Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meadowbrook vs. Handley 1959

cj64 The junior high teams for Meadowbrook and Handley were loaded in 1959. Both emerged from their schedules undefeated going into the last game, the decider for the Group B championship. The Fort Worth Public Schools’ junior highs were divided into Groups A and B based on population, “A” being the larger schools – Rosemont, McLean, Stripling, Monnig, JP Elder, Forest Oak, William James; “B” group containing Meadowbrook, Handley, Morningside, Parker, Daggett, Riverside, Diamond Hill.

The notable players for Meadowbrook included Kendall McCook-QB, Sam Scott-FB, Tom Koebernick-HB, Danny McCoy and Reggie Wilkins-Ends, and Steve Means-line.


Handley had an All-World backfield – Ronnie Hill-QB, Scotty Locke-FB, James Aitken and Jimmy Strong-HBs. In the line they had Bobby Keener as a top performer. Hill was a superb athlete, a natural leader, and an obvious quarterback. Strong looked like Buddy Holly on steroids, was an outstanding athlete, and was full-grown and well-named. Locke and Aitken were already shaving and were also big and scary. Keener was a good guy who played mean. They should have been favored, but Hill broke his hand before the game, and Handley moved Strong to QB, and brought in Roger Kennedy to play HB. They played well, but the team was not as strong without Hill.

Meadowbrook relied on a stingy defense, the running of Scott, and the timely passing of McCook. It all worked in their favor, and Meadowbrook won with a 36-14 victory and took the Group B championship at Handley Field. Strong and Hill moved before they could contribute at EHHS. These teams were the nucleus of the first-ever EHHS District champs in 1962.

 1960 Meadowbrook-Handley

Handley came into the game (again, the last of the season, at Handley Field) undefeated and had rolled over the opposition. Meadowbrook came in with one defeat, a narrow loss to Diamond Hill, mainly due to the heroics of Diamond Hill’s Bob Maloney, who that day did a good imitation of Sugar Land’s famous Kenny Hall.

Handley featured some outstanding players – Ray Avery at center, Jimmy Hill and John Peale at ends, Ted Harris at DB, Larry Jackson at QB, Chuck Alexander at FB, and Chuck Wellington (a speed merchant) at RB.

Meadowbrook had Roby Morris at QB, Ted Moberg as the FB, Tom Shore HB, Randy Blake and Mike Liddle at ends, Wayne Templeton and Lee Roy Gast in the line. They also had several outstanding 8th graders as starters – Wayne Hardy LB, Mike Flowers at center (injured that day, replaced by Robby Rawdon), and Lloyd Grimm at flanker.

The game was hard-fought, and played mostly between the 30-yard lines, with four notable exceptions. Handley’s Alexander started the scoring when he burst up the middle for a long touchdown run. Junior High teams ran for the extra point in those days. It was stopped, and the score was 6-0. Meadowbrook countered with an equally long run, again a burst up the middle, by QB Roby Morris – score 6-6 at the half.

Early in the 3rd quarter came the game-changer. Wellington swept right and broke through and looked gone for the touchdown. As he ran free he angled toward the middle of the field. From seemingly nowhere, Wayne Hardy, showing superb hustle, caught him inside the 10-yard line and saved the touchdown. Meadowbrook held and took over on downs.

Later, in the 4th quarter, Meadowbrook ran a play that started off as one that had worked well for them all season. Morris rolled out right, looking to pass to Randy Blake who was running a down-and-out. It was designed to gain about 7-10 yards. But, this time, the first time all season, Morris pump-faked on the out, and Blake turned upfield to go long. The play had become a down-out-down. The Handley DB bit on the out, there was no help from the safety, and Morris hit Blake for a long touchdown. The score, and final score, -- 12 - 6 Meadowbrook.

Many of these players went on to EHHS and contributed to the 1962 and 1963 winning seasons. A couple of other thoughts are appropriate here to understand the dynamics of these games. First, by this time, the players all knew each other. They had played Pee Wee football, Little League, and Pony League together and against each other, had made friends, and were in no way strangers. They were also fully aware they would soon merge together into EHHS.

On the other hand, you have to understand that the rivalry was intense, on both sides. To sum up that feeling, below is a quote from Ted Harris, the outstanding Handley-bred athlete, spoken 40+ years later at an EHHS-alumni gathering over beer and BBQ:

“I played football in junior high, I played football in high school, I played football in college; and in all that time, I never hated anybody like I hated Meadowbrook Junior High!”

