Blog 149 A Few More Notables
For the past several weeks, my brain has been telling me to write a blog, but my procrastination mechanism has kicked in and suggested “tomorrow.” Whether you are optimistic like Annie, who sang “Tomorrow” in the musical Annie or pessimistic, as in “Tomorrow never comes,” here is a start on another one.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Roy McBride and his accomplishments in wildlife preservation, notably tracking endangered panthers in Florida. Blog 144 told you about Jim Warrant, who had a major impact in the personal computing field in its infant days in the mid-80s. (If you have forgotten that one, I hope you will go back and read it. I am presently attempting to get some recognition of Jim by the school, adding him to the showcase od notable grads.)
Our class had many beautiful people, male and female, though only the female group looked to contests to showcase themselves. Looking way back, Aleen Smith Freeman was the 1952 Miss Fiesta. I always thought she was the second Miss Fiesta, but a little investigation places her as number the four in line. After graduation, Aleen became a flight attendant for a few years until she married and was forced to quit. In those days, rules for attendants were severely strict, compared to nowadays, when I recently who learned of a flight attendant who is in her 80’s. When last heard from, Aleen was living in New Mexico but dropped her email after being widowed. Connie Mays Dyer used to visit with Aleen when in New Mexico and said she will try to find her. Anyone else who has heard from Aleen recently, give a shout.
Texas Nowotny Myers was Miss Fiesta 1953, following Aleen. I don’t know why, but the history book lists two Miss Fiestas in 1953—Texas and Cisi Jary, whom some of you know. Texas put San Antonio on the map as she rode San Antonio’s first ever float in the Rose Bowl parade on New Year’s Day, 1954. All of San Antonio thrilled when she moved across our twelve-inch TV screens. Texas was offered a screen test for one of the film companies. If my memory is correct, as it so often is not these days, she famously declined the screen test, saying she would rather get married and have babies. Is that an urban myth? One bit about Texas’ name. She was born in Texas centennial year, 1936. Her parents commemorated the event by christening her Texas.
Sara Belcia Yates was selected Miss San Antonio soon after we graduated. I posted information about that in a blog several years ago. A newspaper reporter was researching for an article on the Miss San Antonio pageant and sent me a greatly reduced newspaper page crowning Sarah. Unfortunately, I cannot find that article in my files of useless information.
Sarah was also Miss Wool 1954. Searching the web for more info about her reign, she was pictured in an A&M Batallion newspaper with a lamb. The Baylor Lariat listed t Miss Wool qualifications for Sarah’s successor. “Eleven contestants compete in San Angelo. They must be between 18-25, be a Texan, wear a size 12 dress, and never been married.” From what I understand about women’s fashions, a size 12 in 1954 would be about a size 4 today. Prizes included a $4,00 wool wardrobe (1954 dollars) and trips to fashion centers around the country. Sarah once told me that Miss Wool was a much better gig than Miss San Antonio.
I found a picture for sale on eBay titled 1954 Press Photo Sarah Belcia, Miss Wool, and Jeanette Van De Walle with cabbages. The photo caption does not explain why they are holding cabbages. I will check in with Sarah to see if she remembers.
After thirty minutes trying to copy the picture, I finally succeeded, but the picture is not clear when enlarged. On eBay, whoever owns the photo is asking $13.69 for it plus postage. I offered $2.00 plus $4.00 postage, but the offer was rejected.
Count Your Points
The Jeff admiration structured a point system to preclude a small handful of students from copping all the honors. Maybe this was general knowledge, but I did not learn of this until many years later. Various leadership positions were assigned points for the office. I think the highest positions were student council president, class president, colonel of the Girls Cadet Corps and of the ROTC, Lasso Major, and Drum Major. Probably cheer leaders and majorettes were not far behind, while other class officers, social and other club officers collected fewer still. The reason I did not know this is because I was never barred from any office for having too many points. Thinking back, I may have had a half-point for some obscure office or as a Student Council rep.
The curious case of Shirley Smith Lebman
Joyce Skolnick Meyer advised that Shirley Smith died on June 22. I checked for an obituary, but the funeral home only gave her name, date of birth, and date of death. I just looked again and even that is no longer posted. Prior to our last reunion in 2014, I spent some time searching for lost classmates. Shirley lived in Coppel, Texas. I discovered that she had volunteered with her local Chamber of Commerce. I contacted that organization and wheedled her phone number and called Shirley. Though I did not disclose my source for obtaining her number, Shirley was furious that I had tracked her down, and she let me know about it. She did tell me that she and her family were the owners of Lebman’s Western Wear. Shirley asked for my address and requested to be placed on the inactive list, with no more phone calls or email. Imagine my huge surprise when a check for $1,000.00 arrived a few days later to subsidize our reunion..
A Stupid Thing I Did.
As some of us find creep into senility we do dumb things. I confess that I managed to delete all of my emails recently as I was getting an old laptop ready to sell. I failed to think that it would also erase them from my new laptop. The erasures included some notes on phone calls from classmates. I do recall having a good chat with Connie Mays Dyer
and Warner Fassnidge. There were a few more, but memory is eluding me of those names at the moment. Connie
is still plugging along in Houston, still active with the Methodist Hospital Board after 35 years, the Opera Guild, and The University of Texas advisory board to the School of Geology. Way to go, Connie. Warner has fully retired (something that lawyers rarely do). He said his claim to fame includes five years of rehab for one reason or another for each of the past five years but is otherwise okay.
Sorry, but no pictures this time. If anyone cares to send some along, I will publish them. Otherwise, I maystart recycling from the archives.