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Honoring two Bandera moms

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

(Editor’s note: For a special salute to Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, turn to page 5A.)

Patsy Gillespie
Born Sept. 6, 1926, in Cleburne, Patsy Gillespie graduated from Cleburne High School in 1944. One of her dearest high school friends was Dorthey Hevenor Hooker, a Bandera resident for many years.
After moving to Bandera in 2000, Patsy’s daughter, Vicki, lived with Dorthey for 18 months – sort of returning a favor.
When Dorthey’s mother and stepfather moved to El Paso during her senior year, Dorthey stayed in Cleburne with her elderly grandmother to finish school. However, Dorthey spent most of the year with her best friend, Patsy, and her family. Patsy’s mother even made Dorthey’s graduation dress.
The girls remained close friends for over 60 years until Dorthey’s death several years ago.
Daughter Vicki of the Almost Patsy Cline Band inherited her mother’s musical talent. “My mother sang all her life – in church, women’s choral groups and Sweet Adelines. She even toured Europe with the Alta Mesa Church of Christ Chorale,” Vicki said. “My daddy taught me to dance and my mother taught me to sing.”
Bonnie D’Spain Skinner
Bonnie D’Spain Skinner was born Sept. 9, 1925, and graduated from Bandera High School in the 1940s.
She liked to tell a story about picking cotton in a field with Wiley D’Spain and their father, HL D’Spain. At that time, Bonnie was just 5 years old and recalled little bloody fingers from the cotton.
However, at that time, children were expected to help out – regardless of their ages – and, according to Bonnie, in the long run, it appeared to have not hurt her at all.
Additionally, many locals will remember eating Bonnie’s great cooking at The Chicken Shack. Bonnie and her husband, Sid, also ran the OST for a short time in the 50s. In the mid-60s, high school students piled into the Pack Saddle for lunch after Bonnie installed a small soda fountain.
When Sid and Bonnie ran Deanie’s Bar-B-Que, locals considered her tasty chicken and dumplings, barbecue and potato salad and jalapeno jelly to be legendary.
Happy Mother’s Day, Patsy Gillespie and Bonnie D’Spain Skinner, and thanks for sharing your memories with Courier readers.