Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thaelis 1961 - 1966



This picture was published in the Star Telegram and shows the 1965 senior class members of the Thaelis Service Club. Members were: Vicki Herring, president; Geneta Anderson; Janice Carter; Kathryn Teems; Joan Chastain; Jo Ann Glass; Karen Brantley; Gwen Brandt; Veronica Skidmore; Carol Perkins; Micki Bodine; Kay Taylor; Ilene Miller; Christy Hawrylak; Ann McCart; Debbie Maddox; Charlotte Hall; Marsha McCarty.

Judging from this picture, I would estimate that there were about 60 members of this club among us during any given school year...about 20 per class, and that it was an East Side club, since all these girls were EHHS students. The Club was first conceived by Mrs. Morris Walker who approached a group of Poly seniors proposing to form a service club (to circumvent the ISD prohibition against high school sororities) modeled after similar organizations at Paschal and Arlington Heights.  To apply for membership, a girl had to do twenty hours service work before making application for membership. Twenty hours of service work was required each year by each member. 

Thaelis had chaperoned parties during the year and would sponsor the Pink Cotillion Ball where the senior members made their debut.  Meetings were on a Sunday afternoon meeting in a members home and our adult sponsors were at the meetings. Thaelis members were not allowed to smoke or drink at any of their functions.

It was an established entity when our 1963 class entered EHHS as Sophomores, Fall 1960. I recall the buzz in the hallways each Spring over their Pink Cotillion and I attended a couple of their formal dances, but don't recall where they were, just who I was with. 

The girls were in control of this aspect of EHHS social life since they both sponsored the dances and chose their dates, Sadie Hawkins-style. According to a latter-day member, Thaelis was barred by EHHS officials about 1969.

Supporting this recollection is a notation in a 1969 CLAN page featuring the school board, stating among other things (paraphrased), "the board will take up the matter of recent controversies surrounding charity clubs."  (below)

In a 1995 interview with Larry King, responding to a question about life after death, Brando replied, “I think you’ll close your eyes and wake up and say, ‘What in the hell was that all about?’”


When was the Thaelis Service Club founded?  Roughly?  A: It was founded at the time EHHS opened in 1959 and was modeled after similar long standing clubs at PHS and AHHS.  The PHS and AHHS clubs were called Musegettes.

Did it have a sponsoring adult club?   If so, its name?  A: No, none known.  However, it is believed that membership in Thaelis operated as a legacy nomination for college sorority pledges.

Were there any affiliations with other such clubs at other schools?  A:  No, none known.  Possible link to college sororities.

Were new members selected from applications or nominations?  A:  Applications, from which 20 were accepted as Sophomores.  Membership was maintained at 20 per class.

Were new inductees pledged during 9th or 10th grade?  A: 10th.

Was there a numerical limit for new inductees?  A: 20

1962 Thaelis Seniors:  Carol Reeder, Zoe Ann Hunter, Karen Ruble, Judy Mallicote, Paula McClung, Jackie Rogers, Jim Ann Speck, Carol Warkentin, Taddie Curl, Jodie Dameron, Debra Davis, Jean Ferguson, Darlene Harvey, Mary Alice King, Janet Klabzuba, Carolyn Kynard, Mary Jo Mixon, Judy Mack, Carolyn Montgomery, Rebecca Willis.  

1963 Thaelis Seniors:  Gail DeVore (pres), Cheryl Reeder, Gay Burton, Tee Matthews, Judy Hill, Suzanne Hoffman, Pat Lambert, Betsy Hunter, Molly Howell, Vicki Held, Dianne Hardin, Marcia Huckaby, Celia Beall, Cheryl Spain, Harriett Hamilton, Sharron Ballem, and Carole Stallcup. 

1964 Thaelis Seniors:  Carole Ballem, Bonnie Lewis, Susan Warriner, Tutti Ziegler, Connie Lewis, Sharon Parks, Barbara Isham, Beth Butler, Cynthia Childs, Carol Ellis, Sherri Sledge (pres), Diane Hooton, Donna Kramer, Karen Haueisen, Myriam Hubbard, Donna Johnson, Karen Buckingham, Shelia Ward, Pam Shear and Suzanne Woodall.

1965 Thaelis Seniors:  Vicki Herring, (pres); Geneta Anderson; Janice Carter; Kathryn Teems; Joan Chastain; Jo Ann Glass; Karen Brantley; Gwen Brandt; Veronica Skidmore; Carol Perkins; Micki Bodine; Kay Taylor; Ilene Miller; Christy Hawrylak; Ann McCart; Debbie Maddox; Charlotte Hall; Marsha McCarty.

