Most of you know that DeSoto County is my second home and the first home of my wife, Ann. When I went to DeSoto County for my first teaching job, I found myself at Horn Lake High School. Not knowing anyone on staff, I was in the same shape as many first year teachers – lonely and confused. However, there was a lady on staff who was secretary to the principal by the name of Louise Thomas. I noticed that many students went to her for advice or help in just fitting in atschool. I also noticed that these students did not call her Ms. Thomas; rather, many of them called her Mama Lou. I made sure I was friendly with her and, sure enough, she was very nice to me.
Many of you do not remember mimeograph machines but I do. They used a black liquid ink and all tests were duplicated by that monster. I almost always could be identified as running off tests by the duplicator ink on me. As I made friends with Ms. Thomas, she invited me to bring my work by and she would duplicate it for me. I was glad to take her up on the offer and Mama Lou and I became good friends. I have always been grateful for her help.
After two years of classroom teaching I became the guidance counselor and assistant principal of Horn Lake High School. Ms. Thomas became a wonderful friend during these years. I found her to be a wonderful secretary as well as a friend. Let me ask you to run your calendars back to the year 1969. In June 6, 1969, I became a member of the Thomas family when I married Ann Thomas, the oldest daughter of the Frank and Louise Thomas. Both Mr. and Ms. Thomas are now deceased but they are remembered by Ann and me with nothing but great memories.
Ann and I were invited to Horn Lake High School on Saturday evening to honor the Horn Lake High School Hall of Fame. You guessed it. Ms. Louise “Mama Lou” Thomas was inducted.. Ann, Rebecca and I attended. While Rebecca never got the privilege of knowing her, we all enjoyed seeing her name submitted and being inducted into the Hall of Fame. She certainly deserved the honor.
It was our privilege to sit with Horn Lake Mayor and Mrs. Alan Latimer. Alan was in my eleventh grade English class my first year to teach at Horn Lake. He finished college and I employed him as a teacher of history at Southaven High School. He was an excellent teacher and I know he is the right man for the mayor’s job at Horn Lake. Mayor Latimer is an excellent history teacher especially of the Civil War. He and men serving with him have participated in many Civil War enactments at Shiloh and other locations. He is a great-great nephew of M.D.L. Stephens who is the author of the, “The Yellow Rose of Scoona,” and many other publications. I always enjoy my visits with Mayor Latimer because of his knowledge of history.
Thanks for reading this week.
Billy McCord is a retired school administrator. He is Pastor of the Shady Grove UM Church in Calhoun County. He is a member and President of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him at email@example.com.