Springlake Schools


Ona Parish Higgins Recalls the Past

Bruce Higgins, showed playing baseball, later played in the minor leagues.

One of the first classes at Springlake High School


Ona Parish Higgins and her family moved to the Springlake area in 1924 from East Texas to "pull bolls." The Parish family lived north of Old Spring Lake, which consisted of a store, post office and church. The Parish children walked one and one half miles to the school, which was located near the present Springlake cemetery. This school consisted of two rooms and two teachers. She recalls that one day a friend drove by on a wagon pulled by two mules, and they were able to ride to school. The school day began around 9:00 AM and was over around 4:00 PM. School was turned out for a couple of weeks in the fall so the students could help harvest cotton.

In 1923 application was made to form an independent school district, and the Technology Building (formally the Junior High Building) was the original building on the present campus. Mrs. Higgins said the school building wasn't as big as it is now; the back wings were added at a later date. Mr. and Mrs. Martin were the teachers, along with a Mr. Sherman and a woman teacher whom she thought drove from Plainview. There was no cafeteria at the school, so students took their lunches from home, carrying them in a paper sack, wrapped in newspaper, or in a syrup bucket. Often the meal consisted of sausage from breakfast, bread, or a leftover biscuit.

To the southwest of the building was an area which was "fixed up" to play football and basketball. Mrs. Higgins said it was rock and hard ground and you could really skin your knees when you fell. Although there were no organized sports at this time, the girls wore "bloomers" when they played basketball. She described these as knee-length, pleated shorts which allowed you plenty of room to move. She recalls the gym (today called the "old gym") was built next, and how proud everyone was to have an area for sporting events.

Mrs. Higgins was around 14 when her family moved to this area. She often stayed home from school two days a week so she could wash, iron, and clean for the ten people living in their home. These included her parents, a grandmother, two male cousins, and her four siblings. Some of the classes offered in high school were reading, writing, arithmetic, Spanish, and home economics. She said no one in her home making class knew how to cut up a chicken (not even the teacher), so she had to show them that skill. She recalls one day this same teacher allowed a group of four or five girls to climb out the window of the school. The girls walked to the Spring Lake Headquarters of the XIT Ranch, which was located several miles west of Earth! There the girls had a water fight using the water out of a horse tank. Mrs. Higgins wore the wet clothes the rest of the day and was in bed with pneumonia for a month because of that!

When asked what teenagers did on dates, she said they went to the sandhills and played in the sand or sat and talked. They also went to different friends' homes and played yard games and swing games. Mrs. Higgins said people went to dances, although her parents did not allow her to attend. She recalls driving toward Amherst one night on a date and told her date her parents did not know where she was going, so he turned around and took her back home.

In 1927 on Christmas day of her senior year, Ona Parish and Bruce Higgins were married. Bruce had been told by the country clerk in Olton he would give him his marriage license. So the young couple went to get the license and then found a Methodist preacher to marry them. She first met Bruce's parents on their honeymoon when they went to Oklahoma to pull bolls. They returned to Earth and lived in a "one room shack" (across from the present Senior Citizens Building in Earth), and she stated the mice and rats were bad. Bruce was making $65 a month when they decided they could afford to purchase their first car, making monthly payments of $26. Bruce's salary was soon cut to $35 a month. Ona said they still made the car payments, living on $9 a month. She said they drove the car only when they had to. She mentioned they would butcher a beef, taking 1/4 and hanging it on the back porch. When they needed meat, someone would just go to the porch and get some for their meal. Finances later improved and they built a house in Earth for $1200.

We appreciate Mrs. Higgins for sharing her time and memories with us.

Mrs. Ona Parish Higgins

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