A high school classmate and friend
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:00 PM
Editor's note: This column was originally published in the Review-Miner on Sept. 20, 2012.
LOVELOCK - This should be called "Postcard From California" because the stories were written by Gwen Hefner Lewis, of Acampo, Calif.
Gwen Hefner and I were classmates for one year in Lovelock, our high school freshman year, 1946-1947. She lived in Section Oreana. I lived at Tungsten Mine and we rode the bus to school together in Lovelock that year. Its been awhile since 1947, been a lot of water under that Humboldt River bridge at Mill City since then.
After I started writing for the Review-Miner, Gwen emailed me and asked if I was the same Roy Bale that rode the school bus with her that year.
From that beginning, we have developed a friendship, and Gwen is my best supporter of my newspaper column. I enjoy writing, and communicating with folks that read my junk.
Gwen has shared many interesting stories with me, and its okay with her to share them with you. The best one is how her father wooed and won her mother. That will come next week, because of limited space. Don't miss next week. It is an astounding love story.
But first, I want to share with you the uncanny parallels in our lives. Gwen was born in Hico, Texas, and I was born in Clarendon, Texas. Her folks met and married in Clarendon, Texas, where I was born, and where her parents, and mine, lived in the late 1920s. Clarendon was a small farming community back then, and the town had a large mercantile store and meat market.
Gwen's father was the butcher in the store. My folks bought their groceries there, and there is no way her parents and mine could not have known each other. At the very least her father knew my mother, where she shopped, and he worked full time as the stores butcher.
Her folks left Clarendon just before Gwen was born. Her dad's folks lived in Hico, so they went there until after Gwen was born, then they moved to McAllen, in far South Texas. We left Clarendon in 1937, and ended up in San Angelo, Texas, in 1939.
America got into the Great War after Pearl Harbor on Dec.7, 1941. In 1942, Gwen's father was offered a job by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and the job was in northern Nevada, just west of Lovelock at Ocala "Section." At the same time, my father was offered a job by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in northern Nevada, just east of Lovelock at a little railroad town called Imlay. They rode the train to Nevada, seeing snow on a mountain for the first time on Donner Summit. Same exact thing for us, at about the same time.
Gwen's dad eventually moved back to Texas. We moved a couple times after leaving Imlay. Then in Gwen's freshman high school year, her dad, who had rehired with S.P.R.R,,.took a job in Oreana, just east of Lovelock. She rode the bus to high school in Lovelock. In my freshman year, we moved to Tungsten Mine east of Lovelock, and I rode the same school bus to school as Gwen. We barely got acquainted, since I was so shy around girls. I barely remember Gwen and she barely remembers me from our freshman year, though we were classmates, and rode the bus together.
Gwen has shared with me her very interesting life story, living in "Section" towns in Nevada, and in deep South Texas during the Great Depression days.
Next week I will share with you about Gwen's parents, how they met, the very unusual way her father wooed and won her mother, in Clarendon, Texas, during the early part of the 1930s.
It's a love story that should be made into a movie. Any producers listening? Come back next week.
You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
Roy Bale can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.