the group of parents that were role models for me. My mother and Ruth were also friends and before moving to OKC in 1998, they all still got together at one another's homes for coffee and dessert after church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.

Ruth was active in church as well as Jack and I always remember her kindness and patience with kids and with everyone. Jack always told funny stories and had that special ability to joke around. I do remember him always being available to work in the church whereever he was needed. It was important for we kids to see the adults participating as leaders at church, and for many, like Jack, his time was also shared with the community.

I am glad he has been given special recognition for his citizenship and volunteerism. Thanks, Jack and Ruth for being there for we kids who grew up watching you in church and in the other activities around Temple during those years. You were great mentors to us all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


“Pap Hutchins! No doubt he was the most mimicked man in Temple. I picture him now, walking across the street from the First State Bank, leaning forward, hands behind his back. From where did he come and where did he go? Everyone knew who he was but no one knew him. Pap Hutchins!”
--Harold Powell

1961... or Before?

Vickie Keck Nowlin wrote:

I was looking at the photos that Roger Mac Norman sent you of Temple, taken from the top of one of the elevators. He dated the photos 1961. I think they are earlier than that.

My folks, Lucille & Dewey Keck bought the house at 301 W. Oregon St. (part of the corner is shown on the first photo at the right edge) in 1961 (I was almost 9). I can see the edge of the corner lot our house was on and the plantings (Arbivitae bushes) were very small and sparse in the photo. When we moved in they were huge and had grown closer together. It didn't show our house, however, to see if it even existed at all. It was built in 1948-49. Before that, the lot was part of a semi-circle drive that lead up to one of the old Mooney houses. Mr. & Mrs. Reagan lived in that house when we moved in there in 1961. AND I can't see the new elementary school that I started first grade in in think that is an earlier photo of Temple.

However, I enjoyed seeing some of the old houses and remembering the neighbors that lived in those houses for so many years. 3 or 4 of the houses are gone now. And I could see that multi-storied bldg. that I think Dr. Monet's office was in on the same block the Baptist Church is on (just west and across the street & a block south of Oregon St.) Was that once an old hotel? Didn't it burn down? Or just torn down? Just wondering about the actual date of those photos. Fun to look at. It is bringing up memories that I had forgotten about. My mother lives with us...but she has forgotten things, too. I enjoyed reliving the old block.

How it's changed since 1961...

From Sue Wilson Golden: My goodness – look at the cars on main street!!!

Dragging Main

From Vickie Keck Nowlin, Class of '70:

The memory about dragging Main Street (actually Commercial) brought to mind many memories of riding around town in Temple. In my driving years there (1966-1970), night life for the young people "WAS" riding around. We rode around before school, at noon, after school, after Pep Rallies on Thurdays night, after games on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.

My dad, Dewey Keck, was always upset that the tires on the car I drove around in wore so strangely on one side. He would always be rotating them around and after I spent hours making U-Turns all over town, the tires would be uneven again. The wild thing to do while cruising was to play "chicken" with another car or to spin around in donuts on the gravel parking lot at the Salebarn.

I was a true chicken when it came to these two activities--I just flat out didn't have the nerve to do either one. The zaniest riding around we did one year was on Sadie Hawkins Day. In the Spring, we all dressed up "Lil' Abner" style that day at school and didn't drive our cars on campus. Instead, we all rode our old bicycles to school. At noon, a huge group of us drove our bikes out onto the curve out by the high school into the mainstream traffic and rode all together downtown, made a huge U-Turn at the end of the street and rode back down Commercial St. back to school. It was so much fun!!!
While riding around town, we played KOMA and WKY music for the latest hits, honked at one another, flashed our lights at anyone we wanted to stop and talk to and even had hand signals we gave to one another if a Highway Patrolman was seen driving through town. Those of us driving without licenses, took to the side roads and/or went home for awhile. Yes, cruising in the 1960's was really "cool"!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Temple Residents Honored

By Harold Powell

We attended the Temple Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet January 31. Chamber President Virginia Dupler put on a good show. About 120 attended. Home cooking from many citizens was very good as always.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins presented the Citizen of the Year award to Jack Jackson. Other awards were: Nadine Gibson – Community Achievement; Kaleigh Richmond – Student of the Year; Shirley Riddles – Employee of the Year.

