Fort Smith High School
Nancy Brooks

Lordy, did you say 50 year reunion? I don't believe I'm that old! All YOU GUYS may be, but not me. I wasn't much to look at and didn't get around much or do anything spectacular in high school, but I discovered life could be fun when I enrolled in Fort Smith Jr. College. Some of you may remember (or maybe not) that I was chosen to be a member of Ms. Massey's Mixed Chorus during both my Jr. and Sr. years. Well, I really got to do some fun and fantastic things with my music training at FSJC, and I was elected Student Body President my sophomore year. I went on to earn my Bachelor of Teaching in English and Spanish from Ouachita Baptist College (now University), and I went straight into a Graduate program at OU at Norman, OK where I earned a Master's Degree in Spanish. While studying there I met Vernon Oscar Meadows, who was a fullback for the OU football team. We were married in July, 1963.

I began my teaching career in 1962 at our alma mater, renamed "Northside High School" the following year. When Southside opened I was transferred to the new Southside High School to teach Spanish and English. In 1962 a number of our graduating class returned to Fort Smith High School to teach, and Earl Farnsworth was constantly referring to us as his "young" faculty. Helping to get Southside High certified and established as the great school it is today was challenging, fun, and lots of hard work. I had the distinct honor of being one of Victor Stewart's protégés. He had been my 8th grade math teacher, my assistant principal when I was a student at FSHS, and finally my boss as the first principal of Southside High.

In 1967 my husband took a position with SCM Corp., and we devastated my parents by taking their first grandson away at the cute age of 9 months to live in the vast state of Texas. We nestled in and became a vital part of the town of Denison on Lake Texoma about an hour from Dallas. I taught Spanish and also some English classes at the high school, played in the church hand bell choir, directed children's choirs, and performed solo appearances for numerous civic and church functions. Oscar coached little league football and baseball in his spare time. Every summer we sponsored trips to Mexico for high school students and a few adults along the way. Besides the joy of rearing our son, we also "borrowed" a Peruvian girl for eleven years. Since legal adoption was not a possibility, we accepted the responsibility of rearing and educating her in the US. Both of our kids have been a blessing and a delight, having graduated from Universities and led profitable lives. Miriam has given us four beautiful grandchildren, and Chris has produced three with a fourth on the way.

Oscar was called to Heaven quite suddenly on July 31, 1979. My whole world revolved around him, and I had to learn how to function as a single mom, teacher, and provider. Miriam married her college sweetheart and moved to the other side of the world, leaving me really alone to rear my son. So in 1981, I packed up and returned to Fort Smith. I couldn't believe my great fortune to return to the very classroom I taught in 14 years earlier under the same principal--Victor Stewart.

In the years that followed I taught lots of students to speak Spanish, studied in Mexico, and conducted summer tours in Mexico. I also filled my life with music by singing in church choirs, and I also served as church organist for 15 years.

So where am I today? I retired in the spring of 2002 after teaching for 40 years. (Oops, I guess I am that old, after all.) Since I have no strong family ties remaining in Fort Smith, I followed my son, Chris, and his family to Palm Bay, FL in Dec., 2003. Now I have a whole new chapter to add to my memoirs about riding out three hurricanes last summer.

In spite of all the trials this life has dealt me, God has always made a way for me (as the song goes), and it has been a wonderful life.

Nancy Brooks Meadows - 2005