Author Archives: jeffclassof54

Blog 126 Already, again

Blog 126 Already, again

Another posting so quickly, I am becoming overly loquacious here. Perhaps it is the getting-old process that so many memories pop up of times gone by. Many friends and acquaintances forward items that are sometimes thoughtworthy and trigger memories.

Something arrived in the mailbox this afternoon, copied here, and dedicated to those from our class who moved away after graduation and never returned. It was written after someone watched “Castle on the Hill” sung by Ed Sheerin. I watched the video and found the music unpleasant, but the words tell the story. The writer watched the video and wrote his “Castles of Corn” essay. Following that, I will add the lyrics to “Castle on the Hill.”

Castles of Corn

    I just finished watching the video of Ed Sheeran’s song, Castle on the Hill. And while there weren’t any castles near my hometown in central Indiana, the lyrics certainly succeeded in rekindling memories of that place and of my adventures with friends whom I would leave behind so many years ago…and of an emptiness in my life. There are times when the gravitational pull of that place is so strong that I feel it in my heart. And yet, I resist.

I expect that my story—as Ed’s—is rather commonplace. One or two from a band of friends who have been together from childhood to late teen years follow a path that leads away from home, while the others remain to make their lives in or near that harbor of their youth. And, in time, the members of those groups drift away from one another.

I was one who followed a path which led me far from home, and over the years I’ve lost touch with my band of friends. But there has been occasional—and painful—news which has reached me: my best male friend was killed in Viet Nam; another died of cirrhosis, another lost a leg, hope and his life; one couple divorced; and my very dearest friend died as result of a stroke. I think that a part of why I resist returning to my hometown is a fear of confronting the haunting memories and void which their absence has created.

Unlike Ed, I never saw a castle on a hill until I was an old man. In my youth I saw oceans of corn and soybeans and forests of oaks, maples and sycamores in the glorious colors of Autumn. I close my eyes and I can see myself cruising the streets in summertime, playing golf and swimming in a body of water generously called “Cool Lake.” I hear the sounds of the Nighthawks flying over the town square, and the school band playing our Alma Mater. And I hear laughter, and singing along with the radio (tuned, of course, to “WLS in Chicago”). I remember slipping out to dusty country roads to drink Peppermint Schnapps or PBR, and staying out late…very late. And as I looked out over those fields I tried to see the future, but it was covered in the humid mist of early mornings.

Although most of us our band didn’t have much, we had each other. I don’t believe any of us dared think that there wouldn’t be a time when that wasn’t to be so. I know that I never imagined I would see all that I’ve seen, do some of the things I’ve done, or become the person I am today. I think that some of the best of me was shaped by those I left behind. And though I’m fortunate to have several people in my life whom I regard as friends, our shared experiences are very different from those of my youth—those whose friendship and love that I feel I betrayed, and whose loss leaves a painful emptiness in my heart.


Lyrics to Castle on the Hill

When I was six years old I broke my leg
I was running from my brother and his friends
And tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down
I was younger then, take me back to when I

Found my heart and broke it here
Made friends and lost them through the years
And I’ve not seen the roaring fields in so long, I know I’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill

Fifteen years old and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
Running from the law through the backfields and getting drunk with my friends
Had my first kiss on a Friday night, I don’t reckon that I did it right
But I was younger then, take me back to when

We found weekend jobs, when we got paid
We’d buy cheap spirits and drink them straight
Me and my friends have not thrown up in so long, oh how we’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One’s brother overdosed
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by
But these people raised me and I can’t wait to go home

And I’m on my way, I still remember
These old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill




Blog 125 Another One Gone

Blog 125 Another One Gone

It has been pleasant these past several blogs to have no bad news to pass along. Sadly, here is another of our class who has left for other pastures. Before that, however, “other pastures” reminds me of certain occasions at my company in years gone by. Over time, I came to recognized that whenever it was late on a Friday afternoon and someone came to my office, it was to advise me that they had accepted a job elsewhere. We would chatt for a bit as they worked up their courage to say that they were leaving and then we talked about their move some—where they were going, what they would be doing, etc. In the chat, I always reminded them that they would not find that the grass there was greener. Rather, I told them they would just be grazing in different grass that was not much changed from where they were.

Kay Haller

March 19, 1937-October 23, 2020

This info came to me via the Bell’s, who had heard from Kay’s brother, Roger. I knew Roger back when, so we have exchanged several emails since and also with Gay Arnold Harris. Gay and Kay were first cousins.

Roger told me that Kay suffered with severe dementia for the past eight years and was in a memory care facility in Dallas. She was married to Jon Cobb for 60+ years. Jon was Jeff class of ’53 and died last year. The obituary I found was only two lines. Should something more be published later, I will pass it along. Roger said that there will be a family graveside service at the Gruene family plot at Comal County cemetery in January.

Here are some of my memories of Kay, of whom I was always very fond.  Kay and I were mid-termers entering Jeff in January ’51.  I had transferred over from Mark Twain, and Kay was in a group that befriended me when I did not know anyone.  Her parents and mine were friends, so Kay may have been told to watch for me.

It has been at least fifteen years since hearing from Kay.

Roger told me Kay did not do emails and Jon was not especially diligent about doing them.