Current Directors of the Chamber and managers of the dinner President Virginia Dupler; Vice President Sheri Parkey, Secretary Dana McIlhaney, Treasurer Willie Richardson, Richard Glenn, Toots Spurlock, Mary Jane Parkey, Lupe Gonzalez and Jereda Bower.

An auction of donated items raised $700. Among the donated items was mirror framed from tin from ceiling of Dolman Grocery which was salvaged by Pat McIntyre when he tore down the old building to make room for his new building. Dorothy Courtright donated several pieces of her metal art.

JACK JACKSON’S STORY Temple Citizen of the Year, 2009

I was born to Vaughn L. and Vivian Poe Jackson on a hillside farm outside Johnsonville, Tennessee in 1930. My granddad told me there was no one home that day except he and me. He said he pulled me out of a hollow log.

I attended school at Jacksonville through the 8th grade. There were 3 teachers. The Tennessee Valley Authority put a dam on the Tennessee River and made it the Kentucky Lake. We moved to town called Hustburg, where I went to Tribble High School. There were 75 students in the top 4 grades. I worked on a farm for $3.00 per12 hour day. After graduation I went to Peoria, Illinois and worked at Caterpillar Tractors. In 1949 I went to the Air-Force and was stationed at Sheppard Field where I was in the athletic department.

Some of the guys began crossing Red River to see Oklahoma. That is where I met Ruth Brashears. We were married February 11, 1953. After I was discharged we moved to Peoria, Illinois. I worked nights for Caterpillar and went to barber school, putting in 94 hours per week. After 7 years we moved to Duncan, Oklahoma where I worked in a barber shop for Raymond Utley. We moved to Temple and I bought Bill Burton’s Barber Shop.

We have two sons, Kelly born in 1958 and Trent born in 1960. Ruth and I were active in our son’s school activities and in summer ball program. While working in the barber shop I helped form the Little League Baseball with the help of Clyde McClenny and several other men in the Temple community. I then went to work for Halliburton in Duncan. Retired from that in 1992.

Ruth and I still live in Temple. I cut hair a couple of times a week. I also serve as president of the Board for the Waurika Lake. We oversee the supply of lake water to six towns: Lawton, Duncan, Comanche, Waurika, Walters and Temple. I serve as President of Temple Cemetery Association. We see that the cemetery is kept in good condition by overseeing the mowing, the roads and general maintenance.

We have one granddaughter, Taylor Jackson. She goes to school in Comanche. I help coach her summer ball team. I never miss an activity that she is in.

In 1964 I was baptized into Temple Church of Christ. Ruth and I have always been very active in the work for the Lord. I have a strong love for children of all ages. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for anyone in need of help. Some say I never meet a stranger. I have taught Sunday school classes ever since I have been in church.

I have a couple of hobbies that I enjoy a lot. I am a bike rider and take part in bike rides and races all over Oklahoma and several other states. I also enjoy archery. I helped get a place for archery meetings and tournaments on the creek. I love the active part of archery and bike riding and enjoy meeting the people at these meetings.

TEMPLE EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR 2009, presented by Sen. Don Barrington to SHIRLEY RIDDLES, Office Manager for Temple Utilities Authority.

Shirley Riddles is one of the most loyal, dependable, thoughtful, generous and selfless persons that we know as you can tell by the 34 years of service to the Town of Temple. So many citizens are in her debt as she is continually helping someone in some way, especially the ones who are hard working and still struggling. She backs all of the TUA and Town employees 150%. She has dedicated her life in helping TUA stay financially strong. She protects the money of TUA as if it were her own. She has a major sense of integrity.

She is an excellent bookkeeper as she has done this work most of her life. Her work is unquestionable.

She has always been a rock of stability and information to other city employees. They ask, “What can I do for you in return”. She says, “Nothing, that’s not way I helped you.”

