By Donna Hunt

Those little grocery stores that catered to school children in years past were the subject of a couple of columns last fall and brought back memories for a lot of former students who patronized them.

Nondas Baxley, a graduate of Denison High School, has an unusual connection to the little grocery store near Lamar Elementary School when she was a student there in the early 1960s.

Nondas was born in October 1950 to Helen and Weldon Pruett. Her dad worked for the Katy Railroad and her mother worked on Main Street as a sales lady at Belkís, Dadís and Ladís and at Lilleyís.

When she was born, her parents had not picked out a name for her because her dad was hoping for a boy. When a girl arrived, they had to come up with a name. The nurse who took care of her and her mother at Madonna Hospital was named Nondas White Scott and Weldon Pruett liked the name so much that he named his daughter Nondas Elaine Pruett.

That little grocery store sold all the things little country stores sold and cooked hamburgers too. On Saturdays Nondasí dad would take her to the store for a hamburger for lunch. One day while in the store they were told they could register for a free hamburger. Nondas put her name in the drawing and sure enough in a few days her name appeared on the note board in the store that she had won the hamburger for the week.

When she went in to claim her prize the man who ran the store asked her how to pronounce her name. She told him and he said his wife was expecting a baby and if it was a girl, her name was going to be Nondas.

Nondas Pruett was around 11 years old at the time. All her life she wondered if she had a namesake.

One day while shopping at Wal-Mart someone came over the intercom and said, "Nondas come to register 6, so she, being the only Nondas she knew, went to register six. She told the lady at the check stand that she was Nondas and the lady look at her with a puzzled _expression.

About that time a young lady came up and asked what she needed. Nondas looked at her nametag and it said Nondas Ray. She was stunned. She asked her if she ever heard a story about a girl winning a hamburger and that is how she got her name.

Nondas Pruett said her eyes filled with tears when she looked at her with amazement. Nondas Ray was born on April 28, 1962. Her parents couldnít decide on a middle name to go with Nondas, so she has none. She later married Mark Bullard and they have a child named Jessica. Nondas Pruett married Danny Baxley and they have one child, Stephanie Baxley Matthews.

Both Nondases attend Parkside Church and sit near each other at Sunday morning services. And if all these coincidences arenít enough, their telephone numbers are only different by one number.


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