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?

Dilbert - Pointy Haired Boss on a Tear

A whole week of the boss on a tear. And below, remember this boss from the past?


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Susie Wadlington & Paul Tate

Interesting short bios from 1963, just before they struck off for college.

Note that Paul says he had started developing a taste for several musicians including "Ralph Bacardi."  Steve Means said that same thing in his Lad & Lassie bio.  Tate and Means and their TARTAN insider confederate, Dillard, were proud of slipping that little bit of naughtiness by Mrs. Priddy, the TARTAN sponsor—she retired about a year later.

They and some of their friends had started trying a little "demon rum" and beer during their last semester at EH.  I'm reasonably certain there hadn't been much, if any, drinking before that.  Believe it or not folks, a lot of us in those days didn't drink, nor smoke, and unless I was entirely clueless, do any drugs.  I can say with certainty that I don't recall any whispers in the hallways of anyone doing drugs, although there were probably a few that did...they just weren't a part of our clutch of friends.

Susie was one of our kindest Highlander hearts.  She always had a ready smile and a positive attitude…just one of those really neat people to count among your friends.  Smart as a whip, too; she graduated Magna Cum Laude, was inducted to the National Honor Society as a Sophomore (Paul, too), and was a 3-year Leonard Star Award winner.  However, no one topped Paul…he was our top male graduate, finishing first in our class among a tough crowd of academic competitors.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Honor Roll - Meadowbrook & Eastern Hills HS

While doing some online research into the particulars of the Leonard's Star Award last year I discovered that the topic was a fairly tough one to address. The article linked above may be the only reference to the award currently found online using a Google search. The problem was that the pins and the program occurred a long time ago, a lot of the recipients may no longer be with us, or may simply not be online in this space so they can communicate. However, there was another aspect of those awards that made things difficult...they were given to a relatively small number of students.

I was thinking that the cards shown in this article might well suffer some of the same threat of oblivion...small number of original recipients, of the survivors only a small number of them still have these things available to scan, and perhaps fewer still know how to use a scanner; and fewer still of those know how to post the images to a blog...etc.

Anyway, these cards were given out each 6-weeks with the report cards to those who had earned the requisite grades. A "B" honor roll required an "A" in citizenship and no grade below a "B". The "A" honor roll was grade below an "A". There weren't too many "A" honor roll cards given out.

The EHHS cards were a different color each 6-weeks, resulting in a kind of rainbow collection if you got some of them. But the Meadowbroook cards were just 2 colors--a dull gold for "B" honor roll and a bright white printed on glossy card stock for "A". Further, the EHHS cards were all the same with the differentiation being only the letter "A" stamped on their centers. The official sounding words "entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto" was printed prominently below one's name, but

I never quite knew what any of those rights and privileges were. Maybe like so much else in life, they were just words...maybe I should have asked and possibly gotten the pregnant silence in response. That would have been amusing.


Monday, November 07, 2011

Meadowbrook Elementary School Grades 1 - 6 1951-57

Most of the kids shown in these pictures would be members of the EHHS Class of 1963.

There was a 3rd third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade class--do you have one of the missing pictures?  Need 4th grade pictures...teachers were Mrs. Nail and Mrs. Flemming.

NOTE:  The large 2nd grade class sizes were ~25% smaller the next year for 3rd grade.  Was another (3rd) class added?  (YES, Mrs. Schulz)  Have you got one of the 3rd class pictures?  Burton's in them...don't know who else...maybe Sam.

Similar class pictures from EHHS Class of 1962 & 1964 also sought.


Andy Rooney's 1943 Wilhelmshaven Story

The previous posting referred to Andy's good bombing raid it is:

Originally published in The Stars and Stripes, European Edition, Sunday, February 27, 1943.

A U.S. BOMBER STATION, Feb. 26 — From the nose of Lt. Bill Casey's Banshee, I saw American Fortresses and Liberators drop a load of destruction on Wilhelmshaven today.

