Kathie, Please pass on to your great committee how much
I appreciate all the planning and work that resulted in the super 60TH
Birthday Party last Saturday evening. What a blessing!
know what it takes to stage and produce these kinds of events and my
hat is off to all of you. The sharing and general ‘visiting
around the room’ was so genuine! Thank you,
thank you! Frances Carter Jackson
Rex and I discovered that we are kindred gardening spirits and have
already been sharing tips and tricks!
knew so little of what our CLASSMATES were dealing with when we were
in school.....we were all pretty much "self-absorbed" and
"unaware". As we've aged & become more aware of
the difficulties of LIFE, hopefully we have all become
more aware, more compassionate & more understanding. Thank
you, Caroll for sharing your story with your forever
friends from school.....selma
from Carrol Cleere: This
may be a little long and boring, but it is something that I have to
get out. You don't really know how much the Dallas reunion
meant to me. I don't have everyone's email addresses or I
would have thanked them all personally.
You see, for years and years, I have fought a raging battle within
myself. My birth last name was Halford, but my father was
killed when I was 5. A year later, my mother remarried right
after I started to school at Emerson. I went there 2 years
(even said I was Don Thompson's brother so I could get into the Cub
Scouts--it didn't work)and then I moved over to Will Rogers in the
third grade. Oh, btw, I finally talked my folks into letting
me in the Scouts, and Dennis's mom was the Den Mother!
comes the 4th grade, and wham--out of nowhere, I am adopted and my
name changed to Cleere. I was almost forbidden from mentioning
my real name. I couldn't attend their funerals or family
gatherings. My Halford kinfolks were still around and yet now
I had a real difficult time seeing or communicating with them.
I rocked along almost rebelling daily because of the continual
belittling and birth-family condemnation by my stepdad, making it
through elementary school then over to Horace Mann. Things were
still a big challenge, my sister had gotten married, and my mother
had my brother and as far as the Cleere's were concerned, he was the
only one around--but my mother and I endured. But nothing that
we had on the northside was good enough for him--he kept trying to
"make us worth something", as he so often put it.
You have no idea how sick I got of hearing how sorry my biological
roots were and about all the drunks and bums on my mother's side .
Anyway, he finally succeeded in moving us over to the Tascosa
district the last 6 weeks of the 9th grade. I went to hell in
a handbbasket after that. I dropped out of everything that I
used to do and couldn't wait to graduate and get out of Amarillo.
So, I graduated a year early, in 1965, and left town going into
Uncle Sam's Army until 1971.
Over the years the emotional and verbal abuse was always present.
Christmas's were a chore-- I endured for my mother, but even 2 days
was too much to stand and always ended up with my leaving early.
I made my own life always staying away from Amarillo and the
unpleasant memories of constantly being told I was no good trash,
and the only way anyone would remember me was by a whiskey bottle. (You
think maybe that's why I don't drink at all!!)
A couple of years ago, my mother passed away, and my stepdad told me
before the funeral that I was officially an orphan, adoption or not.
And I was informed that I was welcome to come by the house in the
future, as long as it was by 9PM and that I had a place to stay
elsewhere, as there was no room for me, Jan and our daughter Lisa to
Over all the years, I really wanted to attend the Palo Duro
reunions, but honestly, I was afraid--afraid that he
was right and that no one could care less about me, that no one
would remember me, or if they did, it would be nothing but maybe the
rebellious obnoxious behavior I developed in school.
of y'all and Palo Duro were a part of me. My sister, Glenda
Melton, was there in '56. She married Warren Hunkapiller of
'56. My half-brothers, Jimmy and Johnny Halford Turner were
there. My cousin Stanley Black played baseball there. Of
course, my departed cousin Janet Wood and the best neighbor that
anyone could ever have--Jackie Wyatt. All of my classmates
were my heart and soul and in reality my link with life, as
over the years, I really didn't know who I was. I was that confused.
Anyway, I decided that I was going to tough it out, push the fear
aside, and go to Grapevine and it was the best thing that I
ever did. So many pleasant memories flooded me, so many that
it was baffling to me. When I stood up and blurted out that no
one knew who I was, that just popped out of my subconscious.
Nearly every puppy-love flame that I ever had in school was there.
The guys I played football, basketball, baseball, track--they
actually remembered me. And bless her heart--Joyce,
with no prompting, remembering me as a Halford from our church days.
Throughout the night I lay awake, remembering and finally realizing
that it was not Amarillo that I couldn't wait to get away from!
I left Grapevine and took a trip over to Amarillo--no I didn't
contact my stepdad, but I did walk the old neighborhoods around
Ridgemere and Brooks. I went by my elementary school
neighborhoods, by Horace Mann, to the old baseball fields, if they
hadn't been covered with buildings. I walked around Palo Duro,
then tried to emulate the dragging of Polk, turn-arounds and all.
I sat on the corners of the old drive-ins, remembering the
hamburgers, the coke floats, so many memories that hadn't been in my
thoughts for many years. No, the places weren't the same,but I
could picture them as they were and I just did a lot of remembering
and thinking. And I felt such an enormous weight lifted from
me as a result, and it was all due to all of y'all from the reunion.
all of us didn't have a lot of money, but we did have each other and
as I have finally realized, that is worth so much more than anything
else. Thanks to you, Mike and everyone for being so
persistent with the Reunions, and by keeping in contact with
me--I'll love all of y'all forever. All of you are emblematic
of the lives and continued wonderful memories that I wish I could
I look forward eagerly for any more class gatherings and my home is
always open to any of y'all. Thanks again for saving a