In ancient times, those who served as the town clerk or city secretary were known as “remembrancers.”
The remembrancer of Midlothian’s history is passing on the torch as City Secretary Lou Jameson retired this week.
She will miss her family at city hall, but reminisced about all that she has experienced through her nearly 24 years of serving Midlothian.
“I’m really torn about leaving,” Jameson said. “There are people I dearly love here, and I will miss our day to day interactions. I won’t miss the politics, but I’ll miss my family.”
She said one of the greatest things she loved about starting out as the city secretary was knowing everyone in the community on a first name basis.
“The city had the resources to serve the community and it was small enough that you knew every by name. That’s what I loved about it is that you got to know so many people,” she said. “Especially the old icons in the town like Gene Page, Erdie Webb, Cloma Trotter, George Sewell, Milton Pegram, Perry Aday, Barham Alderdice and so many others. They were the founding leaders that you see their names on buildings now. I learned about Midlothian’s history first hand from them, and they were all fountains of history and knowledge.”
Though at least one person didn’t appreciate the close-knit community that Jameson was a part of.
“My kids didn’t like me being the city secretary, especially my daughter because I knew every time she got in trouble before she even got home from school. She hated it,” Jameson said. “In such a small community everyone knows everything.”
She recounted some of the greatest and funniest events in the past that Jameson witnessed.
“When I started at the city in ‘84 as a clerk, there were no traffic lights. I remember the city manager in ‘86 petitioned TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) for three traffic lights,” she said. “I remember one of the biggest public hearings we ever held was on the city deciding to prohibit chickens in the city. The headline in the Midlothian Mirror read, ‘City considers fowl ordinance.’”
She also remembers the time Police Chief Roy Vaughn chased a criminal through a creek in the woods, and in the heat of the moment when he caught him, pointed his radio at him and held his pistol to his ear to tell the other officers, “I got him!”
Of course she remembers the tragic times, such as undercover officer George Rayfield’s murder by high school students.
In those days, there were no departments within the city, so Jameson handled all of the secretary duties for every aspect of the city.
“In the early years I worked in every department, except the fire and police departments,” she said. “I really enjoyed learning a basic knowledge of all the departments, though now the city secretary’s job is more narrow.”
Jameson is confident she is leaving the city’s secretary duties in good hands as she passes the torch to Tammy Varner.
“I know that I’ll be leaving the city in good hands with Tammy. She’s been with the city for 10 years and knows the job in and out, she’ll never miss a beat,” she said.
Varner, Mary McDonald, Linda Barker, Judy Ford and Jackie Hartin all agreed they would miss Jameson’s practical jokes and antics in the workplace.
“Oh she’s a practical joker and throws out some of the best one liners,” Hartin said.
Her coworkers reminisced about some of the escapades they had back in the day, such as toilet papering the city manager’s house or Ford bruising her knees trying to steal the planning director’s “city gnome” on her birthday.
“She gave me a ‘boost’ over the ledge and I went a little too far,” Ford said. “I could’ve broken a hip.”
Barker said she would miss Jameson’s distinct laugh that would echo down the halls and brighten your day.
Jameson said now was the time for her to retire and quit missing out on all the fun her retired husband has been enjoying.
“My husband retired three years ago and he’s been having such a good time, I couldn’t let him have fun without me,” she said. “We hope to do the things everyone says – travel, garden, spend more time with the grandkids and take care of all those things you’ve put off forever and finally have the time to get done now. I’ll enjoy living on my own time frame, instead of having a work schedule.”
She also said she plans on volunteering with the reading and listening groups at J.R. Irvin Elementary School.
“I believe that is the absolute foundation of education,” she said. “If you can read, you can learn anything. I would like very much to help those students learn to read and enjoy reading.”
After 23 and a half years as city secretary, Jameson has served with 46 council members, five mayors, seven city managers, four interim city managers, seven planning directors, five police chiefs, five city engineers, five building inspectors, three human resources directors, two finance directors and one fire chief.
She will continue to be the city’s remembrancer and retell the history of the city as she passes on her position to another.
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