Friday, May 31, 2013

50th Reunion Photos by Walt

The professional photographer engaged to record this momentous occasion has posted his results online where individual images are available now for purchase at reasonable cost.  His image quality is excellent as you can see from the narrow crop image below. 

Click here to visit his site, check in with your choice of a screen name and password.  There are upwards of 100 images on the site, all with familiar faces smiling out from them.

Note to ‘64s and ‘65s:  Give Walt a shout if you like what you see.  ‘63s seem pleased with the results…thanks, Walt.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yes, Dear - The Reunion

Been 3-years since wife saved my life.

Some days she has regrets; others like last night, she prepares that wonderful “chicken thing.”  It’s a superb casserole dish and a house specialty for at least 30-years.

"Why didn’t you go to your reunion,” she asks.

“We had that thing, you know,” I reply.

“Oh yes, that thing.”

“Besides, those folks never elected me to a blessed thing….not even a Red Cross rep.  And then there was that girl, she was there….you remember...that one I told you about.”

“Who cares, that was a long time ago,” she replies.

“Exactly, and only a couple of those folks have contacted me since.”


“Oh, nothing… about what I expected.”

But I know all these folks, or rather I knew most of these folks just as all of us were approaching adulthood.  Seems that we shot out of that school like bulbs supercharged on Miracle-Gro and took off for a lot of other places.  We had another few years to mature after EH, and except for a few of these kids, I didn’t see any of them after 1963.

Looks like about 80 attended our 50th.  That’s about 25% of our class of 315, or thereabouts.  About 63% of the class were no shows, but about 12% of our 1963 CLAN could be excused on account of they’re….well, dead.

The photographer took a picture of our Meadowbrook and Handley attendees grouped separately.  That’s an interesting study, since our years at EH were substantially influenced by our differing backgrounds as we combined with one another into an early CLAN.  About 2/3 of the attendees were from Meadowbrook which was about the same percentage distribution when we attended EHHS.

I would estimate that all but perhaps 4 or 5 attendees lived in the DFW area or within a day’s drive from within Texas or nearby states.  From all reports, this was a grand reunion enjoyed by all.

Elsewhere in the blog, I’ve mentioned that in going through my 1963 CLAN, I recognized about 100 of my 1963 classmates; recognized either the names or faces (but not both) of about 100 more; and of the remaining 115 or so, I have no recollection of them whatsoever.  This 50th reunion group is mostly from that first 100 that I recognized.

So, who are these ~80 people?  Well, I see about 20 of our 38 NHS members; 1 of our 4 Summas, in fact he was our top ranking EH scholar in 1963; 18 of our 40 Magnas are there; and 14 of our 36 Cum Laude grads…so, all things considered, this has been a smart group for a long time now.  But, even if they weren’t all top scholars, everyone in the picture represents a success story…they’re 68 now and they look great.

Mr. and Miss EHHS are there; so are about 7 of our 12 favorites as well as 7 of 9 class officers over the years.  Why on earth did we keep electing this repetitive dozen—were they really that good?  Yes, I suppose they were…I don’t recall fleas on any of them.

Miss Big E is here, also 6 of our sports queens, and 3 of our 4 cheerleaders.  Four of these folks had figured Gus out by the night of the party and one has figured it out since.  Each of them pledged to keep the secret and each of them has.

Gus dated 3 of the ladies in the picture and clearly recalls each of them as being beautiful, intelligent, and fun—from the pictures, it looks like they still are...good eye, Gus...way to go, ladies!  Should have married one of them but, had to buy a car first.  And figure out how to support it and her, next.  Aw hell, I had “Animal House” to do first !

There’s a Navy Captain in the picture and a couple of doctors.  Uh, Joe, what happened to the crew cut?   I see a couple of engineers, an author, an artist, 4 or 5 professors…it was a long war, wasn’t it?  I see teachers, contractors, and real estate folks, too.  I think we may thankfully have not contributed another lawyer to the world…except for Leo, of course and I've been told he was a kind one.

So, what did these folks do for Gus?  Well, quite a bit, actually.  In academics, they taught me that there are a lot of smart folks around and there were a ton more after this crew.  In athletics, they taught me that if I let up just a half-step, there would be someone else standing by to take my spot.  That was a good metaphor for the life that came later.  I discovered that people from Texas tend to do well anywhere in the country.  I think it's a competitive thing along with a can-do attitude that's absent in a lot of other places.

And in romance, they taught me the normal stuff but, in addition, that it would be a good idea to get to the point quickly, or move on.  Something ol’ Gus took time enough to hone into a polished performance after he left these 3 perfect lady Highlanders behind and interacted with a bunch more.  I’m thankful that I didn’t do damage to any of them and not until having my own daughter, did I fully appreciate just how vulnerable young girls are.

