Winter 2013 Mulerider Memories

I attended Magnolia A&M (SAU) in 1933 – and first semester half of ‘34, majoring in Home Economics. My husband, Arlin Cross, also was at A&M for 5 years, finishing high school and 2 years of college. We left A&M in the later part of 1934, married – ready to begin a new life.

However, I should have already said before – how Arlin and I truly appreciated the instructors and friends at A&M (SAU). Me and my most memorable experiences were knowing how Mrs. Irene Nelson and Mrs. Bursey helped me. Now, I am remembering the fun part of being a student at SAU. The three other roommates were always keeping something alive. One of my most memorable experiences was riding the school mascot, “Opti-Maggie” being featured in the news (local) paper. “Co-ed rider rides mule.” Needless to say, my dad wasn’t too pleased.

I didn’t have a picture from an annual. I think one of the grand children borrowed it. No use to look now.

I compliment you on your dedication and progress in seeing we need schools like A&M – now SAU.

Bless you!!
Lessie Harrell Cross
Birthday 7/13/1910 (102 years old)


Cleo House was solid as a rock. He played fullback for SAU in 1971, was an ominous figure on the line and mowed down more defense than a John Deere. He was an indomitable… except around deep water. The physical education major couldn’t swim, but had to take Water Safety Instruction (WSI) for his degree.

My friends, Scott Hardin, Sharon Ross and I were taking WSI in order to become lifeguards for summer employment. Katie Marshall (Nurse Ratched) was teaching the course. On those frosty January mornings when she told us to get in the water and “tread” until she said “stop,” that word usually felt like it came three days later. And when we were all gasping for air and going under for the third time, she’d say, “Okay, now, stick your arms up over your head and just use your legs for 30 more minutes!”

One morning, just as she was calling roll and walking the length of the pool, she bumped into Cleo. It sent him into the deep end of the pool where he promptly sank to the bottom and stood there waving his arms.

Marshall looked at me and said, “Go get him.”

I said, “Are you nuts? I’m not going down there!”

“He’s going to drown,” she said.

Fewer bubbles were surfacing. Scott, Sharon, two others and I all dove into the water. Reminiscent of a fighting scene from “Sea Hunt,” we grabbed his feet, legs, arms and hands and struggled to the surface with what felt like a 500-pound weight. It wasn’t pretty. We were all covered in scratches, Katie was laughing and Cleo dressed and went straight to Magnolia Ready-Mix for a special pair of cement shoes for an unnamed instructor.

He went on to play for the Miami Dolphins. What irony!

Ken Stonecipher

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