Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Tree - 1921

We never had such fancy ornaments on our trees.  This is a terrifically sharp photo taken of a D.C. lawyer's family tree.  Compare those ornaments with the ones you remember.  Also note the 12' tree in the 10' room.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Tree - 1928

Another highly detailed tree.  Note the toys and the unique solution to their problem of a too low hanging light fixture.  These are the Christmas trees of our parents' childhoods, if their families had enough money.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Tree - 1954

This wasn't ours, but it could have been for a few years.  Something was going on during the 1950s that I still haven't quite figured out.  My mother was trying to emulate the look she was undoubtedly seeing in the magazine fashion ads, my grandmothers draped their robust frames in unfashionable black or floral dresses, and we had a ton of old aunts (no uncles--think they had all died off by then) that we had to visit during the Christmas season. They were scattered all over the DFW area.  Our various families had migrated to Dallas by 1890-1915.

Several of our annual 1950s -1960s trees looked something like this one.  It was better with the green ones that had a good smell and in our family since EHHS, I have always brought in freshly-cut green trees, until recent years.  Let the kids do it now.  Gad, what a mess.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Handley & The Interurban

In 1900 the Ft. Worth population was 27,000, Dallas – 43,000.
In 1930 the Ft. Worth population was 164,000, Dallas – 260,000 (+500%)

I’m not sure I knew in ’63 there had been an Interurban rail line that ran through Handley, but until doing a little study for this piece I really never knew what an Interurban was. The Ft. Worth – Dallas line started in 1902 and shut down in 1934—well before our time. If any of our parents recalled it, it would have been from their childhood.

It was a 29-mile electric line that whisked passengers along at 5-mph during its early days, but had upped the speed to about 65-mph by the 1920’s. The Handley power station out by Lake Arlington was initially built to feed the power needs of the rail line, not in its present configuration of large generating units, of course, but the 2 older, small units at the north end of the power block might have been used for the rail line. They’re no longer running.

Highway 80, or East Lancaster as we knew it in our neighborhood, started out as a portion of the Dixie Highway that ran from Los Angeles to Savannah. The Dixie Highway was constructed over a period of years from 1915 – 1927. The Interurban predated the highway by a couple of decades and no doubt was the principal means of transportation between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

The picture collage above shows some net grabs of the Handley-Ft. Worth area involving the Interurban. The park was built by the traction company as a tourist attraction at its Lake Erie which was later made a part of Lake Arlington at the northern end. Lake Erie was initially built to provide cooling water for the power station condensers.

For some interesting reading about the ultimate demise of passenger rail transportation, Google Great American Streetcar Conspiracy for a number of discussions about something I first heard in Los Angeles in the 1960s when the last of their Interurban cars were still running.
The picture below shows a restored Handley business district as it likely looked before automobiles whizzed by. A map of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Interurban line can be found HERE.

All Aboard

Saturday, December 10, 2011

1950-60s Eastern Hills Christmas Lights

The Eastern Hills subdivision that occupies the hill just north of EHHS was built out from about 1953 to 1963. This is the area bound by Weiler Blvd. on the west starting at Weiler’s intersection with Danciger; by Brentwood Stair (I-30) on the north: Oak Hill on the east; and Monterrey on the south.

Homes in that area were generally built by custom builders and had about 2500 sq.ft. of living space. From our youthful perspective, it was the local neighborhood of the well-off. Landscaping was lush, grass grew in luxuriant carpets of St. Augustine, even without sprinkler systems, gracefully curved streets, plentiful trees (a Texas rarity), and more than a few of the homes there had pools in the back yard—a real luxury in those days.

Original heads of household were nominally in their forties, most were WWII veterans, and were doing well in their careers. Houses cost about $35,000 - $50,000 when they were new—an average professional’s salary was $12-15,000 per year. About 15-years earlier, in the early 1950s, they had bought their starter homes elsewhere and discovered that when they bought their second car, they needed a second garage to house it; Eastern Hills homes were generally their first “move-up” houses. This demographic group of energetic WWII generation people gave rise to the old term, “keeping up with the Joneses” as they added second cars, parked boats in the driveways (RVs came later), and finally sought to make personal statements with the decoration of their homes.

Decorating for Christmas was one of the more socially acceptable excuses for not only celebrating the season, but also for showing off and competing with one another. What started innocently enough as a simple outlining of the house with Christmas lights quickly became a full-blown light show extravaganza to include lighting bushes, trees, and erecting mechanized outdoor figures—think, Griswald Christmas and virtually every house in that neighborhood decorated. By the late 1950s the Eastern Hills neighborhood had become a popular destination for light peepers at Christmas time; the streets were jammed for hours each night of the Christmas season.

Of course, once the kids left home, the impetus for extravagant decorating lessened until the fun of it went away altogether when younger crops of kids started stealing the bulbs. I think all the new crop wanted to do was hear the bulbs go “pop” on the pavement. Now that I think of it, the little bastards stealing those bulbs and making things miserable for our aging parents to do any further decorating were those same FBG's before they started scamming in the local fast food joints.

