By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer
After some initial hesitation about moving to Causey, Maureen Kennedy felt at home in the small town in southeastern Roosevelt County.
Now nearing the century mark, the 97-year-old former school teacher has not missed a single Causey/Lingo reunion since the event began in 1989.
“I’m just sticking out here like a sore thumb. So many people my age are gone,” said Kennedy as a stream of former students greeted and hugged her Saturday during the Causey/Lingo reunion luncheon at the Campus Union Building at Eastern New Mexico University. The two-day event began on Friday with a gathering at the Causey Community Center.
Although Kennedy has lost most of her eyesight, she recognizes former students by their names and voices. “That was one of my third-graders,” Kennedy said as Teresa Nance came to greet her.
Kennedy lives in Portales now, but said she intends to be buried near her parents at the Causey Cemetery.
Kennedy drove a school bus in Causey for 20 years and retired at age 62, when the Causey school closed. “When I started teaching, I had 31 students, and in 1972, when Causey consolidated with other schools, we only had 12 students.”
With a population of about 50, the village of Causey is nearing ghost-town status.
Gene Brown, Wayne Rogers and Curtis McGaha shared laughs as they related how the original, one-room Causey schoolhouse was moved around at night because of a dispute over where the school should be located.
“Some ranchers wanted a more central location for the school house, so at night they moved it to another spot,” Brown said.
“Then the next day they would have to move the school back,” McGaha laughed.
Meanwhile, Jim Slone wanted to know what happened to one of the school’s trophies.
“That’s the most valuable thing, the trophy we won in the county basketball tournament when we beat Floyd in overtime during the 1951-52 school year,” Slone said.
According to Slone, there were six teams who competed in the tournament that year and Causey beat Floyd 52-21.
“We had no dressing rooms for the athletes,” Slone said, “So we suited out in the school library. We did have indoor plumbing though, and we also had a lot of fun.”
Slone, who retired from a career in broadcasting and lives in Arizona, described himself as a Roosevelt County boy, but mainly, “A Causey boy at heart.”
Merrick, who still lives in Causey, said about 200 people were expected to attend the Causey/Lingo Reunion this year.