Monday, February 17, 2014

The EHHS Social Order – 8.3 – Our Swimming Pools

I’m still loitering around our pivotal 8th and 9th grade years with this one.  We’ve noticed that some of our homes were larger or smaller than the classmates we had heretofore recognized only as childhood play partners, later as fellow pubescent travelers, and we had started noticing a few more striking accoutrements others had that we did not.  Swimming pools, for one.

In retrospect, through the 1950s many of us had seen a remarkable parade of consumer products brought through the door that our families had never before known.  There was the TV, then air conditioning, a car, then maybe a second car, maybe a dishwasher, a sink disposal, and perhaps a bizarre lawn mower or two as well as electric knives, hand mixers, and on and on.

About the time we were old enough to start taking notice of differences in our family circumstances, the first of the backyard swimming pools went in.  There was one right next door to our new house, another at Paula McClung’s up on Meadowbrook Drive, another at Guy Perkins’s house on Danciger, another at Pam Lankton's house on Charlotte, another at Susan Warriner's on Martel, and maybe a few more I didn’t know of or have forgotten.

For those of us who wanted to be included with the in-crowd’s goings on, trying to find what key there might be to elicit an invitation to swim in one or more of those pools was a perplexing challenge.  You could just ask for an invite but, that would risk the embarrassment of a rejection.  And what’s worse for a 13-14 year old ego than rejection?  Better instead, went the juvenile thinking, to try and construct yourself into someone interesting…but, how in the heck do you do that?  Well, I never figured it out and never got to dip a toe in one of those pools.  Pam Lankton and Susan Warriner never invited me, but being a year younger they were mere children, so; Paula McClung (’62) was an older woman so, I never anticipated any invitations from her; and Guy well, Guy was just his quiet self…nope, no invitation there, either.

Of course, in the larger scheme of things, not many of us got to dip our toes or anything else of ourselves in any of those pools so, we turned our swimming interests back to where they had always been…Burgers Lake, or Barbrook, or Lucas, or the old Meadowbrook GC.  Or, maybe just a lawn sprinkler.

For those few who got to swim in one of those private pools, it was a rare experience, indeed.  The 1955 map is marked with the pools I recall about that time and clearly shows how scarce they were.  Most of us were just getting acquainted with air conditioning about then or getting used to the experience of not having to share a bedroom with several siblings or sleeping in the attic.  The entire notion of a swimming pool in the backyard was unimaginable.

It’s likely that a lot of us had notions of the good life set into our minds by our having the simple knowledge that those pools existed.  The aerials below are of our old Eastern Hills neighborhood taken recently.  Notice that there were never many pools built in that neighborhood…once the kids (us) left home for school and life, most of the impetus for building them was gone.  And the lower aerial, also a recent picture, shows a circa 1978-80 neighborhood consisting of similar size houses.  That later neighborhood was initially populated by a younger generation….ours.  We built those pools we didn’t have as kids.


...and the famous Lucas Pool and airfield, corner of Bowen Rd. and Arkansas Lane....


Anonymous said...

Lake Erie which serviced Ready Kilowatt for what would later be TXU, the cooling pool was later expanded to Lake Arlington. We went often to swim at Lucas. It was a nice pool with plenty of shade trees. If I recall, the facility hosted RVs or mobile homes. Recently since we now live in Arlington, we tried to locate it, but we had no bearing. Is it on your map? I wonder if it is still there?

Gus said...

I don't recall its exact location, but suspect that it was located near the site shown on a 1956 map of the area naming a Lucas Airport on the south side of Arkansas Lane at its intersection with Kennedale Little School Rd.

Was there a public pool in Sycamore Park?

Anonymous said...

Love this article, Gus. It brought back wonderful memories and similar feelings! Yes, there was a public pool in Sycamore Park. We used to swim there when I was about 4 years old. Lucas was a favorite for us in our junior high days. Our parents would drop us off in the morning and we would spend the entire day there--that felt like paradise, to be "on our own" for the day!

Sherri Sledge Pulliam said...

Love this post, Gus. Brough back wonderful memories and similar feelings! Yes, there was a public pool in Sycamore Park. I used to swim there when I was 4 and 5 years old. In junior high, we would swim at Lucas Swimming Pool. Our parents would drop a group of us off in the morning and we would spend the entire day there---we loved the "independence" that provided!

