• John McDaniel

The Week At Midway: Midway Old School, Part III

Last week I discussed how many Midwegians Ms. Evelyn Clarke taught at the old Midway High School. Anyone who was in Ms. Clarke’s class should pick up 50 Midwegian points to add to their totals that I have mentioned over the last couple of years. In addition to Ms. Clarke’s passion for poetry, she was equally passionate about her birds. Her birds meant every wild bird that came into her sight. I seriously doubt there was a bird native to this region that she didn’t know about, including their migratory habits, what they ate, how many young they bore each year, their scientific name or their origin. Once she discovered that her students had an interest in the bird population, she made arrangements for everyone to become members of the Audubon Society. The Audubon Society is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation. It was named after John James Audubon, an ornithologist and naturalist who painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America in his famous book “Birds of America,” which was published in sections between 1827 and 1838. After talking to some of her former students, I discovered that some of them are still members. Marlin Mitchell, one of my friends from school and Ms. Clarke’s favorite bird person, didn’t have to see a bird to know what kind of bird was in a tree. He knew birds from their song and could imitate the sound of any bird in the area. One animal that Ms. Clarke didn’t like was a cat. She wasn’t a cat lover because cats would always hang around her yard waiting on one of her birds come around to feed from one of several bird feeders in her back yard. It was not an unusual sight to see this elderly lady running across her back yard, banging garbage can tops together and screaming at the top of her lungs for the cats to get out of her yard. She always told us that if people fed their cats, the cats wouldn’t hunt the birds. After Ms. Clarke retired, she still made herself heard in the community. There was a time when the US Postal Service decided that it would be better if the post office was moved to the building where the Brown Barrel is today, at 224 N. Gratz Street. The town’s people held the postal executives feet to the fire and demanded a community hearing. The hearing took place in the auditorium of the Midway High School building. There were a lot of Midway citizens who were unhappy about the move, as they liked the post office right where it was. Ms. Clarke decided that it was her turn to be heard. She explained how a democracy was supposed to work and that the people had a right to voice their dislike for the move and since we lived in a democracy, the executives from the USPS should submit to the will of the people and leave the post office right where it was. Patrick Henry and Henry Clay together couldn’t have done any better that day. When she finished, she sat down and many in the audience rose up and gave her a standing ovation. All I can say is that her passionate speech played a big part in keeping the post office where it is today… nothing like “Old School.” (Ms. Evelyn Clarke died Jan. 4, 1992 and is buried in the Midway Cemetery)

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

© 2016 by The Woodford Sun. Proudly created by Charismatic Media