Leaving the Homeplace

The first time I left home I was just 14 years old and facing my freshman year in high school. That memorable day, I boarded a Greyhound bus at the terminal in my small hometown at the spur of Highway 61 and Scott Street.  And no, I had not had a fight with my parents. And no, I had not sneaked out of a window, and no, I was not running away from home.

Rather, my “cradle Catholic” parents had decided to give their daughters a better education by sending them to a Catholic boarding school in Kansas City, Missouri. We had all received an excellent grammar school education at the local Catholic school, and my mother and father wanted the best for us. So, after helping us pack our mandatory uniforms and a few personal items, our parents drove my sister Harriet, who was almost 16, and me to the bus station where we purchased tickets for the trip.  Back in those segregated times, there were separate waiting rooms, one designated “Colored,” and the other said “White.” This was several decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places.

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Mary Sue Anton

Mary Sue Shy Anton was born on a dairy farm near the Mississippi River during the Great Depression. One of her most vivid childhood memories is the 1937 flood, when her family evacuated in the middle of the night and lived in the local courthouse for several weeks.

At age 25, after leaving the homeplace to seek her fortune elsewhere, she met Arthur David Anton, recently discharged from the Air Force. After their marriage, she put her husband through school, working as a secretary with a secret clearance at an Air Force base.  With two small children, they settled in southeast Missouri until her husband pursued his dream of becoming a physician. The author returned to work, and Art received his M.D. degree from the University of Missouri, but not before their third child was born. In 1969, the family moved to Texas for Art’s medical practice.


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