November 15, 2012
Born on May 16, 1951, Carolyn Louise Stephenson was born in Spur, Texas. My parents were Walter James Stephenson and Jewel Etha Rich Stephenson. My early childhood days began in McAdoo, Texas on a cotton farm. I remember spending a lot of time at my grandma’s ( Annie Elizabeth Miranda Stephenson) playing with my cousins on the weekends and listening to music. My Uncle Nath ( my dad’s brother) and Aunt Jewel also lived at the farm with “Ma” ( grandma). They both played the music for the “Old Settlers” in Roaring Springs, Texas for 33 years. Back at home (about one mile south from grandma’s house) on our farm in McAdoo, when I was about 3 or 4 years old I was riding “our” tricycle ( we had to share) around in the kitchen and for some reason rode right out the back door to land on rocks we used for a porch. I knocked a hole in my head and was bleeding somewhat that scared my mom. Mom sent Jenk up the cotton field where my dad was plowing to come running. Jenk, being only 9 or 10 yelled out and said “Daddy, you know Carolyn? She is all bloody!” I wasn’t taken to the doctor, just had to stay awake for a while but I was ok. My first grade was in McAdoo, Texas with Mrs. Lane as my first grade teacher. She was an outstanding teacher and probably influenced my decision much later to be a teacher.
I grew up with 4 brothers (Jenk, Tom, Henry and David) and one sister (Linda), the best anyone could have. After we left McAdoo, we moved to Lubbock, but didn’t stay very long, because we ended up moving around to several other places. (Seadrift, Port Lavaca, Snyder, Spur, Farwell, Aspermont, Swenson, Paducah, and back to Lubbock. My Dad was restless and just couldn’t stay in one place. He had many jobs, farmer, welder, oil field worker, manager of a wrecking yard, Cotton Gin operator and finally worked for Parks and Recreation in Lubbock the longest (about 20 years). I played the clarinet in the junior high school band in Paducah, Texas and we got our first horse, Cody, a pretty Dunn looking horse. If it weren’t for the mixture of grey and blond mane, Cody could pass for a palomino horse.
I graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1969 near Acuff, Texas about 16 miles outside the city limits of Lubbock on which we lived on Sumac Street. I grew up riding horses, playing ball, listening to music, going to family reunions, camping out and fishing and visiting family. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelors’ Degree in Education in December 1976. I did my student teaching at my 3 rd grade school Roscoe Wilson in Lubbock and got my first teaching job in McAdoo, Texas in the fall of 1977 where I attended first grade in 1957. I taught 3 rd grade in McAdoo for 2 years, but because of rumors of the school closing I got a teaching job in Lamesa, Texas teaching in a bilingual class. I went to school in Mexico City, Mexico that summer of 1979 at the University of Mexico to prepare teaching in a bilingual classroom. Lamesa is about 62 miles south of Lubbock. I lived in Lamesa for 2 years, but moved back home to be with Mom. I continued teaching in Lamesa wearing out 6 cars commuting to school and back. I wouldn’t change my decision for doing that at all. I now drive a 2005 Toyota Prius getting 54 miles to the gallon. It has really helped with gas milage.
My best year of teaching was 1995 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, 3 years after my Mom passed away with breast cancer in 1992. I had to keep working while I was sick and taking chemotherapy. It was what kept me going. All the teachers and my students gave me the support I needed to get through it as well as a good friend, Kim Portues. I was determined not to wear a wig so I put on my cap and went to school. Being bald was the best thing that could have ever happened, because it made me face my fear of being comfortable with myself. I was determined, if I was going to have to have this disease, then everyone else was going to go through this with me. And they did. In 1997, I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, but I wasn’t scared this time, because I knew I was going to be ok. God told me in a dream, when I went through my first round with breast cancer. You have to believe in God, because he created all of us and he is The Boss. I, eventually, ended up with a double mastectomy and now doing well. God willing, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and say “Thank you God”. After 35 years of teaching , I retired from Lamesa School District. I enjoyed all my years of teaching. And I hope I helped in some way all those kids I taught. Many of them will not be forgotten, because they helped me get through a lot of heartache of losing my mom in 1992, my dad in 1996 of liver failure, my sister, Linda of a massive heart attack in 2003 and my brother, Tom of an aneurysm in his brain in 2009.
The hardest thing about being retired is not having a schedule. I have had a schedule all my life and to wake up and not have to go somewhere is very odd.
Today, I read, watch tv ( keeping up with the news and learning more about politics) de-cluttering my house, painting, tending to my garden, traveling, visiting my family, playing the fiddle and taking guitar lessons, talking on the phone, visiting my friends, time on the computer, and playing chess. I am 61 years old, graying some and proud of every year I have lived. God Bless to all.