Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The EHHS Social Order – 9.4 – Meadowbrook’s Juggernaut

Before I got to Meadowbrook Junior High for the start of 8th grade in the 1958-59 school year, the “social order” had been building there since 1936, when the original school on Meadowbrook Drive at Oakland was first built.  During the ensuing 22-years the country had emerged from the Great Depression, fought WWII, fought Korea, and had just begun to settle down to a peaceful life.  

These were the “Leave it to Beaver” years where mothers stayed at home to mind the kiddies she and dad had made during and just after WWII.  Our victory in WWII freed a lot of new moms and dads to make a lot of babies….the “Baby Boom” that included not quite us ‘63s, but 20-years of classes after ours.  General notions of prosperity had never before been seen in the styles and breadth we saw during those 1950s years.     

As a part of this study I communicated with several older Poly graduates in order to learn more of their view of our Meadowbrook area.  The most frequent off-the-cuff response was, “snobby”.  A more thoughtful response came from life-long East Side resident and a 1958 Poly graduate, Phil Vinson.  Phil has been a gold mine of clear memory and photographs of our old stomping grounds…he was stomping there a few years before we came along.  See his fine recollection of the 1950s Poly High School atmosphere that occurred just before we came along and would soon fade into history following the opening of Eastern Hills High School….HERE.


Several Poly grads echoed Phil’s sentiments and from what I’ve been able to determine while observing their reunion generated reminisces, it’s a consistently accurate portrayal.  In response to my direct question, Phil confirmed that much of the just pre-EHHS classes sent to Poly from Meadowbrook Junior High School were among Poly’s top graduates.  And this wonderful c.1953 Little League team picture clearly supports that notion.  

Note the professions those boys subsequently took up and note also that there are older siblings of several of our 1963-62 Highlanders in this team lineup….Susie Wadlington (’63), Gay Burton (’63), and Judy Oxford (’62)…each of these intelligent girls destined to comport themselves with distinction as members of the National Honor Society at the new high school.


As the 1960 MJH ninth graders began to turn their attention to the new Eastern Hills High School, end of the year awards were numerous and in some respects, there was something for everyone who paid reasonable attention to their school work…this was the juggernaut headed east to meet their Handley counterparts.  The following pages from the end of year Meadowlark chronicled the award festooned legions and noted some of the usual end of year humor that always had a message to it (esp. the Wills):


And finally, at the end of our MJH days, a few young ladies (may have) received invitations to an afternoon tea as the EHHS social clubs, Thaelis and Delphi, started their “rush” for new inductees from the incoming 1960 EH Sophomore class.  Clear details about the early years of these sororities are still somewhat sketchy but, solid information has it that Marcia Huckaby’s older sister, Sharon, was one of the originators.  Sharon was a 1959 Poly graduate with those Little Leaguers shown above and is shown in this c.1958 picture from a Poly Parrot yearbook, third from right.  Of interest beyond Sharon is the dress style, neat appearance, and general presentation of some girls in the last Poly class before EHHS opened, fall 1959.


For this elder Highlander, the Poly influence was something I noticed all those years ago but, being a late arrival to the area, never really understood.  One of the easiest keys to understanding what I recall is to simply consider that a number of our 1963 Highlanders, through their older siblings, had a sort of mixed pedigree with respect to Poly.  Their older siblings were Poly grads or had attended Poly, they had not…..Bill Hoffman, Danny McCoy, Bruce Butler, Marcia Huckaby, Doug Brown, Jane Welborn, Kendall McCook, Paul Tate, Vicki Held, and Gay Burton.  

Gay’s Burton family clan is worthy of a special mention.  The baby of a talented, energetic, and successful family, Gay was ours…and was probably the very first Meadowbrook girl I fell in love with.  She didn’t even know I existed or, if she did, she didn't give a damn and ruled the school with her ample energy, personality, beauty, intelligence, and from the power position of a Meadowbrook Buffalo cheerleader.  To this 13-year old lad, Gay was everything a 13-year old woman should be!  Of course, rumor has it that she also could be a little hellion but, I never really saw her that way ... just heard some of the locker room stories.  However, I must say that Gay, unlike some others of my old '63 class has been responsive, candid, and helpful with her timely inputs to the blog ... she's a good egg and in my eyes always has been, even if she never did fall head over heels ga-ga in love with me like she did with that damn Roby.


So, the Meadowbrook Juggernaut was staged, awarded, feted, minimally soroitized, somewhat socialized, and more than ready to take over the EHHS Sophomore class with substantial gusto the next fall....1960, the school's second year in business.  I think we kind of overwhelmed the smaller Handley contingent but, I also think the Handley contingent had their own substantial future Highlanders charged and ready try a drink from that fire hose.



1 comment:

Danny & Linda McCoy said...

The original Feb 13, 2012 Poly post was a real gem. We have a lot of back reading to do. Keep it coming!