We flew to Germany in the last group of a Fortress formation and Banshee was in the trailing squadron.

Soon after dawn the bombers thundered down the runway. Lt. Casey's windshield was splattered with mud on the way. It really was a blind take-off.

Like a pickup football team on a Saturday morning, we grew in strength as we flew, until all England seemed to be covered with bombers.

Everything was quiet — almost monotonous — for an hour after we left the English coast.

Sees First Enemy Plane

Then the trouble began.

Peeling out of the sun came shining silver German fighter planes, diving at one bomber in the formation and disappearing below the cloudbanks as quickly as they had come. They seemed tiny, hardly a machine of destruction, and an impossible target.

My first glimpse of a German fighter came when the navigator, 2nd Lt. William H. Owens, of Tullahoma, Tenn., nearly knocked me into the lap of 2nd Lt. Malcolm A. Phillips Jr., the bombardier, whose home is in Coffeyville, Kan. Owens swung around at what appeared to be an Me109 as it whipped down through the clouds on our left.

From that time until three and one-half hours later, when we were half way home, no one had to look far to see a German fighter. They were all over and they were all kinds of planes — Me109s, Ju88s and Me110s. There were no FW190s, by far the best plane Jerry has to fight the Forts. Their absence strengthened Allied contentions that Germany is desperately short of fighter planes.

From a vantage point in the pilot's cabin Lt. Casey and his co-pilot, 1st Lt. Kelly G. Ross, were calmly giving information over the inter-com.

"Here comes one at 2 o'clock, Elliot. Get the son-of-a-bitch."

T/Sgt. Wilson C. Elliot, of Detroit, Lt. Casey's top turret man, is the only man from the original Banshee crew left.

Before we were very deep into Germany deadly black puffs began to appear around us. It seemed as though they were "air mines" that were touched off as we came to them. A puff would appear to our right and then in quick succession a row of five more black splotches flowered out, each one closer as they caught up to us.
Lt. Casey zigged, and the puffs appeared in the tracks of our zag. He was one jump ahead of the flak. All but once he was one jump ahead.

Thought Plane's Nose Torn Off

Lt. Phillips was leaning far forward in the nose, between his guns and bomb-sight, when suddenly the whole nose seemed to break out of the ship. My first impression was that they had given up the flak and had thrown the gun at us.

Lt. Phillips sat back on his heels and covered his eyes with his hands. Splinters of flexiglass formed coating over his helmet. It was a minute before he recovered from the shock to open his eyes and find that he could see and was unhurt.

What appeared to be the nose being ripped off actually was only a small hole the size of a man's fist.

The formation was perfect, and the German sky dotted with Forts in front of us and Liberators behind us was comforting. Below, the land seemed to be farmland for the most part. Even that was divided into aggravatingly square plots. It looked German and unfriendly. You had the feeling you would have known it was Germany even if you hadn't attended the briefing.

German flak didn't seem to bother German fighter planes. They poured in even when their own flak was thickest.

Approaching the bombing run, the doors of the ships in front of us could be seen swinging open, and not far above us the yawning bomb bay of a Fort revealed more bombs, hanging by some mechanical hairpin, waiting for the bombardier to push the tiny button that sends them to the target.

Lt. Owens was having trouble with his oxygen and Lt. Phillips' fingers were nearly frozen. I was healthy but helpless. Finally the valve of the navigator's air intake froze completely and the next thing his head had dropped to the top of his caliber .50, and his face was an unlovely greyish purple. Both of them had work to do in the nose. I was strictly cargo. The oxygen on my side was okay. We fitted the mask to Lt. Owens' face, revived him and I started back for the pilot's cockpit.

By the time I struggled back without oxygen, with a backload of equipment that would make Santa Claus look sick, I was almost out. Lt. Casey almost yawned at what I was sure was a major crisis in my life.

He fixed me up with oxygen and the remainder of my brief first glimpse at the war was from the pit behind the pilot.