Carl Johnson said...

Well, there was Susan Warriner's pool, and Pam Lankton's pool. I wasn't aware any guys had pools until you told us about Guy Perkins (guys :: Guy, on purpose). The Lucas pool was outstanding. We would spend hours there. Great article.

Carl Johnson said...

I just noticed the first picture has some semi-famous people about to jump into the pool. L-R -- Mickey Rooney, ?, Judy Garland, Jackie Cooper, ?.

Gus said...

Good eye... You've got 3 of them; the others are: Ann Rutherford, June Preisser, and Virginia Wielder. June 1939 in Malibu. One of them is missing from this photo, but I don't know which one.

Carl Johnson said...

Ann Rutherford is the brunet, Virginia Weidler is the blonde. Google is wonderful.

Gus said...

As a late to the area arrival, Lucas was introduced to me about 11th grade, I think. Although a late discovery, it was wonderfully attended by some spectacular Handley gals and not a single Meadowbrook gal in sight! They all must have been over at Pam's or Susan's or the Meadowbrook GC pool. Or, in the back yard with a sprinkler! Pam's Dad was a kick...I'll have something to say about him soon.

Gus said...

I just came into a story about Punkins Parker who grew up on Meadowbrook Drive on the corner of Edgewood Terrace. She had the first pool in the neighborhood and she went to Hollywood in the late 1930s.

Anonymous said...

There was one you missed -- very private, in Eastern Hills; didn't need a pool for attention...

Gus said...

That’s right…I may have forgotten her or she may have been so new to the neighborhood that, like me, her presence hadn’t yet been widely recognized. She joined the MJH milieu the same year I did and came from deeper in the Poly neighborhoods before that.

I didn’t even know she had a brother until our Soph year when he was a Sr. cheerleader. We became friends some years after EH….great guy.

Gus said...

I think her Dad was AAF also.

Anonymous said...

I think you must be talking about Judy Hill, didn't know she had a pool. Good addition to your presentation.

No, Gus, you're still not on the right track, but it's not a big deal. I'll let my comment stand; read it again, but with a somewhat different, or deeper perspective. It takes you into a more subtle side of the Meadowbrook-Eastern Hills social scenario; but like I said, it's private.

Gus said...

Ah, strikes me that you may be referring to the Childs - Brandt axis. If so, since the girls were a couple of years younger, they were never on my screen. However, I have made an inquiry about that one. We'll see. If it fails, I have a backup.

Anonymous said...

You're getting closer, but not yet there. But be discreet, I think the parties involved deserve it.

On the opposite end of this focus, one should never underestimate the importance, in those days, of a backyard swimming pool as a social magnet and control element, for those interested in such things. It created a perception in the minds of all those who didn't have one, and that was just about everyone.

Some of these pools might have been written up in articles planted skillfully, from time to time, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before 1960, which would represent their most public glimpse.

Gus said...

You may be taking me out of my knowledge base. Arriving as a newcomer in 1958, I had 2 MJH years and the 3 at EH before catching the train out of town so, I didn't have that much time to meet kids and learn of many of the existing relationships that had, in some cases, been in place back to some of the parents' Poly days in the late 1930s. I have little doubt that some of those relationships were simmering in the background and contributed to the odd nature of our social scene that I could never quite interpret clearly.

However, with Dillard and Tate available then as local resources, answers were but a question away; problem being, as it always is, knowing what questions to ask! Neither of those old sonuvabitches have checked in with me in the blog, although both have done flybys occasionally.

Hmm, very private. What year were they? I've had some chats with the very dear, Paula who in my memory had the most visible and magical pool of all...that could be seen from MBrook Drive...wistfully wishing I could be down there making a real pain-in-the-ass of myself with very credible cannonballs.

Older Poly sisters of Betsey and Marcia, as well as that pair themselves, were also key players in those early neighborhoods out by the new school. Bruce S. was out there early, too.

Gus said...

BTW, I'm not out to hammer or embarrass anyone.

