Blog 116 Flashback, Part 1

Blog 116 Flashback, Part 1

This blog and the next one or two will share notes that were created for one of our reunions. The notes are undated and the author uncited. However, I believe the notes were generated for our reunion number 45 or 50. And I strongly suspect the author was Kay Gregory. The notes have the touch of a librarian, which Kay was in her working days. Because of the length, I will divide them. And I may insert remarks along the way, which I will post in red.

But first, RIP Jaime Ornelas. Jaime is another classmate who recently died. I remember Jaime from Jeff though I did not know him well. About two years ago, Jaime moved back to San Antonio and called me. We had coffee and traded stories. Following Jeff, Jaime enlisted in the Navy and found Rudy Alvarez, also from our class, at boot camp in San Diego. Following his Navy tour, Jaime received his engineering degree and worked for thiry-five years for Aramco, much of that time in the Middle East. Jaime had married two or three times but had no children, so he was staying with a nephew here in Castle Hills. Jaime was widowed and came back to SA for cancer treatment. We had coffee once more some months later, and that was when Jaime told me that the oncologist told him they had done all they had and that he had about twelve months left. Jaime said, “and I have frittered away about five of them.” Jaime had bone cancer and was experiencing a fair amount of pain at that point. I called several times after that and left messages to no response. Recently, I stopped by and spoke with his nephew, who told me that Jaime had passed away November11, 2019. I enjoyed the brief moments I shared with Jaime and regret not knowing him better.

Flashback, Part I
Events Notable to the Jefferson Class of 1954

Our senior year at Jefferson opens with an innovation: for the first time ever, school begins before Labor Day. A poll taken during our senior year shows that most students still “like Ike.” But Ike is not the only president we like. We like Bobby Tate
as Student Council President. We like Tommy French
as Senior Class President. The Lassos like Carolyn Taylor; the Band likes Ralph Dorchester. The Skeltons like Jean Milam. ‘Ihe Jeffersonaires like Jane Isherwood
and the Jefferson International Club likes Margot Gonzalez. ‘Ihe Lloyd advisory likes Sock Bitsis. Congratulations to all these senior presidents.

Victor Weiss arrives as new science and math instructor.
(He was the last living teacher from our era. I visited with him around 2001 to borrow photos he had taken of Jefferson. I will post some of them at the end of the blog.)

Robert Webber
is named the commander of the ROTC drill team. The senior majorettes this year are Sarah Belcia, Mary Ann Lothringer, and Texas Nowotny.

The senior cheerleaders are Douglas Campbell, Carl Conn, Bettye Sue Conrad, Bill McLaughlin, and Betty Stensland.

The cafeteria now offers a new white vending machine with 7-Up (of course, we didn’t know about the “uncola” then, but we had it available). Pullen’s advertises flats for $2.98 and $3.98.
(Does anyone remember Pullen’s? I do not.)

The senior class standing committees are: Social, Courtesy, Publicity, Membership Cards, Senior Picture Show, and the Senior Gift.
(If anyone can remember what the courtesy Committee’s function was, please let us know.)

A one-pound loaf of bread is 17¢. It costs 3¢ to mail a first-class letter. Milk is 23¢ a quart (that’s 92¢ a gallon, but you can’t easily get milk by the gallon.). Gasoline is 23¢ a gallon and there is plenty of it. A decent car costs $2,700. But the minimum wage is 75¢ an hour
(equates to $7.19 today. The actual minimum today is $7.25 per hour.) The median family income is $4,173.

Away from our classrooms, Colonel Nasser seizes power in Egypt and becomes premier and head of state. Dien Bien Phu falls to Vietnamese communists. Henri Matisse (b. 1869), French impressionist painter, dies. Graham Sutherland paints a portrait of Churchill that Churchill hates so much, he never allows it to be shown, and when he dies, his wife burns it. The American Cancer Society reports a higher death rates among cigarette smokers. Plastic contact lenses are developed. The Tobacco Industry finds 36 specialists who say lung cancer is not caused by smoking. The average American’s favorite meal is fruit cup, vegetable soup, steak, potatoes, peas, rolls, butter, and pie a la mode. Playboy magazine is one year old.