Anyway, for a few glorious years, that Eastern Hills neighborhood really sparkled for a few weeks each Christmas.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Ft. Worth East Side Evolution - 1

For anyone wishing to better understand the experience of growing up on Ft. Worth’s East Side during the post-WWII years, a general understanding of Ft. Worth’s own evolution is useful. The following fine piece was written by a 1964 Highlander whose own East Side roots date to the early 1950s and included his grades 1-12 matriculation through the East Side schools—Meadowbrook Elementary, Meadowbrook Junior High, and Eastern Hills High.

The Setting

CJ64--Fort Worth, Texas in the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s was a town of roughly 300,000 people who made their livelihoods in the cattle (Fort Worth is on the Chisholm Trail, and has served cowboys and cattle since the 1870s) and oil supply businesses (the West Texas oil boom of the 1930s was supplied by Fort Worth), the newer defense contract business, and the traditional small retail shops and supply houses.

The great preponderance of people in Fort Worth had grown up there or had moved from small towns close by during the war. There was, however, a terrific influx of WWII veterans who had been stationed in Texas, fell in love with the place and stayed, or who had married local girls and settled in to their wives' hometown. The town was overwhelmingly White, Anglo-Saxon/Celtic, and Protestant, so it enjoyed the benefits, and narrowness, of a common culture.

Fort Worth did have a large black population and several enclaves of Mexican-Americans or recent immigrants from Mexico; but they were in the background of everyday life in Fort Worth. We were undeniably prejudiced in those days and almost never interacted with blacks or Mexicans except in their roles as servants or gardeners or laborers. Blacks were denied entrance to our schools and were funneled into a separate (and unequal) school system. Mexicans enrolled in our schools but were confined to just a few of the poorer schools -- there was no rule on this; they were congregated in the poorer neighborhoods.

As to blacks, the only positive thing you could say was that individual civility prevailed. In one-on-one situations, overt prejudice was unthinkable and we often formed careful relationships. We practiced prejudice against blacks as a group, and the prejudice was maintained and institutionalized by custom and law. We knew it was wrong; we always had a gnawing feeling about the whole thing; but, unfortunately, we accepted the situation much the same as you recognize that most people are right-handed -- it was the nature of things and not subject to change. Of course, the law did change in 1964 and long-established custom became inappropriate virtually overnight. We are talking about a massive cultural change, enforced from above, tough to adhere to against an established mindset, even given that the change was supported by the majority (which it was -- the majority of whites in the South knew it was a welcome change, required, necessary, and just -- they just weren't prepared to deal with all the ramifications).

As to Mexicans, Texas is unique among the states in having a long and bloody history with Mexico. It began with our land-grab in the 1820's and 1830's, continued in the Mexican War with numerous incidents before and after. Until recently, the name of La Rinches (meaning Texas Rangers) provoked fear and loathing among the border Mexicans. And, to the direct-talking Anglos, the roundabout ways of the Mexicans were deemed dishonorable and deceitful. It was a fundamental cultural clash and the memories were deep and undeniable. Interestingly, this prejudice is mostly gone, replaced by a mutual respect. I don't know how this happened, when it started, or what provoked the change, but the change is real.

Fort Worth stands astride the 98th meridian; east of which there is sufficient rainfall, west of which there is not. It is literally where the West begins. The eastern part of town stood in the great Cross Timbers, the geographic anomaly of dense oak forests that stretch, for no apparent reason, across the Great Plains. The Western part of town was pure plains. The old fort (and site of downtown) was located on a high bluff that overlooked the Trinity River to the north. The town had spread from the original bluff across the mesas and rolling hills, up and down the river valley, and into the oak forests. The result was a town of neighborhoods -- sections of town with their own character and history generally bounded by the features of the geography or later man-made additions.

Starting at the southeast and rotating clockwise, the first named area of town was Poly, named for Polytechnic College, which later became Texas Wesleyan. Polytechnic High opened in 1908 and was named for the incorporated town of Polytechnic (or Polytechnic Heights), which also took its name from the college. Polytechnic High was always known by the shortened version, Poly High. Poly was largely blue-collar, small neat homes, older neighborhoods. By the late 1950s it had begun to develop a reputation as turning rough and tough.

To the south was Morningside, largely pre-war homes from which more affluent people were beginning their exodus to newer sections of town. The kids attended Morningside Junior High which fed into Paschal High.

Southwest was Paschal/TCU, dominated by Paschal High and Texas Christian University. Paschal was the money-and-power center of Fort Worth. The town movers and shakers had graduated from Paschal and TCU, and they expected their children to do the same. Paschal High was the descendant of old Central High renamed for an influential principal. Over time the Paschal High neighborhood became depressed, so in the early 1950s the town fathers up and built a new Paschal and parked it near TCU, leaving the old building for Technical High. Paschal maintained a student population twice the size of the other "big" schools in Fort Worth and usually won everything.

