1956 Frenship High School valedictorian enjoys retirement

The 1956 valedictorian of Frenship High School remembers taking four years of home economics and still thinks of the lessons in those classes from her instructor even more than 50 years later.

“I still think of her every time I make up the bed,” said Patricia Johnson recently at her home in Lubbock.

She said home economics teacher Glenda Drennan and her classes were her favorites at FHS when she was known as Patricia Richardson. She and other girls at the high school had to take four years of home economics because of the requirements that students have a certain number of credits to graduate.

FHS, said Johnson, did not have enough other subjects to make up the number of credits needed to graduate. Boys typically took agriculture studies in those days to get the same credits, she said.

Johnson was a cheerleader, the junior class secretary, on the pep squad, in Future Homemakers of America, the business manager of the annual staff, and acted in the senior play.

One of her favorite memories of high school was the senior class trip to Colorado Springs after graduation.

Johnson went to school in the Lubbock-Cooper District until sixth grade, when her family moved to a farm in Wolfforth. As a seventh grader, she remembers seeing a good-looking sophomore boy on the bus. He already had a girlfriend and never noticed her, but even though his family moved away to Hale Center that year, she remembered him.

Years later, while working as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., Johnson was asked to go on a double date by a friend of hers. It turned out that her date was with the same boy on the bus, Bill Johnson. They were married in December of 1958. When she began to have children, she quit working as a phone operator in 1960.

In 1964, the couple and their kids moved to Hobbs, N.M., where her husband owned an office supply store until 1973, when he began working as a banker. At that time, Johnson began working at Levi Strauss in the payroll department. Five years later, she moved on to the accounts payable department at Watson Truck and Supply.

Johnson admits to having a certain fascination with numbers, noting that she enjoys sudoku puzzles and working on the computer. Her husband teases her because she uses two different software programs to balance the couple’s finances each day.

“It’s a double failsafe,” said Johnson in explanation.

Johnson also enjoys reading and what she calls “digging up dead people,” more commonly known as genealogy. In her genealogical searches, she has discovered that she is a fourth-generation Texan and that her ancestors were acquainted with her husband’s.

She and Bill meet up with other former classmates on Sunday mornings for a Bible study known as Wolfforth Caregivers Class at the Wolfforth Senior Center before heading off to their different churches.

She was able to get her pilot’s license at the same time as her husband in the late 1960s, but has not flown since the day she got her license. She said the worst part about flying was her nerves while going to the airport.

Johnson and her husband lived in three different towns, Hobbs, Wolfforth and Lubbock, but in 12 different residences. Bill liked to flip houses before there was a name for it, the couple said with laughter.

The Johnsons have three children, Alan Johnson of Roswell, N.M., Melinda Northcutt of Kingwood, and Jennifer Asper of Katy. They also have numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

You must be logged in to post a comment.