Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blue Water Sailors - The Tin Can Navy

For many reasons, Seventh Fleet sailors, when on the Pacific, sense themselves in the company of spirits.  Massive, historic events took place out there….not very long ago as history goes.  Most of the sailors have a keen sense of that history as they cruise through, by and over it.

Whether Pearl Harbor is their home port or they are just stopping over on the long transit to the Western Pacific, no one can ignore they're berthed in the shadows of the USS ARIZONA and the USS MISSOURI, both vessels that define the endpoints of America’s involvement in WWII.  Each rates a sharp salute.  

Further west, just about every deployment brings a tour of the legendary sites of the largest naval war in history...we pass over the site where the previous ship bearing our name rests on the bottom, the victim of a torpedo in 1942.  

Beneath these waters lie the ghosts of our forefathers, and if you listen carefully to the wind on a moonlit night, I swear you can almost hear them calling out, "carry on, Sailor".  And that's what we do....

“The destroyer is different from the rest of ships. It is small, fast and personal.  No other ship offers the experience that a destroyer does in any sea state.  Long after they are gone, their crews remember.” 

The destroyers were affectionately known as Tin Cans for the way they took the seas.  They bobbed, rolled, dunked, dove, pitched, and twisted in the waves…even in relative calm.

During long transits, the smaller destroyers had to be periodically refueled from the carrier.  When the ships came alongside to pass the fuel lines, carrier sailors got to see the smaller destroyers from close aboard. To a man, no carrier sailor ever wished he had been a destroyerman.  However, also to a man, no destroyer sailor would have had it any other way.

...and those aren't heavy seas !

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blue Water Sailors - Heavy Seas

Sailors tend to be a pretty close-knit group and they have a lingo all their own; some of it steeped in centuries of tradition.  They sail over the horizon and disappear from sight of loved ones left on the piers at home.  What occurs on the other side of the horizon can be difficult to describe.  Much of it is pretty monotonous.  Engines drone on and daily routines repeat again and again.

Sunsets are often spectacular; you don't see much wildlife.  A few flying fish jump out occasionally, glide a few feet, then plunge into the water again.  Porpoise ride your bow wave in and out of port, then disappear once you're further out.  No birds if you're far enough at sea.  Sharks' fins rarely break the surface.  

Gooney birds glide up, over, and down the wake; pirouette on a wing tip touching the surface and retrace their flight path in the other direction ...they're spectacular aviators and they venture out a lot farther than the Gulls.

Then, the skies darken, the swells pick up....and, pick up higher.....and, wow.  Heavy seas...a sailor's code for a wild ride.  Hard to clearly describe heavy seas to a landlubber.  Words don't quite cover it...even good ones.  The clip below does a good job of showing a ship, the 456' French Frigate shown above, riding out heavy seas.  Words don't quite cover it.  Sound is great on this...view full screen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The EHHS Social Order – 8.1 – Handley Junior High 8th & 9th Grades

Back in the day, as today’s cliché goes, Handley and Meadowbrook Junior High Schools (No kiddies, they weren’t called Middle Schools then) were located about 5-miles apart, roughly along Meadowbrook Drive, as they still are today. 

There was some interplay between the two communities but, in my experience, not much.  That interplay tended to be centered at the local churches and for the kids, summer sports.  As a relatively late arrival to the EH community, I had essentially no knowledge of the Handley contingent of my future Highlander classmates.  All I recall of Handley JH was that each of my 2 falls at Meadowbrook we met their football team on a local field I scarcely remember…I think it was the old Handley HS field. 

Thanks to a loan of a 1960 Handley JH yearbook, and absent an essay from one of my Handley EH classmates, I’ll have a swing at describing what I think was going on at Handley during these grades.  However, I have no idea how the personal connections with one another might have been. 

The East Side Social Order was really a mixed bag of families from the fairly prosperous to those barely getting by.  Conversations with others have persuaded me that the EH and earlier social order was not entirely our own doing…it was also our parents doing some sorting of their own.  More on that later; for now, I’ll just make the statement that Meadowbrook people were seen as snobs by Poly people and Meadowbrook people tended to look down on Handley people but, not necessarily on Poly people. 

The reasons for that appear to be fairly subtle…Meadowbrook was actually a newer NE extension of the much older Poly area.  Graduates of MJH all went on to Poly until EHHS opened in 1959 and then took about 60% or more of the MJH students.  Handley, on the other hand, was an area about as old as Poly that had existed for decades as a distinctly separate community situated along the old Dallas Pike, complete with its own Handley High School.  When EHHS opened, it entirely absorbed HHS, leaving HJH in the same building with most of the same faculty.

