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Blog 138 The Golden Age—We Lived It

Blog 138 The Golden Age—We Lived It

I received this from a friend the other day and thought some of you will enjoying reminiscing with me. This article says we were unique and special.  And we were, in so many ways.  There won’t soon be another generation like ours.   

Born 1930 – 1946

Special Group / Born Between 1930 – 1946.  Today, they range in ages
from 75 to 90.  

You are the smallest group of children, born since the early 1900s.

You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which
rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.

You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.

You saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.

You saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.

You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

You are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.

 You saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.

You are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, you imagined what you heard on the radio.

With no TV until the ’50s, you spent your childhood “playing outside”.

There was no little league.  There was no city playground for kids.

The lack of television in your early years meant, that you had little real understanding of what the world was like.

On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave you newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) and hung on the wall in the kitchen or on a table in the foyer…..(no cares about privacy).

Computers were called calculators; they were hand cranked.

Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage and changing the ribbon.

INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on your radio in the evening.

As you grew up, the country was exploding with growth.

The government gave returning Veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.

Loans fanned a housing boom.

Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans opened many factories for work.

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The Veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities
they had never imagined.

You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus

They were glad you played by yourselves until the street lights came on.

They were busy discovering the post-war world.

You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where you were welcomed, enjoyed yourselves and felt secure in your
future, though depression and poverty was deeply remembered.

Polio was still a crippler.

You came of age in the 50s and 60s.

You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.

The second world war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with

Only your generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.


You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better.

You are “The Last Ones.”  More than 99 % of you are either retired or deceased, and you feel privileged to have “lived in the best of



Blog 137 Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

  • Flashback
  • New People Finder
  • Lost and Found Classmates
  • Found and Lost Classmates
  • More classmates check in

After passing from a drive-thru and before powering up the heavily tinted window, a very bright sun hit me on the left side of my face. I was also hit with a flashback. Who recalls driving around all summer with our left arm a lot tanner than the right arm? Remember those days when we relied on open windows and wind rushing in to cool us a bit? We drove with our left arm resting on the window and got first a burn and then a tan as the days heated up.

Air-conditioning relegate those days to distant memory. It also recalls a time in the late 60’s when visiting San Antonio. My wife wondered why everyone was driving around with the windows rolled up in ninety-plus degrees weather. Hailing from the Midwest, she was not attuned to cars with air conditioning.

New people finder.
Quite by accident, I came across a new people directory on the Internet that is actually free and simple to use. In the not-so-long ago past, there were a number of these data bases that were free but now for a fee will provide everything about a person but their underwear size. Cheap as I am and lacking prurient interest in divorces and jail sentences, I eschew the pay-to-locate a person. This new data base for your interest is Another is which was formerly quite good but now offers more for pay than for free.

Lost and Found Classmates.
With the above data base, I found apparent matches for thirty-eight classmates from our lost list of eighty. It will take some time to verify, once I get a goose to start. Those found are male or female with a married name in our database. These people include Ann Adams, Shirley Auer, Arnold Barnett, Charles Cress, Bonnie Hirsch, Mabel Jew, Burt Klayman, Manuel Spector, and Bob Stoltz, among others. More names next time.

Found and Lost Classmates.
Two more were found from the database and listed as deceased. These would be Beverly Wolf
and Barbara Ziegler. I found obituaries, which will be included after comments from classmates.

More classmates check in. Here are comments from friends and acquaintances who wrote after the recent class blast email.

Marilynn Black Warren:
my news is getting more and more boring…I live here in Fairview Tx by Dallas in an Adult Community…….my house is what they call “A Villa” here in Heritage Ranch which is the name of this area.  It is a very active community with all houses …no apartments…….I sing with the Chorale Group here, Play Bridge three times a month, play Bocce Ball, Bowl with the league from here, and take care of my critter (a darling little Guinea Pig named Bernie).  No more dogs for me as I can’t go through losing another one… is just too traumatic and awful!!!  Little Bernie is supposed to live 8 or 10 years and he is 4 now!!!   I also play Mahjong with a group every Thurs Evening and my family gets together for “Game Night” quite often!!!  My step Granddaughter lives here with two of my Great granddaughters and my youngest son lives here also….my other oldest son has a ranch down close to Yorktown and raises exotic animals as well as longhorns and Black Angus cattle.  I am well and still love to cook so I’m very hearty looking these days too!!!  Take care dear one and keep these notices coming cause I LOVE hearing from you!!!!  Blessings Always, Marilynn B. (Marilynn sent along a pic of her guinea pig, not included here.)

Pete Sweet: I had Sept 9th marked on the calendar and we were excited to be able to see everyone again, but now we won’t be in Texas that week. Our son in Tennessee has invited us to Nashville to celebrate Carolyn’s birthday.  Please give my regards to everyone and let me know when the next luncheon has been scheduled.

Barney Cline:
Nancy and I enjoy good health, vaccine protection, and the pleasures of rural life near Blanco, Texas.  Grandkids are in nearby Dripping Springs, but daily our ranch family (five Longhorns, three donkeys and a big white dog) remind us how fortunate we are.

