Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Band Sweethearts

These lovely ladies were elected by the band to serve as their sweethearts.  I think they were also members of the band.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Local Ft. Worth History

Just a place holder post....

This gent is doing a very good job reaching back in time to tell and illustrate a lot of early Ft. Worth area history.  Have a look HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The EHHS Social Order – 9.3 – Cliques.3

Part 4 of 4

Joining a class like our ‘63s in the 8th grade after the core of kids had been in school together for up to 7-years enabled a somewhat detached view of their group dynamics.  The class leaders at that stage were already recognized as smart, attractive, accomplished, and highly competitive.  They were also outgoing, gregarious, and playful.  Finding a smooth entry into that daily flow was something akin to trying to take a drink from a fire hose. 

If you had some competitive skills of your own, they had to make room for you but, even then your space in their “E” ticket ride was somewhat conditional.  Whether you were able to earn any further acceptance into their clique(s) was questionable…I never found a full share but, did manage to make some space for myself later.  Kind of annoyed me.

Electing cheerleaders was probably one of the very first manifestations of certain of us finding popular recognition from our peers; student councils were probably were next.  During this 9th grade year, the opportunities for additional recognition expanded to include advanced classes, student offices, participation opportunities in certain student productions, school sports teams, and in some of the cliques and/or clicks.  However, membership in one of the latter was restricted to your finding a sponsor already in the “in-crowd” who found you interesting enough to make introductions…a very subtle roadblock for a 14-year old to discern. (Note:  Gay Burton's fine Mom made some or all of those skirts)

Unfortunately, Meadowbrook didn’t produce a yearbook the years we were there but, fortunately we did publish a school newspaper, The Meadowlark, and a few other activities were photographed, leaving a visual record to accompany some of these musings.

This 1958-59 Meadowbrook student council picture (right) is one of the earliest organization pictures that found its way to me and it is a jewel, for it includes future very highly regarded members of the EHHS classes 1962-63-64.  Although it's a 1958 school year picture, predating the subject of this article by one year, it is somewhat revealing in that it shows a subtle change in our preferences from that 8th grade year to the 9th.  Of the 9th grade officers and candidates to follow this group of young leaders, only Bob Dillard survived our referendum; although it is more likely that others simply grew into greater visibility during the ensuing year.  Overall, this 1958 Student Council picture portrays one future Mr. EHHS, two future Miss Big Es, one or two class favorites, and an assortment of very fine young people.

Fall 1959 was a packed few months partly consisting of a championship football season and the election of our class officers.  The few team members highlighted in the collage were among the boys I recall as being the most engaged with our cliques of girls and with one another.

The pictures from the Meadowlark school newspapers showing our slate of nominees for class officers and their “campaign manager” is a good illumination of underlying friendships…each pair were close friends and the entire dozen had standing in the top clique, save for maybe one. 

Left to Right:  Gay Burton and Celia Beall had been in Meadowbrook Elementary (MBE) classes since the early grades and were just starting their second year as Buffalo cheerleaders when the picture was taken; Charlie Rigby and Bob Dillard had been (I think) MBE classmates since the early grades; Glenn Brandon and Kendall McCook had been MBE classmates since the latter elementary grades and were starters on the Buffalo football team that great championship year; Steve Means and Tom Koebernick had been MBE classmates since the first grade and were football starters; Danny McCoy and Larry Guthrie had been Poly Elementary classmates since the first grade and were members of the football team; and Jim Cox and Paul Tate had been MBE classmates since the first grade and had given up football for prominent places in the music department—one a singer; the other, a trumpeter.

And the trio elected to high office by the whole school provided a harbinger of things to come later…Tom Koebernick would continue as class president his Junior and Senior years but after this, we fired Bob Dillard from high class office forever (other than Student Council President)…but, we elected him as Mr. EHHS as a Senior.  I don’t know what happened to Celia…she seemed to go quiet during her EH years…sometimes a sign of having fallen in love but, I don’t know anything about that….however, 54-years later Celia and Gay reunited for one more cheer at our 50th reunion.  All the boys pictured above, including ol’ Gus (maybe or maybe not pictured) loved these two gals; however, ol’ Gus may be one of the very few to have dated them both at one time or another—and despite some carping to the contrary, they were great dates!

