On 01/07/2020, Richard Allison spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club and talked about his life as part of the club's "I'm a Rotarian and so much more" series. Pictured above is Magnolia Rotary Club Member Richard Allison.
Richard started by telling everyone that he will be 81 this Saturday and that he has always loved to learn new things. As of result of that love, he tends to watch TV shows about science and nature as well as "How to" shows.
Richard told everyone that he and his brother were born in Dallas, Texas and that he always lived in the city until moving to Magnolia. His mother's side of the family were well educated and professional people while his dad's side of the family were builders. Some of the events in his life are listed below:
  • He studied music but was never good enough to become a musician.
  • He was an apprentice in the Plaster's Union within the AFL CIO.
  • He has memories of World War II and said his dad tried to enlist but was turned down. However, his dad did become the local Air Raid Warden whose job it was to make sure everyone turned out their lights during a "Blackout" event.
  • He remembers "Ration Books" which had coupons in them for items that were being rationed during the war. Everyone was only allowed to have a specific amount of these items.
  • He remembers have to conserve and recycle just about everything. In addition, his family (like many others) raised chickens to provide meat which was scarce.
  • He remembers the first football game he played in at age 6 where he ended up at the bottom of a pile and had his collar bone broke.
  • He remembers that pregnant mother's would spend 1-2 weeks in a hospital when their babies were born. Also, a special lavender vehicle was used to bring the mother's and their babies home when the left the hospitals.
  • He remembers that doctors actually made house calls and would even get up in bed with patients to take their vital signs.
  • He remembers that everyone wrote letters to communicate with people who were not close.
  • He remembers that he went to Woodrow Wilson High School where all the male students were required to be in the Junior ROTC. As a member of the ROTC, boys were issued uniforms and had to wear them to school. His parents liked this because they did not have to buy him school clothes. Richard said he did not like being in the ROTC because they were always polishing something.
  • He remembers that at age 17 he went off to college and that he loved everything about college including the $65 fee per semester regardless of the number of classes anyone took. As a result, Richard took so many classes that his parents finally told him that he had to quite college and get a real job.
  • He remembers graduating college at the age of 21 which allowed him to both vote and buy alcohol beverages. His Pole Tax fee was $3.00 per year.
  • He remembers having to join the military (a requirement then) and spent 8 years in the military which, like ROTC, he hated.
  • He remembers his first job was with the Texas Department of Agriculture where he attended "Egg School".
  • Richard later became a college professor at Texas A&M University where he taught environmental management.