Loblolly Reunion

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Tuesday, April 21 @ Noon

Tuesday, April 21, 2015, M.P. Baker library at Panola College will host the Lunchbox Lecture Loblolly Reunion at noon in the Murphy-Payne Room. Those who attend will be able to view the newly digitized editions of the Gary High School Loblolly Magazines, hear the story of how Loblolly began, visit with former Loblolly staff members and sponsor, Mr. Lincoln King, and hear some of the great stories that made Loblolly Magazine so popular. Recently, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) awarded funding to the Library under its TexTreasures Grant program. The project is one of 70 made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

According to Ferguson, “This grant is significant not only for those that created and contributed to Loblolly, but for all future generations as well. Loblolly magazine preserved the rich history of the lifestyle and culture of people here in East Texas. Now that the magazine will be available online everyone in the world will be able to access and enjoy our history. Not only will it be available on the library’s website, but it will also be added to the Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas. Many historical and genealogical groups all over the world link to that Portal for research purposes. Our sister libraries here in town, The Old Jail and Sammy Brown Libraries, will be able to link to our page and give their patrons access to it also.”

Ferguson was instrumental in not only getting this grant awarded, but in organizing the “reunion” of former students of Mr. King. She has asked on the Loblolly Facebook page for volunteers to speak at the reunion and share their memories of working with Mr. King and what it meant to the community to have the magazine. She also has asked those planning to attend to let her know so she can make final arrangements for the event. The Loblolly Facebook page is a great source of information and has over 140 members who keep in contact with each other. One such member is Phil Davis of Ft. Worth, Texas. He wrote, “Because of your hard work on getting the grant, I got to listen to my grandad's interview! Thank you Cristie.” That comment is the very reason these magazines have been preserved, so that future generations can have a connection to their heritage and the history of their community.

Karen Whiteside McAlister, a former Loblolly editor, commented, “I think it's great that they are digitizing the old Loblolly books/magazines. Mr. King was, without a doubt, the best teacher I ever had. He's the reason I became a teacher. I had so much fun and learned so much working on the Loblolly staff. Some of my best memories of high school are from my time spent working on it with my friends, and the trips we took together. Once, on a trip to Austin, I sang the entire Hank Williams, Jr. Greatest Hits album. It was BAD, but everyone was laughing. Another thing we enjoyed was going to the Magic Time Machine; but it wasn't just about the trips, we had fun just being together, listening to music, and working on the book. I can't wait to see my old classmates and Mr. King at the reunion.”