People Of The Plains: When The Student Becomes The Teacher

Aug 31, 2017

A drawing of Alton Tomlin.
Credit Frankie Vallejo

I interviewed my grandmother Joan Tomlin about Alton Tomlin, my late grandfather. Alton was the most peaceful and loving person I have ever met. Not only could he make any person laugh but he took his time to give everyone attention. I think that is one of the reasons he was so loved.

The reason that he was the person I wanted to do my performance piece over is because once I found out that the performance was educationally based, he popped into my head. I thought of how much I learned from him and also, how much he loved to learn from others.

I was fortunate enough to sort of follow where my grandpa was living in his later years because while I was at school in San Marcos, Texas he was living in Leander, Texas, which is only about an hour and a half drive away. So I was able to spend good quality time before his sicknesses really started taking over.

Then he began getting really sick and they moved to Hereford and coincidently, I was moving back to Hereford, as well, because I was about to have a baby and wanted to be near family.

As long as I knew my grandpa, I can say that I have never met a person who impacted all of the people around him like he did. Not only that, but the way that he cared and loved my grandma was something that I could really look up to.

Hearing his story about coming from a single parent family to where he would end up and his journey along the way was inspiring and I also think that it was a good way to remember him and his life.

Frankie Vallejo, junior at West Texas A&M University.
Credit Courtesy

My name is Frankie Vallejo. I am from Hereford, Texas and I am a junior at West Texas A&M, where I transferred after attending Texas State University for two years.

I am majoring in English. I am engaged to be married and I have a daughter named Blair, who turned one in March.

I enjoy music, books, food and comedy. If I could do one thing in life, it would be to create Texas country music.