Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Marine Phantom + comments

I monitor a couple of groups where Vietnam vets post some of their “private stock” photos; those they took themselves.  Unlike the more familiar published photos we’ve commonly seen over the years, these are often more gritty and show detail.  Infrequently, the thread will take a personal tack where recollections of the same or similar events from differing perspectives develop.  This was one of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The EHHS Social Order – 10.8 – The He-Man Women Haters’ Club – The Club House

Of course we weren’t women haters but, if we were to be excluded from the Sophomore dating scene for a few months, it seemed only reasonable to find something else to do with our spare time.  Going anywhere with parents was by this time, a veritable scuttling of any independence we had managed to carve out for ourselves…bikes were out of the question…motor scooters were too juvenile…  Walking wasn’t cool and the bus…well, give me a break, not even Tony, the bus driver could make the bus cool anymore!  So, that left Cooper’s old Chevy, and a sturdy old steed, it was.

Still, fries and cokes at the drive-in on Lancaster or sign-boarding on Hwy. 80 by Rose Hill, or digging divots in Kirby Halm’s yard and installing some “Replace Divots” signs borrowed from the golf course could only amuse a group like ours for so long.  Holidays like Halloween, where we could raid the little kids’ loot bags or blockade Weiler with old tires and inverted metal trash cans..the bottoms filled with gasoline and lit off, provided a few special occasions to break the monotony of our loveless conditions.

A new kid named Shields lived in one of the big new houses up on the hill, north of the school; a quiet kid, pretty smart, a crappy football player, too skinny, but grown tall in the past couple of years.  By some means or another, we set up shop at his house many of the weekend nights…the game was poker.  Also, seven-card stud deuces and one-eyed jacks wild…maybe one-eyed kings, too and more.  But, the most memorable game was the one introduced by Paul TateInjun Joe No-Peekie.

 Everyone at the table knew your card but you and the bet was who had the highest.  Just the kind of mind game Tate liked as it involved people reading more than anything else.  The table was round, adjacent to the kitchen, and the fridge was well stocked…almost a perfect venue for 15-year olds waiting for their driver’s licenses and the games actually served as a good basic training for the more serious games later in the service. 

This group probably had a variable attendance due to Cooper’s car only holding 6 or maybe 7 and the round table seating about that same number.  Several of the guys lived within easy walking distance of the Shields house.  Don’t recall all the attendees but, it was most likely Tate, Dillard, Means, Koebernick, Cooper, Perkins, Ruscoe, McCoy, McCook, Guthrie, and maybe some others.  Talk and humor at those tables was lively but, I don’t recall too much attention going to the girls.  By then we had learned to effectively bluff and part of that bluffing was to hide your hand regarding which girls you were favoring when the time came to try some dating.  If you didn’t keep those kind of things to yourself, there was a risk of some early intramural poaching…or, so the thought went.   

I have no clue what the girls were doing during this school year…although Kay and Bruce’s picture support a story supplied by another Highlander that he was driven crazy by the same sort of close proximity of another lovely Highlander in another lab class…so crazy that he flunked the course.

One of the activities recorded in that year’s CLAN was the image of some of our ’63 girls getting instruction in lady-like poise from the statuesque cheerleader coach, Mrs. Betty Taylor.  Mrs. Taylor had been a Tri-Delt sorority girl in college.

A lot of long evenings were spent at some dingy pool hall somewhere on Lancaster…Tate, Means, or Dillard found that one.   We got caught by Mr. Johnson as we tried to duck out of an Easter program in the auditorium to go play pool…had no idea he was in the habit of looking for escape attempts along that long line of windows at the back of the building, although we did know that Mr. Vaughn was stationed at the parking lot end of the building to nab escapees there.  It was a first escape attempt that resulted in Mr. Johnson’s instruction to Coach Graves to “give these boys some reminders after the program was completed.”  But Graves was a no-show after the program and we were left with the long weekend to anticipate the pain the following Monday.  Nothing came of it so, perhaps they knew the threat and anticipation were enough…who knows?

Sometime late in the Spring, our favorite brat, Gay Burton showed up driving a neat little Corvair and started doing some of the driving as we began to reassemble our little gang occasionally. I think one of our projects was a Cha-Cha dance class taught by Sam Scott's mom somewhere on the other side of town.  Anyway, it was a neat little car and any chance to knock around with Gay was a treat...and, fun.

