Linda Ballard

Linda Ballard

The word, written or spoken, creates and brings out of the invisible everything that operates a world of activity. Words can be ugly or beautiful and words can be life or death to any given situation. This week, the sweltering heat of summer bore down on Texas soil. Along with the rising heat and some thunderstorms rumbling through our area, for some especially caught out in the elements, emotions also have a tendency to rise and, yet, there are always those who seemingly know the right things to say, to replace the heat with a smile.

“After all it is July in Texas, what more could we ask for,” said one man as he laughingly rushed through the door at Kilgore College to catch a bit of the coolness of an air conditioner. Yes, in Texas, the heat has risen, let’s all try to take it in stride and attempt to put a smile on another’s face with our own words.

Kilgoreite Barbara Doan did just that this week, as she whispered in the phone certain things she jokingly wanted to keep ‘off the record.’

Barbara, at the age of 15, came to Kilgore in 1943. “I am 91 and I am still here,” she laughed. “It’s been a good life. I was here when the flairs from the oilfield derricks lit up the town at night and here when the Tommy Dorsey boogey-woogey was the dance everyone thought they should learn,” she laughed. Barbara graduated from high school in 1946. My graduating classes were the biggest there have ever been with almost 200 students,” she added.

 It is her graduating class she is most fond of and the reunions that took place afterward.

“Our class reunions were for the 1941 – 1946 graduates and we met often until 1983. That is when we became known as the War Years. Survivors after the war,” she said. “We started meeting at designated places on the fifth Sunday of the month and still do today. Last week, it was at Las Tejanitas. Next time, it may be at someone’s house and though the group is dwindling, we still enjoy getting to see each other.” The War Years group includes C.R. Gordon, Maria Cheatham, W. B. & Helen Anderson, Lila Currin, Dorothy Brooks, Jack & Fern Florence who meet almost every time and others who come when they can according to Barbara.

“Through donations, we have provided the bench in front of the Rangerette Museum and we have donated an oil derrick,” she said proudly. “We have done other things, but those have the War Years engraved on them.”

Barbara went on to tell how she had worked as a telephone operator the latter part of her high school years.

“I worked evenings until I graduated and so had a job immediately afterward. She married L.M. “Buddy” Doan and continued to work as a telephone operator for 6 years having returned after taking seventeen years off to raise her family of three sons. When the Kilgore office went direct dialing, her job took her to Overton where she worked in the construction department of the phone office. She retired in 1988 after an additional 10 years with the company.

Barbara has a love of flowers and the love of springtime and to her delight continues to keep up her beautiful garden complimented by a fish pond. Along with being a part of the War Years, she is happy with life and willing to share that happiness.

KILGOREITE DONNA SHUPE recently combined a business trip with a family reunion to enjoy the pleasures of all. The trip took her to Branson, Texas where she actually met up with two friends. Donna is a recruiter and trainer for Xpirient, a lifestyle club that includes travel, financial mentoring and products to improve your health. The family reunion was actually planned by the company.

“Dad, (Mac Blackstone) didn’t get to come. He had already made plans to celebrate his Fourth of July birthday and to prepare for an upcoming surgery,” said Donna. “While in Branson, we attended a tribute to John Denver Show by James Garrett. He was at one time a football player for dad’s coaching at James Bowie School. We ended up at his show on dad’s recommendation. When James learned of Mac’s birthday, he told the audience a story about his coaching on stage and everyone sang happy birthday to my dad. James also autographed a picture with a special birthday message to him,” she said. “I also came home with six CD’s including a Johnny Cash tribute, a George Strait tribute, a gospel album, a live show and two John Denver tributes. Dad was thrilled and surprised and said it was a great birthday!”

“My friends and I watched fireworks over Table Rock lake, rode the Branson Belle, and visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. They are as close to family as it gets as we met 28 years ago when we met at church. We had a very good time.”

SPEAKING OF BIRTHDAYS - Happy Birthday to my Oklahoma brother, Frank(ie) Kuykendall from me and his Texas family. Yes, you may be getting older, but remember your bucket list and the fact that goal of reaching 90 years of age is still a ways off, but creeping in quickly. No time to waste hanging around the house come to Texas and we will show you a good ole time!

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. We may be reached at or 903-984-2593.




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