Adios - Think Pink


Gus said...
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Gus said...
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Gus said...

Keep in mind that when this club was first formed, all 3 classes were likely chosen at the same time and those first choices were likely not a vote of a class or two of the girls. It would seem that the originating interest could very well have been equally keen, or perhaps more so, on the part of the younger class Moms. The '63 class would have been the first to enter EH during its second year, eagerly anticipating acceptance...hence, Carole's enthusiastic outburst a few lockers down from mine. It would be interesting to consider how knowledge of this club was transmitted to the Jr. Highs.

Gus said...

Judy joined us in 1958 for 8th after being in TN for a couple of years. Before that, those kids went to D McRay.

As far as the stream through Poly, then on to EH, that to me points back to MJH as the central gathering point, or maybe even earlier at MBE. The JH was new in 1954 and combined across the street with the primary grades before that. The old bldg was built in 1936 IIRC, and would indicate that a flow of new residents were accumulating in that direction from Poly even before WWII. It makes sense to me that younger families were moving into those northern neighborhoods and with them came more prosperity, energy, and ambition.

That "Stars" program has been a very good source for observing which youngsters tended to gather together since as those acts were formed, from my own observation and recollection, they tended to be the more closely aligned adolescent cliques. How they grew closer together before that is anyone's guess. I suppose you could look back to scouts and boys baseball earlier on.

There was also a thread through at least the '62 and '63 classes that involved a bunch of them getting together (Moms again) and taking dance lessons for years. Owing to Judy's absence and not being MBE before that, she always seemed to me to be a little apart from the cliques, although she was always recognized for her excellent traits otherwise.

Gus said...

It's possible that Elise went on to graduate as a Poly '60 while younger sis went in with the first all-3 year '62 EH class. A similar situation exists with the '62 Rebecca W. and her older sis, Priscilla who chose to go to Poly as a '61 there.

Gus said...

Also of interest would be which of the girls in the '62, '61, and '60 classes were from Handley. I know that only 4 in the '63 class and 3 in the '64 class were members. Actually, there was one more in the '63 that didn't show in the picture.

Gus said...

Judy was in Nashville TN the school years 1956-57-58, then came into the 8th at MJH. Diane joined us in the 9th grade, 1959-60, and never seemed too strongly wired in. Vicki, I don't know. Haven't found her in any of the feeder elementary schools. Her older brother, Gene, was a '61, I think.

The odd elections of cheerleaders continued through our '63 class. Where the '62 class elected MJH Judy M, they also elected HJH Linda L. In our '63 class, our 3 MJH girls were very surprisingly blanked out and 2 HJH girls were elected to those posts and held them all the way through. All but 1 of the 5 junior high cheerleaders were Thaelis; that one was Delphi.

Our Soph class made some odd choices for class officers...none of them had ever run for those offices as younger JH students.

Gus said...

Our '63 class had some notable omissions from Thaelis and perhaps Delphi, also. Like the '62 class, we had an abundance of lovely young ladies but, these didn't show up in the in-crowd groups...Jane Welborn, Jan Grady, Susan Begley, Pam Perry, Carol Eldridge, Linda Hartman. Some of those were Handley, though.

I didn't know Vicki was as tight as you suggest with those others...I always tended to associate her closely with Gail DeVore.

Gus said...

Elise does appear in the 1960 Poly yearbook as a baseball princess, a late spring senior inductee to NHS, and in the senior class pages. She also shows as one of the performers in the 1958 “Stars” pictures in the blog where she was mis-identified as her sister, Carol. The story of Elise and Carol is interesting; Elise a ’60 grad and Carol ’62. Elise was shown as a 59-60 member of Thaelis but elected not to attend EH…did she participate anyway?

There is a parallel in the Willis sisters; Priscilla a ’61 Poly and Rebecca a ’62 EH. But only Rebecca was listed as a Thaelis member. Pris may have had a better run going for herself through Poly as she was a varsity cheerleader for two years and may not have ever considered going to EH, while her sister did attend EH all 3-years.

Gus said...

Cheryl Kay

All the names in this article were taken from the graduation programs as they were printed.

None of my student directories ('58 - 63) show her as living anywhere but on N. Edgewood.

Gus said...

Moving in and out of new or relatively new houses was a common occurrence for new home builders. I saw a lot of that during the build out of HEB. Seems that for a home builder, everything he builds and owns is always for sale.