As we started the bombing run I was up in the nose of the ship, standing over to the right trying to keep out of the way of the navigator and bombardier. I had a camera, and that was probably the greatest underestimation, or something or other, of the Germans anyone ever made. I definitely did not feel like taking pictures. I made an effort once or twice and I got a couple of pictures of a small bunch of six little ships down on the water, but it's elementary that you have to be able to hold a camera still to take pictures.

We were well into the run and the flak was puffing to the right and left. The boys said it was not nearly as intensive as over St. Nazaire, but there was more of it, spread out in different places, they said.

Fighter planes were always there while we were making our run. They come in so fast it's hard to tell where they're coming from, but frequently you could see a vapor trail start to form, like a cloud standing on end. You knew that was a fighter starting a run.

As the bombardier crouched low over his sight, I was just in back of him, trying to take a picture of the bombs falling from the plane ahead. They dropped theirs, and I guess we must have the next second but I couldn't feel it.

Behind the tail gunner, T/Sgt. Parley D. Small, of Packwood, Iowa, reported that he had seen a Liberator go down with one engine flaming. Although on fire he said it was under control for a crash landing. Small himself picked off one German plane as it tried to tie a stream of machine-gun bullets on our tail. He described the end of another German fighter.

Jerry Stopped Cold

"It looked like a piece of cardboard that had been thrown out of a plane," he said. "It came up under the belly of a B24 and someone let him have it right on the nose.

He stopped dead and fell away. The plane didn't seem to be burning. It must have killed the pilot."

As Nazi planes kept nipping at the formation, far away from the coast of Germany, they probably picked us up from the French coast. It is improbable that German-based fighters followed the USAAF bombers that far, even though many of them seemed to be twin-engined planes.

Almost half way home, three Ju88s could be seen diving at a B24 that had fallen out of formation and was in distress.

After 20 minutes without sign of Jerry, things began to look more pleasant.

Song of Triumph

Lt. Casey and the crew began to sing over the intercom. Casey had the bends and was squirming in his seat — but smiling and singing. Next to him, Lt. Ross had to do most of the flying on the way home. Finally England was sighted and believe me, whatever you think, it is one of the most beautiful islands in all the world.

As Lt. Casey says, "I'm an Irishman, southern Ireland, but that is still the best looking damned little island I ever saw."

After a roof-lifting "buzz" (hedge-hopping) over the field, not orthodox, Lt. Casey brought the ship in smoothly.

Looking over the Banshee, we found that it had been hit in about ten places. The biggest hole was a gaping wound in her metal near the tail gunner. The chip of flak tore a hole through an English penny that Sgt. Small had left on the floor behind him.

With the exception of one frozen finger — Lt. Phillips' — the Banshee had what the crew called "a quiet trip."

I don't want to go on a noisy one.

Copyright ©, 1943, Stars and Stripes. Reprinted with permission of Stars and Stripes.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Better Than Typical

Andy Rooney, 92, perhaps our nation’s favorite curmudgeon, passed away Friday night. Nearly anything you would want to learn about him can be readily found elsewhere online, so I wanted to share something about him that you may not too easily find online.

During WWII, Private Rooney was a London-based writer for Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper. In that role he lived a safe and comfortable life, but was forever affected by his observations of American soldiers, particularly the Army Air Force airmen. His contemporary writing and post-WWII reminisces involving those aviators were, in my opinion, some of the most insightful words on the subject ever crafted.

Over the years he expressed similar thoughts in a number of published pieces. I particularly liked the chapter in his 1995 memoir, “My War,” in which he told his heartfelt story of the young airmen he had known in WWII England well enough to bring tears. While that chapter is too long to post here, the following introduction Mr. Rooney wrote for a 1981 book entitled, “One Last Look,” is a fine example of his masterful wordsmithing.

By Andy Rooney

London—There’s just so much sentimental baggage you can carry through life. I’m not much for reunions. Anyone who has reached the age of 60 could easily spend the rest of his days just sitting around, remembering.

