Looking for a scan copy of the 1960 graduation program--the first EHHS graduating class. Do you have one in an old scrapbook you could scan and send? Or, could you ask some of your old friends for theirs?
You were the first
Catholic I ever knew, up close. You played Little League baseball for the
Braves. I played for the Whitelake Dairy Phils. I remember your wide
batting stance, that level swing, the determination in your eyes. I remember
you crossed yourself when you strode into the batter's box. Pissed me
off. I was an angry Southern Baptist hellfire and brimstone player, and I had
my own God to pray to. He expected me to strike you out, had indeed promised
His help. You were a good hitter. I was a good pitcher. Sometimes
you hit a homerun: sometimes I struck you out.My respect for you started back then.
In high school, you, Paul, Larry, David Williams, Bob Dillard, Bob Larmer, Mike Cooper, Steve Helmericks , and I traveled to all the football and basketball
games we could find. I remember Larmer's little Nash Rambler and the
fifty cents we'd all pitch in for gas, and Bob would insist that half of that
money would pay for the drive to Farrington
Field and back. I remember running out of gas with me and Leo pushing him
down Lancaster to find a station where he spent the remaining twenty-five.
played one kind of ball or another. You were a tackle on the district
champion team of 1962. You played ball at ArlingtonState until troubles with your knees drove
you from the field. We all loved the Dallas Cowboys and drove down to Waco to rent a motel room, drink beer,
and watch the games when Dandy Don Meredith was king.
were a gentle and fun-loving young man. You were muscled and tall and
handsome and always wore a beautiful smile. You were the Eastern Hills
Howdy king. I was an attendant in your court.
November, the dreams of our Billy Sills good government classes were
broken. You and I watched the dreadful news on the t.v. in the student
center at ArlingtonState. Jack Kennedy, the formulator
of our call to public service, had been murdered in Dallas. The clouds of war and regret
were upon us.
parked cars at Colonial Country Club on Sundays, and we ate all we could eat
for 99 cents at Lavender’s cafeteria on East Lancaster. We drank cold beer and shot
shuffleboard at Harrell's and Walt's Wonder Bar. We dressed up in sport coats
and dined at Zuider
Zee for two
I remember drinking beer with you and Larry and slipping into the trunk when we
drove into the Twin drive-in. I remember that night listening to the
Beatles on the car radio when I heard “I Wanna Hold Your Hand" for the
very first time. The times were changing. Dr. King was marching on D.C.
You were playing football at ArlingtonState. I moved down to Austin in '65. I graduated and married
Carol Houser. We remained good friends during the sixties. I
remember you and Larry and Paul and Bob Dillard coming to see me when I was
teaching at Iowa State in 1970 when the Revolution seemed close at hand, and
my marriage certain to fall apart. I remember the consolation of friends.
My next memories of you
call out to me in photographs from the summer of 1983, the year of our
twentieth high school reunion. I see you there on the shores of LakeArlington with a wide grin, your hands tucked
into front pockets standing posed with friends Bob Larmer, Bob Dillard, and
Paul Tate. Dillard pensive. Tate styling. Larmer with arms crossed
confident with a black moustache smile. Our final reunion as friends, and
though we never parted ways, we drifted apart, found new women to marry and
children of our own. Found new careers and new places to inhabit.
Twenty years later I was back in Fort Worth reading and performing poetry in Fort Worth. I needed the help of a good
lawyer, so I gave Leo a call. A young Black performance poet named
Sandman was in trouble with the law after a life on the streets of Poly.
His momma was a sweetheart junkie who was in prison for shooting her sister
over a crack cocaine drug deal gone bad. Sandman was a nineteen-year-old hustler who was also a fine
poet who said he wanted to turn his life around. He said he'd do what it
would take, and you agreed to take the case without any money changing
By 2003, you had Republican tendencies, but that was all right with me.
You were an intelligent and compassionate attorney. You cared deeply and
faithfully helped the often hopeless people you served. Our John F.
Kennedy promise to help create a better world never found a more loyal advocate
We shared our last long conversation when Bob Dillard and I visited you in the
Benbrook rehabilitation center. You were determined to live out your days
with dignity, and you did so. We talked politics for the very last time.
Of course, we mostly disagreed. You never quite knew or understood the
poet in me, but I loved and admired your courage. I know now that you are
finally free. I carried you with me to the inauguration of Barack Obama
on Tuesday at noon, where I sent prayers to the seagulls fluttering in a cold
sun full of hope for the same American promise you and I and all our 1963 friends
somehow always believed in, and, somehow now, still do.
Although the starting premise for this blog was the Class of 1963, it soon became evident that there were not enough of us "out there" looking around for our former selves and old friends. So, I broadened the scope to include adjacent classes, starting with the Class of 1961 who were starting to gather information about themselves. Good response from that class led to my opening selected contacts with 1962, 1964, and 1965 grads I had either known or had observed as being active within their own classes as others started using the net to share and make connections.
Those in the adjacent classes have made some of the best contributions to this 1963 blog...they knew us, but from a different perspective than our own. Of course we had our own view of them, too.
1961s. Seniors when we were Sophomores. The older kids, and bigger...something you surely noticed if you played sports.
1962s. The next class just ahead of us. They were loaded with beauties having great personalities. Several of their best took ol' Gus (a little bit) under their wings and contributed a great deal to making Sophomore Gus somewhat less miserable than he would have otherwise been. I hated Sophomore year.
1964s. The class just behind us. A quiet class, not many of them were standouts in my mind except for their general appearances of competency. There were a few beauties in that class that caught ol' Gus' eye.
1965s. The little kids in our memories. We don't think of them as the 65-year old geezers they are today. They seem to be pretty active with one another and have accepted ol' Gus into their circle as an observer. This class had a number of good lookin' gals, too. And a couple of them even gave ol' Gus a little smooch....a long time ago, but not forgotten.
Initially, this blog posed a challenge in how to rationalize the youngsters I recall in my memory with the senior citizens we are now. For those who have provided feedback, I've been able to gain confidence that my focus is generally good and inoffensive...which is as I intend it.