Cadets from the French Air Force visit Miss Virginia Nau’s French Class. There is probably no connection, but Bible classes start at Jefferson. This could never happen today. The malleable minds of the students might be corrupted by religious and moral concepts foreign to a free and politically correct society.

Glenn Wogstad
is named editor of Projector, a newspaper published by the Grace Presbyterian Church. A sad note was struck when the Declaration announces that Miss Audrey Terry, long-time math teacher, died on October 8.

Monticello’s go on sale for $4.00. W. T. Neill Co. is selling MJR pins for $3.60. ‘Ihe Hot Dog Haven invites customers to hot dogs at 20¢, and hamburgers at 18¢.

The Girl’s Cadet Corps Rifle team is: Marilyn Black, Nancy Elbel, Ann Hundley, Nancy Jones, Charlotte Karotkin, Betty Jeanne Moore, and Margaret Pratt.

Four terrorists, shouting for Puerto Rican independence, fire shots in the House of Representatives, wounding five Congressmen. U. S. and Canada agree to build the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line across northern Canada. Hemingway wins the Nobel prize for literature. William Golding writes Lord of the Flies. J. R. R. Tolkien completes The Lord of the Rings. Charles Lindberg wins a Pulitzer Prize for The Spirit of St Louis. So does Bruce Catton for A Stillness at Appomattox.

The library experiments with paperback “pocket books.” Members of the Girls Cadet Corps refuse to say why they offered congratulations to Frances Folkes and Charlotte Karotkin. In exercising a privilege available only to a select elite, Myrna Bieberdorf, Joe Coreth, Dorothy Crawford, Tommy French, and Bobby Tate climb up to the dome, enjoy the view, and leave their marks behind.

The Arnold Hobby Shop offers a complete line of hobbies, specializing in model train supplies. Larry’s Shoeland is selling Men’s shoes with a zipper closure for $10.95.

Sammie Granato
is discovered to have memorized the entire girl’s file in the Lost and Found office.

(If anyone remembers what the girl’s file is, please resond.)

Marilyn Monroe marries Joe Dimaggio.

Henry Monsalvo
plays a bullfighter in the San Antonio Little Theater production of “La Traviata.
Sammie Kindrick
is named Miss Teena Texas.

On the trip to Corpus for the Miller game, Joe Coretht s
colonel shirt, with all his ribbons and cords, flies out the bus window. Joe attends the game in khaki pants and a blue civilian shirt.

Jay Weidenfeld
is elected “Beau” of the B’nai B’
rith Girls. Robert Welch publishes The Life of John Birch.

XXX Root Beer has sandwiches for 20¢ to 40¢. But for 99¢, you can get a sirloin meal at Copeland’s (closed Sundays).

Popular songs include: “Hernando’s Hideaway”

“Mister Sandman”

“Young at Heart”

“Three Coins in the Fountain”

“Hey There”

If anyone wants to listen to the above songs, click here:
Hernando’s Hideaway The Chordettes Frank Sinatra The Four Aces Rosemary Clooney

Photos by Victor Weiss will have to come later, as I do not readily find them on the computer. They are tucked away somewhere. Next time, maybe.

1 thought on “Blog 116 Flashback, Part 1

  1. jeanine

    Loved all of the info. It is so nice to look into the past and remember so much about our youth. I hope the kiddos of today have as many good memories as those of ours. One thing I remember is why I didn’t get on the rifle team. When I would shoot doves or targets, it was always a bull’s eye. When I tried out for the team, I missed the target. Years later I learned why. Because I was right handed, I was told to close my left eye and shoot which caused me to shoot far to the left. I am a left eye shooter and found that out much later. Keep the blogs coming.


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