I’m here at this old U.S. 8th Air Force Base near Bedford, England, though, because members of the 306th Bomb Group are having a reunion and I flew with them on the first U.S. bombing raid on Nazi Germany in February 1943. It’s sentimental baggage I carry easily and with great pride.

It’s been 40-years now since these men flew their four-engined Flying Fortresses out of here. They’re the kind of men Americans like to think are typical Americans, but they’re better than typical. They’re special. A lot of World War II Air Force men are.

It was a terrible war for them although during this reunion they’re managing to recall a lot of the good things about it. It would be too sad if they didn’t. It was terrible because so many of them were killed. One evening they’d be sitting around their huts talking, worrying, playing cards and writing letters home. The next evening, if there had been a bombing mission that day, the bed next to theirs or the one next to that—and maybe both—might be empty, its former occupant, their pal, dead. Perhaps he had gone down in a parachute that caught fire. “Who burned Bailey?” MacKinley Kantor wrote. “Was it you?”

It was a great and terrible war for me because, as a young reporter for the Army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, I was in a strange position. I came to this base often when the bombers went out, and when they returned—if they returned—I talked to the crews about what had happened. Then I’d return to London and write my story. I often felt ashamed of myself for not being one of them. I was having the time of my life as a newspaperman and they were fighting and dying. That’s how I came to fly with them just that once to Wilhelmshaven. It made me feel better about myself.

Looking out at the crumbling remains of the old runways at this airfield, I’m haunted by flashes of memory. Often the bombers came back badly damaged and with crew members dead or dying. In April 1943, I was here when they came back from a raid deep in Germany and one of the pilots radioed in that he was going to have to make an emergency landing. He had only two engines left and his hydraulic system was gone. He couldn’t let the wheels down and there was something even worse. The ball turret gunner was trapped in the plastic bubble that hung beneath the belly of the bomber.

Later I talked with the crewmen who survived that landing. Their friend in the ball turret had been calm, they said. They had talked to him. He knew what they had to do. He understood. The B-17 slammed down on its belly…and on the ball turret with their comrade inside it.
There are funny stories, too. Everyone here remembers the eccentric gunner Snuffy Smith. Sgt. Maynard Smith. He was an oddball kind of guy, but he did his job well in the air. The Air force loved to give medals and they had good reason in Snuffy Smith’s case. On one occasion, Henry Stimson, then called secretary of war, came to England, and officials, thinking this would be good time for publicity for the Air Force and the secretary, arranged to give Snuffy Smith the Medal of Honor. The whole entourage came to this base with the secretary and a dozen generals, but the hero was nowhere to be found. It turned out he was in the kitchen washing dishes. He was on KP, being disciplined for some minor infraction of the base rules.

This reunion is a bittersweet experience. Last evening I had a drink at the bar where there was a gathering, and a strong-looking weather-beaten man came over and quietly said he’d like to buy me a drink. He’s a Nebraska farmer now. He had been the tail gunner on the Banshee, the B-17 I flew in over Wilhelmshaven. We’d been hit that day and it was a terrifying trip, but it made a good story for me. We laughed and talked together and he paid for the drink. As we lifted our glasses in a mutual toast, I noticed that two fingers on his right hand were missing. It often happened to crewmen who stuck by their guns while their hands froze.

And he was buying me a drink.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Roby Morris - 1964 Highlander - First EHHS Basketball District Championship Team

Roby was our quarterback on the 1962 football championship team and had by then established himself as probably the most accomplished multi-sport athlete at EHHS. I think he was on the varsity football, basketball, and track teams all 3-years he was at Eastern Hills, meaning that he may have accumulated something on the order of 9 varsity letters.