Due west was the only real rival for Paschal -- Arlington Heights/Ridglea. Ridglea was a newer section of town and attracted the emerging-rich workers from the defense plant (Convair) and Carswell Air Force Base. Arlington Heights High was built in the 1930s but thrived on the new influx of affluence on the west side. An odd thing about "Heights" (as we all called it) was that it produced an inordinate number of gorgeous, long-legged, long-haired blondes. Another thing about Heights was their signature cheer, which they would crank up several times a game. It was particularly effective at basketball games in the old Public Schools Gym. They were the Yellow Jackets, and the cheer went:

J-J-J-A-C! K-K-K-E-T-S! J-A-C! K-E-T-S! Boom, boom, boom-boom-boom (from the drums)

You had to have been there to appreciate it. Which reminds me, the most exciting basketball game I ever saw was the Paschal versus Heights playoff for the 1963 district championship. Paschal was dinged up, so they went with a stall, even though they had the top scorer in the city, Tommy Newman. Every shot counted, and the suspense was unbearable. Heights won it 19-18 (yes, 19-18!) on a free throw by Charlie Williams. I think we have given up a lot with the shot clock.

To the north was the north side with poor, old North Side High, which up until the early 1950s was a thriving high school that sent many athletes to TCU, but by the late 1950s was run-down. They had their moments, though. They developed a passer in 1962-63 named Raymond Davila who could put the ball anywhere he wanted to at any speed, and they upset some better teams (including EHHS). The north side was dominated by the old Fort Worth Stock Yards, still in operation at that time. You could smell it for miles. It was also the site for Joe T. Garcia's, the home of the best Mexican food in the world.
Riverside was in the northeast section of town, off to itself, cut off by the Trinity River. The high school was Carter-Riverside. The Carter kids tended to be overachievers. They were one of the smallest schools, but they could beat you in any sport if you weren't careful. The “Carter-“came from the adoration of Amon Carter, the epitome of town fathers. Amon Carter owned and ran the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the influential newspaper in West Texas. He also ran Fort Worth. He also founded American Airlines and Texas Tech. He was also famous for selectively giving away the Shady Oak Stetson, made exclusively for him. He gave one to FDR, for example. He also gave one to J. B. Thomas, the CEO of Texas Electric Service, who gave it to my uncle Bob Riggle, who gave it to me. Too bad it doesn't fit.

To the east was the Meadowbrook/Handley area, my home. This area was an elongated horizontal V bounded on the south by East Lancaster (Highway 80), on the north by a right-of-way which later became the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike (later I-30), and the east by farm country. Meadowbrook Drive started at East Lancaster and ran west-east the entire length of the area until it turned into another name (Randol Mill Road, I think) in the farm country. It was bisected in Handley by, naturally, Handley Drive. 

Meadowbrook and Handley were two distinct areas in those days, and they didn't necessarily like each other. Meadowbrook tended to be more white-collar; Handley tended to be more blue-collar. Meadowbrook folks more or less looked down on the Handley folks, and the Handley people thought Meadowbrook was filled with a bunch of snobs. Actually, the only differentiator between the two was the brand-new development called Eastern Hills -- upscale homes built on the Eastern edge of Meadowbrook, right up against the Handley boundary.

To add to the differences, Handley had at one time been a separate town and boasted their own high school, the Handley Greyhounds, complete with football stadium. They had a very proud and long tradition and still thought of themselves as a town. The Meadowbrook kids did not go to Handley High, they went to Poly High, the big school south of East Lancaster. All this changed in the fall of 1959 when they closed Handley High, picked up the teachers and the coaches and moved them into a new building -- the new home of the new school -- the Eastern Hills Highlanders. The kids from Meadowbrook Junior High and Handley Junior High now had a single high school to attend. That, by the way, was no problem for most of us since we had played against and with each other in the Meadowbrook-Handley Little League, in Pee Wee football, and other activities, and we knew each other very well.

The Handley Junior High feeder elementary schools were John T. White, East Handley, West Handley, and Littles elementaries. The Meadowbrook feeders were Tandy Elementary, on the extreme western side of the area; Meadowbrook Elementary; and Sagamore Hill Elementary, located just south of East Lancaster. Some of the Sagamore Hill kids went on to Poly High out of choice instead of Eastern Hills -- it was closer to their homes.

We also had a common enemy to loathe -- the Paschal Panthers; who we beat, by the way, 8-7, in 1962 for the district championship on a two-point conversion pass from Roby Morris (Meadowbrook) to Max Rhodes (Handley) -- very appropriate. Roby (pronounced row-bee) was the best high-school athlete I ever saw (he had a 94-yard punt against Carter as a junior). Max was the only Rhodes I have ever known who refused to be called Dusty, and was also the owner and operator of Big Otis, which is definitely another story.

You also have to remember that things were very different in those days, besides the obvious such as no cell phones, no Internet, and so forth. First, very few people had central air conditioning in their homes. Instead, we would every spring mount a massive evaporative cooler in one of the house windows. It was called a "Squirrel Cage" from the reel-type blades that revolved to blow the cooled air into the house. It was not very effective. On the positive side, we were used to it and never suffered as much as you think we would have; and we had the pleasure of feeling and smelling the morning breeze filter across the room from the open corner windows.