The pictures that follow are from the 1960 HJH yearbook and show our Handley counterparts in the 9th grade just before we joined with them at EHHS, fall of 1960.  What I see in these pictures contradicts the notion I’ve been told, that Handley was an inferior school to Meadowbrook or, at least it was seen as such in the eyes of some of our parents.  For instance, the well-known Morris clan patriarch refused to put his boys through Handley on the belief that Handley was inferior; this, even though his family lived in the Handley school zone. 

MJH was a much newer school, having opened fall 1954, where our Handley counterparts had the advantage of attending a much older, much more established school with a seasoned faculty.  Observing the 1959 HHS reunion preparations and communications a few years ago, I was impressed with how well they had done in life and how complimentary they were of their school and teachers.  It was the 50th reunion of HHS’ last graduating class. 

The pictures illustrate a range of activities and recognitions that go well beyond what we had at MJH.  They were obviously the beneficiaries of a continuation of the long established HHS traditions and practices.  For one important thing, they had a yearbook, where MJH didn’t.  Pay attention too, to the color pictures used as section dividers.  They are remarkably clear, color reflections of small bits of our life then, which are seldom found in color and in this fine condition.  Thanks, Lynda !  If we were too tough on you guys, Gus apologizes.

I wondered how Suzanne and Dianah could displace our Meadowbrook cheerleaders when we convened as Sophomores or, where the popular and very quiet Roy got his support at EH.  But, these pages show that they were pretty much Mr. and Miss everything at Handley where, at Meadowbrook we might have been somewhat more diluted in our loyalties.  Anyway, this bunch comported themselves very well indeed, at EHHS.

Handley's smarties, yearbook and newspaper staffs.

 O.K., there you are, Pups !

Monday, December 09, 2013

The EHHS Social Order – 8.0 – Meadowbrook 8th & 9th Grades

Since I moved to the Meadowbrook area at the start of this 8th grade year, I had no idea how the social pecking orders had settled out there the year before.  However, if Meadowbrook was anything like my 7th grade year at Richland, the end of that 7th year left us with a moderate feeling of detachment.  In some instances old friends had somewhat faded and new ones had replaced them but, gone were the long-standing familiar and comfortable ways of our elementary school years.  We were now through puberty and ready for the next chapter and, what to do with it !

The comfort of our small elementary school classes behind us, and the much more raucous first year of Junior High fresh in our minds, for me 8th was just stacking up to be another 7th with the same kind of kids with whom we had not yet settled into our places in the pecking order.  So, how difficult could it be to do 8th grade in a new school—well, it wasn’t.  However, in retrospect, it helped that I still wanted to play football for, on those dusty fields were other boys with similar aspirations.  And at Meadowbrook that 8th grade year they would turn out to be a remarkable group of boys that would later achieve at very high levels at EHHS.  I’ve been told by younger class members that they were known locally as the “Rat Pack.”  More on them later.

Spending after school hours each fall, standing around watching, shooting the breeze, and playing football was a very effective integrating activity.  There you could quickly size up who was good, who was not so good, who was intelligent, funny, quick, slow, and just about every other human trait one might notice. 

Unquestionably, slots in our male pecking order were substantially sorted out then.  And, as a newcomer with no particular outstanding traits, my place in the sorting was muddled at best but, not entirely excluded by what would turn out to be a fairly exclusive group of strong willed youngsters.  They were curious about me, I suppose.

The composite photo above is taken from the team picture at the beginning of this article and shows my recollection of who made up the Meadowbrook boys’ in-crowd.  There were others in school that held adjunct positions with that group but, they were not (football) athletes like this bunch.  Tom Koebernick, Steve Means, Mike Cooper, and Paul Tate had been classmates since the 1st grade at Meadowbrook Elementary in 1951.  Danny McCoy and Larry Guthrie had been classmates and pals since their first grade year at Poly Elementary.  Those two joined this MJH gang in the 8th grade, like me.  Sam Scott, Kendall McCook, and Bob Dillard had joined the Meadowbrook gang about the 5th or 6th grade.  I think Paul Shields and Glen Brandon were relatively late arrivals, too.  Adjunct members I recall were Bob Larmer and Charlie Rigby.

Between them, this group earned about 9 or 10 EHHS football letters and several more in baseball, basketball, track, and tennis.  They played on 2 city championship football teams, 9th and 12th grades, and 4 of them were recognized as all-city players.  They weren’t academic slouches either.  Paul Tate was our top ranking scholar at EHHS, and 6 others were EH honors graduates.  They were lively, smart, and possessed pretty powerful personalities which probably made it difficult for others to join in with them.

