Old school memories of 'mom'

Rosa Mary Edgar

For one Pauls Valley family a milestone birthday can trigger memories of those times when mom used to walk the hallways of the local high school as a student.

The twist for Rosa Mary Edgar is she was well into her 30s and riding the bus with her two young children as she returned to school back in the late 1960s to get her diploma and experience some of the school days stuff she'd missed in her youth.

Edgar's daughter Lou Ann Wood, who today is the superintendent at nearby Whitebead School, thinks with her mother turning 90 years old this past weekend on April 4, it's a great time to recall those memories when she and her brother R.C. were joined by mom for the ride to school.

“She dropped out of high school in the middle of her junior year,” Wood tells the PV Democrat.

“Years later at 37 she decided to go back and finish high school, but she didn't want to go to adult education classes. She wanted to go to regular classes, so they let my mother in as a student at Pauls Valley High School.

“It's amazing to me that anybody wants to go back to high school like mom did.”

For Rosa it was important to go back and get her high school diploma after dropping out as a teenager to get married and start a family.

The biggest thing of all was to show her children that she could get the job done, while also doing it her way by attending regular classes filled with teens.

“I went to the day classes because what I missed, I wanted to get. I thought I'm going back and I'm going to do it,” Rosa says about the decision to go get that diploma.

“I wanted to be an example to my children and be able to say I did it.”

Once Rosa was able to convince Pauls Valley's school superintendent to allow her to attend regular high school classes to complete her junior and senior years, she decided to join her kids on the bus when it was time for school in the morning.

“When my kids would get on the bus in the morning I just thought I would too,” Rosa says. “I didn't drive to school; I just took the bus.”

Even though Lou Ann was young at the time, she remembers the most unusual bus rides.

“I was in the first grade and my brother was in second grade,” Wood said.

“The two of us and mom would ride the bus to school. We went to Lee, so they'd pick us up after school and then go over to the high school to get the students there, which mom was one of them. Some high school kids made fun of her on the bus.

“There were times I would say were embarrassing because your mom is following you around. But she was also the bus monitor, which was a good thing because if any of the kids got hurt or needed help she was there.”

Rosa also remembers some of those awkward times as she was in classes with other students two decades younger than her.

“The high school kids would look me and see a little old lady in the classes with them. They didn't say that, but that's the way they looked at me,” she said.

“Most of them didn't want to mix with someone's mother. Most were respectful, but it was a little uncomfortable for all of us.”

She did get her diploma, graduating from PV High School in 1969, and went on to college and a career teaching special education and night classes for adults also wanting to finish high school.

Today with her 90th birthday, Rosa wonders how all those memories piled up so fast.

“I look back at it and wonder where all the time went. It goes by so fast.”

Taking the day for Lou Ann is pride as last weekend's birthday on Easter Sunday gave her the perfect opportunity to remember her mom's school days.

“I'm super proud of her,” Lou Ann said. “She kept saying, 'I have to go back and finish the way I'm supposed to finish.'”

A birthday celebration for Rosa, open to the public, is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 10 at St. Catherine Catholic Church. No gifts will be the norm, but apparently Rosa “loves birthday cards.”

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