You're right about the importance and perceived luxury of a backyard pool in those days...the days memorialized in movies as "keeping up with the Joneses" boats, too. The vast majority of us had neither, and I suspect most of us had either not yet experienced the addition of a second car, or just had. Our parents were in that age range, late thirties to mid-forties, still digging for all they were worth to build the best lives and careers they could.

The idea of strategic use of the newspaper to inform and/or influence others would never have occurred to my parents. I think that's more of a local business persons' type of tool. We used it ourselves during offsprings' trek through school when we wanted to be sure certain nemises got the point right up their nose as offspring was blowing the roof off of State U.

Anonymous said...

You're dancing all around the subject.

(BTW - we know you're not trying to embarrass anyone, just trying to fathom the unfathomable. But old competitions die hard, especially when they involve social status)

Those newspaper articles weren't business tools, they were social maneuvers, or, perhaps, just demonstrations of pride.

Consider all my comments, from the beginning.

"On the opposite end of this focus", have you ever heard the old saying that the most sought-after object or information source might be staring you right in the "face", in a disarming way, and you don't even realize it?

All of this business about swimming pools, Woman's Clubs, churches, etc. and its influence on the east side social whirl is very mysterious, isn't it? Well, not completely.

If you were "wistfully wishing" about that Meadowbrook Drive pool, I suppose others were, too. When you get all that figured out, then you can return to the "original end of the focus".

You're making progress.

Anonymous said...

Some people, of junior high school age, had paper routes. Others simply read them. If Meadowbrook Junior High could have its newspaper Meadowlark, then its students would be capable of reading the Star-Telegram. Maybe the archives of the Star-Telegram would go right to the point.

Ski-boats were there, too. Lots of talk about Eagle Mountain Lake.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at all this and I think you'll have to go outside the 1963 class peer group to get most of your answers to these things, Gus, backwards and forwards. Time to do that anyway; it's like bringing your blog to a greater level of maturity. Then you can become an "outsider insider".

Gus said...

Dancing around an enigmatic issue is my way of covering the entire dance floor, setting test points to examine more closely and either accept for further examination or to discard. Pretty good way to establish a smaller corral.

Admittedly, I'm a pushover for the most sought-after objects or information sources staring me right in the "face", in disarming ways or otherwise, and I certainly wouldn't even realize it...old-school technical-type, not given much to intrigues but, pretty good at problem solving. You're welcome any time to relieve my lingering miseries via a DNP.

I think I'm on solid ground saying that it was an old-school Poly-bred phenomena probably consisting of older parents, those a little too old to have been called to combat duty during WWII, born a few years either side of 1915. Whether from a relatively common religion/church, I'm not too certain; but, given that about 70% of us were either Baptist or Methodist, it's a safe bet that most of the moms also knew each other in those venues. As you note, old competitions die hard and the same almost certainly went for them also. Younger parents like mine were too young to have really gotten engaged and those not from Poly, or even Paschal wouldn't have had any background in the quest.

"Very private" intrigues. But, if from an older class, I wouldn't have been around the neighborhood long enough to take note of those kinds of traits. Carol meets most of those conditions and certainly was close enough to stare me in the face for a year or so. But, I don't recall her as being particularly private; Vicki on Vinewood maybe. How fun.

"Upscale" Meadowbrook housing seems to have been built in 3-lifts; the early ones west of the park off Oakland; the Green Hill Circle and Lambeth Lane loops just south of the golf course and the quarter circular devopment just west across the street from EH each predated my arrival to those streets. Then, of course the Eastern Hills neighborhood just north of the school where we ended up while it was still about 50% built out. I've picked up and recall there being an intermittent migration from the older upscale subdivisions to the newer one as it continued to build out. So, it's clear that there was plenty of attention being paid to those streets.

Employing some staff as in-house resources was a subtle maneuver that I could sense, but never clearly identified as you've suggested. For me, it manifested as a particularly difficult and ultimately frustrating barrier to getting any substantial recognition within those walls. For my 7-years prior to the East Side, school recognition was plentiful and came to be expected. But at MJH, it was sorry Charlie for reasons that were not entirely clear, nor even suspected. All very puzzling at a critical time in one's individual development. But, as you may have noted, giving up was never one of my more common traits.

