Published 2:38 am Friday, September 16, 2016


Grimes: ‘AHS is just home’

When Mary Frances Burke Grimes was a student at Andalusia High School, no one had cars, and there was no bus transportation to school.

0916-grimes-mug“We walked, or our parents took us,” Mrs. Grimes said.

That was 70 years ago, and she’s among the alumni being recognized in today’s homecoming events. Thursday, she was sporting a Class of ’47 T-shirt from the one reunion her classmates have had.

“It’s just home,” she said of her alma mater.

Andalusia is home to much of her family. Also among the graduates in the classes recognized in today’s events were her oldest daughter, Mary Beth Grimes Dukes (1967); and three grandsons who were also classmates – Jay Henderson, Hunter Grimes, and Trey Grimes (1997).

All told, she’s had six children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild who have been a part of AHS, and currently has five great-grandchildren who are students in the system.

As a student, Mrs. Grimes was a member of the Junior Honor Society, Senior Honor Society, and was an SGA representative her freshman year. Math was her favorite class. She loved literature because she liked to read, but she said she hated writing essays and other papers.

Later, her writing skills would come in handy as a young bride when she helped her husband with assignments at Auburn University. College was not something she considered, she said, “Because I met Harold.”

When he returned from military service, the two married and moved to Auburn, where he studied pharmacy and she worked in the bakery.

“And we started having babies,” the mother of six said.

After Auburn, the family lived in Montgomery, where her husband worked as a pharmacist at Jackson Hospital. They returned to Andalusia in the 1960s, and her husband joined O’Neal Drug Co.

Mrs. Grimes said that when each of their children married, her husband told them, “Now go forth and multiply.”

“And they did,” she said.

The couple retired to Panama City in 1986, and enjoyed four years of retirement before he died of cancer. Now, she’s considering moving home again. But don’t think for a moment she’s not independent: She drove herself to Andalusia for this weekend’s festivities.

Mrs. Grimes said her youngest great-grandchildren, William and Jackson Grimes, the children of Hunter and Ginny Grimes, plan to ride with her in a jeep decorated in her honor in today’s homecoming parade.

“My kids love Andalusia High School,” she said. “My grandchildren do, too.”