Some pretty good visual clues to how the MJH cliques were (or had) formed can be readily seen in the Stars Over Meadowbrook programs and pictures shown in the blog article elsewhere.  As I recall it, there was a great excitement each Spring to organize acts for the program and both the rehearsals and stage preparations provided plenty of after-school time for those social interactions to strengthen relationships.  In my case it was the fortunate happenstance that each year’s program featured a gag act employing a number of members of the football teams who basically had no talent whatsoever but, could be counted on to show up, have a good time, and tease the girls. 
On the distaff side of the MJH in-crowd were, of course, our cheerleaders, Gay, Julie, and Celia along with their entourage, Kay Humphrey, Sharron Ballem, Candy Woodward, Carole Stallcup, Carolyn Marcotte, and maybe a few others.  As a newcomer, it wasn’t clear to me just how the social connections had been made nor on what commonalities they were based but, it was clear that connections already existed by the time I joined the class.

The Stars Over Meadowbrook programs provided a lot of jobs for probably all the kids having an interest in participating.  Besides the stage acts, there were announcers, stage hands, choirs, music, directors, and such.  Two of the memorable ’63 girls’ cliques (in my mind) are the girls shown in the pictures above.  I think they stayed close all the way through EHHS a few years later and several of them are still friends involved in getting our class reunions organized.  Those long-standing friendships are quite a substantial track record !

See part 8.1 next 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Leonard's Star Awards - FWISD

These Leonard's Star Award pins showed up late in the school year and were presented by Mr. Roy Johnson, Mr. K.O. Vaughn, and Miss Odell at a school assembly. I found an article in an old school paper that stated these pins required a straight A in Citizenship and no academic grade below a B.  While a spirited teen, I found those citizenship "A's" a little elusive at times.

Leonard's was sold to Tandy in 1967, was expanded a bit, then sold to Dillard's in 1974 and the Leonards signs came down. A person wrote to tell of receiving one of these pins in 1974.

Seniors in our 1961 yearbook mentioned them in their short bios, which would suggest that the pins dated to at least 1958 and a HHS '58 graduate wrote to tell of his first award in 1956. So, at present we know the program ran at least from 1956-1974.

At the end of our senior year 24 students received a gold pin, while about 50 students received a silver pin. By comparison, the 1962 class earned 31 gold pins.

The Leonard’s Star Awards were a kind of additional recognition for those who managed to achieve high academic standing.  The rules for the award were straight forward: for an entire year, No academic grade below a B and No citizenship grade below an A.  In those days the numerical range for a B was 87-92, so an 86 in a course could throw you out for one of the Leonard’s pins.

The awards were designed to function something like the Olympic medals; a Bronze for the first year’s achievement, a Silver for the second, and finally a Gold for the third year. In practice, this program was more like an endurance run in that it set a specific floor for the minimum grades and provided no allowance for any short-term variations in an individual’s grades.

In those days, each teacher submitted a separate citizenship grade for each class, each 6-weeks marking period, and if you had a bit of a clash going with a teacher or two, they could also knock you out of the run for a Leonard’s pin.

Although it is of no consequence now, it is interesting to note a few things about this listing of recipients that were not obvious at the time.  About 26% of this 1963 class graduated with honors; however, slightly less than half of the honors graduates, or about 12% got one of the 1963 Leonard’s Star award pins.

About 8% of the class earned a gold pin.  As you would expect, those with the highest honors earned the most pins; however, there were some who missed the minimum requirements for one of the pins who were among our sharpest classmates.

Another interesting thing is that about 75% of both the pins and the graduation honors went to female graduates.  Only 23 of the 80 honors graduates were boys.  No wonder the womens' rights movement took off shortly after we graduated!

Any idea when Leonard's started the program with the FWISD?

The picture at right is a pin that was awarded to my father who graduated from a Dallas high school just before WWII. It was called the Linz Award, named for the long established Dallas Jeweler and has the initials, "DHS" for Dallas High Schools, in the center. It was given to all Dallas High School students who achieved a 90 average or higher and was established sometime after 1924.

Two years later he was in the nose of a B-17 bound for Berlin on one of the first daylight missions flown by the USAAF to that destination.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Lucky Bastards

Shared 55-years on earth with Dad. A certified Lucky Bastard, he made it without a scratch and had no stirring stories; just a few humorous musings. So, for all those 55-years I had only modest regard for his exploits and remained captivated by the on-screen derring-do of Gregory, Steve, and others in the movies.
Then, after Dad passed away I undertook a study to learn what had become of the planes he flew...he had kept a list of the tail numbers. 