Doing this long look back with adult eyes on the subject has revealed a number of discontinuities in our matriculation. There was clearly cross-talk between staffs of the Junior Highs and EH that resulted in some mysterious placements...again as you've suggested. Only if one were focused on highest achievements would anyone have noticed much of this stuff. For instance, in the blog there is a treatise or two on the NHS and it's peculiar makeup....75% or so, girls. Natural probability distributions just doesn't support that kind of disparity.

Stay tuned, I think you may enjoy the next few articles that continue to develop the history of Ft. Worth society leading to our minuet on the lawn. It's an interesting story that links us to Fifth Avenue and the epic 1883 end of the contest between The Mrs. Astor and the formerly pretentious Mrs Vandebilt.

Anonymous said...

If your referring to Mrs. Schermerhorn Astor, as I recall my history she was considered to be more than a little pretentious herself. She had a martinet consigliere named Ward McAllister who determined the invitation list for her social extravaganzas. Social wags of the day referred to him as "Ward Make-a-Lister".

Anonymous said...

Some corrections and redirections are in order.

Talking in code is simply a way of protecting the "innocent" to the extent that they're still around today (almost all the parents are dead by now, and they weren't all so "innocent")

By process of elimination, I suppose you were referring to Carol Reeder and Vicki Held. You're time-warped there by about 52 years -- and off the track. On the other hand, it appears that you're very involved in the modern phenomenon called "Facebook". It looks like most "face-to-face" encounters occur there nowadays. It's just a question of your running a filter.

If you're a problem-solver you have the right talents. The "facts" will always prevail over the intrigues, given time (except in the national media, which is a completely different story). Some of the words and phrases in the preceding commentaries, although seemingly unrelated, or randomly placed, can be reassembled in such a way as to lead you to the answer, or at least lead you on your way. Try to concentrate on a number of "hits" appearing on the same entity.

The "private" referred to the location of the pools, and perhaps to the inherent attitude of the owners. Almost all pools were out of sight, except to backyard neighbors. You mention one on Meadowbrook Drive that was visible to the road, although I never noticed. Was it possible that pool was positioned to be partially visible to a well-traveled road, for reasons of its owner? One might call that a "semi-private" pool.

Gus said...

That's the one but, she had some serious chops to back herself up--both resources and lineage. Alva was a Southern Belle from Mobile, who despite William K's fortunes was doomed to be forever seen as "nouveau riche."

As I was reading some of this, I came across a quote by a Mrs. Lewis of Virginia (IIRC), apparently a substantial lady of that ancient land who, when called on by a New York Times writer to comment on a pending marriage between a local Langhorne and one of the NYC Astors curtly replied (paraphrased), "Sir, While the Langhornes were making moonshine in the backwoods and the Astors were skinning rabbits, the Lewis's were making history." Struck me as a pretty good indication of how tough playing those games can be.

Well, that'll do it for me for a while....gonna be chuckling the rest of the evening.

Gus said...

No question that the visible pool was purposely oriented that way...further confirmation was the liberal use of lights strung in the trees all around it. Surprised you didn't know of it but, that's a good indication that everyone had their own perceptions of things depending on their points of views. It was another multi-generation family compound built out there very early. A 1952 aerial shows all those houses established along with only a few tentative cuts into the future Eastern Hills subdivision.

Since both occupants of the big house on the corner were in the construction business, perhaps together, the newspaper articles you recall featuring the homes/pools were very likely adfomercials using their own places for illustration and gaining the bonus of social placement in local minds....and better yet, tax deductible!

Anonymous said...

Just a short comment due to pressing activities -

I knew about the pool on Meadowbrook, since I heard it mentioned once in a while, usually in reference to some late-night revelry (rumors?) but I never took the time to spot it. My eyes were usually on the road, as Meadowbrook was pretty well-trafficked. But I'm not surprised that you knew about it, since you're a self-described insider.

However, I don't recall any "corners" on that whole stretch of Meadowbrook from Weiler to Oak Hill, at least not on the north side, where that "pool house" was. "Multi-generation compound" I couldn't say (does that mean a house with kids?). "Occupants of the big house on the corner" "in the construction business" completely throws me. There was no "big house on the corner". There was no "corner"

Gus said...

