Thursday, February 02, 2012

1967 - 1968 Johnson Out; Harris In

After spending a little time going through some of the old EHHS CLAN yearbooks that can be found online, an interesting story about the first changing of the old EHHS guard began to reveal itself.  Perhaps those of you who stayed close to the East Side knew of these changes, but for others of us who moved away after high school, it’s interesting to learn a bit of this old history.

It’s clear that the leisurely consistency of our trek through the East Side schools changed abruptly about 1968.  However, it appears that the Handley influence continued well into the 1970s.  Marvin Harris, a long serving administrator at Handley Jr. Hi, became EH’s second principal, fall 1967.  Lee Tannahill, another Handley teacher/administrator, took K.O. Vaughn’s Vice Principal job.  He was Chemistry teacher, Sara Tannahill’s husband and had been a long serving shop teacher and Vice Principal (I think) at Handley.

One of the underlying objectives of doing this blog has been to try and understand some of the more puzzling aspects of growing up in this particular East Side area.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I recalled a number of competing influences that I as a newcomer to the area about 1958, never quite understood.  It would seem that these first administrative changes further demonstrated a strong Handley influence on early EH.
The accompanying pictures are a sampling of the faculty pages from a 1969 CLAN that show about 24 of the teachers we knew during our time there, were still teaching. 

About 1977-78 I returned to the school for a visit and found Coach Mitcham sitting at a desk in the middle of the office area, surrounded by construction debris.  They were apparently remodeling the offices and general layout.  He was one of the Vice Principals then and it was the first time in 15-years that I had seen him.  Our short meeting was a little bittersweet; I knew him, of course, but he had to search his mind a bit before he could recall me.  It was the first time I had had the experience of observing the fact that teachers, over the course of a long career, deal with so many youngsters, they can only remember certain ones.  He associated me with the team Roby had quarterbacked!  Roby again—still had my craw full of him.

K.O. and his paddle had nothing on the Coach.  Mitcham had his weapon out on his desk and was “seeing” a nearly constant stream of bad boys reporting for their punishments.  It was so extreme that we couldn’t carry on a quiet conversation without being constantly interrupted.  He suspended the afternoon sessions so we could talk.

There wasn’t much of the old school left, a few teachers and that was about it.  Mitcham looked weary.  We chatted for a few minutes in that way people who no longer share common interests, do.  It was the last time I saw him.  


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