The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Many will remember eating burgers at Sheps Drive-in on the corner of Nall and West Streets in Port Neches, or maybe even being a carhop there as a teenager. The restaurant is long gone but James and Nell Sheppard still run Sheps Self Storage in Port Neches.
"We fell in love with the teenagers and kids," Nell explained about the employees. "We couldn't ask for better kids."
The Drive-in was open from 1959 until 1989.
"Before the landscape was dotted with chains such as McDonald's, Dairy Queen and Jack in the Box, they owned and operated Port Neches' iconic Shep's Drive-in, the meeting place for Mid-County teenagers exiting a movie and the final destination of the evening for young drivers 'making the drag," John DeVillier said.
Even though the Sheppard's are in their 80's, they still are very involved in the community including still in the business world.
Jim and Nell were recently special guests at the PN-G Decade of the 60's Christmas Party and Dance at Port Acres KC Hall.
"Not only were they special guests, but they were presented with a patriotic painting. The subject matter was appropriate because both have long been active in the VFW in leadership roles," John DeVillier said. "It was a tribute to their impact on the community."
The patriotic painting is a fabric memorabilia of the United States Capitol night time scenery with a bright blue and purple sky. Also on the painting was the date of the reunion.
When speaking at the reunion, Jim told a story of his grandson. "My grandson saw a photo of Nell when she was younger. After asking who that was in the photo, he asked 'Grandma, what happened,'" Jim said laughing. "I knew you all when you were teenagers. Now, I'm asking you, 'What happened?"
One of their daughters was part of the reunion.
Jim and Nell are members of the Wayne F. East VFW Post 4820 and Lady's Auxiliary in Port Neches. Nell is the President of the auxiliary and Jim is the Quarter Master of the post. He does the finances and books.
"Computers don't like me," he said laughing.
Both groups do community outreach projects often.
"We just handed out cookies to veterans in the nursing homes," Nell said. They visited five nursing homes and 175 veterans.
The Sheppard's are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Arthur.
"We do house teaching. We visit members that are ill, spiritual things," Nell said.
The couple have been married for 65 years.
"I don't know how she put up with me that long," Jim said laughing.
"No secret to being married that long, just living," Nell said.
"It's saying yes to your wife, that's all," Jim added. "You just give and take. That's all you can do."
Jim and Nell have three children, eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren.