Herman Strauss stopped by early Monday afternoon after leaving the Salvation Army’s Adult Day Care Center where he and his wife, Wanda, and others have gone every Monday for more than 10 years to provide musical entertainment to the folks there. Joining them that day was Gene Squyres, Bonnie Jumper, Lena Challender, Ann Boles, E. J. Ratliff and Ray Smith. Wanda Strauss always accompanies the group on the piano.
Herman Strauss has a full weekend ahead of him. On Friday evening, May 3, he plans to attend his 64th Lufkin class reunion at the Henderson retreat off Highway 103 where the group will enjoy a fish fry. Others in that class of 1950 were Robert McDonald, James Jones, Bubba Henderson and Jo Ann (Fairchilds) Stewart. The class of 1950 was the first year that the 12th grade was added. Saturday at 9 a.m. the group plans to meet at IHOP for breakfast and more visiting.
Saturday night Herman plans to attend the 1st Saturday night singing at the Beulah Congregational Methodist Church. He invites the public to come out and hear special guests, The Martin Family, sing at 7 p.m. Sunday morning, May 4, is Homecoming for the Beulah Congregational Methodist Church. Services begin at 10 a.m. Chet Strain and Trey Thompson will be the guest speakers. The music will be directed by Reginald Squyres and special music will be presented by the Bear Creek Boys, Tom Squyres and Herman Strauss. After the services, there is a Beulah School Reunion next door to the church in the Beulah Community Center where lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend and bring a covered dish.
After telling us at the Round Table about those events, I asked Herman about his school days. He was a member of the DE (Distributive Education) class during his junior and senior years at Lufkin (he attended Beulah school through the seventh grade) and worked a half-day in the surveying department for Southern Pine Lumber Company with J.D. Winder and Jack Warner. At that time. A young Arthur Temple Jr. had a vision to make Diboll a better place to live. The survey crew’s project was to locate water and sewer lines and light poles to lay out new streets in Diboll. Herman remembers riding with Bob Musslewhite in his ’49 green Ford convertible “surveying” and then going back to the drafting table.
The vision was to tear down the “Red Town” housing that was moved from the Fastrill logging camp and build better housing. Red Town included the area today on the east side of Highway 59 in Diboll between First Bank & Trust and the General Dollar store.
Joe “Tody” Denman, a former soda jerk who had recently graduated from Texas A&M after serving in the war, was hired as an engineer by Arthur Temple Jr. According to Herman, Joe Denman’s very first project was to design the “tourist court” located beside the Antler Hotel (the “L” shape concrete slab is still visible inside the school campus behind Brookshire Brothers). His next two projects were to design shopping centers for Pineland and Diboll. Joe Carter Denman, Jr.’s foot prints are still here as the Diboll ISD Administration building is part of the original Village Shopping Center that he designed.
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Enough of the past and to the present, or past weekend. I’m not much on fishing but John Ralph and I drove across the long bridge on 147 expecting to see lots of boats as we had heard there was to be 8,000 boats on the lake last Saturday. It was the 30th anniversary of the Big Bass Splash “Where It All Began on Lake Sam Rayburn” Fishing Tournament with a 1 Million Dollar Payout. What a disappointment to see only one lonely boat and fisherman when we crossed the bridge. Later as we were driving through some of the housing areas, we recognized someone we knew, Chad Camp, of Diboll. He and his wife, Jackie, had entered the tournament and won $900 with the almost 7-pound bass they caught. That was exciting that we knew someone that had won a portion of the Million Dollar Payout.
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Last Friday night in the restaurant at JR’s Barn was a group of friends and family that had gathered to support and listen to Betsy Plemons as they enjoyed good fried fish, shrimp and crawfish. Betsy is originally from Wyoming and attends SFA and will graduate in August with an Ag Business degree. She is also very musically talented and entertained the crowd with many songs accompanying herself on the guitar. She is also a song writer and sang several of her own songs. Her dad, Mickey Plemons, who still lives in Wyoming, was present and later sang several songs with Betsy. I learned from her father that Betsy’s great-grandmother, Billie Burke, played the part of the Good Witch of the North in the original musical, “The Wizard of Oz ,” and was married to Florenz Ziegfeld of the famed Ziegfeld Follies. Betsy sang a song, “OZ ,” that she had written in honor of her great-grandmother.
In the crowd of her admirers was Forest Baker, son of Thomas and Julie Baker, who were also present. Forest attends SFA and will graduate in May with a nursing degree. He was excited to learn that day he had been hired by Woodland Heights to work in ICU after graduation.
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I saw Cindy and Wayne Clarkon Saturday morning as they were leaving for Galveston to board a cruise ship; she promised to let me know details when they return. Jessica (Tipton) and Doug Dunn boarded a cruise ship on Sunday; hopefully, we will hear about their trip later. Returning from a cruise aboard Carnival’s Triumph is Ricky and Misty Morris with children, Lexy and Hunter, and her dad, “Smitty” Smith. Smitty said he liked it but it was a little too much walking for him on the ship and in Cozumel although he did put his bare feet in the beautiful blue water.
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Late Friday afternoon at closing time, Louis Landers and JR were hashing about “the good ole days” when to our pleasant surprise, Congressman Louie Gohmert stopped by to visit at the RT. Congressman Gohmert was introduced to Louis Landers. Louis, who works at The History Center, immediately told us that the Gohmert family has connections to Diboll through Louie’s dad who was the architect that designed the Katherine Sage Temple Day Care Center and 90 units of federal housing. After a nice visit and “thank you for standing up for us,” we gave him jars of his favorite, mayhaw jelly, made by Billie Jean Capps.
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Enjoy the season and come see us … ’round the table.
Sandra Pouland, owner of Pouland’s Real Estate, contributes this column. Stop by the Round Table or email her at email@example.com or 936-829-4040.