Longtime Lucas Resident Reflects on Yesteryear
Suzanne Christian Calton has lived in Lucas for over seventy years (minus a few months when she and her husband David Calton moved to Dallas while Suzanne attended business school). With the hindsight that living in one city for seventy years can give you, Suzanne said, “Back in the day, I would have loved to have seen all the growth that is happening in Lucas now. But now that I’m older, I wish for the quieter times; the times where everyone knew everyone’s kids. When you could walk outside and hear the tractors on everyone’s farms.” When she was growing up in Lucas, the population was approximately 300 people.
The Christian family has lived in Lucas since 1872. Their original home was at Christian Lane and Lakeview. Suzanne’s great grandfather came to Lucas from North Carolina because of the land opportunities. He worked for other people in order to purchase a home and barn. Her father, Wallace Christian, was born and raised in Lucas. He raised cattle, was a farmer and eventually was in real estate. When Wallace was preparing to leave for college, his father was killed in an automobile accident. Wallace’s mother moved to McKinney and Wallace stayed to tend to the farm. Wallace married Gloria Braswell in 1945; they bought the family house and farm. Suzanne was born in 1946.
The family homestead consisted of 320 acres. Wallace ran 50 cows, planted cotton, wheat and hay meadows.
Some of Suzanne’s earliest memories of life in Lucas are going to school at Lucas School. She fondly recalls her teacher, Miss Dee (Delia Petway) teaching grades first through sixth grade. There was a row of seats for each grade. As a child, Suzanne was ill quite often. She remembers her best friend, Shirley Biggs sitting at a table with her putting cold rags on her head. (Shirley Biggs Parker would later become Suzanne’s cousin-in-law.) Miss Dee would reward students for having clean nails and ears by giving them twenty-five cents. Recipients of this treasure could choose a classmate to take with them to N.G. Strain Grocery Store where they would purchase a drink and penny candy. With great clarity she remembers Jessie Gunter making hot meals every school day for each student. Jessie lived near Patsy’s Hair Fashion. The meals cost a dollar a week. Like it was yesterday, Suzanne rolls off a list of mouth-watering desserts that were served– homemade banana pudding, blonde brownies and cookies. Suzanne said, “If I could go back to one day in my life, I’d go back to Lucas School with all the kids, Miss Dee and Miss Jessie.” Her father had also attended this school. During his era, the baseball team, which her father was a member, was very good and won many trophies.
She remembers being thrilled when they put up light poles in Lucas in the early 50s. She fondly remembers riding horses all over Lucas with her friends in the early 60s. Her favorite horse was a Palomino named Sun Dance. They went to “town” on Saturdays. McKinney was considered “town”. They’d visit her grandmother and go to the grocery store. On Sundays, they went to church at Lucas Baptist Church. Suzanne played piano and organ for the church for over 40 years.
Suzanne and David married in Lucas in 1964. They raised their two children Bryan and Deidra in Lucas. In 1970, David and Wallace built Lucas Food Mart. They lived at 940 Winningkoff Rd. for 35 years. They moved to their current home in Lucas in 2009.