Second, we were very much connected to a past that is now very distant. We all knew people who had known Civil War veterans (both my grandmothers were born in 1886). When you stopped for gas between towns, the restroom was very often an outhouse. The Interstate Highway system was just beginning to be built. Almost no one had a color TV. Virtually all of our grandparents, aunts, and uncles had not even finished high school. Almost none of our parents had attended college. The house I grew up in was 1,400 square feet with one bathroom, and we thought of ourselves as middle class. We were really only one generation away from a lifestyle that would have been familiar in 1900, 1870, or even 1800.

Third, we all felt the profound influence of the aftermath of World War II. Nearly every father was a veteran, and the coaches certainly were. They ran their teams the way their Drill Instructors had run their platoons. When we were 10 years old, we were only 11 years away from a time when the entire world was at war -- think about it. And yes, we had Atomic Bomb drills as kids, but we took it in stride and never worried about instant annihilation in the way some of my generation enjoys writing (and whining) about.

Fourth, what we were afraid of as kids was Poliomyelitis. It seemed that every class had a child in braces and crutches, and we had at least two kids who died over the summer ("Where's Ross?".."Oh, he died from Polio in June." -- scary). Our class was the first to be inoculated with Jonas Salk's vaccine when we were third graders. I don't think Dr. Salk can ever be thanked enough. I know my generation is very grateful.

Fifth, life wasn't nearly so full of conveniences. Most people hung their wash on the clothesline to dry. We had one mini-mall, Fair East, dominated by a department store called The Fair. We had one medium-sized shopping center called Forty Oaks with a grocery, a Five-and-Dime, and other miscellaneous stores. We had a very small shopping center containing a convenience store, a cleaners, a pharmacy with a soda fountain, and a Barbecue mini-restaurant. If you wanted to do some serious shopping, you dressed up (Mom would always wear hat and gloves) and you traveled downtown. We had Arvil Lewis' Conoco station on the west side of Meadowbrook and Henry Huddleston's Phillips 66 station on the east side. The only restaurant worth eating at was the Mexican Inn on East Lancaster, and the food was excellent. There was the Gateway Theater, and a couple of drive-in hamburger places complete with carhops – and that was it.

Anyway, that was the setting for our memorable growing-up years.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pearl Harbor – 2011

These guys have been getting together for almost 70-years to honor their lost friends and recall the event that immediately plunged the United States into WWII; the youngest of them is about 90. One of the local old-timers spoke into a radio station microphone to tell of his own grand children and great grand children having no knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack and not wanting to hear anything he had to say about it. Think about that for a moment.

I’m sorry to say that in my own youth, I had little interest in the topic other than to watch some of the old WWII movies and read of it in our school textbooks—but I was aware of it throughout my life. While we were at EHHS, WWII was pretty recent history and was thus lightly treated in our history textbooks…to some extent, it was still a nearly current event as many of our fathers played a part in it.

However, myopia on the part of youth and younger adults is nothing new. Noted Civil war veterans such as General Steven Lee wrote of it near the end of their lives during the early years of the 20th century. So did the noted Civil War historian, Bruce Catton, in the introduction to his 1962 Civil War trilogy,

”The books which makes up this trilogy began, very simply, as an attempt to understand the men who fought in the Army of the Potomac. As a small boy I had known a number of these men in their old age; they were grave, dignified, and thoughtful, with long white beards and a general air of being pillars of the community. They lived in rural Michigan in the pre-automobile age, and for the most part they had never been fifty miles away from the farm or the dusty village streets; yet once, ages ago, they had been everywhere and had seen everything, and nothing that happened to them thereafter meant anything much. All that was real had taken place when they were young; everything after that had simply been a process of waiting for death, which did not frighten them much—they had seen it inflicted in the worst possible way on boys who had not bargained for it, and they had enough of the old-fashioned religion to believe without any question that when they passed over they would simply be rejoining men and ways of living which they had known long ago…..

“…We do learn as we grow older, and eventually I realized that this picture was somewhat out of focus. War, obviously, is the least romantic of all of man’s activities and it contains elements which the veterans do not describe to children. This aged berry-peddler, for instance, who lost his arm in the Wilderness: he had never told me about the wounded men who were burned to death in the forest fire which swept that infernal stretch of woodland while the battle was going on; nor had any of his comrades who survived that fight and went on through the whole campaign to the last days at Petersburg ever mentioned the lives that were wasted by official blunders, the dirt and the war-weariness and the soul numbing disillusionment that came when it seemed that what they were doing was going for nothing. There was a deacon in the church, who used to remind us proudly that he had served in the 2nd Ohio Cavalry. Not until years later did I learn that this regiment had gone with Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, burning barns, killing livestock and pillaging with a free hand so that the Southern Confederacy, if it refused to die in any other way, might die of plain starvation. In a sense, the research that went into these books was simply an effort to find out about things which the veterans never discussed.