This will be the second article that is substantially written by one of Roby’s 1964 classmates; however, I had some of my own experiences with Roby I wanted to relate. When I arrived at Meadowbrook 8th grade in fall 1958, Roby was already getting quite a bit of attention for his excellence in sports. The picture above was somewhat typical of the coverage he was getting in our school paper. I don’t know about other 1963s, but as an older kid, I was getting my craw full of Roby by the end of our Meadowbrook days. Yep, unvarnished jealousy!

For me, that age was about the first time I had noticed that it was possible that someone younger than me could possibly be better at sports than I was. And at Meadowbrook, it was Roby. Of course, during 7th grade at Richland Jr., I had already been introduced to the notion that someone my own age might be better than I…you see, I was the best athlete in the 6th grade…and that was the last time I was ever the best athlete at any school!

To add insult to my bruised adolescent ego, Roby was also fawned over by the girls of all the classes, both older and younger. Girls were just then becoming more important elements in my life. Good gracious, what a predicament. From my personal perspective Roby got an excessive amount of local press attention which I always thought was coming from the coaches…perhaps that was so, perhaps not—I don’t know.

There was no denying the kid was good at sports; a bit better at basketball than football, but not by much. However, he was also good at carrying himself on field and off. It would have been difficult for other kids that age to bear the amount of adulation he received without becoming an insufferable twerp, but Roby kept his head and humility remarkably well. As the team QB, he was a solid leader and a stellar punter who earned All District Honorable Mention recognition. The following, somewhat more sympathetic paragraphs are from one of his Class of 1964 classmates:

Roby joined us at Meadowbrook Elementary in the 5th grade. His parents lived in a restored farm house way out in the country, in far east Handley, but his parents had a thing about Handley and transferred their three sons to Meadowbrook as soon as they could.

Roby had two older brothers, Jack and Phil. Jack was short but gutsy, and Phil was an outstanding athlete – but Roby was the cream of the crop. Roby’s real name was Robert White Morris III, named after his father (and, I guess, grandfather). Roby’s dad was a Continental Trailways bus driver who was a genius at investments, especially land, and he took an energetic and particular interest in Roby’s athletic achievements – sometimes to Roby’s detriment. I remember his mother as a sweet and generous lady who adored her sons.

Roby was the Babe Ruth of our class – anything which involved physical coordination came naturally to him. He also was smart and good-looking, had a natural charm, and cared about people. The most popular girls and the dorkiest guys got the same treatment from Roby – his full attention. He was very popular, but in a distant sort of way. He always had his own mind.

In 9th grade, in the big game against Handley, Roby played both ways, broke for a long touchdown, and passed for the winning touchdown on a down-out-down to end Randy Blake. As a junior in high school Roby uncorked a 94 yard punt against Carter that tied! the national record. As mentioned before, he led us to a stupendous upset of Paschal in 1962 and a district championship.

But, it was as a basketball player in his senior year in high school that I will always remember him. If you needed a clutch basket, he got it. If you needed a timely steal, or the perfect pass, he did it. If you needed leadership, he supplied it.

All this is leading to the Best Basketball Play I Ever Saw (and at this writing, 2004, it’s been 40 years!). As the prelude, though, I have to describe what was going on in the 4A-5 district in the winter of 1963-64.

Poly High was loaded that year. They had Ronnie Stevenson at point guard (although we had never heard the term at the time), Tommy Horn at the other guard, Don Ballew at forward, Randy Hyde at forward, and big Gene (I’ve forgotten his last name – but he was a glandular case…huge) at center. They should have run away with the district title. 
  We played in district competition that year in two halves – we played each other once for the first half title, and then played each other again for the second half title. The winners of each half, if different, played each other for the district title. Poly won the first half going away.

Our coach was Johnny Howerton --- an intense, intense man who was a superb coach. He had played for, ironically, Poly High in their championship season of 1952-53. Our starters our senior year were Roby Morris at point guard, Duane Williams or Ward Ericson at the other guard, David Richardson and Wayne Templeton at forward, and Roy Burklow (a genuine character) at center. The latter three were our tallest players, at 6’2”.