My last memory of Kay’s mom, Emma, occurred in 1979, after my family and I had moved back to San Antonio.  We were visiting churches and one Sunday went to University UMC.  We walked in and I thought, “this must be close to a retirement home, because everyone has gray hair.”  I did not realize it was the old Woodlawn Methodist Church with a new name.

After the service, a one of the gray hairs came up to me and said, “You are Jack Stutts.  Do you know who I am?”  I had no clue, which she must have realized, because she then said, “I am Kay’s mother.”  I looked at her.  Finally, I said, “Kay who?”  She said, “Why Kay Haller, of course.”  Then she said “You’re not a young man anymore.”  (I was 42 at that time.)  I asked about Kay, and Mrs. Haller said she had not changed a bit since high school.  Next, Warner Fassnidge’s mother came up and we went through a similar routine.  I concluded I was not ready for all that, and we did join another church.

If anyone cares to share a memory of Kay, please add your story here.

I mentioned Gay Arnold earlier. She was Jeff class of ’52. She was a majorette, which was claim to fame in my book. I thought majorettes were the cream of the crop at Jeff. Gay was widowed last year. She was married to Tom Harris, a well-known and beloved horticulturist here in San Antonio. I met Tom through Bexar County Master Gardeners and am honored to have known him.

Till next time…


Blog 124 Updates and More Recollections.

Blog 124 Updates and More Recollections.

Happy election day to all. Thankfully it is almost over.

I mentioned in a September email that we would look toward December 3rd for the next luncheon, but we must postpone once again. I doubt that many of us are willing to venture out to a large gathering, even if the restaurant would agree to let us in, which is not happening.

After the September email, a bunch wrote to update us. I include those comments here. Also, I will post a picture from 66 years ago as appearing in the Monticello yearbook. If this sounds like gossip central, please forgive. For years, I have eschewed passing along “news,” but as we are all aging out so quickly, I have had a change of heart and will pass along what I know. If any of you have any cogent thoughts or pithy (I am not lisping) comments, send them along and see your name in print.

Mike Esparza

in recently. “I’m still around. I move with the help of my cane or walker. Health is good. Daughters protective telling me to stay in my apartment. I make short trips to keep my car’s battery working. I live in an independent living facility but we still lose neighbors. Some residents have moved out to less expensive locations because they are still living but don’t want to run out of money.” Note:
Mike was one of our resident artists on the Declaration and Monticello. Following these comments, I have posted one of his drawings from a 1954Declaration issue.

And from Ofelia Villarreal Siordio:

“I have added the December 3rd date on my calendar.  I was in San Antonio the last week of July and again the first week of September 2020.  I had wanted to go by Jeff to see my brick, but never had a chance.  Hopefully, on my next trip.  Hope all is well with you and your family.

Ben Williams commenting on planting a tree to honor or memorialize someone:

My mother had a tree planted for her on the property (Jefferson) for being the president of the PTA the year before I got to Jeff in 1950. They had a long period doing so and hers was the smallest when I got there. A few years later all the dedicated trees were chopped down. I did not know that until we had one of our gatherings. I went by to see it and all were gone.

Jeanine Kliefoth
sent a new address and email for Pat White,
who has moved to Oklahoma from California.

Nancy Driesslein Pearce,

Ruth Hernandez Stewart,

Kay Matteson Gregory,

and Lon Carpenter

all said hi.

Rudy Alvarez

sent along a series of cartoons reflecting his political views. I would like to post the funnier of those, but some classmates would be offended. But thanks, Rudy.

Rich Kaufman

is staying in Castroville through November-if you need his address to say hi, let me know. Rich and Carol are spending a year on the road, travelling around in a 39-foot RV.

Drawing by Mike Esparza;

More recollections, again about teachers:

Mr. Daniel:
The story here must be an urban legend by now and still told about that teacher who spit on the window. Mr. Daniel taught math down the hall toward the cafeteria and on the outside overlooking the parking lot and ball football practice field. I was never in one of his classes and do not know if he was a good teacher or not. However, I am well attuned to this particular anecdote. Rumor was that Mr. Daniel chewed tobacco in class and on occasion would stroll over to the open window to clear his mouth of the collected saliva (i.e. spit out the window.) I suspect it was snuff he was dipping rather than chewing tobacco. Do you remember that the windows were without screens? So the story goes that someone (probably Danny Sciaraffa) eased the window down when Mr. Daniel was unaware. Then when he ambled over to expectorate, his missile went splat against the window and a brown stain coursed down the pane. Was it true? Did anyone actually witness it? I don’t know, but it makes a good story.

After T. Guy Rogers
retired, he was succeeded by Mr. Gott, and subsequently Mr. Chambers. Mrs. Talliaferro, Mrs. Petrich, and another teacher
I cannot recall formed a triumvirate attempting to weaken Mr. Chamber’s authority and exert their own agenda. Mr. Rogers ruled with a velvet glove and was in tight control. The three teachers made Mr. Chambers life miserable until one summer, when he arranged for each of the teachers to be transferred to separate schools in September. I remember reading about his coup in the Express-News.

