Mattie Dellinger easily meets the first criteria for official town historian. She's a native of Center. "my family moved here in 1887 and they took part in the town. We've always lived in the city limits, " recalled Mattie.
Second, Mattie must 'get it' by understanding the people who live here, so said Shelby County Historic Association chair, Walter Bounds. " Mattie has been observing life in Center for a long time and she was not watching from the sidelines. She operated a business, raised a family, worked in newspaper and radio. She knew the folks in high and low stations of life and applied intellect, insight and wit to her endeavors."
Mattie easily earned the third criteria for official historian. She's already thought of as the unofficial town historian. She knows who, what, when, where and how of most every news event in Shelby County. " I was a stringer for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Post, Beaumont Enterprise, Shreveport Times and Associated Press and then for two television stations, and I think I covered for Channel 9, " shared Mattie.
The fourth criteria for official historian is a permanent record of their legacy stories. To find that open The Light and Champion, the local newspaper. On Tuesday's you'll find Mattie's Party Line, a weekly column she's been writing for over 40 years. Mattie said, " I just love writing. In my newspaper I did a little bit of everything. News reporters from small towns have to do it all and I've enjoyed it. I've covered a lot of good stories. "
At 96, Mattie likes to mow her own lawn, play the slot machines and keep people laughing. About being short of breath. " I guess its from heavy smoking and drinking, " a quip that is far from the truth. There's also her very gracious side. A bit on the speechless side Mattie said, " I don't expect you all to...I'm just doing what I want to do. " Which is looking for story ideas and writing about them. She left with a quite a few for Mattie knows she is suddenly fulfilling an official duty.