Echoes from the Past -- Teaching Her Fingers
Friday, March 28, 2014 11:15 AM
Billie McGuire was born in Purdon, in 1934. Purdon is a little unincorporated town in Navarro County 14 miles southwest of Corsicana. Her parents were Lois and Clarence Lee Davis.
(Sentinel Photo/Leo Copeland)
She was Laboratory Manager of Memorial Hospital in Seminole for 11 years. "Until my eyes died on me," She said. Referring to the fact she is afflicted with macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. She now has only 25% of her vision and is legally blind.
Her favorite thing to do is crocheting, she makes afghans. When she knew she was losing her eyesight, she planned ahead. She began crocheting with her eyes covered with a blindfold. She said "I was teaching my fingers to do the work after I got to where I couldn't see". Evidently this plan worked. She has done 14 afghans so far and has a backlog of orders for more.
Billie is a member of a National Society for Helping People Who Have no Family. She makes two sizes of afghans, small ones for covering laps, and regular sized ones for bed covers. The small ones she donates free of charge, but she charges for the larger ones. She said "I can still enjoy my work and do some good at the same time."
Billie's mother was a registered nurse, and her dad worked in the oilfield for years. The family moved to Hobbs, New Mexico where Billie attended school, and graduated in 1953.
While in high school she participated in just about all the sports offered. She played basketball, tennis, bowling and swimming, and lettered in all of them. She continued to enjoy sports until she lost her eyesight. She says she doesn't enjoy sports anymore, "because I can't participate."
After graduating from high school, Billie attended college at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, and then she went to Ranger Junior College.
Receiving a degree in Medical Technology. She is a Registered Medical Technologist in the American Society of Clinical Pathology, (MTASCP).
In 1959 she had married Herbert Cheek, and they lived in Abilene. Herbert was a carpenter. The marriage ended in divorce. They had one son, James Cheek, who now lives in Seminole.
James is a veteran of the US Navy, having served on the battleship, USS Missouri, during Desert Storm. He is an electronic technician but after moving to Seminole from Houston he couldn't find work in this field so he is currently working at Walmart.
Billie moved back to Hobbs, N.M. While living there, she met Bill McGuire and they were married in Carlsbad, N.M. in 1965. Bill is described as a good man and an ideal husband. He came from West Virginia and he worked in the potash mines in New Mexico. After a while they moved to Springfield, Illinois where he went to work in the coal mines.
Springfield, Ill. is where Abraham Lincoln lived for 24 years and got his political start.
Billie worked in a lab in Springfield, which was a training school for Medical Technology. It was one of only 20 such training schools in the United States. She did bench testing, doing blood tests, chemical tests and body fluid tests. She was a teacher in this school.
Sadly, her husband, Bill, was fatally injured in a coal mining accident August 2, 1971 and died the same night. Billie has never remarried since this happened.
Billie moved to Seminole in 1983 and worked at Seminole Memorial Hospital. While working at the hospital she made many friends, one of whom was Lannie McCleskey who had also worked with Billie's mother at the hospital. Working together Billie and Lannie became close friends. They shared in each other's fun loving ways. Lannie used to call her each morning and read the newspaper comic strip, Marmaduke, to her and they would enjoy a good laugh. Billie claims she and Lannie were almost kinfolks. Lannie, who is now deceased, was an aunt of Kathy Davis, who is married to Billie's younger brother, Dave Davis. Dave is a longtime resident, and successful business man in Seminole.
Billie had four brothers; Bob, who now lives in Mt. Pleasant; Lee who is deceased; Randy, who lives in Arlington, Virginia and works in Washington DC; and Dave, who lives in Seminole and is part owner of the Davis and Ray Co.
After her mother died, Billie had to help her dad raise her two younger brothers who were young teenagers at the time. She said, "I provided their necessities."
Billie has been in the nursing home (Memorial Health Care Center) since February of last year, (2013), and enjoys living there. "It's been a lot of fun," she said. "We have a garden club, a movie club and an exercise program. We also have a lot of old ladies and old guys and we get into all kinds of stuff." She didn't explain what kind of stuff.
She says she likes Seminole and its people as well as the residents at the nursing home. "We have a lot of fun." She said Seminole has grown a lot since she first came.
Billie said her express purpose in coming to Seminole and moving into the nursing home was, "to make it my retirement home."
Billy McGuire says crocheting is her main hobby and she intends to keep on crocheting as long as she can. She has often made her own designs, and patterns has been quite creative in so doing.
She used to enjoy doing crossword puzzles and once did one which was six feet long. Of course, because of her failing eyesight, she can no longer see well enough to do them.
When asked if she likes to fish, she said, "No." Then, as an afterthought, she said, "I like to sit on the creek bank, but I don't like to fish." But she does like letting her educated fingers crochet beautiful afghans.