Letter to the editor

Dear Editor: A black lady paid me a compliment in her slow southern drawl, “I believe in givin’ folks flowers when they can smell ‘um”. I want to send some flowers to an old friend of mine, Kenneth “Tootsie” Mitchell. We were both graduated from Rochelle High School in the mid-l940s. I was about three years ahead of him, but he had an established reputation even then. I never thought he would amount to anything, and would be in luck to stay out of jail. He was the last person I thought would have ever been a school superintendent, and mean so much to so many kids. (I’ve told him this in person.) It was my honor to deliver the graduation address to the graduating class of 1976. The school attendance numbers were down (as they were in the war years of the ’40s), and I asked Toots why they didn’t close the school, and consolidate with Brady. He said that a lot of kids came out there who could not make it in the larger school, but in Rochelle they were able to complete high school, graduate, and some even went on to college and earned degrees. He said he was dedicated to that objective. I immediately changed my mind, and thought how wonderful for this man to care. I enjoy Tootsie’s articles in this paper. My roots are in Mercury, Brady, and McCulloch County although I have not lived there since 1957. About the only things in the paper that I can relate to now are Tootsie’s column, the obits, and the 41 years ago page. I have discussed this with some of my old schoolmates, and almost all say the main reason they continue to renew their subscriptions is Tootsie’s column. The school honored him by naming the cafetorium after him. We honor him also for his interest in the history of the Rochelle community and the Deep Creek valley and the many kids whose lives he has touched. Jack H. Kirby Cleburne, Tex

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