‘and from that day forward, Mr. Porter drove the Leming School bus’, ‘the milk would probably turn into butter before Alton got to San Antonio’,
“I believe Mr. (Norman)
Porter came in when I was in the fifth grade in Leming. He was our principal and teacher.” said Lonnie Gillespie,
“Mr. Porter was always interested in history, especially Texas history and of course, he taught history.”
Gillespie said, “You know, he was a big ole’ football star and athletic coach and, being so big, he sorta’ intimidated us little kids. But he was always fair to us.
“I don’t remember him paddlin’ anybody who didn’t need it. I have to ‘slide by that’. Mr. Porter, in recent years, would say to me, well I probably whipped your little backside. I said, no sir, you didn’t, but it’s probably not because I didn’t have it comin’, but no sir, you just never caught me (chuckle).
“Mr Porter was a stern man but he was good to be around.”
Gillespie continued, “Back in the days, there were two Caballeros in my class, a brother, Fidel Caballero, and his sister, Janie. They were brother and sister but in the same class.
“They had a younger brother, Eddie, who was in a tragic accident.
“This little Caballero boy, Eddie, was crossing 281. That was before it was a divided highway. And just exactly how it came about, I don’t know and I’m not sure if anybody else knew but there was a lady that was driving down the highway and she hit the boy. It was bad and, matter of fact, he was hurt for life.
“Mr. Porter took this pretty hard. They said he rushed to the scene and stood out in the road with this kid in his arms and was crying about it.
“If you lived closer than one mile to the school, the school district was not required to pick you up with the school bus. The township of Leming which was within that mile presented a situation where the kids had to walk to school. The parents could bring them there if they could but the school bus couldn’t pick them up.
“Mr. Porter went to the school district after this and he made a deal with them, that if they would put a school bus there on the campus grounds, he’d drive. It could be an old bus that was ‘kind of like’ retired – that if he could use the bus, he would start the Leming route.
“And from that day forward, Mr. Porter drove the Leming School bus. Every morning and every afternoon, he made sure that those kids didn’t have to cross that highway anymore.
“I thought that was really noble. He did the right thing.”
Gillespie continued, “There’s not a whole lot that I can tell you about Mr. Porter as far as my ‘one on one’ with him because I wasn’t really into sports. Of course, he was a coach.
“I had him in the seventh grade when I, supposedly, graduated from Leming and moved on to Pleasanton. I finished the eighth grade at the Pleasanton Junior High.
“But that summer, going from the seventh grade to eighth grade, the front part of the old auditorium in Leming was getting really deteriorated. The school district decided that they were going to tear it down and rebuild it.
“Daddy (Truxton Gillespie) had the contract to tear it down.
“There aren’t too many kids that can tear their old school house down. Back then, daddy tied a big cable to that brick wall and he’d say, ‘OK, go ahead, Lonnie, boy I’d take off and, ‘boom’ and bricks were falling all over the place. I’ll say again, there’s not too many kids that get to tear their school house down.
“Coincidently, I put a new tin roof on it last year when I did the renovation of the school, as it became offices for the County of Atascosa.”
‘Back in the days’, my uncle, Alton Rogers, was a bus driver for the Leming School for many years. Later on, he was a truck driver for Perry Dairy out on 97 and 37 (part of Crain Rd., then in that area).”
Gillespie mentioned that Rogers would take Crain Rd. to deliver the milk to San Antonio since it was a shorter route than going back to U.S. 281. “The milk would probably turn into butter before he got to San Antonio because Crain Rd. was so rough ‘back in those days’(chuckle).”
Gillespie said, “That ole house that you had a picture of in the paper last week is still ‘kind of half way standing there’. I always wondered who actually lived in that house. I watched that old house deteriorate all my life.
“You know, the Porters had property there on Crain Road.”
Gillespie said, “Do you remember the Jones’ Country Market – the barbecue place?” (Located on 281 just north of FM 3006). I replied that I did. Gillespie coninued, “Well it was owned by Loyce and Joyce Jones. Let me explain something – there were six kids in our family. We spent a lot of time with my Uncle Alton and Stella Rogers, she was my mother’s sister. My brother and I used to go over there often in the summertime – being there were six of us kids and mama and daddy were ‘willin’ to get rid of one or two of us every once and a while’ to give ‘em some relief. Anyway, we’d spend a few days with them and we’d also go down to Loyce and Joyce Jones’ Country Market and spend a day or so down there, just doing stuff – because Loyce was a ‘kid at heart’. He loved kids and he’d take us down through the woods. We used to roam all that area where 3006 is now and Crain Road.
“At the Country Market, my brother Rick and I had responsibilities around there. They would feed us for a little work we did. One reponsibility was to feed ‘Pancho’, a huge raccoon they had, and we’d feed their rabbits. Pancho was a big attraction to customers.
LOOK IN next weeks edition for the rest of the Lonnie Gillespie story.