The beginning of Natalie Graves’ memories of Longview sounds like the start of a novel.
“I married a young man from here, 60-70 years ago, and I was not born here,” Graves says into the recording smartphone. “I was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. My daddy was from the north, and he came down here to, I guess, follow the oil.”
Graves, 90, was among several residents of Hawkins Creek Assisted Living Center who shared stories recently of growing up in Longview. The ongoing project to document such memories is part of the the celebration of the city’s sesquicentennial.
The audio recordings will be archived in their entirety at the Longview Public Library next year when the city celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding.
Library staff has set a goal of recording 150 people who were born, raised in or lived part of their lives in Longview, said Acquisitions Librarian Josh Cade and Inter-library Loan Librarian Leah Shreves. Portions of the recordings will be edited into a podcast.
“The podcast version will be edited down to 7 minutes in length if it goes over,” Cade said.
Graves, a retired teacher of more than 40 years, has lived in Longview since she was 3. Her late husband, Wendell Graves, was a head football and baseball coach at Longview High School for many years.
“She is a pistol,” Shelly Brown with Hawkins Creek said of Graves. “She’s funny. She has a great sense of humor.”
Ninety-one-year-old Betty Cabbiness, another retired Longview educator, talked about moving to Longview at age 5 and wanting to attend first grade at Judson School because of a teacher there named Mozelle Johnston.
Johnston has passed away, but a Longview ISD school in the Judson area bears her name.
Anyone wishing to submit a recording is asked to either stop by the Longview Public Library or call (903) 237-1346. All entries must be accompanied by a signed interview release. The form is available online.
Visit longviewtexas.gov/3599/Longview-150-Stories for more information on the project, which is called Longview 150 Stories. The podcast will be available online throughout the city’s sesquicentennial in 2020.