The leading girls’ clique were the girls pictured below in their Stars Over Meadowbrook dance routines.  Our Buffalo cheerleaders and their friends are in the first picture and just below them appear to have been their older counterparts from the future 1962 Highlander class, cut from the same cloth…lovely, outgoing, smart, participants in a number of extracurricular activities and well liked by their classmates.  The thing that seems to have brought them together may have been a shared enthusiasm for dance and music.  Gay Burton had been taking dance lessons for almost 10-years at this point.  And the ’62 group danced together for a number of years.   

After the lead clique was this quiet girls’ clique.  They were attractive, quiet, intelligent, and not cheerleaders, which might have been a bit of a handicap in the competitive world of 14-year old courting.  Of course, 14-year olds have never been highly regarded for their good judgment although, I think some of these ladies remain close friends to this day…Gail DeVore and Vicki Held, for instance—every reunion has produced pictures of them closely socializing…no surprise there, I suppose.  I generally recall them as the ones that threw pajama party/sleepovers which we would sometimes raid…but, that may have come later. 

And lastly, were the Girl Scouts.  This was another group of very quiet girls, very smart, and probably unaware at the time that the class arbiters of what was cool and uncool had deemed wearing scout uniforms to school after about 6th grade was uncool.  But, in my memory of them, they were solid and persistent.  And in this year achieved the highest award bestowed by GSA, the Curved Bar. 

Clicks.  Of course, a "clique" is just another word for a small group of friends where similar preferences, interests, and characteristics gravitate toward a common sense of inclusion with some kindred souls.  On the other hand, a "click" tends to be a group where people gather to explore a common interest and/or capability.  

Seems to me that about 1/4 of us were in one clique or another, and some larger percentage of us found "clicks" such as drama, music, and other elective school sponsored classes, more our style.  The film, Never Been Kissed showed a group of the smart but, somewhat eclectic kids attending a prom dressed as a DNA string...I believe we had a number of these also and that some of them can be found in the "A" honor roll list at right.  Being blessed with a degree of intelligence transcended the more colorful arbiters of "cool and uncool" and thank goodness it did.  The color lines mark the youngsters I recall as being most obviously associated with one another.

Handley.  Members of our Handley contingent have not reported anything like the Meadowbrook "Social Order" I've been describing in this and recent posts.  Several factors probably explain the difference; among them....a smaller student body, fewer new arrivals to their area during the 1950s, a more rural atmosphere, and starting with our Class of 1963 Handley contingent, they were first ones separated from the leavening influence provided so many years by the high school classes in the same building.  They didn't really have time to get their own "Social Order" in gear like the Meadowbrook gang had.
Clearly, Roy, Dianah, and Suzanne "owned" Handley in terms of peer recognition and when they would go into EH next year, they would start a 3-year run that ended very well for each of them.  But more about that later.  Becky Self and Jimmy Aitken were other Handley standouts that maintained a credible presence at EH in face of the Meadowbrook juggernaut.  Linda was there for a year or so, but moved away before graduation, and Jimmy Strong went somewhere else to high school. 

There's more to say but, this one has rolled on long enough for now.  The next and last 9th grade piece I have in mind will address Meadowbrook and its place both in history previous to us and its place as a minor neighborhood Juggernaut in the eyes of a lot of Handley kids that would meet them next year as Sophomores.  

Sophomore year, our first at EHHS, and hands down the worst year of my 5-year run on the East ahead !

O.K., the widdle baby, here we were, 15-years old, the hot girls beautiful and lively as ever, only mildly or less, interested in us (or, at least me), no damned car; actually no D.L. for another year, and even those dumb motor scooters reaching the end of their 2-3 year service life....the bottom of the EH totem pole looming ahead.  Like baby goats, full of it, got some horns but not much to do with them, looking for someplace to stand and something to butt.....absolutely harmless!!