Multi-generation refers to two Meadowbrook Drive homes on the north side, adjacent to that old barn just across from the school's front entry; one with grandparents, the other the parents of one our more visible '62s, who had the pool and threw a lot of parties. It was probably more on my routine traffic path than yours which would have included 3-years riding as a passenger in my parents' cars before getting my own hands on the steering wheels.

The "corner" I'm referencing is the junction of Danziger, Monterey, and Weiler where Roach's house was on the east side abutting the school grounds and the house in question was up the hill at the end of a long drive on the left (west)side of Weiler.

Gus said...
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Gus said...

My thought going into this long-term project are as described in the 2-3 "about me" pieces written at different times. Choosing Gus as an online persona was just good sense, given what I knew about the net and its various interconnected webs from the start. Try a search for "Gus Highlander" and see how solid the return list is....the only other online moniker I might have considered might have been something like, Herman or Ted...something short and sweet for quick typing.

Poking at the Thaelis topic has been kind of amusing, as I suspected it might. A lot of the ladies shy away from the topic and those who engage it, tend to be more than a little coy. From the start I intended to post what I wanted and let others find it in due course. If they wish to engage, they're quite welcome; if not, that's O.K. too. Of course, the way people tend to be both in normal life and especially in the unknown online, I had to nudge a few to get them going. But, even then, if they showed reticence I would quickly back off and move elsewhere. Only if I knew they had some info I wanted, would I keep pushing even at the risk of irking them. And why not? If they were irked....Gus did it !

Paula has been one of those who has been a modest contributor who has touched the Thaelis topic gingerly and is mindful of continuing relationships in that neighborhood. One of her classmates more outgoing on general topics but, still wary of touching that one. She came away puzzled and hurt about a number of things she never understood. In total, all the ladies have been cordial, not the least given to gossip, and for the most part, as you have suggested, mostly innocent of the underlying motives and objectives then running in the background. I probably suspected something was going on, only because I had been a high level aspirant running with that pretty well connected group of boys and was in a position to see and feel incongruities.

Anonymous said...

I notice some of the original comments on this swimming pool article included something about the Lucas pool in south Arlington. I think it was located somewhere south of where Bowen Rd. now intersects Arkansas Lane. The Lucas family also had a little airport nearby. I remember it as a long drive on a country road (Bowen?) south of a turnoff on Highway 80 (or Division) in west Arlington.

Lucas swimming pool was a good place to meet Arlington girls in the early evening in a friendly and relaxed setting. It had none of the social entanglements of the east side FW pools you've been talking about in this blog.

Gus said...

That's right. McCoy asked about that one some time back and I found a diagram showing it about where your say and there was a small air strip on the property. Only went out there a time or two and do recall it being as you say...lot of Handley kids were there. Added a diagram of it at the end of this article.

Anonymous said...

After all this you're still missing an early pool in the Eastern Hills neighborhood. That's all right because it may eventually come to light in your investigation of the development of that area. It was not a Childs pool but the Childs probably knew about it. I'll lay odds that the "multigenerational compound" on Meadowbrook definitely knew about it.

I'm still holding out the possibility that occasional newspaper articles about families with pools on the east side did not necessarily have any commercial intent.

Gus said...

Are you thinking of this one on Oak Hill?

Gus said...

I hadn't included it since she was a couple of years younger and not on my screen until our 1963 senior year when she came in as a Soph. Even then, she was a skinny little kid, but cute enough to hold a space in memory, though. By then Girl #3, decidedly not a skinny young woman, was holding me hopelessly enthralled.

Anonymous said...

I had noticed that "Brandt" pool (which looks like an extremely nice one) on your website already, and figured that it was on the opposite side of Oak Hill and therefore didn't qualify exactly as an "Eastern Hills" pool.

That is still not the discreet one I had in mind, but it's not that important at this point to pursue the issue, just to keep in mind that it existed. I have some reason to think that a competition developed in the minds of certain people at one time regarding the existence of that pool in comparison with one or more others in the neighborhood.