The Handley Players

This Handley team contributed 5 players that started on the 1962 EHHS championship team...Jimmy Aitken, Bob Keener, Ted Harris, Ray Avery, and Max Rhodes.  Also listed on that year's EH varsity squad were letterman Scotty Locke, squadmen Steve Ericson, and Larry Jackson.

We lost several potential stars to other schools: Jerry Roberts, Ronnie Hill, Charles Alexander, and Jimmy Strong

Go Buffs

Friday, September 28, 2012

What Might Have Been - Anything Was Possible

Boy, were we sold a bill of goods--life was going to be a bowl of cherries.  The Sound of Music...Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

This photo just surfaced from a German private collection.  It's a fine, scarce color picture taken about 1959, just before we put them in the White House and launched them toward their date with destiny in Dallas.

Perhaps you saw them like I did…a nearly perfect couple.  Beautiful wife, handsome husband, pretty child, wealth., mobility…just about perfect.  It lasted for just 4-years after this photo was taken.

So, how has your life gone?  Smooth sailing all the way?  Or have there been some twists and turns?  I’m betting on the twists and turns.  Perfection is pretty tough.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


1959-60 Highlandettes (first squad)

The Highlandettes were the school's pep club supporting the sports teams, most notably the football team.  They were a fine addition to the on field and grandstand cheering sections.  When the Highlandettes and the band took the field, I don't think there was another school in Ft. Worth that could match them for color and spirit.(62)

1960-61 Highlandettes

1961-62 Highlandettes 

1962-63 Highlandettes

 1963-64 Highlandettes
 1964-65 Highlandettes


Friday, September 21, 2012

Twelve O'Clock High

There were about 40 heavy bomb groups based in England by 1944.  Each group flew from its own base in East Anglia, an area about the size of the southern half of Vermont.  Their outbound course was usually east; their destination about 400-600 miles. 

Each group consisted of about 50-60 aircraft; B-17s and B-24s.  Each plane was “manned” by 9 or 10 brave “aerial children” Ernest K. Gann described.  They were destined to go down in flame and in history as the Eighth Air Force.

One of them gave me life.  Quantifying what they did during the war has always been difficult for those of us with an interest.  There were plenty of old movies describing their service, but they themselves told little about it. 

Although detailed records were kept, many of those records were purposely vague.  The actual statistics describing their losses was frightening.  Air Force commanders had several important challenges to manage…their losses had to be left vague in order to mislead the enemy, but as important, to avoid discouraging newly arriving air crew.  Their odds of survival was not good.

Only recently (after 2000), as many of the individual records have been passing to sons and grandsons, has further detailed research been possible.  Not all descendents have the interest or the knowledge of where to begin.  Raw statistics have been available for decades, but a means of clearly illustrating the losses remained elusive.

The illustration (top) shows a collage of the total number of aircrews assigned to my father’s group during the 17-months they flew their missions; there were about 480 crews that flew from that particular base.  (Note: the illustration is not precisely accurate as I’ve used some individual crew pictures more than once in order to illustrate rather than memorialize).  

Green notation shows the number of crews shot down and taken prisoner (POW); the yellow notations show those killed (KIA).  The manner in which they were shot down was similar to the way hunters take down high-flying geese…they hit a plane now and then, but not often did they down a lot of planes any single day.  I've counted about 60 of the crews were lost while my father was flying his missions, so he saw them...that's most likely why he never talked about it much.  He was 21-22.

The losses were steady enough over time to account for a lot of lost young men--about 10 per crew.  The illustration clearly shows that and it was similar for every one of the other 39 heavy bomber groups based in England.  I'm not aware of anything like the illustration ever put together before.

A very good period film made for the Air Force can be viewed HERE.  It was filmed to commercial standards and directed by a well-known film maker.  It's about 1:30 long and features the airmen actors, no scripts.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

1959 - 1962 School Spirit Football Ribbons

1959 - Meadowbrook JH

These ribbons were sold for maybe a dime during the week before a football game and kids wore them pinned to their shirts and sweaters each day.  Then, next week, another ribbon.  Most were thrown out probably...except these.  They got stuck in a scrapbook !  Year and final score are typed at the top of each one.

1960 - EHHS

 1961 - EHHS

1962 - EHHS
( First EHHS Ft. Worth District 4A-5 Championship Season )


TARTAN Fall 1962 - Page 3 - Clubs & Features

There was something for everyone who wanted to participate and a chance to be elected an officer of something.