Back to
Mrs. Talliferro. She was a martinet, tall, thin, very black hair (most likely enhanced by her beautician) and always reminding us of her husband’s importance as the principal of Horace Mann. I did like her as a teacher. Some years later, after 1979, when I moved back to San Antonio, I was in Dennis Jewelry one day and I heard this booming voice from the opposite end of the counter. “That’s Talliaferro. Spelled T-a-l-l-i-a-f-e-r-r-o. Quickly I turned and saw an abundantly overweight woman with grey hair standing there. Naturally, I approached and asked if she taught at Jeff; she had and claimed to remember me. Then she launched into her fantasy of how she and the other two had been transferred to three schools which were all in trouble, implying that they were failing because of poor administration. She stated that each was sent to save the school. I do not believe that was the story behind the story. Mrs. Talliaferro died at 102.

Enough for this time.

Blog 123 The Girl with Green Hair–and other Recollections

Blog 123 The Girl with Green Hair–and other Recollections

The Senior brainThey say our senior’s brain is crammed to capacity, which is why we tend to forget current things such as why we walked into another room (bathroom excluded.) People ask me how I remember so many things about our days long past.

True confession is that I do not. If I want some ideas for these blogs, I can get out the yearbook, look at the pictures, read the captions and inscriptions from classmates, and that breaks loose something long locked away memories from the nooks or crannies of my overcrowded brain. Wish I could then delete it to make room for something else.

I also have a collection of stuff people have sent me over the years. At this stage, I am sorting through things to declutter. Some I toss and some I put in a box labelled DOD. That means Ditch on Death. No need to sort through for hidden treasure or valuable documents after my demise.


I have thought back to the teachers under whom I labored. Some were exceptional, some not so much.

Ida Mae Murray
for algebra. Here was an excitable woman, but not necessarily about teaching. In algebra 3 or 4, Susan Crawford sat in front of me. One day, she turned around and whispered, “I have tried to divide zero into a number and I don’t know how.” I had no clue and raised my hand and asked. Miss Murray begin dancing around and all she could say was something like “Don’t ever do that. Don’t try. It can’t be done. You get infinity.” No explanation as to why. In a trigonometry or some other class, the subject arose and Mr. McDaniel
explained the reason why you cannot divide by zero. ‘Tis a pity that Miss. Murray would not explain, assuming she knew the reason. Anybody out there who can explain, post a reply. Otherwise, I will reveal the reason next time.

The best story about Miss Murray, however, has been told many times and might be considered an urban legend, if it is just a tale. Here is the story: Her classroom was on the second floor above the east entrance with all the carved stonework. There as a fairly wide ledge just below the windows, which had no screens, if you remember. One day, David Frazier
jumped up and shouted out “I don’t get algebra, and can’t take it anymore.” He ran over and climbed out the window and knelt on the ledge below eye level. So the tale goes, Miss Murray ran out of the room and down to the office. While she was out, David climbed back into the classroom and took his seat. When Miss Murray returned with Mr. Rogers in tow, everyone was calmly seated and David was in his chair. If not true, it makes for a great tall tale.

Miss Grace Huey, chairman of the English department…I was not in any of her classes, so I don’t know much about her, except her demise. One summer a while after our graduation, she was at home moving a chest of drawers. Reports are that the chest fell over on her and she could not extricate herself. Her body was found sometime later under the chest.

Miss Olga Vogel
in history. Miss Vogel is another teacher I did not experience. She was the only faculty member with a PhD and looked like one of the oldest on the faculty.

Mr. McDaniel, Mr. Daniel, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Talliaferro, Miss Brewer—snippets of memories have come back for all of these, from our days in the classroom to crossing paths with them later on. Watch for those next time. To post memories you readers may have, just click on the button to post a comment.

I could have proposed to almost any girl in our class!
I could have purchased an engagement ring because I knew her ring size. I never did, however, because I lacked the funds for a diamond.

One day in our junior year Mrs. McIntyre, who was our class sponsor, summoned me to her classroom and advised that I had been selected to take orders for senior class rings. Mrs. McIntyre moved to Jeff from Mark Twain the same time as I had, and I suppose she remembered me from a class at Twain. I accepted the job, which meant that I would sit in the ticket booth outside the auditorium over both lunch periods for several months to take orders, measure ring sizes, and take a deposit. When the rings arrived in May, I would again sit in the booth for delivery. My commission was fifty cents per ring. Total earned $187.50. Of the 420 in our graduating class, 375 ordered senior class rings.

The Girls with Green Hair:
Today, we see hair of all colors. Way back then, everyone was blond, brunette, red, auburn, black, or some shade in between, except Bill Crocker, of course. Bill already had a lot of grey hairs showing.

But one day, Dorothy Crawford
showed up with her hair definitely on the green side. Dorothy was a blond, you may remember, but this is not a blond joke. News spread rapidly around the campus. If I recall Dorothy’s explanation, she was on the swim team and the chlorine in the swimming pool water had turned her hair green. Dorothy, please comment on this recollection and how you changed back to natural blond. Also, I believe Joy Robertson, Carolyn Taylor, and Diane Landers
were also on the team. Did they go green as well?

More next time. Here are some old photos in the meantime.

Beth Wilcox

Frank Klein

Pat Hileman Sparks


Jerry Harris

Connie Mayes

Skipper Quick

Ruth Hernandez Stewart

Peggy Frazier Jones

Susan Crawford LaVieux


Blog 122 Ode to September

Blog 122 Ode to September

Another September is almost gone. Before it disappears for twelve more months, I am compelled to offer a paean to a memorable song– September Song. It is so descriptive of where we are on the timeline of our life.