I do remember that the pool on Meadowbrook Drive was shown in a particular article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram (probably not the Fort Worth Press) in the summer of 1959 (or possibly before in the summer of 1958). There was a picture of the swimming pool with five or six boys and girls around it, who were named. I never understood exactly why the article appeared, just assumed that such things happened now and then in that section of the newspaper. It was just presented as a social gathering of some sort, by invitation of course. I took notice of it because it was in our east side neighborhood, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of other people noticed it, too. The article had no apparent commercial content.

Gus said...

There are two Brandt pools, one on either side of Oak Hill, a father and son. The east side house that was on open acreage when we were at EH and sat way back from the road belonged to the father and founder of the furniture company. That house may not have had a pool then and was probably built sometime in the 1940s, maybe a little before. Neither of those families figured much in our social life as they seemed and were in a different sphere than most of us living in 3-1-1 or 3-2-2 or smaller houses.

That east side house still stands and is now completely surrounded with neighborhoods, although I think it may still be on an oversize lot, perhaps an acre. Brandt Sr. would have most likely been the one that owned all the land that the EH neighborhood subsequently sat on. I think he died during the time we were attending EH and his interests taken over by his two sons; the second of them living in a house down on Meadowbrook Drive somewhere, maybe the 4500 block or thereabouts.

This mysterious private pool still puzzles and perhaps I just didn’t know the student. Melinda Mallon ’62 was suggested to me but, I didn’t know her. I think she ran with the ’62 in-crowd girls, though.

I noted the S-T and FWP attention to the East Side area myself; in fact, as a new arrival they put a picture of me in as illustration of some kind of calendar event…that would have probably been Fall 1959. One thing worth considering was that 2 recent Poly grads, about ’58 or a bit earlier joined the S-T and the FWP as fledgling writers and copy boys. I’ve traded a lot of conversation with one of them and believe that one possible reason the East Side youth activities got the coverage it did may well have been on their account…they were both local boys and knew the area very well. I think both of them went through MJHigh. Interestingly, both of them expressed the opinion that Poly’s rapid decline was largely due to the opening of EH and that may be partly true.

Anonymous said...

You mention that a newspaper had you representing a "calendar event". Did they have you dressed up as Santa Claus? Once again you were appearing anonymously ...

You're getting a little closer with mention of Melinda Mallon. But even she might not have known about the pool. In any event, didn't she live in the neighborhood just west of the school? Not in Eastern Hills proper. But she's long since deceased, and I barely knew her.

I've heard about a Brandt house on Oak Hill with a kind of custom, modernistic design, with a lot of glass in it. I think it's still there, too. But my impression is that both Brandt houses are on the east side of Oak Hill.

I've recently got information that the Brandts might have been original subscribing members of the private Meadowbrook Country Club (or golf club), along with some well-known figures from the west side of town. It's not clear what actually happened when the club passed into city hands, in the mid-1930's, that is with respect to the property boundaries and the owners around it. That Brandt location over around the 5200 block of Meadowbrook might have been a residual family holding of theirs, which they later developed into Jensen, Green Hill Circle, etc., continuing to live there themselves.

Hold out the possibility that there might have been a Thaelis family connection with a newspaper or publicity organization in downtown FW.

Gus said...
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Gus said...

Melinda’s house was tucked away on the lower part of Blueridge, I think…overlooked the golf course and was small compared to others that were built later.

Both of the Oak Hill houses have listed and sold in recent months. If you look for them you may still find some fairly extensive sales materials describing them. August died in 1961 so, it’s unclear in my mind how much he may have had to do with development. Son Paul’s house was the rambling modern one and was on the west side of Oak Hill as I recall it. Pop’s was a ranch style home that sat off the (east side) road at the end of a long drive up a small hill. I’ll see if I can find the addresses.

Any solid information about the early founding of the MBrook CC would be a real find. BTW, that 5200 block of Meadowbrook Drive is about the same area as a couple of those first Thaelis girls lived. Information about the early development of Central Meadowbrook in that area would be revealing since a lot of our classmates lived there and most moved in during the late 1940s to early 1950s. That area including Jenson, Green Hill Circle, etc. and the semi-circular streets right across from the school predated the start of Eastern Hills development by 2-3 years and was also the home of many of the early Thaelis girls….by the 1960 induction of our 1963 girls, essentially none of them lived any further west than those neighborhoods.

