Frances McMurray Houser
Frances' parents were George Fate and Elaine Byers McMurray. The family included Frances and her older brother Harold. Her parents and brother are all deceased. She was born in 1934. The McMurrays lived near the roller mill that year, then later in two different houses on Railroad Street and on South Main Street.
Frances graduated from Cliffside High in 1952. Her most memorable teachers were Mrs. Hames, Mrs. Davidson, Mrs. Huss, Mrs. Green, Mrs. Horne, Miss McCardwell and Mr. Huss. Her favorite: Mrs. Padgett.
Among her school-age friends:
Barbara Gillespie, Ann Humphries, Betty Greene, Joan Jolley, Doris Condrey, Ruby Scruggs, Earl Owensby, Becky Callahan, Joan Wilson, Gigi Padgett. Faye Padgett, Henry Campbell, Bobby Harris, Riley Callahan, Shirley Ruppe and Shirley Humphries.
Work, work, work:
After graduation Frances worked in the Cone Mills office, shipping and finishing departments, at the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Finance Trust (El Paso, Tx), Shelby Plastics and at PPG Industries where she spent 30 years.
The most colorful characters in her family must have been her grandparents.
- “My Grandpa Pink McMurray always drank. Once he had a wreck in his Model A and Grandma sent for Daddy. When Daddy got there [to Grandma's house] he asked where Grandpa was. She had locked him in the closet and didn’t even know if he was hurt.”
- “Grandma was cleaning off a dresser and unknowingly emptied some 22 bullets into the laundry heater. Those lids were really popping. She was always doing something funny things. One day she was swatting at one of the kids with a broom and hit the light hanging down from the ceiling and the bulb popped.”
- “One night at her house on Church Street someone was trying to break into the meat house under the floor, and I discovered Grandma standing out on the porch, shooting Grandpa’s pistol. It’s a wonder she hadn’t hit someone.”
- “Grandma caught Harold, Marie, Rosemary and me smoking one day. She threatened to tell Grandpa on us. Harold talked her into taking a puff, then he told her she couldn’t tell on us.”
- “I can’t remember who the teacher was but she heard Rosemary and me talking about “GP.” The teacher said we were being disrespectful. Rosemary thought fast and said she didn’t see why that stood for Grandpa.”
“When I was in the lower grammar grades, I got sick at school and was walking down Main Street toward home. A car pulled over and stopped. I don’t remember who the man driving the car was but Mr. Rob Sparks was with him. He asked me if I wanted a ride downtown. I let them know right off, “No.” At the time Mr. Sparks usually cut my bangs. The next time Mama took me to get my bangs cut, Mr. Sparks told her she didn’t have to worry about me getting in the car with a stranger, that I didn’t get in the car with anyone. Mama had taught me well.”
Special things about her life in Cliffside:
“The fact that I knew everyone and they knew me, close walking distance to town and everything. The fact that I could just walk across town to Grandma’s which I did 3 or 4 times a day.”
What she misses:
“The closeness of the people. All the many advantages that we had growing up there; knowing everybody.”
Frances, whose husband Buddy Ray Houser also worked at PPG, from 1962 until his death in 1990, lives in Lattimore, N.C.