In his 30-missions, 6 of the 9 planes on his list, ended up like this one, or worse. Gregory still entertains me but, Dad was the one who wrote the story for Greg...Greg just read the lines !

Nov. 27 update:  The hulk of "9 Little Yanks and a Jerk" pictured above was associated most closely with the Bloody Hundredth Hughes crew.  Bob Hughes, a well-known 100th pilot entered combat in mid-1943, participating in the notorious October 1943 Schweinfurt-Regensburg raid that became synonymous with the danger and carnage endured by Eighth Air Force airmen early in the air war.

His story merited a fairly complete telling in Martin Bowman's 1984 book, "Castles in the Sky."  He and his crew was one of the few to survive a full tour of 25-missions.  The crew photo below came from his personal collection.  Col. Hughes stayed in the Air Force after the war, was awarded the Bronze Star in Vietnam and lived to the age of 85, passing away in 2003

 Keep 'em Flying !

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Movie, Museum & Memories

Movie, Museum & Memories
by Danny McCoy

If you grew up in Fort Worth you may be inclined to occasionally utter: fixin' to, bless your heart or Bigger than Dallas.  Our Cowtown seemed to always be in the shadows of Dallas.  In the 60s my brother and I jointly wrote a movie review column in the weekly college paper,  The Reel McCoys.  We caught the latest offbeat or independent flicks at the neighborhood movie theaters, Ridglea, Bowie and the Seventh Street Theater which was a preferred destination with Kleinschmidt Bakery and the Carnation Restaurant close by.  We would take our dates to the newest movie openings on 7th Street in Fort Worth. We attended many movies and double features at the Worth, Hollywood and Palace. For over 35 years Monroe Odom sold the Star-Telegram sitting on his canvas chair outside the Worth Hotel. After a late Saturday night movie, you could always get a fresh Star-Telgram’s Sunday edition from Monroe on your way out of the movie. When Amon Carter died he remembered Monroe in his Will with $250. Bob Schieffer who wrote for the Star-Telegram prior to CBS remembered that Monroe would sometimes come to the city desk and complain that he could not sell papers if we didn’t put better headlines on them!  On November 22, 1963, Monroe Odom finally had a headline that would sell all the papers that he could get his hand on. 

When we had writer’s block which quite often or were behind an approaching deadline, we would arrange for a quick double date for a movie in Dallas. At only 28 miles away plus $1.20 on the I-30 Toll Road we would take in a premier in Dallas. For the longest our collegiate readers thought that we really had a Hollywood connection. It was generally not known that Dallas got all the new movies first. Sometimes the same films would open a week or two later in Fort Worth.  We thought we were super cool to be the first on our campus to see and write about the newest James Bond flick.

So Dallas too had its movie row. The Tower, Melba and Majestic were all in close proximity on East Elm. The Majestic auditorium had a blue sky semi-dome ceiling with painted white clouds. After the organ music reached its coda and the lights begin to dim as the red velvet curtains were slowly opening, those of us from Cowtown who was still gazing up at the ceiling, a bit slack jaw, would also be amazed at the  many embedded lights that began to flicker as faux stars.  Yes, Dallas was bigger and brighter than Fort Worth.  In the summer of 1963 at the Tower we saw Elizabeth Taylor roll out of a Persian carpet on to the big screen as she became Cleopatra. Later in November only fourteen blocks west on Elm Street the Dallas shadow and the lights became darker.

Fifty years later we took a trip to the Sixth Floor Museum in the old Texas School Book Depository, to reflect and refresh the memories of JFK in our two hyphenated cities. Prior to his Texas trip, the young President had raised the ire of the ultra-elite  in Dallas. They had jointly determined that President Kennedy was soft on communism; moving forward with the Civil Rights Act and would soon be limiting their tax loop holes for Big Oil. This very thought infuriated Dallas Morning News Publisher, Ted Dealey; General Edward A Walker - a staunch segregationist; Nelson Bunker Hunt and even Harvey Bum Bright - oilman and future owner of the Dallas Cowboys (which may contribute to the reason so many still hate the Cowboys today). They ran a full paid negative ad on President Kennedy on page 14 of the Dallas Morning News. The Sixth Floor Museum highlights the events of those associated with the American Fact Finding Committee, the Indignant White Citizens Council, Sons of the Confederate Veterans and the John Birch Society.

And if you have made it this far, here is your free Reel McCoy Movie Review:

Parkland is now available on DVD and at Redbox. It is about JFK’s fateful weekend in Dallas. It features Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder and Billy Bob Thornton as Secret Service Agent, Forrest Sorrels. You should also recognize a familiar face known as Marcia Gay Harden in her role as an Emergency Room nurse. Parkland was made in Texas, but the Producer was Tom hanks whose son, Colin Hanks, plays one of the doctors.  See if you can spot him.  We did a fact check and the movie follows a factual thread.  Parkland is a must see prior to the JFK 50th Anniversary. 

