Although many of us who live in Quay County are interested in our history, I now only one native who is a real historian, Ph.D., and all. Yes, Dave Stratton is definitely the one who comes to mind. He is a former Rattler who did well in school, was quite good in our sports program, and graduated from THS in 1945. Now, he is professor emeritus at Washington State University and is still working on the history of his home area.
Those of you who belong to Tucumcari Historical Research Institute will remember his being a guest speaker at one of our annual meetings a few years ago and talking about some of our railroad history. Although he is still working on that, he tends to get sidetracked and researches other bits of history of this area. Periodically he calls this woman from lma to ask a few questions about the past.
He doesn’t realize how much those calls mean or how humbling they are to another THS graduate who has spent most of her life in this county. To have a real historian call is a major honor and to try to find some answers to his questions is a privilege. Even though I may have an idea or two, I surely try to be correct in finding such answers. Sometimes, I feel that his is making up some things just to trick me as he probably tricked his students, but I fall into the trap and try to make up an answer that would befit such a question.
Also, he tends to encourage me to do a little research and more writing, but I have become just a little lazy during the last few years and haven’t considered expending that much energy. I’d rather read what he has written and know that I am reading the work of a real historian. Besides, he is an excellent writer and brings our history to life. He says his love of writing and education was inspired by Mrs. Kathryn Stephenson, who taught him English at THS and who made a great impression on him. She inspired many of us who were her friends and surely kept me on my toes when we would be visiting. I have let my grammar slip much since I left the classroom, and she took great delight in correcting me and then delivering a lecture about such carelessness.
Dave continues to remain in touch with several of his THS classmates and still calls this place home. I know they appreciate those calls as much as I do and look forward to the next one. He surely has maintained his friendships and enjoys recalling some of the things they did during those early years. I hope Dave knows just how much his calls mean and how honored I feel when he asks about the history of our home area. I just wish I had a portion of the knowledge he has.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.