“I waited almost 100 years for a National Championship, but I always knew it would happen.
I was born the fifth of eight children in 1918 in Noxubee County. My mother died when I was almost five, and my dad raised us. To easily entertain all eight of us, he took us to Mississippi State baseball games. We’ve had season tickets behind home plate all of these years, and I’ve taken my kids and grandkids to the games.
We lived in the country and had to make our own fun. We raced cats in the fields. One of the cats was named Lunatic. My dad would try to court a lady, but when he brought her home to meet all of us, we never saw her again.
My dad got tired of hearing the school bus honk for us, so he bought a school bus and drove the school route himself. When we were old enough to drive, some of us even drove the bus. Dad took us to the beach in Biloxi on that bus. Back then, the roads were rough and there were no highways, so not many people went to the beach. Everything was coin operated in the house we stayed in. To turn on the stove or the lights, you had to put a quarter in.
I met my husband when I was camping with the Girl Reserves. We sent for groceries and Carroll Walker delivered them on a big white horse. We hit it off and were married for 43 years. We had our family over every Saturday for lunch and loved living close to them. We had a big garden behind our house and grew our own vegetables.
I had played basketball at East Mississippi Junior College on a scholarship, but I wasn’t any good. I majored in accounting at Ole Miss and taught third grade. I kept the books at our store and kept the score books for my three boys’ baseball games. I liked tracking the pitches and hits so much that I kept my own scorebooks at the State games. My nickname was the ‘Score Book Lady,’ but the State fans and players called me ‘Scobook Lady.’ We knew everyone sitting around us, and I gave the kids peppermints and pens for autographs.
Carroll and I were friends with James Windham, the CEO of Pabst Brewery. He was from Noxubee County. He flew us to the Kentucky Derby, and we sat in his box for years. We always sat behind Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. I once went to the paddock to look at the horses and saw Bing. I said, ‘Give me a soft-shoe Bing.’ He gave me a little dance and tipped his hat.
There are many good memories. Carroll and I followed the baseball team around the country and rode the bus to Omaha for trips to the College World Series. Jerry Clower was on one of those trips, and everything he said made us laugh. I was hit by a foul ball at a game on Mother’s Day. I was 94 years old, and several players signed the ball. Three years later, I threw the first pitch with my great-grandson for a game on Mother’s Day weekend. My first throw wasn’t good enough, so I threw it again. Two years later, the team gave me an SEC Championship ring for my 99th birthday. The guys on the baseball team are good boys, and sometimes they come to visit me. I’ve always been proud of them, even when they didn’t have a great season.
Sports isn’t just about wins and losses; what matters the most are the relationships and happiness that come with it.”