Where were you when President Jack Kennedy was assassinated?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The EHHS Social Order - 7 – 7th Grade & More (Gasp!) Puberty

After one final summer of Little League baseball, a final summer of collecting the baseball cards of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, among many other greats of that day, no boy/girl stuff, bike explorations into the deep mysteries of the wilderness east of Richland Hills, tadpoles, crawdad fishing, and a bunch of similar pleasant distractions, 7th grade and their bouts with puberty awaited the boys at Junior High.

The girls had been dealing with their own pubescent bewilderment for about a year or so by now.  Elvis topped the pop charts and so did Pat Boone.  And the girls tended to flock together to learn and dance to the new Rock ‘n Roll music that was filling the radio waves.  Starting near the end of 6th grade, a number of parents hosted fairly large house parties, inviting both boys and girls, where most everyone started learning to dance.  If you didn’t dance….you were “square” and most likely not invited to the parties.

For a few of the elementary years, some of the kids had been gathering together for small birthday parties and swim parties at local pools.  Private pools may have existed this early (1956-57), but they were rare—most of us were just getting acquainted with real air conditioning about this time and a few of our families were just getting their second car.  Ft. Worth was blessed with a number of privately owned public pools such as Burger’s Lake, Barbrook, Lucas, and the Meadowbrook CC pool on Jenson.

Another active venue for boys and girls to gather were the neighborhood movie theaters and nearby eateries.  On the East Side, it was the Gateway theater; in Richland Hills it was the Haltom theater and occasionally, the Tower at 5-Points (or, is it 6-Points?).  A lot of us had been going to the Saturday matinees since the early grades.  During all those years we were content to goof around with friends, throw pop corn off the balcony, and eat plenty of junk food.  About the start of 7th grade, we started noticing our opposites…girls and boys.

Junior High.  I suspect that our first days at Junior High were about the same no matter which school we attended.  9th graders were a lot larger than we 7th graders and the 8th graders were also a little larger.  For a 7th grade boy, that meant that for the first time in his life, he had to face other boys that posed a threat….bullies.  

Since I attended 7th and 8th grades at different schools, I had the opportunity to observe and deal with bullies in both schools…they were about the same in each place.  They were generally a little larger, not too bright, some of them perpetually menacing, some happy-go-lucky, but all shared a common trait.  They were ready and able to fight at the drop of a hat whenever someone angered them…which wasn’t at all difficult to do.  Since I hadn’t been trained to fight, lacked size, and valued the integrity of my teeth, eyes and nose, I gave these guys a wide berth.  However, they were never far away, especially in the PE classes. 

Bullies were also prolific sources of new vocabulary words I was sure I couldn’t repeat in any company I was likely to keep.  One of Meadowbrook bullies told me that he had gotten, “a 25¢ piece” over the weekend.  Piece of what, I wondered.  When he or someone else explained, I still had little clue what he meant.  In retrospect, I suppose it was one of those many subtle eureka moments during the march through puberty.  By 9th grade, most of our adolescent thugs were gone…somewhere and we didn’t see them at EHHS.

Lots of new kids.  At Junior High, our 2 or 3 sixth grade classes from our 3 or 4 former elementary schools were joined with one another forming a much larger student population about 3-4 times larger than we had been in school with all those elementary years.  That meant more pretty girls, more sports competition, more academic competition, and losing the strong ties with our earlier friends as new ones came forward.

My girlfriend situation that year was a mixed bag.  Gone after just that one 6th grade year, was the beautiful Kay Sturkie who had broken my heart over that 6 grade picnic deal; but, rejoining me after our having been separated since 3rd grade was the beautiful Donna who had been my love interest in the “old days.”  Now 12, she hadn’t aged too well but, she was as affectionate as ever (back in 3rd grade !) and pasted herself to me all that year.  However, a young man’s eye does tend to wander, even at that tender age and mine certainly did. 

Cheerleaders.  Besides all the various coveys of girls intently focused on girl stuff, Rock ‘n Roll, and dancing, there was the new and exciting prospect of a new group of very visible young gals…the Cheerleaders !  We had had them in elementary school but, those were different since we had known them since the early grades.  From a 7th grader’s perspective, these new Junior High cheerleaders were older women…all 5 of them either 8th or 9th graders.  Added to that wonderful new environment was the traditional all-school pep rally in the auditorium which would be a fall staple all the way through the rest of our schooling at EHHS. 