I was involved in all this because, although tall by this time, I was remarkably uncoordinated (I still am – tall and uncoordinated) and was the manager for the team. A manager in 1964 threw out towels and kept score.

Our team won the second half because of three remarkable events: we almost beat Poly with Howerton’s weave offense (giving us the idea they could be beaten), Heights beat Poly, and we beat Heights.

It was against Heights that I made my major contribution for the year. As I said, the manager always kept score of the game, although the official score was kept by an adult in the employ of the Fort Worth public schools. With seconds to go in the Heights game, we were ahead by one point; Heights got the ball, and called time out. I looked at my score book, and Heights was out of time outs. I alerted Jack Billingsley, the official scorer. The Heights coach, Joe Prater, heard me and wheeled around. Coach Howerton jumped straight up. Both referees came running over to the official scorer. Mr. Billingsley looked at his score book, announced “He’s right!” Too many time outs called for a technical foul. Roby sank the technical; we got the ball out of bounds, made another shot, and won the game. Howerton gave me a big hug, but I don’t think the team ever had any idea what role I played in that win.

So, it came down to the playoff game for the district championship between Poly and Eastern Hills.

Poly came out hot and jumped to a 14-3 lead, largely on set shots from the top of the key by Stevenson. It got so ridiculous that Tommy Horn ran out to Stevenson, grabbed the ball from him, and sank his own set shot – he wanted some of the action.

Coach Howerton called time out. I don’t remember what he said, but it was uncharacteristically low-key. It worked, and the team came out to rally to 14-13. Then came The Play. Don Ballew flipped a long pass to the near sideline which Burklow intercepted and tossed to the middle in front of an alert and streaking Roby. Burklow came back in to fill the left lane, David Richardson took the right lane, and we had a classic 3-on-1 break against Stevenson. Roby feinted to his right, passed behind his back to Burklow, who hot-dogged a right-handed reverse layup for the lead. The crowd went nuts. We were never behind after that, and won the game 52-43.

I should explain that passing behind the back was unheard of in those days and frowned upon as a low-percentage play. Likewise the reverse layup – we had been trained to lay up with the left hand from the left side. Burklow was just being Burklow, as was Roby Morris.

Roby received two athletic scholarship offers – one to punt for Darrell Royal at Texas, and the other to play basketball at SMU. His brothers were already attending Texas, so we figured he would go there, but he chose SMU instead. His college career was average, but he majored in Chemistry and ended up with some big oil firm. He lived for awhile in Venezuela, then moved to Houston.

He has never attended any of our high school reunions. 


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Link Hub – Elementary & Junior High Class Pictures

Meadowbrook Junior High  (1959, 1960, 1961, & 1962 - EH Classes of '62, '63, '64 & '65)

Handley Junior High

Meadowbrook Elementary

Tandy Elementary

Sagamore Hill Elementary

East Handley Elementary

West Handley Elementary

Little Elementary (now part of Arlington ISD)

Consider this page as a hub, similar to an airline hub where you can go directly to your destination in one jump. Due to the random nature with which reference material comes in and the random nature of things coming into my mind, a lot of information is scattered throughout this now massive blog.

Link to Meadowbrook Elementary Collage.

Various organization tools available through the Blogger software are useful, but require a bit more than a casual knowledge in order to get the most out of them. “Labels” will quickly find all articles I have flagged with a given term; the internal Google search will find all articles having the key words or names you select, and the “Archive” will take you to specific articles, but searching it is tedious due to the large number of articles.

Using the “quick links” you used to get to this page is efficient, but as you can see, putting too many of them in can clutter the side bar, ultimately making it much less useful (user friendly?). Using the links above will take you directly to that page and the page is internal to this blog which should result in no dead links—something I don't like in other web pages.

If this works well, I will apply the idea to other multi-page topics located in the blog. Remember, this page only deals with class pictures.

Note to Class of 1962 & 1964: Consider adding your class pictures and other material, if you have them—we knew you pretty well, too.