Linda Ballard

Linda Ballard

When it’s hot in Texas, it’s hot and when it’s not, it’s not. It has truly been a hot few weeks lately with Labor Day being one that had everyone seeking a cool spot. Charlie’s Sno-Balls & Seasonal Tanning was the hot spot for a cool down with colorful icy treats especially upon that day. Young and old, they kept the line growing throughout the afternoon. Charlie was in Overton working and made it back to his Kilgore location later than expected to help out rushed employees.

With a wave of his hand, Charlie said, “Ah, this is nothing, just wait and see how we handle Friday.” He, his crew, three trailers and a push cart were seen at a nursing home and at games in Kilgore, Liberty City, West Rusk, Longview and Kilgore’s Friday After 5 performances under the derricks. That man gets around.

WOMEN who “can” or preserve fresh fruits and vegetables can understand this. How hot was it? It was so hot that the writer of this column decided to put a tea bag in a Mason jar, fill it with water and place it on the dash of her car while at work to enjoy a good glass of tea later in the day. She decided to wait until arriving home to enjoy the brew and while driving down the road, to her amusement, the seal on the lid made the “pop” sound allowing her to know it was now vacuum sealed and would be good through the winter months. She actually had to pry the seal off once at home. That folks, is a true sign of how hot your car can get during a good summer day in Texas.

THE FIRST RESPONDER luncheon hosted by Tim Capps’ bunch at Gabriel Jordan Buick GMC dealership was a tremendous success and lots of fun. Entertainment was provided by a band called Post Profit which added an extra touch to the event. Over 200 First Responders and friends arrived for the opportunity to visit and partake in the lunch.

Approximately, 150 hamburgers were flipped on the grill along with as many hotdogs.

CHANGES IN KILGORE continue and while Mount Kilgore at Arbor Grace has now dissipated with the promise of the foundation of the new facility to be poured soon, the home where Mobbs Real Estate once stood is now totally gone. The original home was built by the Walton family in 1957 where they lived until 1995. This recent development has stirred memories for the family members one of whom was Linda Walton Semlear.

Linda said, “The 1101 East Lantrip Street home was a wonderful home built for our family of four children with our parents, Al and Odessa Walton. Our parents were the most caring and hardworking people I have known. Our folks owned and operated several barbecue cafes in Kilgore and Longview as well as the SuperBurger across the street from the back of the Kilgore College auditorium.

“The 2,649 square-foot home with white and red brick was spacious with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, kitchen, den, and living/dining room. In our earlier years, we lived in a much smaller Austin stone two-bedroom home built on the same property. Before the new home could be built, the smaller home was moved down the street to the corner of Lantrip and Parkview. It remains on that corner with a few additions.

“Jane, Jerry, and I were thrilled to have a new little sister, Sara, born in 1955 but the original home was much too small for four children. Builder Harvey Bass finished the home in 1957 with several conveniences that were unusual for the time. He and our parents had some terrific ideas.

“Mother was an excellent cook and there were hidden pull-out drawers and a spring-loaded shelf in the kitchen and extra storage space created throughout the home.

“The kitchen and bathroom tiles were of pink and mint green tiles popular in the 1950s. Two of the bathrooms were connected with a tunnel to hold laundry baskets. As children, we enjoyed crawling through that fun space. In later years, our grandchildren loved to play hide and seek in the laundry tunnel for exceptional excitement.

“We attended First Presbyterian Church and every Sunday morning, our sweet mother turned on the local radio station to the awesome sounds of spiritual music as we prepared for Sunday school and church.

“Our early dance lessons with Denard Haden (original choreographer of the Kilgore College Rangerettes) were across Hwy. 259 at the American Legion Hall. Of course, Mother walked us across that busy highway years before the red light was installed at the corner. We had caring neighbors - Mrs. Beard who shared her pears and figs and the Elmer Jensens who always handed out burnt peanut candies for Halloween.

“Kilgore schools as well as Kilgore College were huge parts of our lives. Our education was strong with academics, sports, music, and outstanding teachers.

“The Lantrip home and Kilgore were such loving places to grow up. We feel our parents and Kilgore instilled great values in all of us. Jane and her husband, John Gatz, live in Tyler; Jerry and his wife, Cindy, live in Edmond, OK; Sara and her husband, Reverend Sam Steele, live in south Padre Island, and I, am located in Longview.”

Linda played in the band and graduated from Kilgore High School in 1963. She attended Stephen F. Austin and after graduation worked for Eastman until marriage and became a stay-at home mother until the children were grown. Linda put her degree to use by teaching journalism, English and other courses for three years for the Diana School District; then six years at Pine Tree Junior High before retiring.

She expressed her sentiments by saying, “Thank you, Kilgore, for our awesome childhood memories. Even though it’s sad to never see our homestead again, we realize time marches on and Kilgore is a growing community. Our amazing parents were the utmost positive influences in our lives and our Lantrip home holds a superb place in our hearts.”

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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