It was immediately clear to any observant 7th grade boy that being close to one or more of those cheerleaders would put you in the most visible of all the school groups.  But, in 7th grade, it was also clear to that same boy…he had no standing as a significant figure yet.  So, I suppose the pages in my 7th grade yearbook was this adolescent’s closest pass at the cheerleader spotlight…they all signed my book…at my request.  Guess I had one of those innocent, wishful looks about me then.  But, as an experienced autograph collector by then, having already scored autographs from Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Rogers Hornsby, maybe there was a little more juice to the kid than I recall.

House Parties.  A fairly significant component of our early social sorting were the house parties given at various homes around the area.  This was a somewhat common event in both the Richland Hills and Meadowbrook neighborhoods where I attended both schools.  I believe these parties to have been more our parents’ creation than ours.  Of course, as kids we were more than happy to go along with the party idea since it provided additional venues for socializing between the boys and girls….and it was fun…well, it was for those who were invited.  And therein lay some problems.  Not all of us could participate because we weren’t invited.

Of course to throw a party, a family had to have a large enough house and yard.  Most of us didn’t. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Barney Fife Lives....in Georgia ! & Iowa, & TX, & MA, & WI, & CA

I feel so much more secure knowing that officer Kelly is on the job...don't you? This is why Barney got only one bullet and he had to keep it in his shirt pocket.

Sept. 2013 update:

Hadn't had a look at this piece since putting it up a couple of years ago, I thought it might be interesting to see what became of officer Kelly.  Didn't find much about her, but there have been some substantial writers and publications weighing in since then.

FORBES 2011:  "The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands"

American Thinker 2012:   "Lemonade Freedom Day"

A lot of folks believe this issue is trending much larger than some kids' stands.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gus Calls for a Shoutout

One of our more prominent ’63 Highlanders lives in the area of Colorado that has, since last Friday, been devastated by several days of flooding.  She is Susan Begley, who I’m sure most of us recall as a gentle and beautiful soul.  Her home is undamaged however, all but one highway leading in and out of the area has been washed out, power is off and likely will be out for an extended period, as will the lack of stable roadways.

Susan has been a silent and significant contributor to the blog over the period of some months.  She has adequate family and friend support nearby which should be enough to aid she and her husband weather the difficult time ahead.  Faithful to his Hippocratic Oath, her husband is out, helping others.

I want to try an act of Highlander “crowd sourcing” support and I am calling on all ex-Highlanders to write just a line or two of your best wishes and encouragement.  If you recall anything specific in your recollections of her back at EHHS, a short anecdote perhaps, I'm sure those would be particularly meaningful and uplifting.  

Please, use your own words and post them to the Facebook thread or email to me at ehhs1963@yahoo.  I plan to paste your words into a blog page that I know she can and will read when I let her know it’s there.  (Her Internet is also out so, she has to log in from somewhere else now and then--it's a 2-mile hike to the closest car)  Since the blog is open to the world, you tell me how to style your credit line….first name and class only, or both names.  It’s your choice.

Let’s see what we can muster from a bunch of older characters ….we got 80 to the 50th in May.  Maybe we can do better than that here.  Older and younger classes who recall Susan are very welcome, too.  I’m sure she will appreciate your thoughts. 


Go Highlanders !

  1. As Highlanders we are all family and all seem to come together during times of need. Prayers for all who are in Colorado during these tragic times. May God keep everyone safe! Ginny Darnell - Class of 1977

  1. Susan, I am so sorry to hear that you and yours have been so affected by those terrible floods. Hopes and prayers that you stay safe and that things get better as each day goes by.  Kellie Pelham Maisch  ‘62

  1. Susan , I will keep you in my prayers!!  So sorry you you are affected by the terrible floods!!!  Stay safe!  Dianne Hardin Sztamenits

  1. Sending thoughts and prayers to our classmate Susan Begley Anderson, EHHS '63, who, according to Gus, is unharmed but in the middle of this devastation. Be safe, Susan, and tell us how we can help.  Susan Craig Gregg ’65 (Bill Hunsaker’s lil’ sis)   

  1. Oh, my! Susan, we're sending our good thoughts and prayers and are thankful that you are safe.  No one ever expects something like this to happen to them...take care! -- from Donna Seate, EHHS '64

  1. Hope all is well and things get back to normal very soon, Susan.  Nick Loesch ‘65

  1. My favorite memory of Susan Begley is her rendition of "There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly!" in the Big "E" Beauty pageant. I'll bet she is maintaining that same grace and poise in dealing with this crisis.  Susan Craig Gregg  ‘65

