Portales resident Barbara George has been teaching people most of her adult life. She has taught physical education, history, track, volleyball, how to wind a maypole and how to drive a car. After being maypole director for Portales High School for 25 years, George said she has seen the dress rehearsal or winding every year since 1965.
“I just like how proud they are. They feel like they’ve really accomplished something in a short period of time and their families are proud of them. They look forward to continuing the tradition,” she said.
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George recently retired as the Roosevelt County Teen Court Coordinator. She hopes to have more time to spend with her daughter and grandchildren.
“I’m so blessed,” she said. “What few years I’ve got left, whatever God blesses me with I want to enjoy it.”
What did you enjoy about working at Teen Court? I love working with the students. It was an extension of my teaching career on the high school level for 27 years and of teaching drivers education for the past 21 years.
After a long, hard day, I love to... get in my hot tub, take a shower, and then read or watch TV.
The most unique place I’ve ever traveled is to... New Zealand.
What would you like printed on your gravestone? I hope they can say I hoed my own row. I would like to be remembered as a person who always encouraged others and tried to help others as a teacher.
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What’s your favorite TV show? “Dancing with the Stars.”
Who is your favorite entertainer? Cousin Sis and my granddaughters, Rebecca, Mckenzie and Lexie.
Tell us about a time you cried. When my husband died.
Tell us about a happy time. I have been blessed to have many happy times in my life. When I was teaching, I always love seeing my son and daughter participate in their school events. I twas fun for me when I was the maypole director and my two children participated. It was always a happy time — the night of maypole. It was exciting when my son was the state champion in the pole vault and my daughter was the state delegate and in the top 3 in the nation with her DECA project. It was a happy time when I got to go to New Zealand and visit with one of my former students and see a beautiful country. It has been happy times when my granddaughters have qualified to nationals in gymnastics and to get to travel with them to their competitions. It is always a happy time when my granddaughters sing at the Floyd Jamboree. I love the Roosevelt County Fair and getting to see friends that I may not have seen but once or twice during the year. My most recent happy time was traveling to Charleston and spending time with my grandsons.
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What was your most embarrassing moment? I have too many to pick just one.
Do you have a favorite joke? I like all the jokes that Cousin Sis tells.
Tell us a story about your mom or dad. I went to the fields to work when I was 6. My Mom would start on one end of the field with her sack she was pulling as she was pulling cotton. I would start at the end of her row with a bushel basket and met her, dump my cotton in her sack and then we would turn around and go back on a new row. She had a short leg and couldn’t keep up with the other workers, but I could do just enough to help her keep up and keep her job. I can always remember my Mom working hard. She worked in the fields and also took in ironging, cleaned people’s houses and washed dishes in the cafes.
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Tell us a story about your childhood. When I was around 8, we were hoeing cotton and I still took part of my Mom’s row. At the end of the 3 weeks when the farmer paid us, he gave me $3 and said I “made a hand” and he wanted to pay me also. I bought a pair of sandals with them (the first pair of sandals I had ever had) and thought they were great! I always remember working, either in the fields or selling Watkins products or the Fort Worth Star Telegram early Sunday mornings door to door, or helping clean houses or carrying clean dishes and setting them up in front of the cafes. Then I got lucky and went to work full time ( 4p.m. until noon) at the movie theatre when I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade. I worked full-time at the Dairy Mart until I graduated from high school.
When you were a kid, what did you think you’d be doing as an adult? When I was in the third grade, I wanted to be a lady wrestler when I grew up.
If money were no object, what would you do to make the world a better place? Eliminate all addictions — there would be no addiction to food, drugs or alcohol.
Who is your hero and why? My mother who washed dishes in cafes, cleaned people’s houses and took in ironing to raise my brother and I.
What’s your favorite part about your job? Seeing teenagers grow and blosson into self-assured and confident young adults.
— Compiled by Freedom New Mexico staff writer Liliana Castillo