Former schoolteacher, grocer remembered for kindness

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Mt. Olivet News

Last week was the anniversary of a very monumental week for all of us. I’m sure, just like 9/11, we all remember where we were when the Governor announced the Shelter in Place order.

I really did not know what it meant at the time, but I sure learned fast, just like a lot of Panola County residents.

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The record snow and ice storm that we experienced two weeks ago was beautiful, but scary. Thanks to the TVEPA workers who kept our power going, and thanks to Don Phelps, Jr., for making sure that all of us in the Mt. Olivet community had water.

When I called him to say thank you, I told him I was also going to say “thank you” in my newspaper column. He said, “I will take that because we don’t get too many compliments.”

It was exactly one year ago that I flooded my house. It was during the time that everyone was hoarding paper towels. I consider it a blessing now that my children gutted my house and started over.

I am enjoying new floors, cabinets, and fresh paint. What started out as a disaster turned out to be a wonderful blessing.

More and more people are slowly getting back to church at Mt. Olivet. I hope a sparse crowd is not the new normal for churches.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Paulette Norman called with a list of wonderful candidates, the first of whom was Mrs. Sadie Anderson.

She taught bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand at Batesville High School for many years. I was a member of her class in the 11th and 12th grades (1954-55). She had jet black hair and the most vibrant blue eyes.

She taught with such joy that it made students want to learn. She didn’t mind answering the same questions over and over, and when we finally “got it” those eyes would twinkle and a big smile would come over her face.

Mrs. Sadie and her husband Mal operated a grocery store on the Square and she went there after school. Having no children, they seemingly adopted each child that entered their store.

Mr. Mal was known to slip suckers to little children while their mothers shopped.

Mrs. Pauline recalls that after Mr. Mal suffered debilitating health and was confined to a wheelchair that Mrs. Sadie had him dressed with a suit and tie and they attended First Methodist Church regularly.

Their lovely antebellum home was in the neighborhood of all the beautiful homes built by Andrew Johnson (affectionately known locally as The Swede). No doubt the Anderson family home was also built by him.

Ponder this: Our former greeting of  “How are you?” has been replaced with “Have you had your shot yet?”

I’m waiting to hear from you about local women that you think should be honored this month. Text or call anytime at 901-828-8824.