  1. Susan, we're praying you and your family during this very difficult time in beautiful Colorado.  Carolyn Dake Eads ‘65

  1. Susan....so sorry to hear the news about the flooding in your area but thankful your home is okay.  With the necessities of life being strained, it is our prayer things will ease soon.  We actually have family in CO but they have not been hit as your area has been.  May God's sweet embrace bring you comfort and peace as you walk out this journey at this difficult time.  Please know we are thinking of you and praying for relief and protection.  Love ya!  Carol Crowder (Dacy)

  1. Susan & Gil: With the world news available anytime and at our fingertips on all of our electronic gadgets, we are constantly confronted with the good and the bad that happens in our global world. Even though we did not know her, in 1987 we worried all day about Baby Jessica who was trapped in a backyard well in Midland, Texas

The recent Colorado disaster was not just a flash flood or another another hint of global warming. When the pictures/videos became available it was insane and devastating. Sure there were Texas Thoughts such as: Why do they get all the rain and we are still in a drought?  and  Will the ski slopes be open this winter? 

But when you know good people that are affected by it, the situation requires more focus. Susan & Gil, we are glad that you are safe and will rebound. After all, someone recently wrote: Don't stop thinking about tomorrow . . . keep moving, growing, learning, seeking, traveling and Being.

I specifically remember one busy night in 1976 when I was working at Colonial Country Club. There was a dinner hosted by the Tarrant County Medical Society. I stopped by the room to make sure all was OK. I stayed to listen to the award presentation to Dr. Grant Begley. The Society had honored your father with the Gold-Headed Cane Award.  Later I learned that it was an old English custom where respected doctors donned white wigs and carried gold-headed canes. 

Your face was proudly beaming. Not only because your father's dedication, but maybe because you realized that you were also from good stock. As a father of three daughters, a beaming face is always better than an award cane.

It is that confidence that will guide you through the next few months and turn this  Rocky Mountain Low back to High.  From: EHHS Classmates - Danny McCoy 1963 & Linda Dorough McCoy 1964

  1. Don’t know exactly what to ask for but I am praying that God will put his loving arms around you & let you know that you aren’t alone in this difficult time.  God knows who you are & what crisis that you may be experiencing.  There are times in all of our lives that things seem hopeless & you feel isolated, just know that others care.  God bless & may things start to look brighter soon.  Sincerely,  Susie W. ‘63

  1. Susan, praying for you and your family!  Sharon Hubbard ‘63

  1. Susan, We are all watching the news about the flooding in Colorado. So sorry you are caught up in this tragedy and wish you all the best. Nature seems to be testing us a lot these past years and that is when the comfort of friends and family are needed the most. We will hold you in our prayers. Take care.  Biff Flatt ‘62

  1. Hi Susan . Hang in there . Hopefully you won't need an Ark ! I'm sorry you are too near this bad  flooding ! Hope you and yours stay dry  Keep your oars ready and be vigilant . It was nice to see you in May. Dona Blackstone Brandt ‘63

  1. Susan, Through all the many years and life's challenges, large and small, we can all count on the support of our Lord and the encouragement of our classmates! Stay safe and strong,  Meg Garland ‘64

  1. Susan, please know that all your Texas friends are hoping that you & all the other people of Colorado will soon see a "ray of sunshine" break through & that the rain & storms will stop.  Our prayers are with you all.  I have cousins in Boulder with a flooded basement, so was already aware of the hardships.  Take care & good luck!  Gail (DeVore) Longley

  1. Susan, so thrilled to be reconnecting with you, but so sorry it's under these circumstances. I, too, still remember you as our EHHS Beauty Queen ~ as beautiful on the inside as you were on the outside. I'm so sad for what you are going through because of the devastating floods in Boulder--but so thankful you, your family and your home have been spared. I'm praying for God's continued protection, provision and for your strength and endurance in the coming days.
    With much affection,  Sherri Sledge Pulliam '64

  1. Hi Susan, I was sorry to hear you were affected by the terrible Colorado floods. As the Chinese, who know a thing or two about natural – and manmade disasters – like to say, “che dao shan qian bi you lu.” When the cart reaches the mountain, a path through will appear.  In other words, Everything will eventually work out okay.  Best to you and your family,  Larry Guthrie

  1. Susan, you were always easy to notice and pleasant.   Thanks, and thinking of you and family as you get your lives back in order.   Cheers,  Mel Fenn

