When I think back over the years, some of my fondest memories are of my childhood and years that I spent in Dallas Village.
I was born in the house at the corner of McKinley Avenue and Dallas Avenue. It was a mill village where most of the people worked. My Dad worked there for little pay and long hours. It was a place where everyone knew each other. We had so much there - we had the YMCA where we could go and bowl; it had a gym where the school used to play basketball, and movies were shown in the gym. It also had a tennis court. We didn't have to go to town, and when we did we walked. We also had a kindergarten which was behind my house; all I had to do was go out the back gate and across the back alley. Bessie Hunt Dunham said that I pushed her off of the porch of the kindergarten, which was very high. I don't remember if I did or not.
Mr. C.V. Fain was our coach and principal at Rison School. He was loved by everyone. He had some of the best sports and some of the best teams which won lots of awards.
There was always something to do. We skated, played marbles and played ball in the cow pasture or in the street. At night we would meet in front of Roger Certain's house; we would tell ghost stories and play games like "go sheepie go," draw a round circle and punch with dot until we were called home.
We had parties on Friday nights at different houses. Dink Walker and Q.T. Cates, who lived on North Dallas, would come by my house and we would go and get Herman Chisholm, Lucy Mae Fisher, Dot Falkenberry and go to the party. Mildred (Midge) Reese had a lot of them at her house and Mrs. Reese had cookies, etc. We played games - one I remember was spin the bottle. There were some parties that this bunch wasn't invited to, so we would crash the party and go anyway just for the fun of it.
Seems like the years were flying by. I remember some of us were at the Big Spring Park when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor. It made a difference in our school and village. A lot of the boys left school and went into service; others were called up. We missed all of them very much and wrote to some of them. It was a happy time when the war was over and also a sad time because a lot of classmates didn't come back.
Our school meant a lot to all of us. Most of us started in kindergarten together and all the way through high school together. Miss Monroe was one of our teachers. She also would take a load of basketball players to their games. The players that went with her were always the last ones to arrive because she only drove 30 miles per hour.
The friends we made at school and in the village will always be there as we are still seeing many of them now.
The Class of 1943 had their first class reunion in 1968 at Big Spring Park which was our 25th anniversary. We planned our 30th anniversary since we had plenty of time. In 1973 we had our 30th reunion at Jackson Way Baptist Church (old 5th Street Baptist Church). We are so thankful that the church has let us have the reunions there for so many years. It is now 2001 and the Rison-Dallas reunions are still going strong. We have lost a lot of our friends but we still remember them as part of our memories, which means a lot to me and all of us that grew up in the village. It was "one big happy family" and we were all mill kids and proud of it.
Friendship is something precious to hold on to along with our memories through the years, as most of us know that. We have shared good times and sad times with our friends and we are still doing that today.
The years have gone by and most of us are in our 60s and 70s but the memories and friendships are still with us.
A friend forever.