Friends of the Library Hosts
"An Evening With Enola Gay"
by: Bobby McDonald
The Friends of the Library hosted "An Evening With Enola Gay," on Thursday night, as they highlighted her being interviewed by Terry Mathews. Gay and Mathews were introduced by Trice Lawrence and local author, Jim Ainsworth, read a short biography of Gay, before the interview. Friends of Enola Gay, Lou Ann and Johnny Petty, entertained the group with two songs, including Lou Ann's "Soldier's Wife," that has been nominated for the Texas Music Association's Song of the Year.
Friends Lou Ann and Johnny Petty entertain those at Thursday night's event.
Jim Ainsworth read a short biography of Enola Gay Mathews.
At Mathews' prompting, Enola Gay Mathews began telling the audience about her life in a variety of situations. She revealed that she was born in Odessa, Texas, and would shortly be celebrating her 60th birthday. "But, life just keeps getting better and better!" expressed Gay.
Raised in Longview, Texas, when her family moved to the city to take their children away from the polio pandemic, shortly after her birth, Enola Gay grew up with her father owning and managing a number of restaurants, where she said she learned the art of "putting the customer first," that has served her well, throughout life. Married at the early age of 16, Enola Gay soon found herself in Hawaii by the age of 18, as a military wife. There she had a job as a nanny for children.
And, the "nanny" job equipped her for her role as a mother to five children of her own. Enola and her family moved back to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and her husband worked for Texas Instruments, but had a "deep desire" to "live off the land," in a survivalist setting. That's when the family moved to a remote piece of land in the mountains of Southern Oklahoma and spent two years without electricity, running water, and grew their own food. "I learned that hopefully I won't have to experience those kind of days again, but that I'm prepared for almost anything!" exclaimed Enola, as she described her two year stay in the wilderness. "We grew our own food and learned that there are some things in life that you don't necessarily have to have to live!"
The family then moved to Pittsburg, Texas, and then landed in Sulphur Springs, where Enola gained her first radio experience, working in sales and production at Mel Price's KDXE station. She moved on there to work for a radio station in Paris, Texas, but soon wanted to work back in Sulphur Springs. "I went to KSST Manager/Owner on three occasions, before I landed the job," expressed Enola. "And, I think him being an old army pilot and my name being one associated with flying, might have had a bearing on him giving me a chance on live radio!"
Enola then elaborated on her experiences in radio for the past 23 years at KSST. She told of her first day on the job, some more memorable people that she's interviewed, and some of the funny and unique things she's experienced "on the air."
Suffering from laryngitis, Enola had planned on singing four songs, but chose to only sing one, as she ended Thursday night's program. She was accompanied on the guitar by Kurt Bitner.
A reception followed and Trice Lawrence announced that the interviews with local people had become popular and that the Friends of the Library hoped to host more of them in the future!