LONGVIEW, Texas – Joe Mack Roy, an Air Force veteran from Longview, is an international internet celebrity.
POP WATCH is nearing 3 million followers on Facebook! We last spoke to Roy, better known as “Pop” in June of 2018. At the time, he was celebrating Father’s Day and reaching one million followers.
“It’s hard to believe,” Roy says. “I’m just happy about it.”
Pop was born in Louisiana in 1933. He and his family picked up and moved to Longview, shortly after, and settled in the Spring Hill area. But, he never imagined finding himself on the Internet at 85-years-old.
“Really, I don’t believe it,” Joe says, “There’s old Joe Mack on TV.”
Pop’s grandson, Jason, made a Facebook page in July 2017, for close friends and family.
“I get messages every day, 100 to 150 messages per day, that I have to answer,” Jason says. “People from all over the world tell me, he reminds them of their grandfather, their father or an uncle.”
Even fans dress up like him.
Every morning, Jason picks up his grandpa for a day full of fun and shenanigans.
And one of his go-to catchphrases has become iconic.
“Get back inside where you belong,” Joe says.
“A lot of people like the ‘get back in the house lines,’ but he’s been saying that my whole life,” Jason says. “He’s been saying it to me, my son, my dad, my sister and my grandma for as long as I can remember.”
But his wife, Maria, always manages to get back at him.
“I am used to listening to him and his foolishness,” Maria says. “If he ticks me off for some reason, I tell him ‘I’ll get you, you know I’ll get you’ When he gets in the shower, I throw ice water on him.”
Joe met Maria while stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico.
After only knowing each other for three days, Joe and Maria married, the day before he was scheduled to come back to Texas. The couple just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on March 4.
When asked what made Joe marry Maria, you know he had a comical answer.
“I guess, because she was the closest one to me,” Joe says. “I thought she’d run away, but she ran toward me!”
After coming back to the Lone Star State, the newlyweds settled in Spring Hill where they would have two children, Billy and Kurt.
After giving birth to her second son, Maria decided to attend college.
As the children grew, Joe, who was working at Texas Eastman, was elected to the Spring Hill ISD School Board, where he would remain until his youngest son graduated from high school.
After their eldest son Billy got married and had two kids, Maria quit her job in banking to stay home and take care of her grandchildren until they were in kindergarten. After that, she went back to work as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Kilgore College, while also teaching English and Spanish at a Catholic church in Longview. At the age of 81, she still teaches three-to-four days a week.
In the early-1990s, Joe retired from his longtime career allowing him to pick up their grandchildren from school when their parents worked late and, as much as it aggravated him, chaperone his granddaughter’s school field trips. As his grandkids got older, he was also able to attend their sporting events and other extracurricular activities, hardly ever missing one.
Aside from that, Pop just wanted to relax.
“I just wanted to sit here and do nothing,” Joe says. “I’ve been doing nothing for 25 years.”
And it’s that personality that has captivated the minds of millions.
“I just sit around and do my thing,” Pop says. “If they want to come and mess around, that’s fine with me.”
He has received an entire room full of boxes and hats from his fans.
“I walk out on the porch nearly every morning, Iook out there on the chair or the swing, and there’s another box,” Joe explains.
“It gives me a good feeling,” Maria says. “It shows how generous people are and how appreciative they are.”
Some of those fans have driven to Longview to celebrate Pop’s birthday, all the way from Louisiana.
“We watch all of Pop’s videos,” Amber Rogers, of Louisiana, says. “We came to see him say ‘get in the house Mary!’ Old people have no filter. They just say what they want to say.”
He even caught the eye of the WWE, who made a special trip in the Wrestle Mania semi just to meet him.
But, Pop insists he’s just being himself.
“I’m me,” Joe says. “As far as acting, I don’t act.”
And there are no plans to stop with the videos.
“As long as it’s not interfering with my work, we will continue to do it,” Jason says. “Everybody enjoys it. It’s not what I think, it’s what everybody else thinks. As long as everyone else enjoys it, that’s the main thing.”
As for Pop, he has a message for his young fans.
“Do exactly what you want to do, but do it right,” Pop says. “If you mess up, it’s hard to go back.”
It’s his honesty and authenticity that makes Pop’s videos so “POPpular.”
Check out the POP WATCH Facebook page here.