Thursday, August 15, 2013

The EHHS Social Order – 5 – Foundations.2

A few more comments on the years leading up to our pivotal 6th grade year come to mind.  If you grew up in a home consisting of a “standard” family….2 parents and maybe some siblings, count yourself lucky.  Not all of us did.  I’ve had a number of correspondences from those not so blessed and the stories they tell illuminate an otherwise overlooked truth; that being, a not inconsequential number of our classmates had to deal with personal struggles that most of us did not.  More to the point, we probably never gave such things a thought.

Some of us came from single parent homes where the father had passed away young, maybe killed in WWII, there were divorces, and some came from the Tarrant County Children’s Home located on Lancaster, just south of Tandy Elementary.  It was called the “Orphans’ Home” on the maps but not all the youngsters there were orphans.  Some of them were abandoned as a result of domestic disruptions between their parents—leaving neither wanting their children.  The TCCH kids were mostly sent to Tandy Elementary, then to William James Junior High, then Poly High School.  One former TCCH resident said you could always tell the TCCH boys…we always wore striped T-Shirts and long-leg jeans with the cuffs rolled way up.  (yes, that's Kay Humphrey standing just behind him to the left in a Tandy class picture).

Since our particular birth years, 1944-45, occurred during WWII, our inceptions could have easily been attributed to immature choices made by our parents in the emotion of their time.  Most of them weren’t so fortunate as our generation to experience the luxury of time and peace that provided us a smorgasbord of choices as we started our adult lives.  And it’s reasonable to assume that there was some measure of family stress within a number of our homes in those days.

Scouting and church youth activities continued to bring us together socially as we matured through the later elementary years and approached Junior High.  There were 2 Boy Scout troops and at least one Girl Scout troop.  All were quite active for a number of years.  A number of boys I knew well joined Mr. Hunsaker’s Troop 25 which met at his house on Oakland while boys I didn't know so well joined Troop 12 that met at Meadowbrook Methodist Church.  Troop 25 produced two Eagle Scouts, Bill Hunsaker & Jeff Nusbaum; Troop 12 produced several, Warren Koch, Bruce Butler's brother, & others.  Ultimately, the Girl Scout Troop that met at Mrs. Hofmann’s house produced 10 Curved Bar scouts.

Gus didn't participate in these scout activities but, did join a troop on the Northeast side for a short time.  That was about 6th or 7th grade and I found the troop too large and populated with some older boys who tended to be bullies.  A single venture into the Outback where the task was to read a magnetic compass and pace off so many steps in an assigned direction that was utterly ignored by the attending adults thoroughly flummoxed Gus, who then said, "to heck with this."  Never had much patience for busy work, a notion that clearly developed at an early age. 

There were other influences that shaped our early outlooks.  Most of us on the East Side attended older elementary schools dating to the 1922-1938 period where wood floors and old cabinetry was installed.  Not until arriving at Meadowbrook did we encounter a newer school built in the early to mid-fifties which tended to be brighter with lots of windows, green chalk boards, and linoleum flooring.  How that might have affected outlooks, I don’t know; it’s mentioned just as an observation.  Some of us who transferred in from newer neighborhoods attended new schools from the start of our trek through public schooling.

Gus note:  been distracted by beautiful weather and other activities so, there may be a few more words added here when focus returns.


Anonymous said...

Well, at least we were not Home Schooled. Or maybe some of us should have tempered our over zealous social skills. DMc

Gus said...

Yes, spot on. We'll be getting to that later.