We are very proud to say that Shirley Riddles is one of the finest people we know. She is a great asset to the Town of Temple and a friend to all.


Joe started working for Glenn McCluskey at Cotton County Auto Supply when he was in junior high school and continued working there while he was in high school and college. He worked after school, Saturdays and all school breaks. His goal was to purchase Cotton County Auto Supply someday.

Joe graduated from Temple High School in 1988, from Cameron University in 1993 with a degree in Criminal Justice and purchased Cotton County Auto Supply in 1996 from Glenn McCluskey.

This is a one man operation and Joe is always available to help his city and farmer customer.


Nadine Gibson was chosen to receive the Achievement Award for her many contributions to Temple over the years. She worked many hours on the beautification for Commercial Avenue.

She was among those instrumental in raising funds to move Pleasant Ridge School building to Dowlen Park in Temple, and in preserving and improving it. Nadine (McClung) Gibson and her siblings attended Pleasant Ridge School until their graduation from the eighth grade.

TEMPLE STUDENT OF THE YEAR – 2009, presented by Dana McIlhaney to KALEIGH RICHMOND

Kaleigh is a 17 year old Senior at Temple. She was selected for all of her academic achievements and for efforts in Temple and at the school.

Kaleigh is active in FFA holds office of Secretary. She is Student Council President and Year Book Editor. She is on the Superintendent’s honor roll and has been named Salutatorian of the 2009 graduating class. She is a member of the Academic All Stars.

In 2007 she went on a mission trip to Cologne, Germany with the GO Students program. In 2008 went on a working mission trip to Hugo, Oklahoma with World Changers.

She works in the nursery, sings in the choir and attends youth visitation at First Baptist Church. She teaches Mission Friends to 4 and 5 year olds.

Kaleigh’s parents are Johnny and Karen Richmond.

Temple teacher, Dana McIlhaney presented the award and said, “I’ve had few students over the last 30 years that can match her work ethic”.

Pictures from 1961 from Roger Norman

Typing class (ding), band, dragging Main

A message from Pat Lyford:

I was delighted to get access to the website, forwarded to me by Jim Walls. I was also happy to hear that Mrs. Kerr is still alive and kicking. I can still hear her saying "YOUR BELL HAS RUNG." Her instructions in typing helped to feed me when I was a divorcee with 3 kids.

In reading some of the back blogs, they mentioned the band directors. Did everyone forget Alfred C. Montain(sp) who played with John Phillip Souza, and marched with us playing his baritone at the football games. That was before James Dean and decent uniforms.

Before Mr. Dean, we had maroon pants with gold stripes down the leg and blue coats. And Ralph Lee Sparks kept stepping on my toes. We had great band trips, except it took forever to get to Oklahoma City in the buses.

We actually entertained ourselves on Saturday nites by dragging Main (all two blocks of it) and hanging out and talking to each other, before the bop shop. Of course there were a few other things going on too.

The stories also reminded me that we always knew we could find Dee Foster in the gas station by the B & O (don't think it was still B & O when I got there) I think that after he made his rounds at night, he parked there.

And what about Pap Hutchins. He used to sit by the bank and get so mad when strangers put money in his coffee can he used to spit in. AT one time he broke his leg ----Think he got hit by a car shuffling across the street without looking-- and was in a wheel chair. It had been a while since the initial break--Pat Simpson and I were walking the same direction he was going and he got the chair stuck in the new gravel they had put on the road. He rocked the chair back and forth and just as Pat and I were gonna go help him, he got out of the chair, pushed it out of the gravel, got back in and took off.