  1. Susan and Gil, it was so good to visit with you at the reunion.  Can't believe what has happened in CO!  And more disturbing,  that you guys are caught up in it.  I hear Gil is doing the doc thing which is wonderful.  Hope you have electricity soon.  Knowing how resourceful you guys are, I am sure lemonade is being made somehow from the lemon drops from the sky.  And I am sure you are both finding additional ways of assisting others.  Many thoughts and prayers are coming your way.  Take courage.  Vicki Held Burns

Susan checks in,

Hi Gus,  Thanks again for the heartfelt posts on your blog.  Thanks to each of you for your calls and emails.  As I have said in most of my messages, we are going hour to hour and day by day here.  As our flooded creek has receded, the road equipment that went across our front meadow has managed to complete a one lane dirt emergency access road and bridge across the creek.  Above us it is particularly muddy and slippery and dangerous, so the Road District has asked us to take our cars to the other side of the bridge and limit traffic.  Who knows about compliance, but we have taken both cars to the bottom of our hill.  

Since hiking is one of our favorite things to do, we will just add hiking with a backpack of groceries up our fairly steep hill -- interesting choices of food and weight to consider at Safeway -- powdered milk in my morning chai, of course!  (Gus note:  Susan was one of those EH gals who could send you to the dictionary having to look up a word that she used in casual conversation; chai = tea.  Gus still makes do with Maxwell House original grind....black !  She used "unobtrusive" on me back at EH...had to look it up...and never forgot it !).

Since we are in the "no flush" zone (our sewer connection was damaged in the flood), Gil has cleverly constructed a camping toilet in the garage -- also one for my studio!  Those orthopedic skills are coming in handy in retirement!

My sister was evacuated by helicopter and has no car, so we will get our car to her at the end of the month.  With no place in particular to go (our main access highways to the front range will take months or even a year to repair, so our 1 hour drive to see the grandchildren is now a mountainous 5-6 hour drive), Gil and I are sure we can make it through the winter with only one car.  We are so much more fortunate than most flood victims -- my sister has no way to get home and no idea of how long it will be till she can see her husband and her friends again.  And a good potter friend lost everything -- home, studio, kiln, and art gallery -- all swept away by West Creek, which is usually a tiny stream with wild raspberries along the path, tempting hikers and bears alike to nibble in the fall.  (We are hoping the road holds so Leah can share my studio this winter -- and so we can deliver our work to galleries.)

Rumors fly -- mandatory evacuation, National Guard rescue, FEMA funds to fix our road, phone and Internet restoration, and all sorts of dire threats of famine and pestilence.  But the best part have been the people, volunteering with shovels and Bobcats and ATVs (not my favorite part, for our meadow was the only access for the neighborhood and now sports mud wallows and track marks everywhere).  Still nature will heal the meadow much faster than other flood damage can be repaired and roads can be replaced.

It got down to 38 degrees last night, so we are grateful that our gas line is not damaged and concerned about our friends down the hill without heat or stoves.  There's new snow on Longs Peak, and the aspen are beginning to change, and the elk are gathering their harems  -- the natural world continues to delight and amaze us, leaving us awestruck in the face of such power.  My heartfelt thanks to every one of you, Susan

  1. Dear Susan,  I'm sorry that you all are in the midst of the rains and flooding.  Please know that I'm praying for you and the others who are experiencing this tragedy.  May God give all of you healing and hope.    Sincerely,  Julie Hudson Beadle


    Thursday, September 05, 2013

    Prone Position

    This is an interesting 1942 picture of some Los Angeles high school girls practicing their marksmanship.  Wow !  Guns in schools…and no one was injured….they were taught by the R.O.T.C. Sgt. how to use the rifle ! 

    EHHS had the same thing going on out in those wooden “temporary” buildings where the R.O.T.C. classes were held.  I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I wasn’t part of that activity but did have an interest in one or more of those R.O.T.C. sponsors.  Sorry to say, some of us weren’t too respectful of the boys, but I have to give it to them…their taste in lovely young ladies was exceptional !

    As I’ve also mentioned elsewhere in the blog, getting a good opportunity to effectively appraise our young ladies’ figures was difficult in those days due to their wardrobe choices, which mostly mimicked their mothers’ 1940s garb.

    So, one memorable afternoon after school, I had some (rare) free time to go out and meet one of the girls I was kind of sweet on…she and the others were on the range, I had to wait.  Now, I’ve always been a very impatient “waiter” but this afternoon was different.

    I took a seat in back of them where I had an unobstructed view of the target range.  There, dressed in their R.O.T.C. shorts (or, maybe PE shorts…I forget) were several of our Class of 1963 loveliest, laying prone on the floor, armed, facing downrange, firing away at the targets.  Their shooting form was terrific and I didn’t mind the wait.

    No clue if any of them hit the target.