I will give two versions to sample (click on the sites below) and then I will offer some comments about the song and its history. I hope you listen to both versions as you read this.

Willie Nelson

Walter Huston

Hauntingly sad but beautiful when life is close to the end. I think of us in our class when I hear this…it’s a long, long way from May to December. We graduated in May and are in the late autumn of our life, headed to our December in not too many years. Yet the memories of happiness and enduring love still linger.

The Willie Nelson version is from an album entitled “Stardust.” His voice is perfect for this masterpiece. His album includes other great classic hits. Google and listen to all of them.

Walter Huston sang the song on Broadway in Knickerbocker Holiday. Knickerbocker Holiday is a 1938 musical written by Kurt Weill (music) and Maxwell Anderson (book and lyrics); based loosely on Washington Irving’s Father Knickerbocker’s Stories about life in 17th-century New Netherland (old New York). “September Song wasspecifically for Walter Huston.

Incidentally, Walter Huston was the father of John Huston, the noted movie director.

As the song says we feel the days grow shorter the longer we live. As a boy a day was long and summers lasted forever, Now when night comes I have wondered how could the day be so short.  At 83, I appreciate this song so much more. I liked it when I was young but did not grasp its full meaning.


Here are the words. There are a couple of lead in verses not included but are on the Walter Huston version.


Oh, it’s a long long while
From May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September

When the autumn weather
Turns leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time
For the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down
To a precious few
September, November

And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

Oh, the days dwindle down
To a precious few
September, November

And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

Kurt Weill was German and probably best known for his song, Mack the Knife and for Threepenny Opera. He was married to Lotte Lenya, also German. I found a version of her singing the song as well if you become enamored with the song. She played the Russian agent in James Bond’s “From Russia with Love.”

Lotte Lenya:

And here is another Willie Nelson with brilliant autumn colors.

Many others have recorded the song—Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter/Paul/&Mary, etc.

October is coming up. It is a glorious month, the most perfect of the year weatherwise, here in San Antonio.

Next time we will talk about the girl with green hair.



Blog 121 Once More, With Sorrow

Blog 121 Once More, With Sorrow

Sadly, another one of our classmates has fallen.

Patricia Vaughan “Patty” Ramby Nevitt


Patricia Vaughan “Patty” Nevitt, joined her husband Dick in heaven on September 3, 2020 exactly one year from the date of his death in 2019, with her family by her side. She was 84 years old. Patty was born on March 23, 1936 to the late Thomas R. and Violet Vaughan Sproul Ramby in San Antonio, Texas.

Patty graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School where she was a member of the Lassos Dance Team. She then earned a degree in Education with a minor in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

Patty and Dick were married on March 2, 1962 in San Antonio, Texas. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to New Braunfels, Texas when her husband had the opportunity to buy a Moving & Storage business. Patty had taught four years right out of college at Highlands High School in San Antonio but resigned when they moved to New Braunfels and started a family. In 1981 she continued her teaching career at New Braunfels Middle School. She especially loved teaching Spanish to her 8th grade students. Patty retired after 20 years of service.

Patty loved being around people, social gatherings, and traveling with her husband, family, and friends through the years. She enjoyed being a member of Gay Forties, Soiree Club, attending Jefferson High School reunions, spending time with friends from T Bar M, going to Lake Breeze Ski Lodge, and “The Supper Club” with lifelong friends from San Antonio. She is preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Dick. Patty is survived by her son, George Nevitt & wife, Michele of New Braunfels; daughter, Kendall Newburn & husband, Bauchy of San Antonio and grandchildren, Tyler Nevitt, Quint Nevitt, Patrick Newburn and Kate Newburn. Also, survived by one brother, Thomas E. Ramby of Alabama.

A private, family service will be held at Doeppenschmidt Funeral Home in New Braunfels, Texas followed by burial at Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park.

In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.


No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.


Remembering Patty:
At Jeff, I was aware of Patty but did not know her. Through our reunions over the years, Patty and I became good but not close friends. My best memories are that Patty always had a kind word for everyone, a great smile, and a good outlook.

In the yearbook, Patty listed these affiliations:



Sophomore Scholastic Society

Junior Play

Advisory President

Lasso (Vice-President, Second Lieutenant)


Planting a Tree

The obituary for Patty suggested planting a tree in her memory. I have noticed this suggestion frequently in obituaries over the past several years. I did click on the link and was startled to see a price of $80 through a florist.


In my opinion, planting a tree is a great way to honor someone. I have a couple of alternate suggestions for donating a tree. I am a bit of a tree hugger and contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation. I spoke with them earlier and found that they offer memory tree plantings for $2.00 but have a minimum order of $10, which would mean planting ten trees. These trees are in a national forest.


Here is the website for the memory tree page at the Foundation:

I also came across an organization, “A Living Tribute” which plants a tree for $10. I am not familiar with this organization, out of Connecticut, but they list many of the organizations that receive the trees that are donated.

At this point, I do not have the address to send a card indication the donation but will post it as soon as I get it.




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.

