‘Best retirement job in the world’

By TIM GETER,

Born on January 5, 1945 Pat Tadlock then Pat Thomson was the great granddaughter of P.F. Thomson the first man in Morton to sell the Ford automobile.

Tadlock always had a talent for dancing. As a child she would find a stick and use that stick to illustrate a baton. She would watch the older girls in the band and do what they would do. She would always focus on the girl that she thought was doing the best as a majorette.

As she grew up and became a ninth grader at Morton Attendance Center; she joined the band. “In those days in order to be in the band, you had to learn how to play music,” Tadlock said. “So, I decided to play the clarinet.” While she was participating in the band her band director Barnett Jones wanted her, as a majorette, to initiate a new dance routine.

This is where Tadlock’s teaching of dance started. “I was very young at the age of 15 when I started teaching — not at a professional level that is — but that was to come,” Tadlock said. She wanted to finish high school in three years, “because I wanted to get married,” she said. So, she started taking extra classes to obtain the credits to graduate. “I lacked one-and-half credits so the following summer I took extra classes that would allow me to graduate early.”

The following year, after obtaining her diploma, she entered East Central Junior College. She said that the first year she attended the junior college, she stayed in a dormitory. “I didn’t like that at all so I went back home,” she said. Tadlock went on to say that in those days ECJC had a bus that would transport students to the school. After returning home she decided that she wanted to go ahead and get married to the man that, “I courted for a long time,” she said.

She got engaged to Roger Tadlock in December of 1962. “During our engagement, I went ahead and finished that year at ECJC.” Tadlock said. The following June, Roger and Pat got married. Three years later, they had two children Dale Tadlock and Andy Tadlock.

As time continued to pass by, Tadlock started to do the one thing she had always enjoyed doing and that is teaching dance lessons. She started to teach students at her home at first and then she soon was teaching multiple students at the local schools.

“I became a professional teacher in 1968,” Tadlock said. “I started going to different schools and teaching students after school how to dance.” Tadlock also said that she taught one day at Morton, one day at the Cascade building in Forest, one day at Lake, and at Scott Central for a couple of hours during school and after school.

In 1973, Tadlock was one of two judges from the United States to be chosen to judge the World Twirling Olympics in Costa Des Sol, Spain. Also, during this year she was selected to head the dancing camp summer session for Texas A&M in Bryan TX, and she also taught at the McComb summer camp that was held at Percy Quinn State Park.

Tadlock was the “secret weapon” as she said, “for one school.” A school that won many state championships — Lake High School. “I was asked by Coach Granville Freeman to teach his players the basics of ballet,” Tadlock said. By doing this Tadlock said that this allowed the players to have better since of balance. “I went the first day to Lake and met with the coach,” she said. “Freeman walked over to me with a paddle in his hand and asked those boys to line up against the rail,” Tadlock said. “As they got into the positions that I asked them to get in; the Coach would make sure that they were doing it right by taking his paddle and nudging them into the correct posture.” Tadlock then said that she had those boys do all eight basic ballet positions in one session. “If you understand ballet then you will know that it is very tough to do all of those positions,” Tadlock said.

The following day Freeman walked up to her when she arrived at the gym and said that if she could, to take it easier on them. “He told me that they had a track meet the day before and they were extremely sore,” she said.

Tadlock continued to teach the football players ballet techniques throughout that year’s spring training. “I remember going to a football game that following year and seeing those boys jump and make moves that not many can do. It was really hard for the other team to keep up with them.”

After being sick and being involved in an accident she had to end her career as a ballet instructor. “However, God had a different plan for me,” Tadlock said. In 1974, she started her new career in the newspaper business. “I started working for the Morton Home Maker,” Tadlock said. Three months later she found herself owning the newspaper. She discovered over time that the small-town newspaper business was a very busy lifestyle.

Pat and Roger Tadlock have been married for 54 years. Both of them extend their time to volunteer work. Roger drives a school bus for Morton; while she rides along as a mentor giving students with disabilities an opportunity to get the care they need while getting to school. Tadlock also is involved in the local church. “I volunteer for the church publication committee at the First Baptist Church of Morton,” Tadlock said. “I take pictures and videos from the church balcony.” Tadlock concluded, “on one Monday morning soon after I started volunteering; I went in for work and told them that they didn’t have to ever worry about paying me. Because I am working for God and that he has the best retirement program of this world.”