Monday, April 30, 2012

Ft. Worth East Side Evolution - 6 - Eastern Hills High School

Our EHHS Class of 1963 was the second EH class to have attended all 3 years at the new school.  Although we may not have attached much significance to that fact at the time, the fact that a class had attended all 3 years at EH meant that essentially none of the students in that class knew any other high school experience.  That was a significant difference from the first 2 EHHS graduating classes, 1960 & 1961.  Before EHHS opened in 1959, members of each of those first classes had attended either Poly or Handley High schools as underclassmen.

For those of us attending EHHS as underclassmen during those first couple of years, what appeared to be a stable atmosphere was actually something much different.  The school was growing and changing substantially from one year to the next.  The first (1960) EHHS graduating class was essentially the Handley HS juniors from that school’s last year.  As such, members of that class were and remained very close to one another over the years.  Although there may have been a few Poly transfers, there were not many.  Poly seniors living in the Meadowbrook area were given their choice of schools, EHHS or Poly, to finish out their high school matriculation.  Not surprisingly, most of them chose to finish at Poly.

The 1961 class was more of a mix from the 2 other high schools, and the 1962 class was the first to have attended EHHS all 3 years.  For the reasons of these mixes and changes, attempting to write a generalized description of our East Side high school experience is difficult…it was quite variable, depending on which class is the focus. 

Our music charts were most frequently topped by Ray Charles and Roy OrbisonElvis and the Do-Wop melodies of a few years earlier were giving way to the Isley Brothers' “Twist and Shout.”  About the time we prepared to leave EH, the Beach Boys and the Beatles burst on the music scene.  Our music was changing quickly.

Our popular films were the beach blanket bingo films of the early sixties…Frankie & Annette and Gidget & Moondoggie.  Didn’t we all wish we could go out to California and play on the beach, just like in those movies?  …some of us did!  There were some memorable dramatic films also…the “Days of Wine and Roses” produced a theme song of the same name, which we tried to vote as our senior class song.  After her filibuster of the motion, Miss O’Dell vetoed that one.
For our very own pop culture icons, we had Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy, AND James Bond.  Has there been a more amazing group of attractive people since those?

Audrey may have been the icon for those a little older than us, but did you ever see another woman wear a black dress any more strikingly than her?  

And if we needed another beautiful image for our early maturing years, could there have been a more classy person than Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in our White House?

And although JFK was a handsome man, you have to agree with me…for us, the symbol of urbane sophistication was James Bond, right?  Weren't we all challenged to emulate this guy, if we could?


Brigitte was our new sex symbol following Marilyn who held that spotlight during our 1950s childhood.  To see Brigitte though, we had to go to one of the West Side theaters where she could be seen in some non-descript film…but only if you could bluff yourself by the “adults only” restriction at the door. 

Since about the 6th grade, we were encouraged toward the study of math and science…a reaction to Sputnik getting into space before the USA.  For most of our Jr. Hi. and high school years, the NASA space program occupied prominent places in our daily ingestion of the news.

During our fall 1962 senior semester, the Cuban Missile Crisis played out in the Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico.  On October 22, 1962, the United States military services were placed on DEFCON 2, the highest post-WWII alert status our country has ever been on.  And the country remained on DEFCON 2 until November 15, 1962.  During those few weeks, our Highlanders played football games against Carter Riverside, Paschal (yes, the famous 8-7 win!), Poly, and North Side, winning 3 of those 4 games!

So, with so much going on during those years leading to our departure from EHHS in 1963, it is really difficult to characterize us in general terms.  We had a variety of external influences moving us toward adulthood, including the flaming monk phenomena that was building far to the west in Southeast Asia.

Road Trip !

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