Blog 119 Flashback Part 3

Blog 119 Flashback Part 3

If you have been reading these notes prepared for our reunion in 1994, you will note that Sammy Granato’s name appears several times. Here is the third and final installment of the comments. My interjections are in red.


Sammie Granato tries to twirl a lasso rope in the third-floor hall.

Marilyn Monroe files for divorce from Joe Dimaggio.

Shirley Inselman sings “Purple Cow” to the Citizenship Assembly. Jackie Kindrick is elected the 1st Vice President of the state FBLA. Alex Trevino is elected president of the Boy Scouts House of Eagles. Alex is the second highest ranking in the state.

Rite-Way Barbecue has a special dinner for $1.25. The XXX Drive Inn announces it is “Open to serve you more in ’54.” Pullen’s is selling a sleeveless birdseye pique blouse for $2.98. (Where was Pullen’s? And what is a birdseye pique blouse? I suppose I would know that if I had taken Home Ec classes. By the way, I think Home Ec went the way of the buggy whip. At one point it was called domestic engineering.) And CocaCola is still 5¢.

The Lasso Backward Dance is announced for April 9th.

Billy Dozier wins the Math Club contest.

A computer expert announces that probably a dozen large computers will suffice to fill the computing needs of the entire world. What did he know?

“Cookies” is selling spring dresses for $4.97 to $8.97. Pullen’s one-piece swim suits are $13.95 and $15.95. Eagle Furniture has Lane Cedar Chests at $49.95, $59.95, and $79.95. Schiff s has loafers at $4.99, and girl’s soft mocs at $2.99.

Bobby Tate and Sarah Belcia are interviewed on KGBS-TV’s *Today’s Top Ten” program. The top songs are: “Wanted,” by Perry Como; “Cross Over the

Bridge,” by Patti Page; “Answer Me, Oh My Love;” “Make Love to Me,” by Jo Stafford; and “I Get So Lonely.” If you want to hear these and Purple Cow that Shirley sang, click on the links at the end of this installment.

Southwestern Bell has an advertisement offering senior girls training leading to jobs as telephone operators. I think we still had to talk to the operator to make a long distance call in the early fifties. They were probably trying to hire the home ec students to operate the telephones.

‘Ihe price on a color TV has just been reduced to $1,110.

Color TV will soon debut in San Antonio.

Gordon Richards becomes the first professional jockey to be knighted in England.

The Band wins the Buccaneer Cup in the Buccaneer Days Parade in Corpus Christi for excellence in marching and playing.

The Monticello is distributed on May 27th and 28th.

In a decision handed down on May 17, the Supreme Court ends school segregation.

Beginning next year, Jefferson will be a college prep school, exclusively for college-bound students. Every course taught will lead to college entrance. ‘Ihis year’s freshman class will continue to be the youngest in the school: It has been announced that next year, ninth graders will remain in the Junior High Schools. So the Class of 1954 will be the only one to spend four years at Jefferson with four classes enrolled. I did not know any of this.

421 members of Thomas Jefferson High School graduate at the Municipal Auditorium on June 2.


Note: the comments below were sent in by our classmate for the reunion. I have wondered whether to include or not and decided that people might enjoy reading them.


The following vas taken directly from the information form returned by classmates:

ALLEM, JOHNNIE — retired from CPS after 30 years. Presently employed by BHP ENGR. in Corpus Christi assisting process industry meet OSHA standards. Fun job in the sun. Sadly, Johnnie passed away in 2007.

ARNOLD, RONALD – is a professional rabble rouser for a non-profit organization. He has written several books and appeared in the news occasionally for raking trouble.

BAILEY, EDNA LOU – she retired after 35 years as administrative assistant and executive secretary, She has 6 children and 15 grandchildren with another grandchild on the way! I wonder how many grandchildren and great grandchildren there are twenty-six years later.

BLACK, MARILYNN – she had gone from S.A. to to Puerto Rico to New York to Laredo to Albuquerque to Abilene and is now retired on 13 acres in Bandera. Current activities include bowling, bridge, Republican Party, gardening, church work, crafts. She was in Utah bowling in the National Tournament during reunion time. Marilynn (aka Lynn) is still moving around. At one point she lived in Katy, outside Houston, and now lives in McKinney, outside Dallas.

BLAKE, ROBERT — could not make the reunion due to a new job. He sent hellos to all, especially George Pierce and Harry Wharton.

BLOUNT, RICHARD – is an army physician; daughter is a horse trainer in New Orleans; son studying for the Hangman’s Noose. Dick died in 2006.

BOYER, HAIRIBITA – could not make the reunion because her husband is recovering (thank God) from surgery for neck cancer.

BRADFORD, GAYLE – her husband of 2+ years passed away in 1981. In November, 1993, she remarried. Also in 1993 she had two more grandchildren bringing the total to seven.

BROWN PATRICIA – after living in Galveston where husband, Val, was in Medical School and Residency, they moved to Amarillo where they have lived happily ever after.

CLEMMONS, ELIZABETH – has two beautiful, intelligent granddaughters.

CONKLIN, DEANIE — she and her husband have retired. They’ve been traveling to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, Japan and stateside. They sold their farm but are staying on Bainbridge Island.

