We Headed Back toward California and Stopped in New Mexico

by Frank McKinnon


Teacher pay was very low in Arkansas, so my father not only taught and coached but he also supervised carpenter crews that built prefabricated houses for Frank Lee Homes. In 1964, he had 3 building projects going at the same time while he was coaching basketball in a state tournament. At halftime, he received word that one of his building projects was burning. Then, during halftime of the next game, he received word that another one of his building projects was burning. It happened again at the next game. So, my father, mother, two older sisters, and I got into a station-wagon and started driving toward California. We stopped to visit my grandmother’s sister in Roswell, New Mexico for a couple of days. Then, we started driving toward California again.

We were pulled over by the police after we had gone about 3 miles west of Roswell. The police escorted us back to town and to the school district administration building where they handed my father a contract to sign for teaching physical education and coaching football (offensive coordinator) at Roswell High School. The following school year, they fired the head football coach and offered my father that job.

There is a saying about head football coaches at high school, university, and professional football levels: “There are two kinds of football coaches: those that have been fired, and those that are going to be fired.” With that in mind, instead of taking the head football coaching job at the high school, my father found a job at a junior high school where he taught physical education and coached football, basketball, and track & field. He started running his traveling summer camp, again, in 1966. He, also, took students on trips during mid-year and Spring breaks.


Guitar Picks Made by Frank McKinnon Manufacturing 7 (FMM7).