Next:  Juggernaut

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The EHHS Social Order – 9.3 – Cliques.2

Part 3 of 4

The 9th grade at MJH being my second with the future EH Class of 1963, I began to gain notice by some of the various in-crowds…there were several.  And they seemed to be in some kind of competition with one another; the competition being most visibly, the hosting of parties and dances.  It’s likely that these various shindigs were a Mom-sponsored carryover from the elementary grades, for it seemed far more complex than any of the youngsters could have organized on their own.

Making a few discreet inquiries into the memories of others with us those long ago years brought quite a variety of responses; all of them tactful, and some of them pointed…and tactful.  One of the ladies told of being so put off by the MJH clique situation that she chose to attend Tech High School rather than going on to EHHS and be subjected to any more of whatever she had been subjected to at MJH; a Handleyite offered nothing more than, “Ah yes, the Meadowbrook Ladies”; one of our leading lights responded, “an in-crowd?  Definitely”; another EH leading light told of never quite having discovered the key to be a part of the “in-crowd”…which kind of mirrors my own experience.  Whatever was going on was noticed by those in other early EH classes….”somewhat reassuring that even after 50 years, some things retain that pungent aroma.”

“The Breakfast Club,” a 1985 film that dealt with the tribulations of high school social stereotypes, is one of many similar films produced over the years that deal with the same theme.  So, it’s reasonable to assume that the experience is a common one, no matter what generation encountered it, or when.  However, the film did manage to succinctly summarize the general stereotypes into which all of us seemed to fit.  Some of us found fits with more than one of them.  There were Brains, Athletes, Outsiders, Basket Cases, and Princesses.

“Mean Girls,” a 2004 film, takes a less benign tack in illustrating the teenage insider/outsider phenomena, even going far enough to show a map of the social subdivisions at the cafeteria tables.  They seem pretty accurate based on our own experience, although I’d like to think we weren’t quite so snarky as our descendents….but, I don’t really know.

For us, our sorting into those stereotypes started about the end of 7th grade, strengthened in the 8th grade, and was pretty much set by the 9th grade.  Whatever dating was occurring that 9th grade year was mostly a blend of movies at the Gateway, or house parties, or a formal school dance, or the school’s Teen Canteen, all with transportation provided (for the most part) by parents.

Some fateful changes were occurring during this year that I’m sure I didn’t recognize, nor perhaps. did many others.  This 9th grade year was the one that street-wise Moms took their promising daughters in tow and started working with their makeup, hair, and other “womanly” embellishments.  Although many of those changes were subtle, there were other changes that were striking.  If Mom was skilled in her knowledge of makeup and hair, then those daughters could show up for 9th grade looking startlingly different than they did just before the summer break a few weeks earlier.  For those whose moms were not similarly skilled, grade 9 could very well have been another of those bewildering times of change that went largely not understood.

With the stereotypes hardened during this 9th grade school year, it appeared that Athletes were at the top of the school pecking order, if for no other reason than the fall pep rallies, the band, and cheerleaders were focused on their gridiron derring do.  Not many kids missed those pep rallies since they were school sanctioned excuses for not going to class.  Grades earned this year applied to our final high school tally so our class Brains were starting to burrow in on their academic ambitions, Outsiders were moving further outside as the world got larger and more complicated, Basket Cases were still basket cases trying to find ways to cope, and Princesses gained greater prominence especially in their social lives.

Only about 2-years or so beyond puberty, boys were already behind the curve with the gals and I’m sure we scarcely knew it.  The overriding problem for the boys at this stage of our development was mobility, or more succinctly, the lack thereof.  We certainly recognized the problem and some of us made up buttons that read, “Don’t Date Boys With Cars.”  It was a spoof of the Spirit Ribbons we bought for a dime and wore each week, pinned to our tops.  The answer came very quickly when the cheerleaders conspired with the ribbon printer to print up some Spirit Ribbons that replied, “We Don’t Date Boys With Bicycles.”  The dating standards had been irreversibly set.