COREI’H, JOE — daughter got married on June 11. He is a VP at a bank in Washington, DC and does a lot of traveling. Joe died in 2014.

CRESS, CHARLES — married a German girl in 1960. She died from cancer in 1975. Remarried and just celebrated his 15th anniversary. Retired after 30 years’ service with the Post Office. (NCOTE: Charlie sent word that Allan Jennings died suddenly from an aneurysm in 1975.) Charlie was living in Kansas the last time he was heard from. He is on the lost list now.


CROCKER, BILL – has saved copies of most, if not all, the issues of the Declaration that were printed through our senior year. (NOTE: he sent copies of the first page of each issue which we displayed at the reunion.) Lawyers never retire. Bill is still holding office in Austin.

CRAWFORD, DORTHY – is still in “Deep East Texas” Please do visit! No, she moved back to San Antonio a few years back.

DAVIS, BE’ITY – moved to Washington DC area; lives in old town Alexandria and walks to everything. Took up watercolor painting and has shown work in many group and juried shows. She has taken many international trips.

DAVIS, ED – embarked on a new career as management consultant serving as “Rent a President” for companies faced with restructuring for one reason or another. Since Myrna passed away in 1990, he has been living with two grown sons as housemates.

DAVIS, JACK – following medical school in Texas, went to Arkansas for residency spent 3 years in Alaska in the Air Force, then returned to Arkansas to teach internal medicine — cardiology. In 1971, joined a friend in private practice in Montana. This included 18 years of ranching, development and medical director of ALERT, the nation’s first hospital based rural helicopter system. Spent 5 years on the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology and is now secretary of the Montana Medical Association and president of the American Socieyy, Internal Medicine in Montana. He enjoys (when?) computers, gardening, hiking, sailing and golf in the Flathead Valley.
Jack died this past February.

DICKINSON, MARCIA – still a Child Support Agent for the state of Oregon. Enjoys visiting daughter stationed in Hawaii! She missed the reunion because she was going back to England to take another class at Cambridge. This was her fourth trip. She loves it!

DOBBINS, IOUISE – two sons, one granddaughter. She works at City Public Service as a Supervisor in Public Safety.

EDGERTON, CAROLYN — by the next reunion, she plans to be firmly planted in the Hill Country where three of their four sons now live.

ELO, SUE — has four grandchildren. Took her mother to Greece last summer to visit the village where her mother’s father was born. Sue is VP of the National Histology Society.

FASSNIDGE, WARNER — will remarry later this year. Just bought a house that will make him an “09-er” He has been a licensed attorney at law since 1962. He has been with the City Attorney’s Office nearly 10 years.

FILLMORE, JERRE – has two grandchildren. Oldest daughter is practicing medicine in Washington. Jerre is still with the IRS but will retire in four years. If you are in Austin, call or drop by. Jerry passed away in 2006.

FINCH, BILL — returned to Teas after living in New York for 25 years. Living in Teas is a good thing to do.

FRAZIER, PEGGY – both daughters have given them two grandchildren each; ages from 8 months to 6 years.

GARZA, SONIA – she and her husband introduced the first Mexican restaurant in Puerto Rico. It grew to 3 locations and one beautiful place in St. Thomas with a breath—taking view of the harbour. They sold all in April and will now enjoy traveling. Her husband has undergone open heart surgery twice and had four heart attacks. They will keep their home in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico for vacations. (NOTE: Carlos attended the reunion. He looks great!)


Now, for the links to the songs.


Picture Shirley singing “Purple Cow”, but listen to Doris Day.


:”Wanted,” by Perry Como


“Cross Over the Bridge,” by Patti Page


“Answer Me, Oh My Love;” Nat King Cole


“Make Love to Me,” by Jo Stafford


“I Get So Lonely.” (Oh Baby Mine) Statler Brothers


I am not sure about this one. “I Get So Lonely” is sung by Janet Jackson, which was long after our era. “Oh Baby Mine” is the one I remember, but it was a hit in 1983. If anyone remembers, sign out—not literally, but send a comment.


Okay, that wraps up the reflections. Take care and be safe.




Blog 118 Intermezzo

Blog 118 Intermezzo

Intermezzo is defined as a light dramatic, musical, or other performance inserted between the acts of a play. This blog was intended to be part 3 of Flashback, but I read of an upcoming birthday celebration and am inserting some comments about it between Act II and III of the flashback. It is not musical or dramatic, so I suppose it is perhaps another performance.

Happy Birthday!
The Woodlawn Theater
is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. Does that place bring back memories? Who remembers that when it opened, the Woodlawn and all the other theaters in town had large signs that proclaimed “Air Conditioned Inside”? If you have some good memories, post them here for others to enjoy. Do you remember the Saturday afternoons there, the treats, even the cost of a kid’s ticket? I think it was nine cents, but I need one of you all for a memory check. The current management is looking for memories, so if you all will post yours, I will send them along.

Today, the Woodlawn is home to a live theater group who produce mostly musicals, although it is shut down presently because of the pandemic.


The theater was designed by the same man wo created the Majestic. What a difference in style and décor! The world premiere of “The Alamo” occurred at the Woodlawn, with John Wayne, Fess Parker and others present. That was in October 1960. I happened to be in town then and went to see it, of course. And I also wondered why it was not held at The Majestic.