So just who are these 80 folks?  They were my friends, whether close or nodding; my teammates, and my competitors.  These are the people with whom I shared about half my childhood.  They provided a foundation on which to build a life.  And for that, I’m grateful.  Thank you my friends...good to see you again !


Monday, May 13, 2013

I Came As Fast As I Could

I Came As Fast As I Could 
by Danny McCoy - 2013


Near the end of my Senior year at Eastern Hills High School I had already dropped out of Chemistry and substituted another Speech/Drama class so that I could at least have enough High School credits to make the entry threshold for college. At some point I was going to be a TV weatherman, but it became obvious that I would not be able to pass the core courses for a meteorologist.  I had some exposure to the green screen and knew that I would be able to fill some air time about the different shape of clouds, but they too were hard to pronounce.

So I had to persuade the drama teacher, Miss Alzora Jeffords, to take me in and let me transfer into her class although it was almost three weeks into the spring semester. She agreed, but only if I would commit to play a part in the Senior Play.  I of course graciously accepted.  All through high school I had always played the part of the Teacher’s Pet very well, except when I entered John Ross’ Chemistry Class – I was suddenly out of my elements.

The play that Miss Jeffords  selected was The Mouse That Roared.  I could not believe my luck. A few years earlier I had seen the movie version where the great comedian Peter Sellers had played the lead role, Prime Minister Count Mountjoy, and even some smaller roles at the same time. Sellers was always at his best in the Pink Panther series. I felt that I too could mug a lot and easily adlib my way through an amateur stage play.

Least your forget because you may have been distracted by my stellar performance, the plot summary was as follows:  A very small country, Grand Fenwick, decides that the only way to get out or their economic woes is to declare war on the United States, lose and accept foreign aid. They send an invasion force with Robin Hood type foot soldiers with bows & arrows and a questionable Q Bomb, a football size weapon with the destructive capacity of a hundred atomic bombs.  Of course the United States surrenders; no aid is received; the scientist daughter gets married; America discovers that there were no weapons of mass destruction, but they have a taste for Grand Fenwick’s wine and their wine exports saves the county.

Early into rehearsals it became obvious to my fellow cast members that McCoy was not always prepared. If he was going to carry the play, he probably should remember his stage directions and memorize his lines. So at one point the Director cast Dennis Smith into the lead role. She placated me by allowing me to be the Understudy and I would have a secure position as 3rd Soldier.  You may not know this -  all actors when they get a script count the number of lines that they will be reciting.  Dennis had 672 lines (I still do not know how he remembered all of them).  My count was a bit easy. I had to flip through the script twice and both times my count came to 3 lines. After all these years, I still maintain the skill set to remember them:  (1)Yes Sir ; (2) They went this way and (3) I came as fast as I could.

Recently, I located Dennis Smith. Currently, he is Pastor Father Dennis Smith at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish at 2016 Willis Lane, Keller, Texas near North Tarrant Parkway and Denton Highway. I plan to visit him. At EHHS Dennis had bright red hair; would often wear a bowtie, sometimes carried a brief case; could also carry a tune and had a great personality. But because he was very smart, I often sat next to him in various classes. He would never let me cheat off of him, but he would frown when I would show him one of my test answers.  If he continued to be annoyed, I would change my answer from True to False.

On the night of the play, all of the scenery was in place and I became accustomed to wearing the  green tights. As it turned out the Director had to make a last minute change.  There was a set change problem. So we all had to improvise. During the 2nd Act after Scene 3, Scene  4 was going to have to be performed on the stage apron right next to the flood lights with the curtain closed behind us.  The Director told us to don’t rush our lines. The stage hands needed the time to set Scene 5.

So Count Mountjoy (Dennis Smith ) entered from stage right with the 1st & 2nd soldiers. They had a conversation about the impending invasion and then Count Mountjoy said my cue: Captain, come here I need you!  He repeated it two more times. As I came bolting out from stage left Count Mountjoy said: Where have you been? It was at that point I gave my final line: I came as fast as I could!  As I remembered it, the audience howled. It may have been the biggest laugh of the play or at least in Scene 4.  To enhance my role, I had taken a roll of toilet paper, stuffed the end in my green tights and allowed it to unroll and flutter behind me like a white contrail as I delivered my line: I came as fast as I could.

As I reflect I would like to thank my fellow classmates for their contributions in ministry, in the medical field, in legal services, as teachers and as professionals in their communities. We all made a difference. It was that night that I learned there are no small roles just small actors.

We all contribute in small ways.

(Gus note:  Danny's humor was well ahead of his time.  After EHHS, he got a gig on the "Phil Donohue Show" and I'm sure continued to amuse himself and others with his witty take on daily life.  This piece very well describes a bit that Buford T. Justice immortalized in "Smoky and the Bandit."... nearly 15-years after Danny's performance !