Gus said...
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Gus said...
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Gus said...

Melinda on Bella Vista is correct...I never got down that far on Blueridge to recall much of what else was down there.

Pat N. in '61 is a yes.

Elise is the only name I have and there is no picture in the '60 CLAN. In fact, there are 7 picture omissions from the CLAN for that first year group.

Your '62 class was apparently a rambunctious one on the girls side of the page. I've had several imputs not necessarily pointing out anyone, but strongly suggesting some kind of not-so-niceness was going on. Omissions from the CLAN and/or unearned recognitions were apparently somewhat common. A little of that also occurred in our '63 version and were done in such a way that belies a simple oversight as explanation.

Gus said...

With regard to some of the youngsters benefitting from supportive parental input, whether by use of parental friends and acquaintances having positions in local media, there is ample evidence of that having happened on a fairly extensive yet, subtle basis. The notion of our having been engaged in our own competitive contests with classmates on a purely equal footing was not accurate.

Older parents, say 10-15 years older (b.1910-1915) than my younger ones (b.1917-1924), could often bring to the job of raising their young (us), that much more life experience of their own. That translated (and translates) into an unspecified accumulation of “tricks of the trade” that only experience can bring. Knowledge of and effective use of local media would be one of those advantages available to a few. Parents having achieved higher education, whether via the GI Bill or otherwise, would very likely possess some additional skills including a somewhat higher order thinking ability. That would have been helpful for planning ahead for some of our peers’ future opportunities.

Another very subtle thing I’ve picked up in the class pictures, including those that were published in the MJH “Meadowlark” was that some of the more “enlightened” young ladies appear to have had their portraits taken by a more skilled photographer than the one supplied by the school for those mass class shoots. I took a look at the Soph and Jr. pictures in a 1960 CLAN this morning and started laughing…if you have a copy, take a closer look and see if you can pick up the differences and who was involved. They’re all the same!

Add-in having control of the student publications and it’s easy to see what was going on.

Anonymous said...

Sometime within the past two weeks I was looking at the standard class pictures in the Clans from 1960 and 1961 and I noticed how dark the backgrounds were (particularly in the 1960 version) and how common, almost drab, the picture quality of the faces was. Then I noticed that a few were quite different - the backgrounds were clear, and the faces had an almost sparkling quality. I completely agree!

Gus said...

Interesting info about Ray and Jan. Did't know Ray but did know Jan fairly, reserved, and usually upbeat. She was another of the few who moved a bit out of the ZTA box; she was XO at UT; the only one I know of. Perhaps you know, there was a "big six" at UT...Pi Phi, ZTA, XO, KKG, KATheta, Tri-Delts. Quite a social sorting machine, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

My knowledge of sorority life at UT was substantially gleaned from an article I read about it years ago, and I'll be able to give you a source reference on that by-and-by.

In the meantime, I do know this just from comments I've heard over the years --

Down at UT, I think our Celia Beall (Thaelis of 1963) was in Alpha Delta Pi, and Susan Warriner (Thaelis of 1964) was in Kappa Kappa Gamma. That's in addition to the standard string of ZTA girls as you've mentioned. An interesting sideline on Celia Beall was that she was in the Miss Fort Worth contest of 1963, along with Susan Begley.

Gus said...

Your source would be of interest...maybe you can find it sometime.

I wrote a short piece and illustrated it with some good pictures related to the Miss Fort Worth contest. Both Susan Begley and Celia Beall competed our senior year. Were there any '62 or '61 entrants from EHHS? LINK:

Anonymous said...

I see that you're back on the Internet, more or less.

Last fall I sent you this message and I intended it for general publication; that is, I wanted the information available to your readership, if anyone were interested. I would appreciate it if you could put it out that way:

I have a reference now on that article I read on UT sorority life years ago. It was by Prudence Mackintosh writing for Texas Monthly Magazine and appeared in the September 1976 issue. Prudence Mackintosh was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority there in the early 1960's. Very well written, and entertaining, as I recall. The title of the article was "Sisterhood is Powerful".