Yet, in an odd way, the old veterans did leave one correct impression: the notion that as young men they had been caught up by something ever so much larger than themselves and that the war in which they fought did settle something for us—or, incredibly, started something which we ourselves have got to finish. It was not only the biggest experience in their own lives; it was in a way the biggest experience in our life, as a nation, and it deserves all of the study it is getting.

In any case, these books try to examine a small part of that experience in terms of the men who did the fighting. Those men are all gone now and they have left forever unsaid the things they might have told us, and no one now can speak for them. Here is my attempt to speak about them."

I hope the young will continue to be taught the correct and amazing history of this noble experiment, the United States of America. Given the state of current events and feckless leadership, I often wonder.

WWII was so much more vast than was the Civil War that it is difficult to generalize the experience. However, one nice, small story (my favorite kind) about Pearl Harbor can be discovered by entering the names Zenji Abe and Richard Fiske in your Google search window.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011


For me, taking time to get a haircut ranks down there along with buying socks and underwear as among my least favorite uses of time. The arrival of long hair styles for men during the sixties was a tremendous relief from the every 2-weeks, “high and close” military cut of my boyhood. My father, being among the millions of WWII veterans, specified the “high and close” style he learned from the service.

The advent of long haired men’s styles spelled the end of the traditional barber shops where guys with names like Charlie and Bill made their livings at $1.25 per head. For those of us who embraced the longer styles, Charlie and Bill no longer knew what to do and we had to find other haircutters. Early on this meant a trip to a ladies hair salon and varying experiences with a wide variety of girls and ladies who always wanted to “do different things” with our hair. They made their livings at $10-$15 per head; but that was O.K. since you weren’t getting your hair cut as often…usually once per quarter—3 or 4 times per year, instead of the 26 times per year of the “high and close” days.

Now, getting your hair cut was usually no more enjoyable at the ladies salons. Their patter was never the spirited “man cave” gossip it was at Charlie and Bill’s place, but now and then you got a pretty young thing as your hair cutter. Sometimes the cut was good, sometimes not; but, the ever-present proximity of their…well, sometimes the cut was kind of fun and always worth cleaning yourself up for the visit.

This August, for the first time I can recall, I failed to clean myself for the visit. In fact, it was an unplanned stop. I was hot and sweaty from the morning’s fix ‘em up project and returning from the home repair emporium with the necessary parts to finish the job. On my way by the haircutter joint, I saw there were no cars parked in front. Ah-ha, a chance for a walk-in, sit down, get it done kind of quick stopover. And so it was.

I realize that I’m no longer a threat to sweet young things due to advanced age and decades of a happy marriage, but I still want to make myself presentable when in the company of the ladies. Usually, the haircutters aren’t too striking, but last August…there, standing ready to serve me was Kristin, one of those pretty ones that always invite a second look, even at the risk of a punch from the wife or an “eww” from young bystanders. She was breathtaking and looked just like the picture above…just-like-the-picture-above…in ALL respects. And I’m sweaty and dirty from the home improvement job, sonofabitch.

Well, my skuzzy appearance notwithstanding, it was a very nice haircut. And no waiting, either. Charlie and Bill never stood a chance, did they?


Monday, December 05, 2011

Meadowbrook Elementary - Ft. Worth

A byproduct of seeking some specific class pictures from former pupils has been the observation that many of the old pictures were setup on the front steps. This recently discovered picture of the school clearly shows the steps on which so many of us stood to have our pictures taken.
The notion of time passing while place remains static is interesting to contemplate. I've done it while walking the banks of the James at Jamestown, while visiting the assembly room at Independence Hall, and at numerous ancient battlefields. In those places, there is a difference in the experience that depends on whether the place is simply a column of air atop a certain footprint on earth's surface, the structures and other evidences of man long gone. Or if the footprint is still occupied by some or all of the things those ancients saw, smelled, and felt. In this case, everything is still there....nearly 60-years on...

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Protest !!

Went to town to pick up mail this morning. It’s a little town…quiet this time of year. Old gal walking down the sidewalk with a protest sign under her arm. On her way to protest something. End the war, probably.
We have a gaggle of about a half-dozen scraggly old farts in town that gather some weekends on the corner outside the post office to protest the war. It’s not much of a war, but then they aren’t much of a protest mob either. They were a lot more active when GW was in office but seem more comfortable with Barak as CIC. Funny how that works with these folks, isn’t it?
Her sign read, “WWJB? – Who Would Jesus Bomb?” First thought that came to my mind was that Jesus didn’t have any bombs back then…not that he couldn’t have had some if he had wanted them. However, I’ve heard that the last time God got irked with us, he just flooded the earth, drowned everyone, and started over again. Maybe she hadn’t thought her question through thoroughly enough.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about protests. Those back in the late sixties were pretty numerous and large. I didn’t participate in any of them myself, although they were going on in the neighborhood. Had a war to deal with and after that, I had to work to eat, pay the rent, buy food, gas the car, and romance some ladies. There was a lot of protesting going on in my old neighborhood, but since I was done with the war by then, I turned more toward my own account and let the others deal with their own problems.
However, it did seem to me that those old protests had a certain character to them that latter day protestors can’t quite replicate. Where is their Abby Hoffman and Wavy Gravy? They tried a Woodstock redux in 1994, but it fell short, didn’t it? The old one was filled with some real grime where the redux had a kind of tofu feel to it. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to get caked in mud and really get f**ked up, shouldn’t the folks in the background and all around you be caked in mud also? The weather was nice in 1994 and the folks in the background appear to have been nicely dressed for an afternoon outing. I think the 1969 mud resulted from a downpour where the 1994 redux mud resulted from a fire hose.

