High Points| from El Camino Real

by Chris Davis

Spring has come along El Camino Real and the pine trees and everything else have exploded with pollen. Sneezing, itchy red eyes, and yellow cars are what we have to look forward to for the next several weeks.
A good rain shower will come on occasion to give us some relief, but it usually doesn’t last much longer than the yellow rings that surround the mud holes after the rain. I don’t want to aggravate anybody’s itchy watery eyes with a bunch of long reading, so I’ll try and keep your six bits worth of news short and sweet this week.
The Friends of the Stella Hill Memorial Library Fund Drive is officially underway and that means its time for you to get out your check books and do whatever you can to help keep our newly renovated library stay up and running. The renovations are complete and the grand opening is scheduled for this Sunday, March 24th between 2 and 4. In 1956 the Payne Sawmill was closing down and the Payne Family donated the old sawmill doctor’s office building to the Thursday Study Club to be used for a library.
It was just a little shotgun building. For those of you who don’t know what a shotgun house is, it is a little narrow house about 12 feet wide with the rooms arranged in a straight line. If you fired a gun through the front door the bullets would go through the back door without hitting a wall. The building was moved from the sawmill to a lot the city owned on Quincy Street. That little library was awfully small, but we were proud of it. In 1966 the ladies gathered bricks and worked to add a room on to the little building and made it a little bigger and more usable.
In 2000, Bill and Marjorie Warner donated the Boyd’s Drugstore Building to the City to be used as a new home for our library. In October of that year we were loading up books and moving everything from our little library on Quincy Street into the Boyd’s Drugstore Building. The grand opening was during our homecoming festival and the theme of our parade that year was “Cover to Cover” in honor of our library.
Everyone was so excited about having such a large building donated in the middle of downtown to house our library. The old drugstore building was cleaned up and we moved everything in. It was a major undertaking, but worth the effort. Now, we fast forward almost twenty years, and the old drugstore building has been completely renovated and our library is a sight to behold.
I wonder if the ladies of the Alto Thursday Study Club, who started out in that little narrow building and have worked for decades to keep a library up and running in our little town, could have ever imagined what a nice facility we would have today.
Obviously all of the wonderful things happening at the Stella Hill Library can’t be done for free and that is where you come in. Money is needed to pay employees, buy computers, books, insurance, supplies for the summer reading program, and for other new programs.
The library is a non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible. Donations can be mailed to Thursday Study Club, P.O. Box 98 Alto, Texas 75925. Cassie King is the treasurer. Memorials and gifts to honor others will be acknowledged by enclosing that person’s mailing address. I remind you of the Stella Hill Memorial Library Patron Drive every year, so this isn’t anything new, but we do need your donation now more than ever.
When I was a little boy I lived next door to Dr. J.C. Hill and his wife Stella. Their grandson, Jim Hill Wilson was their daughter Phila and Albert Wilson’s boy. Jim Hill and I were born one hour apart and with his grandparents living next door, we were destined to become friends. We were just two little five year old towheaded boys that didn’t know nothing about anything, when Stella Hill died. My Momma and Daddy took me down to the funeral home to be with Jim Hill.
Ms. Stella Hill was the first dead person either one of us had ever seen. I can remember he and I talking at the funeral home and trying to figure out about this death business, but we never did. Dr. Hill lived to be 104 and was always a good friend to me. Jim Hill Wilson was the first friend I remember. We had a birthday party together when we turned five. Jim Hill died several years ago, way too young. I still have fond memories of the Hill Family and I am glad that our library carries on their name.
It’s funny when I see the name, Stella Hill, I still think about the fact that she was the first dead person I ever saw. I guess there are some things you just can’t forget. Don’t forget to give some money to the library.
The teachers and students have all headed back to school after a rainy and cold spring break. I felt kind of sorry for them, but school will be out in about ten weeks, so they ought to be able to do that standing on their heads. Some of them are probably already standing on their heads. Good luck to all of you through the rest of the school year.
I’m been playing in the garden tilling dirt for a couple of weeks now. I’m thinking pretty seriously about planting a few tomato plants just to see if I can have some ready for the Jacksonville Tomato Festival on June 8. I’m getting tired of just looking at cabbage and collards. It’s time to get something else in the ground. I know we’ll get another frost, but I can cover them up if I have to.
Well, I ended up saying more than I was planning to, but sometimes when I get my mind in gear its hard to get it stopped.
If you have any thing you want me to put in the paper, give me a call. I’m the easiest person in the world to find, if you know where I’m at.
I’ll see ya next week!

And remember, Some fairy tales start with “Once upon a Time” and some start with “If I’m elected”.