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I have a good friend who a professional oral story-teller. If the story untrue, Glenda begins with “Once upon a time…”. If, however, the story factual, she begins by saying, “Let me share a memory with you.”
At least two newspapers headlined the final sale of Temple-Inland to Georgia Pacific; several folks with whom I spoke that week echoed their hearts’ voices:
“Temple-Inland no more, and that’s sad.” Especially for those who have proudly named Diboll (or “Dibble” as a lot of out-of-town people pronounce it) for their hometown, change might be especially tough. One quote I heard in Sunday school was, “Nobody really enjoys change except a baby!”
So — may I take a trip with memories and remind many of us that where we are today has been a journey of sawdust smells and a cornbread whtle, plus stops along the track that determined our life directions.
Within the last few weeks, I have vited with families who helped make Diboll much more than a sleepy East Texas town. I spent a little time with Mrs. Hutto and her daughter, Rita Kay, as they grieved the passing of a husband and father. How well I remember living around the corner from them and knowing that the Hutto house was well kept. Like many of the company houses we grew up in, their house was no prettier, but the pride which these and other families took with clean yards and porches always welcomed those who came; it was important then and should be now that neighbors cared for each other in remarkable ways. Perhaps it was sharing bounty from gardens, preparing food for grieving ones, teaching children respect and courage and seeing beyond the years what those children could become.
I drove down the street named for my dad and uncle, who like so many others, kept the company afloat on sawdust salaries. When part of the mill burned on a cold winter day, did they and others call a government agency and say “Where help?” No. Diboll men and women, including executives, fought that fire. With a fierce independence through good and bad years, they had staying power.
We hope Georgia Pacific honors that heritage!
Bob Bowman really was the people’s htorian. He not only wrote h own obituary but credited h success to educators and other adults who saw journaltic potential. As many times as that “cornbread whtle” blew at 11:15 a.m., Bob and h wife, Dor, spread the word of places and people who rarely insted on their few minutes of fame. They just did what everyday heroes always do; they showed up. Diboll still has those kinds of folks who try very hard to promote pride in civic, spiritual and educational areas.
The company commsary (later to become the company offices) and the Antler Hotel lost the battle to termites and age, yet if you look carefully, you can see the drug, department and grocery stores — long before anyone ever built a mall. While the current company offices seem a bit vacant, perhaps sometime soon, the sounds of technology will share the stage with a company that appreciates the heritage set by the Temple family — which, by the way, that “family” includes many who were not directly related but were the glue that held the town together.
From the viewpoint of one who was so blessed to know and still know dear hearts and gentle people, I say “thank you” to Diboll and wh the new owners well in their endeavors.