This is NOT the anthology called "Sisterhood is Powerful" edited by Robin Morgan and put out in 1970, which was a radical female chauvinist tract and probably required reading for Hilary Clinton and other graduates of Wellesley, Sarah Lawrence, etc. at the time.

Gus said...

I have the article you mention plus one other by the same author that discusses the types of girl that pledged to each of the houses. Both are located in the early pages (years) of the blog. As you mentioned, both are excellent and spot on with regard to my experience.

Anonymous said...

You apparently have more than a passing interest in UT sororities, to have posted these articles so early in your blog. Does your "experience" have something to do with that? Was that the start of your curiosity about the formative social order for such girls at EHHS?

Completely missed these articles in my earlier browsing of your blog. I notice that you now have them as "trailers" in your article on Thaelis. Didn't see them there before.

Didn't understand what you mean by another article "by the same author".

Anonymous said...

Finding your article on "Sisterhood" as one of the very first articles
posted on your blogsite, in March of 2006, was astounding. The article had no apparent connection at all with EHHS. Five years later, you finally posted a somewhat definitive article on Thaelis, which could lead a thoughtful person to make a connection, but your earlier posting of the "Sisterhood" article represents you as having some extraordinary forethought, planning, and patience capabilities.
Are we to infer, in retrospect, that your "Sisterhood" posting constitutes some kind of "mission statement"? And doesn't it also give an unusually singular significance to the article?

What's going on here? I suppose it all goes to show that things are not always what they appear to be on an anonymously hosted blogsite.

Posting fluidity is certainly your prerogative, but it renders your blogsite as a secondary source rather than a primary one. I suppose that you'll eventually find the most appropriate location for the article, and whatever it is will be fine with me.

Gus said...

Those UT sorority articles were added within the past year. The dates are misleading because I occasionally use open dates in the early years of the blog to post something intended to be passed to someone with whom I’ve been in private communication. Or, I will use those early dates to “store” some information I’m not yet ready to use.

As I’ve been closing in on the Thaelis final treatment, I’ve been looking into who might have gone on into college sororities. I had the UT experience for a couple of years before departing for CA so, that was an easy starting point. But, not many of our EH class went into the greeks there so, I suspect that TCU got most of them…but, I don’t have that 1964-65 yearbook(s).

There were 2 articles about the (Big ) UT sororities…”Sisterhood” you found; the other deals with “That Certain Look” and describes the personal characteristics of each of those Big 6. Both articles are spot-on accurate for that time…that was my experience.

At present, the significance of those sorority articles is only as an indicator of how many and which of our early EH Thaelis girls became members of those same sororities. Again, I would expect to find many more of them in the TCU sororities. More applicable to the EH study would be to discover which of the mothers were also members in their college days.

The "labels" in the right side bar function as a collection tool to gather all the articles I've marked with that label. Using those labels significantly reduces the amount of material for review.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation Gus. You know, I've heard almost nothing from anyone in our classes about sorority membership. But we heard almost nothing about Thaelis, either, did we? I guess all these girls knew something that was only important among themselves.

Appreciate your bringing out all these hidden aspects of our high school social life. It always seemed like most of it was hidden to me.

Anonymous said...

I can get access to a TCU yearbook for the school year 1962-1963. That would show Eastern Hills graduates for 1962 and before. I could scan over the sorority pages to see if any EHHS girls were there.

Would that be of any help to you?

Gus said...

Yes, that TCU yearbook would be interesting. I think the entire notion of greek memberships were pretty unusual on our side of town. Ours was a much more modest neighborhood and only recently built out. Whatever knowledge of the greeks almost certainly came from the Poly direction and indirectly from Paschal an AHHS and those probably due to parent marriages between the school grads of an earlier generation.

Anonymous said...

Gus, I have that information now on sorority girls at TCU, at least what appeared for the annual of 1962-1963:

Kappa Kappa Gamma - Carol Reeder

Chi Omega - Zoe Ann Hunter

Zeta Tau Alpha - Debra Davis, Margaret Ferrell

Delta Gamma - Taddie Curl, Jackie Rogers, Judy Mallicote

Alpha Delta Pi - Jackie Nantz, Donna Payne, Linda Hawkins

There might have been others whose pictures didn't appear.