John Wayne was the producer and star of the movie. Disclaimer here is that I have never been a John Wayne fan and was never impressed by his acting chops. His best effort was undoubtedly in “True Grit,” for which he received an Oscar. Part of that was most likely due to his longevity in the business. My opinion.

My recall of the movie will probably alienate some, but I thought it was not especially memorable except for two things. John Wayne uttered one of the two most stupid lines I have ever heard in a movie when talking to the staunch defenders and he said, “Now listen, and listen tight!” Inane. How do you listen tight? The other memorable thing I recall is that the “Green Leaves of Summer” came from the movie. The song came from Dimitri Tiompkin, who wrote so many amazing movie scores. If you want to hear it sung by The Brothers Four, click here:

Of course, I have to now mention the other all-time stupid line. It was in a B-grade movie whose name I have not since forgotten. It was some sort of jungle movie made on a movie lot, so not much authenticity. In one line, a girl is a jungle outfit (i.e. skimpy) entered the scene and went up to some one and uttered in a Brooklyn accent, “I brought the poison berries for you.” The entire theater erupted in laughter, cat calls and hoots.

More Trivia: the movie was filmed at Brackettville, Texas, one of 72 movies actually filmed on the film lot there. In 2018, at an estate sale, the film lot was closed and movie memorabilia was auctioned off, including The Alamo sets and props. The San Antonio
Express-News ran this article.

“Everyone knows the refrain “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”

Well, in October 1960, the stars of Hollywood shone bright in San Antonio for three days straight to celebrate the release of “The Alamo,” the $12 million movie starring, directed and produced by the legendary John Wayne.

Pictures of Wayne, known affectionately worldwide as “The Duke,” ran on the front page of the San Antonio Express for five days in a row, starting with a pen and ink drawing on Oct. 22. The paper suggested the airport would resemble Grand Central Station that day, a Saturday, as “movie stars, visiting bigwigs, and newspaper folk from throughout the country come winging in.”

The day was jam-packed with festivities and entertainment, with the first evening capped off with Wayne officiating the unveiling of “a giant 30-foot ‘Battle of the Alamo’ cake” baked by Handy Andy Supermarkets, which hosted the event at its store at Fredericksburg Road and what used to be Loop 13, now Loop 410.

A special “Night in Old San Antonio” was held Sunday night at La Villita.

Monday was another full day, even though it rained throughout the day. A tribute to the Alamo heroes was held in the morning, but an Alamo Heroes Parade that had been scheduled for downtown that afternoon was canceled. The rain couldn’t stop a large contingent of trail riders who arrived from the movie set north of Brackettville, more than 100 miles away, from starting a parade of their own.

The rain continued at the premiere at the Woodlawn Theatre, but as a front page headline stated the following day: Showers fail to wash away premiere glamor. Wayne arrived about 8:20 p.m. and thanked the crowd for turning out in the bad weather.

In his review of the film, Warren Darby acquiesced that the story of the Alamo had been told many times, but it “probably has not been told so dramatically and vividly and with such impact.” He concluded, “If audience reaction at Monday night’s premiere is any criterion, it has been a brilliantly successful venture.”

Posting comments:
Someone advised that they don’t know how to post comments on this blog. Here is how: Just under the title of the blog is a line that says “Leave a Reply.” Just click on that and type away.

Reagan High School.
The previous blog, I commented that I think Reagan High School is one of the ugliest schools I have seen. I walked back through it again the other day and did not change my opinion. Pictures from the web appear below.

Reagan opened in 1999 on 84 acres. It has live oak trees scatted through out the acreage, no manicured areas that I observed, few plants or greenery. There are a lot of parking lots and bare dirt showing. I do not think it needs to have acres of manicured lawns, but it needs

Will conclude flashbacks next time.


Blog 117 Flashback, Part 2

Blog 117 Flashback, Part 2

What was going on during our senior year at Jeff in the 1953-54 school year? This is the second installment of notes that were generated for our reunion. Thanks to an email from Warner Fassnidge, these comments were prepared as part of our fortieth reunion in 1994.As before, I may add some comments, which will be in red.

Digressions Before the flashback Part 2, several thoughts occurred.

  1. I was fortunate to have almost ten miles of trails where we lived until March. For nine or ten years, I walked most mornings, usually between two and four miles, but about six months ago, I fell of the walking wagon.
  2. This morning, I took a two-mile walk. We now live adjacent to Reagan High School. Built in 1999, it is the largest school in San Antonio. Having never seen Reagan before, I wanted to have a look before they start sessions in a week or so (no comment on the wisdom in that—or lack of wisdom.) I have to tell you that Reagan is one of the ugliest schools I have ever seen. The architects should have been awarded for leading the field in uninspired design. If President Reagan were still alive, he would probably want his name removed. I could expand, but enough said (for now.)
  3. I thought about the ugliness of Reagan and the beauty of Jeff. After seeing the video of Jeff recently circulated, several of you acknowledged that we totally did not appreciate the unique status and ambiance of our school. And I realized that Jeff is 88 years old. Can you believe that?

Flashback, Part 2
Events Notable to the Jefferson Class of 1954

Schoolchildren in Pittsburg are the first to receive the Salk Polio vaccine.

