Charles Guidry was 7 years old when he moved with his parents to Monroe City, Texas in 1942. One month after he was born, in 1935, the first Chambers County well, Archie Middleton No. 1, came in and 5 months later they hit pay dirt on Monroe White’s land. Charles’ dad, Noah Guidry of Hardin, Texas, was quick to recognize the window of opportunity this oil boom created in Monroe City and promptly relocated his family there. His family consisted of his wife, Ernestine Spivey Guidry and sons Charles Curtis, Arthur Winston born 1937, Lyn Ray born 1940, and Sherrill Francis born 1941, just 2 months before their move. Noah began as a roustabout in the oil field of Humble Oil and Refining Company and eventually became a lease pumper. He worked hard, and his family was eventually the proud residents of a coveted company house in Monroe City reserved only for “key personnel.”
Charles recalls that growing up in Monroe City was the best life a kid could ever ask for. It was like living with one big family. They considered all the kids in town their brothers and sisters. In fact, Charles said he and the guys looked forward to going to Anahuac to see the girls at the drug store. There was just no way they could think about the girls in Monroe City that way, it would be like pining after your own sister!
There was no need in those days to go anywhere for necessities, Monroe City had everything you needed. It was quite a self-sufficient little town with grocery store, restaurant, gas station, barbershop, and whatever else you had need of.
Charles especially was fond of all the rice fields and the ducks and geese they attracted for hunting. He said his dad had an old Model A Ford and the kids would pile up in it and head for the canal to go swimming. “Yes,” Charles said, “Monroe City was a great place to grow up and we were proud to tell folks, “We didn’t grow up in Anahuac, we’re from Monroe City!””
Charles and the rest of the kids of Monroe City did go to school in Anahuac, as a school is one thing Monroe City did not have. He graduated from Anahuac High School in May of 1953 and he and 9 other graduates, 7 from his class, enlisted in the military. Two stayed together serving side by side in the Army, that was Charles and his good buddy, George Brown. They served 2 years from 1954-56 in the same squad stationed at Ulm, Germany. Charles says he does not consider himself a vet, even though he proudly served in the military and would gladly do it again. He considers a true vet to be one who serves in time of war. His years of service just happened to fall between the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. He has the utmost respect for those who have suffered much on the battlefront.
After Charles and George returned from service George took Charles to Wilcox Drug Store in Anahuac and introduced him to Annette Niemeier from Hankamer. Charles and Annette hit it off pretty well and he asked her out on a casual date taking her to Beaumont for a coke just to have something to do. The next date, however, they went to the Jefferson Theater in Beaumont. When the movie was over, and they exited the theater it was pouring down rain and they made a dash for the car getting soaked in the process. Annette slipped and fell tearing her hose, Charles said he thought to himself, “This is not going to look good to her dad when I take her home.”
That was the last date Charles had with Annette during those memorable Monroe City days, for the changing times of the day forced a shift in his life’s direction. In 1957, the process was begun of dismantling the Humble Camp, as the Humble Oil Company decided it was no longer cost effective to continue their operation. The once thriving town of Monroe City was slowly reduced to a shadow of its former glory as they began the process of moving the company homes to Anahuac. Charles’ dad was going to have his house moved to town as well but was transferred to Cedar Point before he could accomplish the task.
Even though Charles left Monroe City, Monroe City never left him as he held the fond memories of his hometown securely and safely in his heart. And concerning his heart…check back in February for the rest of the story!!