One of the iconic sixties pictures is shown below…there is no doubt they are f**ked up…heck, I would reckon that they may have been in another dimension. One thing is certain, they were authentic to their time.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Coffee Cans

Have you noticed the increasing use of these generic plastic containers? I think I first saw them holding coffee, then they seemed to proliferate…mustard, sugar, catsup, and some other things. Most of them seem to be the same size and shape. This is one initiative I like because the sturdy containers have a number of downstream uses for holding other stuff and they stack neatly.
However, there appears to be a dark side developing. State law where I live requires retailers to clearly post a unit price along with the item price. So, many of the little games these folks inevitably play with their pricing “strategies” are made somewhat more difficult for them, if you pay attention.
Since I buy coffee fairly frequently, I tend to recall prices AND quantities from one purchase to another. My favored coffee vendor is fully engaged, as are all the others, with slicing their product lines into a number of “varieties” of the same product. I think the game is not so much a reaction to consumer demand for more varieties, as it is a “strategy” to increase their footprint on retailers’ shelves.
The dark and brilliant bit of chicanery presents when you consider the contents of the container can be easily changed, requiring only the printing of a new label to show the amount contained. Over the years, we’ve seen the same game played with boxes, bags, cans, and bottles, even to the extent of the chip companies installing equipment to pump air into bags containing less and less chips. However, those products generally required new containers when contents changed, not just the simple matter of printing a new label. Using the same container for a variety of weights is really bright. Most of us don’t keep up with whether the damned thing contains 34 oz. or 32.5 oz.
Oh well…I’m blown out on this bit of trivia.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dilbert - Smart Phone Rage

Nice to see some of your suspicions confirmed by others, isn't it? Especially if by Dilbert. I cell phone but I don't smart phone. Have never really seen the advantage to being immediately accessible to others at their convenience, nor the need to interface with something while out doing something else. In fact, as a young traveling resource many years ago, I had the early opportunity to observe that much of frantic demand for immediate attention came from others who neither needed such access nor warranted it. There are exceptions, of and such.

I've sat at conference tables in recent years where something like shown below actually took place.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Geaux Tigers !

You look at him and think...beautiful.

He looks at you and!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunshine Letters

A 1962 Highlander and friend of mine from those EH days wrote me a very nice note in response to my last posting. I asked if there would be any objection to my posting his note here. It has been edited a bit to remove personal identification in order to protect his privacy. His kind words touched me and I wanted to share them with you here, since together with my response to him, both notes pretty well clarify what that last post was about.

Subject: Why the Blog

Hey there. I just read your most recent.

I don't want to speak out of turn here since I am not sure of your identity (although you do leave clues) but I want to share a couple of thoughts.

First of all, there are many of us who were not in your class but really enjoy your comments. You are a fine, thought provoking writer and you touch on many normal topics that we all think about, especially when looking back. I know your thoughts cause me to remember a lot of stuff. Fortunately my time at EHHS was great, and fun to recall. Like my recent email to you about transferring from another school and early days learning a new place. So you have a broader and more appreciative audience than you realize.

Mixing thoughts from the past with current events is cool and takes talent. Makes it all current. So I don't know what caused your recent comments, but you should feel proud of your accomplishment with the blog. I look forward to reading it as others do. And since it is your site it allows you to express your thoughts, free and clear, which is always healthy.

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Take care,
’62 Highlander

Hi ’62,

Good to hear from you and I appreciate your comments. Never concern yourself with speaking out of turn or how your thoughts might sit with me…they are welcome anytime.

Your observations prompted me to revisit my words and edit the piece. It’s one of those letters one should set aside to see if it still conveys the message you wish, a day or so later. I’ve always been impatient with people I know can do better than they do, and I think that was what was agitating me Friday.

I don’t know if you have taken a close look at the elementary school class pictures I’ve been putting up the past few days. They are predominantly from Meadowbrook Elementary which probably supplied the largest percentage of EH graduates during those early years. Those pictures predate by several years the time you and I spent with our EH classes.

I was curious how long some of our classmates had been together and interested to see if any determinations could be made about how some of the associations I recall, might have formed. Take a close look at the 2nd grade picture and you will see Tom Koebernick and Steve Means sitting next to one another as 7-year olds, showing a very close affinity. I’ve written a separate piece in the blog about them, together with Sam Scott, who joined them about 4th or 5th grade. By the time I joined them in the 8th grade, they were very close friends. In fact, several of the class pictures are from Tom and others are from one of nicest ladies in our class, Susie Wadlington.