Next:  Dating may be a contact sport

Friday, June 05, 2015

The EHHS Social Order – 10.7 – The He-Man Women Haters’ Club – Still No Wheels

It was never clear just how much time we devoted to the sports teams but, in going through this look-back and giving it some thought, I was somewhat shocked to realize that participation in each sports team kept us busy about 16-hrs per day in season….up at 6:30 A.M. and to sleep maybe 10:30 P.M. or so each school day with no real down time between those hours.  That schedule continued all 3-years at EH.  Socializing with some of the many school clubs was out of the question, there just wasn’t any time for them.  That was a shame for, those clubs provided a variety of opportunities to meet and interact with others, especially our beautiful girl Highlanders but, that’s the way it was. 

Now, unlike the boys, the girls weren’t troubled with this pressing need for a driver’s license and with all those older EH men (with driver’s licenses) hovering about like the gulls, picking them off for dates, a lot of our ’63 gals were willing and able to go out with those older men at age 15, or 14.   This was a rolling phenomena that existed well before we encountered it and of course, continued long after our brush with it.

Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Sara Tannahill, was even in the business of matching some of the younger girls up with “older men” and she wasn’t much older than we were then—in a sense she was compounding our problem while aiding the girls with theirs.  Others found their older men in their churches sometimes from other high schools (mostly Poly and Paschal), where they had likely been seeing one another in those settings for years.   

Suffice it to say, that our ’63 girls had and were taking advantage of dating opportunities that our ’63 boys didn’t yet have.  But, for some, those earlier opportunities would make things difficult for them in the later EH years as the boys caught up and settled their girl friend matters in due course, mostly by taking up with girls from the younger classes.  They had become the gulls picking off the girls from the trailing classes of ’64 & ’65!

Unknown to us, this difficult boy/girl situation would set up a social phase disruption within our class that, for some, could continue to affect us all the way through EHHS.  Not only did we have to wait for that all-important license…by the time we got it, a lot of our favorite girls were distracted or even attached to other, older boys….a classic example of the boy next door making out a lot better than the one down the street.

Since our 16th birthdays arrived at different times over the span of this 10th grade year, our freedom tickets arrived throughout that year.  I think most of us were Spring babies so, that time of year was jumping.  Until then, during this 10th grade year, we were somewhat adrift…well, the boys were, anyway. 

So, what to do?

Well, tearing up and down the Meadowbrook streets packed in Cooper’s old Chevy was one thing…mostly mindless, rambunctious fun filled with lots of laughter about what, I don’t recall.  However, our range was almost entirely within the boundary of our Meadowbrook-Handley neighborhoods…a very small domain.

A coke and fries at the burger joint on East Lancaster (the Driftwood, maybe?) near the Cox’s shopping center.  I don’t think anything else like it existed that early on our side of town…the Chuc Wagon hadn’t been built or, we would have found it.  But, finding variety in our cokes and fries wasn’t a priority and venturing too far from our home turf could bring us into contact with similar “gangs” from other high schools “cruising” around their neighborhoods.  In fact, I recall Glenn Brandon coming into school one Monday morning, all scuffed up from a brawl with some Carter boys.  I think that one occurred at the Driftwood.

About this time, some of the girls “gangs” would gather at someone’s house for a pajama party, news of which would find its way into the hallway chatter.  Those generally involved some of Vicki Held’s and Gail DeVore’s gang, probably many of those in the “Stars” picture below.  Don’t recall any of those kinds of gatherings at Burton Manor that year and Gay’s parties seemed to have become less frequent…what was going on?

For one thing, that year many or most of “our” girls got their invitations to join the Thaelis Service Club or the Delphi Service Club.  More about them in an article or two.  This was a big deal for the invitees….and like most others at EHHS, I would have had no idea they existed but for the nearby gleeful outburst Carole Stallcup emitted as she opened her invitation.  Carole was a beautiful girl, who for one reason or another I never did get to know very well.  Belying her demure appearance, she could be a little boisterous on occasion and as a later (college) Animal House member once appraised a college girl walking ahead of us, “looks like she swapped legs with a bird and lost her butt in the deal.”  Remember, I didn’t say that…he was a college “man” of 19.  Carole had very slender pegs. 

Anyway, this Thaelis deal was something else that stuck in my craw from those long ago days and ferreting out facts about it was one of the objectives of this blog from the beginning.  Pretty sure I understand it now and ease, girls...ol' Gus won't be spanking you much.  I would wager that you gals don't even know the background to this story.

Next, the clubhouse ...