What a safe world we lived in. What a shame our kids don't have that.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Growing up outside of Temple

This came from Cora Nowlin Curtis:
My sister, Jean Nowlin Brubaker, and I remember the shoe store next to the beer joint. We all went in every spring and the "shoeshop man" would draw our feet and make us wonderful sandals. My dad, Rufus Nowlin, made sure we had nice new brown leather sandals and that we did not look into the beerjoint windows as we walked by to be fitted. He thought that would taint our characters.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Growing up in Temple

This from Cecelia Bentley Norman:
Growing up in Temple was great! Some of my best memories are of playing with Margetta Fetters at her parents store or out in front of the Sears store. My mother, Twila, met my dad, Bill, because her dad was sent there for six months to open the store. I remember skating from the school to all over downtown. We never had to worry about anything bad happening, and if you got hurt, someone would always take you to Dr. Monnet. What about Warren Drug and it's soda fountain? Jauhree Sparks spent many good times there. Rember Ray and Fannie Hunt and the Majestic Theater?Good memories are precious and it's fun to share them.

"Just Looking" in Temple

Vickie Nowlin wrote:

Thanks for the memories of the grocery store, Sears and the Haggar Slacks Factory.

I, too, have my memories and family stories of those stores. My mother, Lucille K., took me around downtown visiting. As she told me, Juanita Black and others who worked at Sears would take me from her and show me off around the store. As I learned to walk, etc. I would be allowed to wander around the store abit while Mom visited in there. Unfortunately, during my potty training days, I apparently took advantage of the toilet stool display and went to the bathroom right there in the store. My mom was horrified and scooped me up and proceded to remove all evidence of my little visit there.

As I got older, I was allowed to walk from East Texas St. from our house, to the B & M Mkt. to buy bread or some items not too large for me to carry back home. I remember walking north past the ice house and across the street. I was careful to watch for traffic and people getting gas at the store on the south side. I would enter thru those 2 huge screen doors there. I would look at all the general store goods on that side of the store and walk on north into the grocery section to get what Mom had sent me for. She would send a list for Homer Zachary (who cashiered there) to make sure I got what I needed. When we placed the items at the check out counter, I would say, "Put it on the bill." Then he would make out the ticket in his flourishing handwriting style. I would watch intently as he would take the pen in his hand and move it around in circles for a few seconds, then start writing the items down on the ticket pad. His penmanship was beautiful! He would give me a copy of the ticket to be put in the sack, and off I would go back out the south doors, across the street and headed home.

At some point, Fetters Furniture Store was next door to the grocery store. I would walk downstown from our house on Oregon St. and go in to browse at the furniture. As I walked in, Herman Fetters would always speak to me as if I were a grown up lady. I would smile and say hello back. As I was walking along the furniture display, he would come down and say, "May I help you Ma'am?" I would continue walking and politely respond, "No thank you, I am just looking!" We went thru this ritual many times and he always let me know he was there to help me if I needed help and then let me "just look".

Lots of memories....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More B&O Memories

Vera Sue Wilson Golden wrote:
I enjoyed the note from Dale Moore, my cousin. We have lost touch and it was good to know he is still kicking. I too have fond memories of the B&O store, Sears and then the B&M store. Those places put Temple on the map back then and those stores were like a wonderland to me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Tub" not "Tuba"

Annette Keeter offered this correction to her post about band a while ago. She submitted it correctly, but it was assumed it was a typo.

"Dean Miller was our coach and math teacher and he played the TUB (not the tuba). It was a #2 wash tub with a hole in the middle. He tied a string in that hole and controlled the sound by having the other end of the string tied to a broom handle. He was the "flat" in the band of three sharps and a flat."

B&O Memories

This note came from Dale Moore:
This town Temple -- where I was born and grew up -- population around 1,500 -- the B&O store drew people from all over Southern Oklahoma and North Texas. I remember tearing a gash in my left arm and going to this store where they had a doctor's office. They had everything. It was the Wal Mart of that day. Also a fond memory going to the soda fountain and getting a black walnut sundae for 5 cents. It was delicious. Memories from when I was a kid. When B&O closed, Sears opened. Their first store in the state right here in Temple. After several years, Sears moved to Lawton and my dad, Alton Moore, opened the B&M store and operated until 1969. Haggar Slacks took over the location to expand their plant and the B&O era ended. My dad spent almost 50 years of his life working on that street corner through all the different businesses.