The most recent activity I’ve undertaken is to try and name all the individuals in those old pictures. As you know, the net provides the communications tool to bring a number of others in to get a job like this done, if I can push them off their tails. Therein lies the problem…and the irritation. However, there are only a few people on the face of this earth who can make something like this come together and as I see it, the time to get it done is now, while we are still pretty spry.

I appreciate and value your thoughtful comments about the blog. As you can see, I have some fun with it, and as you rightly noted, the ability to put forth a free and clear expression of thought is liberating. Getting cranky now and then helps shake some of this stuff fact, Tom didn't want to fuss with his scanner until I reminded him that with 132-years of age between us, it might be worth taking time to do some of this stuff while we can. He got it done within a couple of hours! One helluva guy…still.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Best regards,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why the Blog?

Well, to tell the truth, it’s not because I have a deep, life-long affinity for any of my old classmates or the school….I don’t. I left EH somewhat unsettled and a little irritated although I had a pretty good trip through the place. You know, I’m finding from the way a number of you have expressed yourselves or dodged me, that a number of us left dear old EH in that condition…a little unsettled.

Nevertheless, many of us seem to have a lingering warm spot in our hearts for the place and for some of those there during our matriculation. We spent an awful lot of time together and had the opportunity to make both some good and bad decisions while there. I envy the Class of 1960 who seem to have maintained close associations with one another over the span of 50-years; some of us did that, but it appears that there were not many.

This blog started in 2006 more as a curiosity about the technology. Blogging was relatively new then and it had the, “buzz” within the techie community. Now, the “buzz” has moved to Twitter and Facebook, but I think neither of them provide the solid foundation for something like this like a blog does. I do participate in the Facebook community, but I don’t tweet.

The focus on EH was chosen because it seemed to be an old topic that might find some interest, but not so much as to be overwhelming. It also seemed to be a topic where some meaningful information sharing could take place and perhaps a better understanding of how or why a lot of us left…a little unsettled.

I’ll poke at some people either here or through Facebook to encourage their participation. They tend to be people I knew fairly well, thought well of, and who I know can probably answer questions I pose to them. Their responses, or lack thereof, tell me something about them as they are today.

It’s pretty clear that a lot of us are techie neophytes and exceedingly wary about interacting with someone we don’t “know” online. My anonymous approach is somewhat off-putting to them and I understand that…we’ve been conditioned by the scare stories.

It has never been my intention to settle any old scores here, although it is troublingly easy to do those kinds of things in this space. Frankly, I don’t have any unsettled old scores. However, I do have one unrequited love and a couple of administration piss-offs I would enjoy understanding better as a means to clear out some old occupied space in an otherwise uncluttered mind. And the amazing thing about this technology is that such things are possible.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Student Council

Did you ever wonder what some of those clubs and groups shown in your old yearbooks did? Me, too. Student Council was one of those small, innocuous clubs that was a fairly prestigious group among the others. At the beginning of each year, each homeroom class would nominate and elect a Student Council "representative" from its numbers. As I recall, they tended to be the same kids each year because homeroom class makeup tended not to change much from one year to the next.

This page will examine who the members of Student Council were through our years at EHHS, starting with one Council that was formed at Meadowbrook Jr. Hi. a couple of years before we got to EHHS.

 1958 - 1959 Meadowbrook Jr. Hi. Student Council

1960 - 1961 Eastern Hills HS Student Council

 This 1960-61 is an interesting picture showing some high powered youngsters. 1961 Mr. EHHS - Charles Sweeney; 1962 Mr. EHHS - Don Reynolds; 1963 Mr. EHHS - Bob Dillard, also 1961 Top Boy Graduate - Ray Waddell; 1962 Top Boy Graduate - Don Reynolds; 1963 Top Boy Graduate - Paul Tate.

1960-61 Members: Gene Held, Roy Vandiver, Paul Tate, Bobby Dillard, Don Reynolds, Henry Richardson, Charles Sweeney, Martha Jo Fry, Gail Brannon, Joe Dickerson, Doyle Davis, Jane Wellborn, Ray Waddell, Fred Culberson, Bruce Grove, Louis Miller, Dana Gant, Sherry Brooks, Jo Ann Autry, Margaret Ferrell, Delilah Perkinson, Carole Jenson, Susan Harris, Betty Helm, Jan Grady, Becky Welch, Jean Ferguson, Jackie Rogers, Donna Rankin. (29)

1961 - 1962 Eastern Hills HS Student Council

 This 1961-62 picture may include alternates as it shows 56 students. Since each home room elected 1 representative you can multiply the number shown by 30-35 for a rough estimate of the school population. We did not have over 1600 students by this year. It was more on the order of 1200 or a bit less.

