3 on the Road: Pike County - Mattie Rials
MCCOMB, MS (Mississippi News Now) - There are some people who are so strongly connected to their communities that everybody knows them. In McComb, people tell us that person is Mattie Rials. “Miss Mattie IS McComb, she’s so wonderful!.”
Wow! Wouldn't it be nice if they could say that about any of us, and the community where WE live! Miss Mattie Rials has had a hand in raising a couple or three generations of McCombians as the story lady at the library. Not only in Pike but also Amite and Walthall Counties.
Her supervisor, Darlene Morgan, Director of the Library Association, thinks a lot of her.
"Miss Mattie is the hub that turns the wheel of the library system. And that is every library in this system, all nine of them," said Morgan. "She does all of the children activities. She does story library in every library. She takes care of the special needs patrons. She has a Wednesday friends group."
Mattie Rials, or Miss Mattie as she's better known, has been Children's Director of the library system for over 40 years and had a kindergarten before that. So a bunch of kids has grown up under her care. She has an infectious wit and charm and a genuineness about her. She reflects on her career:
"But I still love the children and most of all I love the people and it's just been such a blessing to me to be able to be a part of everybody's life," said Mattie. "And to see all the little children, so many of them that have grown up."
Miss Mattie has had a little helper; Little Scooter Mouse who lives right there in the library. He's supplied voices for telling stories and other various jobs that only an unseen friend can do.
Miss Mattie says Scooter Mouse has been indispensable in her career
"No, my lands, I tell him I couldn't have a job without him. And he says he couldn't have his job without me."
"I wrote a paper in college on Miss Mattie and the title of it was Angel in Mouse Clothing. And that sums it up," said someone who grew up in McComb influenced by Miss Mattie.
The influence Mattie Riles has had over the children of McComb for nearly a half century grows now with the establishment of the Miss Mattie foundation, and the scholarships it passes out to area high school students. Darlene Morgan tells us,
"They're giving away 11 thousand dollars in college scholarships this year," added Morgan.
Miss Mattie Riles and Scooter Mouse have been a positive influence on kids in Pike County for decades. And in this case, instead of a village raising a child, this is one person who has helped raise a village.
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