Gus said...

The East Side coaches were a very close group of former East Siders themselves. Mitcham and Graves were both Poly grads within a year of one another, both former Poly football players. Mitcham played college ball at TCU; Graves, at Tulsa. Johnson did coach football at Poly and may have Graves as one of his charges or assistants...there was a close association between them from their earlier lives before EH.

There are several short bios of each of the coaches in the blog, each taken from a small Booster Club brochure that was published just before each football season.

Mitcham was kind of an outlier, perhaps due to his going to Handley after TCU. Elliot was sort of an invisible personage during the three years I was there…heard his name fairly frequently, but never saw him at EH then. During the first EH year, 1959-60, Elliot was Mitcham’s assistant but, when the school made the jump to 4-A from 3-A, Mitcham got 3 new assistants and Elliot returned to Handley JH.

Other Poly products as East Side coaches were Twain Morrow and Charles Berry at MJH. I have a couple of pictures of them together as Poly football coaches, pre-WWII. I don’t know if they were Poly grads also, or not.

Your summary of the relationships is a good one. I’ll have to check some of the old football programs…seem to recall Tommy Taylor as a referee at some of the games. Twain Morrow also covered one of those games…which was kind of funny…he was on my side of the field when I was playing as a starter and we exchanged a few comments during the course of the game. While playing on his MJH teams I was never able to earn a starting spot.

Gus said...

Here are links to those coach bios. Actually, Mitcham got 2 assistants rather than 3; the third coach then was McBee, who had been at Handley JH with Mitcham during the fifties.

Johnson was briefly at Poly before WWII, then at Tech when he and Graves crossed paths. He played his college ball at North Texas and was about 14-years older than the other coaches, IIRC.

Anonymous said...

My attention has been drawn to this discussion of a Thaelis service club at Eastern Hills, as it appears in various places, and I see that here you have shown the initial members and made some allusions elsewhere as to its Poly origin.

I went back to find my Poly annual for 1959 and I want to volunteer some information from it to set the record straight. I'm doing this to make sure that people don't think that Poly had such an exclusive social club.

Poly had an organization called LETI, for Let Everyone Take Interest or Let Every Task Invite. This appears right out in the open on pages 40-41 of the annual, with pictures of the girls involved and a list of their names. I'm going to quote its description of activities and statement of purpose from the annual here for your information --

"Throughout the year Leti was the center of altruistic, as well as social functions of Poly. The club aided Santa at Christmas by giving Lena Pope Home tots necessary clothing and toys. Their Homecoming and Christmas dances lent a happy time and gave memories to many.

They presented a variety of programs which filled the year with highlights in various phases and left the promise of many yet to come.

Other plans were full and varied - they began with the annual spring formal at the Woman's Club. A brunch and swimming party also highlighted the season.

They participated in a service program with pins awarded for outstanding service and the number of hours served"

I've looked carefully at the girls involved and there appear to be only three that carried over to your experience at Eastern Hills. Those were Susan Beyette, Elise Warkentin, and Nancy Rogers. I don't know much about these girls because they were juniors and in an older class.

I don't know why these Meadowbrook girls decided to "go private" with their club at Eastern Hills. Maybe they already wanted to at Poly but couldn't get away with it.

I understand that Eastern Hills had a principal who came up from a junior high school in the Poly area. He probably didn't even know what was going on.

Gus said...

Thank you for taking time to add background texture to this topic. I had learned from others of the Poly LETI club and of its inclusive stance. And from others of the Musegettes of Paschal and AHHS which were social/secret sororities that probably provided the model for Thaelis and later, Delphi at EHHS.

Each of those other 3 schools were much older than EH, old enough to have produced pre-WWII graduates who became the parents of some of our EH students, perhaps as much as 1/3 of us. I think those service clubs likely existed pre-WWII also or, at least long enough for some of our EH moms to have known of them during their own adolescence.

How those EH clubs came into being is an interesting and challenging inquiry, given the passage of this much time, their former (semi) secretive nature, and that their acceptance or rejection of very young girls did draw enough attention then to have disappointed a somewhat significant percentage of our classes as well as, in my opinion, skewed our early dating patterns. To what extent those results were intentional at some level, if they were intentional, I don't know. I believe even most of the members knew very little of the organizing details, motives, and suspects. Frankly, not very many of the classmates I've interviewed over the past few years even knew Thaelis/Delphi existed...that Delphi existed even got by me until recent years.