1961-62 Members: Margaret Ferrell, Fred Culberson, Vicki Reas, Sherri Sledge, Judy Garrett, Susan Harris, Marilyn Milburn, Betty Helm, Jo Ann Autry, Linda Lawrence, Carol Reeder, Judy Mack, Sherrie Hoffman, Phyllis Buckman, Linda Schmidt, Miller, Nancy O’Neil, Donna Beene, Cynthia Childs, Connie Lewis, Barbara Isham, Pam Shear, Jan Waddell, Linda Ferguson, Jane Wellborn, Donnie Dillon, Jan Grady, Susie Wadlington, Mary Oliver, Susan Begley, Judy Hill, Karen Ruble, Kim Nelson, Steve Franks, Bill Hoffman, Al Lewis, Carl Johnson, Don Pipes, Bill Winkler, Jim Young, Richard James, Don’t Know, David Tracy, Jimmy Cox, Gary Trainer, Kendall McCook, Paul Tate, Roy Vandiver, Don Reynolds, Hancock, Johnny Dominy, Edward McKinley, Bruce Grove, David Richardson, Polson, Bob Hillert.

1962 - 1963 Eastern Hills HS Student Council

 1962-63 Members: Geneta Anderson, Bob Dillard, Smith, Suzanne Speck, Julie Hudson, Brooks, Debbie Maddox, Conatser, Judy Bice, Sherri Sledge, Carole Ballem, Teems, Hubbard, Illene Miller, Senchack, Beth Woffard, Connie Lewis, Shelia Ward, Jan Grady, Kim Nelson, Charles Nimitz, Charles Rigby, Betty Helm, O’Neill, Doug Martin, Clark, Boydston, Bracken, Morrow, Johnny Norman, Tom Koebernick, Johnny Dominy, Steve Dillard, Mike Grizzard, Carl Johnson, Wayne Hardy, Steve Latham, Keeton.

 1962 - 1963 Student Council Officers
David Bane, Bob Dillard, Geneta Anderson

1963 - 1964 Student Council Officers
 Carl Johnson, Geneta Anderson, David Richardson


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alma Mater - by Judy Lingenfelter

Although the school was only starting its second year when we entered as Sophomores fall 1960, it seemed that everything was already set in stone. We were the Highlanders, our colors were blue, grey, and white, and we had an Alma Mater. All that was started during the first year of the new school...the one that had taken place just before we got there.

Somehow we knew the Alma Mater was written by a student named Judy Lingenfelter, probably because her name was printed along with the words everywhere we saw them. And what's more, Judy was still among us. She was a Class of 1961 Senior during our first year. I don't recall seeing her very often, except anytime there was a school program that involved music. Her portrait and bio shows that Judy was a very accomplished scholar during those first 2 years.

This piece was prompted by the recent arrival of a scan copy of one of the original ballots used by the first EHHS students to select the EHHS Alma Mater in 1959. Of interest is not only the ballot itself with Judy's words printed in the #4 position, but also the words of the 3 other competitors for selection as our Alma Mater.

Music and Lyrics By
Judy Lingenfelter
(Student at EHHS, 1959)

Dear Eastern Hills, awake the sun,

As we arise, Life's race to run.

Your hallowed halls with mem'ries ring,

Our joyful hearts and voices sing.

Hail, gallant team, you heed our vic’try cry!

Hail school Supreme, we hold your colors high!

Tho' life's great peaks may give us thrills,

You are the summit, Eastern Hills!

Our pride in you fulfill our days.

Within these walls we've come to know

Where, throughout life, our paths should go,

Now we would strive because for you we must.

To keep alive a flame of faith and trust.

Wisdom and hope in us instill

Dear Alma Mater, Eastern Hills.

Awoke the Sun...many times.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Help - Who Are They ???

This page will be used as a preliminary editing site for gathering ID information as group pictures such as these come in. Check back from time to time...a link back to this url is posted along the right side bar.

Use the contact button for email or leave a comment to add names you know...come on, you timid old technology-challenged won't get bit here.  Who might even learn something!

How this works:  You send me names and locations in the pictures; I write them directly on the draft photo for others to view; when complete or as complete as we are likely to get I will clean up the final result and post them in the individual class pages you can access through the LINK HUB....the button along the right side bar.  See the example at right:

 1955-56 Mrs. Williams 5th Grade at Meadowbrook Elementary
Most of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered

1951-52 Mrs. Herring 1st grade - Tandy Elementary
Have 9 named, need the rest.  Many became 1963 Highlanders.

1952-53 Miss Meacham's 2nd grade - Meadowbrook Elementary
Most of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 1/22/2012, updated 3/14/2013)

1951-52 Mrs. McVean's 1st grade - Meadowbrook Elementary
Most of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 1/23/2012, updated 3/14/2013)

1952-53 Mrs. Wenzel's 2nd grade - Meadowbrook Elementary
Most of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 1/28/2012)

1955-56 Mr. Charles Lee Evans 6th grade - Tandy Elementary
Most of them future Class of 1962 -- need the names of those numbered (added 2/23/2012)

1952-53 2nd grade - Tandy Elementary
Many of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 3/12/2012)

1953-54 3rd grade - Tandy Elementary
Many of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 3/12/2012)

1954-55 4th grade - Tandy Elementary
Many of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (added 3/12/2012)

 1956-57 6th grade - Tandy Elementary
Many of them future Class of 1963 -- need the names of those numbered (updated 10/28/2014)
Do you recognize any of them?