Blog 156 Winding Down

Blog 156 Winding Down

Winding Down
Flashback to February 7, 2014: Our sixtieth-class reunion is just several months away. To whet interest and anticipation, I posted Blog 1. There was so much to write about, pictures to post, memories to recall. The reunion downtown on the River Walk proved to be one of the very best of our nine class reunions. It turned out to be our last, but to repeated questions about the next, a decision was reached to meet for lunch twice a year. We did that until the pandemic slammed into us and idled intentions to continue.

Because there was news to report about our dear old Jeff High, occasional photos, and opportunities to editorialize now and then, I have continued to post a blog, though the frequency has fallen off in the past several years. The statistics show me that far fewer are reading it as well.

My intent has been to post useful news of classmates and related school events. Sadly, news of classmates is usually of another obituary. I have not included gossip or personal news, such as learning of another case of dementia. A dearth of usable news has left me to prattle on with the odd memory that pops up.

For some years, I have paid a somewhat modest fee to keep the blog posted with the domain and free of banner ads. With the annual fee for renewal here, I have decided not renew. That means that if I have something to post, it will require a different address, probably and some ads inserted. I have some regrets about doing this, but also some frustrations because much of what I post loses its formatting or omits items.

Thank God, I’m Old!

With all the bad news in the world and concern over the loss of civility, I want to insert some humor here. In the musical Barnum, about the circus impresario, there is a song, “Thank God, I’m Old”. I posted it here once before, but the lyrics hit a lot of truths. If you care to hear it sung, the Internet address is here, with the lyrics below to follow along or just read. I urge you to listen and read along. If this does not take you to the site, type in Thank God, I’m Old,vid:5RtYUDGiwDI

The words:
When you see the shape the world is in

When the way it is ain’t what it’s been

When folks just care for gold,

Thank God, I’m old

When you take a gander at the news

When you hear the language people use

When no sweet songs are sung

I don’t wanna be young

Daddy Time, he

Doesn’t fret me

Should he spy me

That don’t upset me

Let him eye me

Come and get me

That’s fine by me

Age don’t worry me

When you see the way folks misbehave

When it’s only good times that they crave

When kids are much too bold

Thank God, I’m old

When there ain’t no He-Men left alive

When they tell you three men out of five

End up locked up or hung

I don’t wanna be young.

(Dance Break)

Gonna get me dressed and powdered down

Call myself a hack and go to town

See every shady street

These feet once strolled.

Then I’m gonna slip back on the shelf

Have myself a nip and tell myself

Though my back buckles and bends

My hair’s got silvery ends

When I see all of my friends

Laid out and cold

Thank God, I’m Old!


Aging is a process that refines our sensibilities and causes me to ponder about life. I am thankful for my many years and good health. At the same time, I wonder when is the tipping point that we reach and surpass our usefulness. Not long before she died, I had good conversations with Ruth Hernandez Stewart. She said, “I have had a good life and I am ready to go whenever the time comes.” Her son informed me of her passing several months later.

Books tell of S.A.’s Lassos and Trinity Tigers

Paula Allen Guest Columnist for the San Antonio Express-News

Sunday April 9, 2023

Lasso Alumni Association

The Lassos are seen on a weeklong goodwill trip to Mexico in 1952, stopping at Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral on a sightseeing tour before performing.

Before Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972, brought equal treatment to male and female students, women had comparatively few options to play sports in educational settings. Two new books describe the development of local programs that did allow young women to experience the benefits of competition and leadership on the field — one in a high school adjusting to a changing neighborhood and the other in a university striving to balance academics and athletics.

The Lasso Legacy — Then and Now: More than Roping“was compiled by the Lasso Alumni Association book committee, former members of Thomas Jefferson High School’s trick-roping pep squad.

As far as they’ve been able to find out, the Lassos — founded in 1932, the year the school opened — are the first and only such unit, pairing rope-twirling skills with marching drills to bring a little extra Texas sass and shine to their routines.

At a time when school sports options for girls were few, the Lassos were a stealth path to the same recognition and lessons in teamwork that boys learned from athletics. First sponsored by physical education teacher Constance Douglas, the Lassos were the school’s “special pride,” according to Life magazine, March 7, 1938. Members were “the pick of the student body,” according to the story about the “Most Outstanding High School in America.”

Lassos, who must meet academic and character standards, traditionally are accepted only after practicing rope tricks for months — at least one hopeful “wore a big bare spot” in her parents’ gravel driveway. Once accepted, Lassos attended every practice, no excuses, learning a different drill for each football game … even the Thanksgiving game with rival Brackenridge High School, when they brown-bagged family dinners to eat on the sidelines.

Lassos marched in local parades and greeted visiting celebrities, such as Gene Autry, Ed Sullivan, John Wayne and PBS newsman/Jefferson alum Jim Lehrer. In 1939, they toured several states to the north, stopping at the White House for tea with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who remembered “a group of San Antonio high-school students in cowboy attire who were on their way to the New York World’s Fair (to) give exhibitions of roping.” Among other stops, they celebrated the 1 millionth car to come off the line at the Ford plant in Detroit, with a Lasso on the hood for a publicity shot.

Over the years, the Lassos appeared in a 1940 movie, “High School” and strutted their stuff at a jai alai game in Mexico City and at both the Epcot center in Orlando, Fla., and the Astrodome in Houston. They even posed for a Marc Jacobs fashion shoot.

The only thing that broke their stride was societal change.

As neighborhood demographics shifted during the late 20th century, more Jefferson students worked after school, and it was harder for families to find money for uniforms. By 2006, there were only a dozen Lassos.

Alums from the era when the group was 150 strong got together to help — an early meeting was held at Rosario’s restaurant, owned by former Lasso Lisa Wong — and in 2007 formed the Lassos Alumni Association. Alums have passed on their roping knowledge to current students, raised funds for uniforms and provided more than $50,000 in college scholarships to date for graduating seniors. Together, former and current Lassos built back the program and saved a school tradition.

“The Lasso Legacy” will be available for $45, signed by book committee members, at the association’s annual Fiesta get-together, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco Road. Afterward, the book will be available at for $50 plus postage. (Full disclosure, I wrote the foreword for the book.)

In Closing:
This is probably not the final blog, but I will leave it for a while and turn my attention to recording genealogic and family history for my grandchildren. That is a worth project that everyone ought to tackle.

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