ELEMENTARY, DEAR, LAWSONS
RETURN TO BLAKE'S ART
By Don Henderson 5/21/07
I dreamed that I was back in that old Rock Building in Malakoff. I was in the 5th grade and Mrs. Lawson was
reading Black Beauty to our class. Although more than 60 years have passed since then, I still can see that horse
being mistreated. I still remember looking forward to each day’s readings. All of this took place in the old rock
school in Malakoff, Texas.
After this dream I began to think about that old elementary school and what it means to me and probably many
others. Elementary memories have come flooding back; memories of our principal, Neal Lawson, who was Gladys
Lawson’s husband. He ruled the school with an iron hand. (Well, wood, if you count the paddle). I still fear that
electric paddle that he supposedly had in his office. This old rock school was a bridge to the future of many lives.
For me it was the 2nd through the 7th grade because 8th grade was in high school in 1952 and I returned to
Malakoff for my 2nd grade. I think I first met that talkative little gal across the street from the elementary school
during this period of time. In about the 6th grade I joined the Boy Scouts and the Old Rock Elementary school
became our meeting place. The memories are a little dim, but they are still there. Our meetings were held inside
the old school and here we learned to pledge and fold the flag, tie knots and how to set up pup tents. Some of my
fellow scouts were Howard Hardy, Dickie Derden, Stanley Johnson and sometimes Royce Shelton, Eddie Nokes,
Paul Davis Bankston and Donnie Robertson.. We learned all of the usual scout stuff, and with the Rock school as
our backdrop, we played games like “steal the bacon” outside of the Old Rock Building. The old school was used
as outside hiding places and every time we played, that curious little girl from across the street would either yell at
us or come over and watch us. I suppose if it were today she would have been trying to join the Boy Scouts. But,
of course, she was too young and besides she was.... a girl. We tried to ignore her as best we could, but she was
always persistent and relentless in watching what we were doing. She never really got in the way, only she was a
girl, and at that age and those times, you didn’t let little girls in on boy’s games. That little gal was Vicki Lewis,
named for her Dad Victor T. Lewis. The Lewis’s: Vick, Faye, Vickie, Don and Ralinda lived in the house across
the street from the Rock School. Later the bridge of the Old Rock School and my life would be even more evident.
The Lewis’ and I became great friends and still are today. The Rock School and The Lewis house have been a
part of my life since I moved back to Malakoff in the 2nd grade. Royce Shelton and I walked from what is now Star
Harbor Road (then a dirt road) to the old school and cut through the Lewis’s yard to get there. That is the old
connection that I began with the school and the Lewis’. Later my college history teacher at HCJC (Trinity Valley
Junior College) was Vick Lewis. Many times after leaving Malakoff, I would drop by to see the Lewis’s and there
was that bridge that I would see and feel again; that OLD ROCK SCHOOL across the street.
I still remember Miss Annie Pope’s (6th) grade class in that OLD ROCK SCHOOL. She would have us play
“Baseball Math”. You were at the chalk board and if you could correctly solve the math problem that she gave
you, you could advance to the next base. We were in teams and it really did hone your math skills. I remember
someone (I’ll not rat) put an rubber eraser into one of those old heaters that were in every room and boy did it
stink. Miss Annie Pope closed the windows and made us stay in there with the stink. Whoever did it never did it
I lived with my Grand parents, but sometimes my Mother and sister would come in from Pt Neches to visit. We
often went to that OLD ROCK SCHOOL to play on the merry-go-round or slide down the slide, sit on the rock
walls and climb on the rock fence. It was like having our own park. Again this OLD ROCK SCHOOL served as a
There are so many memories for me that I can’t remember them all. For six years the OLD ROCK SCHOOL was a
bridge to the future; not only for me, but for many others. Across the bridge passed many. From this bridge (THE
OLD ROCK SCHOOL) we passed into high school, to college, to many worthy professions and jobs. Without this
old school to bridge the gap, we would have been much less equipped to deal with life’s challenges. So, I say; ”
Please DON’T TEAR DOWN THE OLD GAL!!” She has been a bridge for generations and deserves to be saved.
Don Henderson Malakoff High School 1957
P.S. I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR
SAVING THAT BRIDGE, "THE OLD ROCK SCHOOL"!!
RETURN TO GARCIA SALUTE
|SCROLL DOWN FOR MY STORY OF
"ELEMENTARY, DEAR LAWSONS"
AND THE OLD ROCK SCHOOL