Martha McHaney, 1947-2012
Today was perfectly beautiful but it was a day to sit and stare at the walls and think about the fragility of life. We lost a friend on Friday, and emotions are all over the place – joyful memories of playing in the “ditch” and twilight hide and seek, and regrets that she moved to Texas and we lost touch for a couple of decades.
Martha is seated at left. I believe this was taken at her 62nd birthday party.
Martha McHaney of Houston, Texas, died yesterday when her truck crashed into a tanker parked on the side of U. S. 69 outside Houston. It could have happened to anyone, anytime. The class of ‘65 from WPHS has been burning up the airwaves remembering her and grieving her death.
The girls of the Class of ’65 had just talked to her and planned to meet in New Orleans to celebrate our 65th birthdays. Hers was only days ago on July 18.
I began most days at her house from the time I was six – especially in the summertime. Being an only child, I loved playing with Martha, and her sister Barbara. Our favorite thing was to make “snuff” and sit in the ditch tucking it in our cheeks and letting the juice run down our chins. (Our “Snuff” was a mixture of sugar and cocoa.) We also played “communion” stealing grape juice from our homes, and crunching up saltines – all consumed in the “ditch.”
Every Christmas morning as soon as we opened our gifts, we would get our new dolls together and play for hours – always ending up in the “ditch.” She had a phobia about spiders and I found a fake one, and taunted her endlessly.
I wish I had told her how much I admired her courage to do anything she set her mind to, including moving to Houston, Texas and becoming a contractor, building houses and driving a back hoe. Golly Pete, none of us would have had the spunk.
She led an amazing life. She graduated from Mississippi University for Women, got her Masters and ultimately moved to Germany where she worked for the U. S. Department of Defense.
An officer friend from her German days remembers repelling with Martha in the 70s when we still thought repelling had something to do with bugs. He noted that she was fearless, laughing all the way up and down the cliff in spite of turning upside down.
She recently grew her hair really really long so she could donate it to Locks of Love for cancer patients who had lost their own. She loved animals and people who needed help.
Martha McHaney, we are going to miss you, but you will live on in our memories. Farewell, old friend. I’m confident we will see you again. When you run into Mother Theresa, please ask her to pray for the rest of us still stuck here on Earth.