A mining engineer in the Yukon finds seeds of the Arctic lupine which have been preserved since the end of the last ice age. The Texas Bluebonnet is a variety of lupine.

The Senior class sponsors a Halloween dance, admission $1.

I’he Pedlar Advisory has free Pepsi at their advisory party.

Mr. Jones’s chemistry class disturbs the serene calm of the rest of the third floor on Oct. 21 with a loud explosion caused by the ignition of a hydrogenoxygen gas mixture.

A Japanese fisherman is killed in the Pacific by fallout from a Hydrogen bomb test. We are confident that there was no connection. The Navy converts a submarine to Nuclear power.

The first TV dinners go on sale. Because the notion of saving time, effort and energy is foreign to the self-image of the average housewife, advertising emphasizes their nutrition, flavor, and wholesomeness.

26 comic book publishers adopt a voluntary code to eliminate vulgar, obscene, and horror comics.

The choral music department presents “Pirates of Penzance.” Burt Klayman, as Major General Stanley, sings “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major

General. ”

Tennessee Williams wins a Pulitzer Prize for “Cat on a Hot Tn Roof.”

Coach Jewell Wallace
retires from coaching to teach Physiology and Biology, but will still maintain connections to the athletic department.

While ushering for a production of the opera “Il Trovatore N at the Municipal Auditorium, some of the band boys are pressed into service as extras. Ralph Dorchester
is prevented from playing a monk in a robe with a hood because the soles of his suede shoes had white stitching, which very few monks of the period wore. But he does get to carry a sword and participate in the big battle scene.

Pullen’s is selling shirts at $3,25, ties at $1.50, and underwear for $1.00 and $1.50.

Captain G. E. Matheny of the Police Department, in an informal talk to a combined meeting of the Jefferson International Club and Information Please, says, “In my opinion, there are no dope addicts at Jefferson.” (No addicts, but undoubtedly some of our classmates had found access to some pot and tried it. Anyone want to confess?)

Enrico Fermi (b. 1901), Nobel Prize winning physicist, and one of the fathers of the Nuclear age, dies. At about the same time, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who headed the scientific team that built the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, loses his security clearance and his government job.

The annual Band Concert featured show tunes. We really missed Rachel Velasquez, who danced at last year’s concert.

First Newport Jazz Festival is held. (I attended the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959 on a chilly but memorable night. But not memorable enough to recall whom I heard!)

The most popular songs at Jefferson are “Secret Love” and “Till Then.”

“On the Waterfront” wins the Oscar for best picture of 1954. Other contenders include “Rear Window”. Marlon Brando wins the best actor Oscar for “On the Waterfront.” Grace Kelly wins the Oscar for best actress for “The County Girl.” (Will a former English teacher or professor advise whether the end punctuation goes inside or outside the quotation mark? Priscilla or someone?)

President Eisenhower approves construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

‘The PE classes get new uniforms. Vernon Walenta
is named the new football coach. (Wonder who made those decisions? Was it for the girls, the boys, or both? And who remembers what they were?)

Roger Bannister runs a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds. British woman runner D. Leather is the first woman to run a mile in less than 5 minutes.

After representing the Fiesta Flambeau as Miss Fiesta of 1953 in the California Rose Parade, Texas Nowotny
is offered a movie contract, which she turns down. She was always mostly a sensible girl. (Will someone explain the terminology “mostly a sensible girl?)

Fritzie Connally
is one of 34 seniors graduating at mid-term. His departure is a blow to the basketball team.

The Spring term subscription for the Declaration is 50¢.

Epp’s Smokehouse “Welcomes all Jeffites to come in anytime.

Morocco’s fourteen-million-dollar citrus crop is destroyed by locusts.

Rice beats Alabama in the 1954 Cotton Bowl. This was the game in which Dicky Moegle’s touchdown run was interrupted by Tommy Lewis, who tackled Moegle from the sidelines.

Band members named to the All-State Band are Burt Klayman, trombone, and Ron Arnold, French horn. (Burt came to the fiftieth reunion from New York. His emails no longer go through, so if anyone has heard from him, please reply here.)

Toscanini retires. (Probably 75% of the population today have no recollection of who Toscanini was.)

Stan Kenton’s band plays at the coliseum on Jan. 29.

Digging begins for a new drainage system. (Don’t know to what this refers-but just like mattress sales, ditch digging happens every day.)

Spring term enrollment reaches 2051.

Arnold Palmer wins U. S. Amateur Golf Championship. The Philadelphia Athletics move to Kansas City.

That’s it for Part 2 Flashbacks. There were a lot of popular tunes during our senior year, with more in the next installment. If you care to listen to those songs mentioned above, click on the websites that follow.

“Secret Love” Doris Day

“Till Then.” The Mills Brothers.

I had totally forgotten The Mills Brothers till listening to them sing “Till Then.” What a smooth group.

As for “Secret Love”, Doris Day sang it in the movie “Calamity Jane” and it won an Oscar for best song. What is still one of the hilarious moments of live TV is that whoever sang “Secret Love” for the Oscars was about 8 ½ months pregnant and she was singing her heart out about her secret love. When she got to the line in the song that “now my secret’s no secret anymore,” (she obviously had been having some mattress fun) the audience howled with laughter.

Till next time with Part 3 of the Flashback.