Although there were some photos and features in the school newspaper and the S-T, from my perspective, they were not substantial enough to have drawn much attention. There was no mention of them in the CLAN yearbooks, their meetings were off-campus in private homes, and their social soirees were Daisy-Mae affairs only one or two of which I managed an invite to attend.

Boys that dated girls not of the club simply got no experience with them and since they were somewhat secretive, even if one had the ambition to date one of their tribe to attend one of their soirees, it would have been difficult apply the necessary filters to figure out who the heck they were...and, at that age we boys were challenged enough just to muster courage to approach a gal of our dreams...this week, or the past one.

This article will be substantially expanded when I complete the "EHHS Social Order - Cowtown Society" history series. This stuff didn't occur in a vacuum.

Gus said...

The standard credentials tell the story, don't they? The earliest competitive stance was centered in that area around the church and schools, probably starting just after WWII as the first step-up homes were built (those following the very small GI shotgun houses built a little farther south). But, in pretty quick order, the population center started moving east, topped by the EH neighborhood down the road a piece. That put the lid on too much strutting and must have caused no small amount of consternation in some houses. Some of them moved on into those newer, larger homes after seeing the trend and the social bumper car game seemed to have gotten progressively more aggressive.

Gus said...

Sara T is worth a little more study. In the 1959 Poly yearbook you mention, she is probably about 24, no more than a couple of years out of NTSC, or UNT these days. If she graduated about 1956-57, it might be interesting to see if UNT had sororities in those days and if so, which might have she been a member. Further, I think UNT was then in a sort of power position in the production of Miss Texas pageant contenders….or, that may have come later..don’t know. Was she a member of Meadowbrook Methodist? (maybe you already verified that)

Lee T. was, I think, about 10-12 years older than Sara and from an older Ft. Worth family…Sara may have been also but, I don’t know her maiden name. Perhaps Thompson got the two of them together. If Sara were also from an older Ft. Worth family, which I think is likely, where she graduated from high school might be revealing. I would think her HS class would have been about 1952. If you can place her further in the Poly milieu, I would think that would just about seal her contribution to the earliest EH social founding. (A '64 Thaelis has told me of Sara being the matchmaker for her steady (older) date all the way through EH)

The groupings of girls you noted are a good indicator of friendships. In our ’63 class, as well as the ’62 class, I noticed that they tended to congregate in the student publications…the paper and the yearbook. Both of those were somewhat selective and left to the discretion of the sponsor. I have no clue what those selection criteria might have been other than all those students selected were usually successful in their academics, though not necessarily at the top of the heap. There were a few curious choices in each. Nevertheless, the CLAN pictures often do show a grouping of friends in some of the pictures.

Another indicator of friends groupings came in the spring variety shows at both MJH and EH. Those shows tended to be big productions involving a lot of youngsters and provided plenty of after-hours opportunities for socializing.

Gus said...

I'll spend more time on other info you've shared in a day or so. Finding Sara's roots is useful. I hadn't given much attention to the Masonic slant, or the Eastern Star, or the Rainbow Girls in my thinking. Those organizations weren't in my family's sphere except a maternal grandfather who died when I was very young..he was buried in full Masonic regalia. What scant recollections I do have of them touched no more than a few of my friends and those, as I recall them, were smart but, not too powerful in our social swirl.

Masons were strong throughout the South following the War Between the States...seems that most small towns had strong Masonic contingents that functioned to keep the towns together during Reconstruction. Just speculating, but I think that as the towns grew into larger cities and business left the confines of the local areas, their influence must have faded. I recall a dorm at UT that housed girls associated with (Scottish Rite, I think) the Masons, but recall them as being more the sewing and cooking types, where the shiny ones inhabited either the Greek houses or a couple of the more prominent dorms.

I do have a copy of a 1914 "Builder's of Fort Worth" or some such where about 150 of the local businessmen and professionals were described in single page bios that also list their various social associations. I don't recall the Masons being mentioned very often, if at all. I suspect the publication might have been something that Amon Carter put together as he was just getting started in his remarkable Ft. Worth career about then AND he is one of those 150 featured, although he was relatively young (35, I think) at the time. What better way to promote yourself if you were still on the climb and in a fledgling publishing business? I'll be doing a lengthy piece on him soon...he was a hell of a man that keeps me laughing at some of his shenanigans as I uncover them. Although Fort Worth might have got along well without him, it could just as easily have folded if he hadn't come on the scene.

Gus said...

The program pages came through fine. Thanks.

There's your chief instigator, I'd say.