Blog 120 Yearbooks & One More R.I.P.

Blog 120 Yearbooks & One More R.I.P.

Recently I have had my hands on two yearbooks–the 1955 Monticello and the 1956 El Alamo of San Antonio College, which Lon Carpenter
has loaned to me. Both have filled some otherwise idle time during this Covid 19 pandemic.

Monticello, 1955 edition.
First impression: it is bigger and heavier than our class of ’54
annual, and its cover is hard, rather than padded like ours was. The book is impressive as I compared it to our 1954 edition. It has also brought back additional memories.


Bigger and heavier is explained because the senior photos were placed ten to a page, compared to fifteen in our 1954 version. A very nice touch is that the seniors wore a cap and gown in the photo, and many of them listed their intended school if college bound. Not all ended at the school they listed in the fall, I noted from personal knowledge, and not all declared though they were headed off to school.


Each page also includes a candid photo of some activity on or off the campus. Without looking at each, it appears that pains were taken to include many in the class, rather than mostly photos of the class stars.


Photos of the teachers about knocked my eyes out! The ’54 teacher photos in our book were candid shots, while in the ’55 edition, the pictures are portrait style and almost look like glamour shots for many of them. Given the age of most of our teachers, you might suspect that some gauze covered the lens. The other thought is that a number of teachers retired when we graduated, because there were a lot of faces I just don’t recognize and names I don’t remember.


One teacher I recall was Mrs. Willingham, whom I had for an algebra class one semester. My sense at the time was that she struggled a great deal. In the 1955 yearbook, she is listed as teaching science and in the Home Economics department as “clothing.” Another algebra teacher was Mr. McCown, who became a counselor by 1955. And Mrs. Worden switched from English to history. Kinda’ makes you wonder if they had super skills or if they were just moving around to find their niche.


While I have reasonably good recall of my teachers, I did not see some of the real antiques on the staff. Hope lightning does not strike me down for the disrespect there. They were all so old then but now seem as youngsters compared to our age today. Mrs. McDaniel, speech and drama, was about forty-five back then.


El Alamo 1956 edition. Lon thought I would enjoy seeing the San Antonio College yearbook, since it was so many students came from our class of ’54.


Class officers included Mary Ann Lothringer, President; Peggy Frazier, Secretary; Kay Haller, Treasurer; Frances Folks, Parliamentarian; Shirley Inselman, Chaplain; Harvey Clouser and Bill Peck, Student Council Representatives


El Alamo First Lady of 1956 was our own Cecile Abdo. Per the writeup, she was chosen “one of ten finalists chosen…on the basis of beauty. A group of impartial judges made the final choice…on the basis of beauty, poise, and personality.” Other fnalists from Jeff included Shirley Auer, Carolyn Millar, and Myrna Robinson. Don Rooney was a “Sweetheart Prom Honoree.”


So many honors! At the Adda Dabba Pouda Coronation, Shirley Inselman was the queen. Representatives of for the six flags of Texas included Bill Peck, Texas; Shirley Auer and Tommy French, Mexico; Peggy Frazier and Jack McGuire, France; Cecile Abdo.


Shirley Auer and Myrna Robinson were part of the Autumn Nocturne. Beth Wilcox, Shirley Inselman, and Margaret Pratt were selected by the faculty as part of the Top Ten students.


There were a lot more Jeff names that kept popping up throughout the pages as officers or members of various groups. I think, though, that the point has been made.


I don’t know what the population of SAC was in 1956, but today, the SAC has over 22,000 students and another 16,000 plus who are taking courses not for credit.


Jack Van Vleck, R.I.P.
I learned last week that Jack Van Vleck
died in October 2017. There was no obituary. I remember Jack from Spanish 2, with SeÑorita Wright, who called everyone by their Spanish name. There must not be a translation for Jack, because we were both Joaquin. Jack married Patsy Smith from the class of 1956. I last saw Jack at our sixtieth reunion.

I did google Jack and came up with a story about how he cheated some scammers in 2012. Here is the article. The photo looks like Jack.

Man turns table on would-be scammers

Promise of $1.5 million, luxury car proves to be a scam

SAN ANTONIO – A 76-year-old San Antonio man turned the tables on some would-be scammers trying to take his money and the KSAT Defenders were there to capture it all on camera.

It started when Jack Van Vleck got a call saying he’d won a major prize. The caller told him over the phone it was “$1.5 million dollars, sir, along with a brand new Mercedes Benz, sir.”

The caller, with what Van Vleck described as a Jamaican accent, told him all he had to do was go to Walmart or a similar store and get a Visa gift card and put $399 on it.

He went to a Walmart off of Loop 410 and bought a card, but only put $20 on it. He did this knowing it was a scam.

The scammer then wanted the activation code for the card that was printed on the receipt.

But Van Vleck would only give him part of the 14-digit code.

On the phone, the scammer demanded more numbers: “Go ahead, don’t stop. Go ahead … why you mess me like this, sir? You stupid?”

But Van Vleck knew that giving out the complete code would give the scammer access to the money on the card.

“I don’t like people taking advantage of other people,” Van Vleck said. “Especially elderly people.”

Then the Defenders stepped in to talk to the scammer on the phone, telling him they knew it was a scam.

Van Vleck ended the call with one parting shot.

“This has really been fun for us to string you … along,” Van Vleck said.

His daughter, Joanna Roberts, helped Van Vleck in all of this and hopes other potential victims will learn from this lesson.

“Whoever is sending you a prize, you do not have to pay for that prize,” Roberts said.

Van Vleck said it was fun turn the tables on the scammers and was happy the KSAT 12 Defenders could show this to all of San Antonio.

“I’m glad you guys showed up because you really put the icing on the cake here,” he said.

The scammer’s phone number was traced to Jamaica.

The family wonders how they got Van Vleck’s information and wants people to realize that that information is out there and to watch out for scammers using it.


“Tha..tha..tha…that’s all folks,” as Bugs Bunny used to say. Or was it Porky Pig? The beleaguered post office has published a pane of stamps commemorating Bugs Bunny. Look for them.


Take care and be safe.

2 thoughts on “Blog 120 Yearbooks & One More R.I.P.

  1. jeanine

    I had Mrs. Willingham for sewing and Library. I came to Mann from Burbank and for some reason, I think I had her there. Memory is not very good. She did have a son (can’t remember his name) that married one of our classmates (can’t remember her name either). They divorced and she remarried and came to lots of reunions. I will probably remember the facts some day.
    I liked hearing about the annuals and their changes. My brother was the Editor in 1960 and I just threw his masterpiece away. They had a 45 record that went with it. Pretty fancy.

  2. jeffclassof54 Post author

    Mrs. Willingham’s son was Dick, in the class of ’53, I think. It must have been difficult for him to have a mom teaching in the same school. I recall who he dated, but I was not aware they married. I still like our yearbook, but I did also like the larger photos and caps and gowns in ’55.


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