Anxious to resume travels abroad, we are eying Santorini and Crete in the Fall.

Robert Huff:
Thanks for the link. We drove by Jefferson last week and noticed the fountain.

Dorothy Darrah aka Dot Putnam:
I just read thru all your blogs in one sitting! Interesting info I must say😊. I wish I could be there for the luncheon in Sept. but living in Colorado makes that a long drive! I am well and still fairly active for almost 85. I have lived with my daughter and 21 yr old granddaughter whose still in college for the last 3-4 yrs and it keeps life active and moving along. Plus we have 3 dogs and a cat. Fortunately we also have 3 floors of living space and a good size yard! I for one really appreciated the Jan 6 blog. Expressed my feelings perfectly. Am hoping for better things in 2021.

Dorothy and granddaughter

Margaret Reming Metcalfe:
Just to let you know I am still around, though not getting around as lively as I used to. I live by myself in Austin, and enjoy it. Two of my children are nearby–one in Austin and one in Dripping Springs. The third is in Maryland. I retired 18 years ago after 16 years of working for the United States Government. Before that, I worked for the State of Texas for several years. Anyway, I am thankful that I am fairly healthy and able to get  around on my  own.

Marcia Dickinson Hudson:
I am spending 3 days at the Oregon beach to escape the 116 degrees in Salem. In all my years in Texas. I never had 116 degrees. And no airconditioning here. Its lovely and cool at the beach. Hope you have a wonderful luncheon.  Best to all. (Note: I asked Marcia how she ended up in Oregon.) She replied: After traveling all over with Air Force for 20 years, we moved to Oregon near my husband’s parents to start a new life in the wine business. Bought 40 acres, planted grapes, and opened a vineyard and winery.  Unfortunately, my ex-husband drank too much of his own product and I finally said “enough” and got a divorce. Went to college, and worked for the State of Or for 21 years and then retired in a place I love. Cool and green and covered in trees.  Say “hi” to all for me. Think of Jeff times often.

Mike Esparza:
I’m still in good health BUT I may have told you I have a hearing problem. There are many causes but I tell people most of the damage was done while I was stationed in Tucson which invited the Air Force Thunderbirds to perform there every spring.

The latest development is that the hearing aid for my right ear no longer works. I forget when I bought it and I have an appointment at the hearing clinic in two weeks. When I speak to people I turn my left ear toward the speaker.

I also forget the names of friends, movies, street intersections here in Aurora, CO for a few minutes or a few days. I have a few good features: I stopped smoking after my first daughter was born, quit smoking a few years later, don’t have diabetes and still weigh 165 pounds.

To the sad part.

Barbara Ziegler Mercer

July 18, 1936 – June 18, 2020



Barbara Ziegler Mercer, age 83, passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. Barbara was born July 18, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas to Ida Lynn Caywood and William Ziegler. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; grandson, Dallas Barlow; and brother-in-law, Jack Bessellieu. She is survived by her husband of 63 ½ years, Gary W. Mercer; sons, Robert and Randall Mercer; daughter, Lori O’Dea (Paul); grandchildren, Brandon Barlow (Jovette), Amanda Sime (David), Mathew and Michael Mercer; 7 great-grandchildren; older sister, Billie Lynn Bessellieu; younger brother, Fred Ziegler (Susan); and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members.

Beverly Grace Wolf Russell

August 2, 1936 – January 15, 2018


Beverly Grace Wolf Russell passed away January 15 at the Brookdale Alamo Heights Assisted Living facility after a brief illness.
Beverly was a long-time resident of San Antonio and a former school teacher, where she retired from Teddy Roosevelt High School. She is survived by her son, Chuck and Eileen Russell of Waco; daughter, Candace Sue and John Boothby of Newnan, Georgia; and sister, Margaret Bates of San Antonio. Her parents, Henry and Clara Wolf have been deceased for some years.
She is also survived by nieces Sarah and Pete Jackson, Cindy and Don Cutrer, and nephew Bill and Lisa Sims; friends Gene and Margaret Russell; grandchildren Tori Russell, and Noah and Kristen Russell, and great grandson Weston Russell.
Beverly loved the Lord. She grew up in First Baptist Church San Antonio and then served the Lord most of her adult life as a pastor’s wife. In her later years, she was an active member of First Baptist Church Universal City. She was a 1954 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio and a 1957 graduate of Baylor University, which she supported with pride throughout her life. Next to serving the Lord, Beverly’s passion in life was family and friends.


Sophomore Scholastic


“A” Band (Historian)

Math Club









Blog 136 On Tap Today

Blog 136 On Tap Today

Which classmate was an altar boy?

Thespian Island redux

Who is cornstalke and where is wolfpainter?

More classmate greetings

Which Classmate was an altar boy?
This tidbit came up in a conversation with one of our classmates, male obviously. It is someone I would not have guess, even given a multiple choice with two names. The answer may surprise you. I will reveal it somewhere near the end of this blog, just to keep your attention.


Thespian Island redux
Do any of you recall the class email and blog comments about Thespian Island? This is that little triangular-shaped island across the walk up to the front-door entrance to school. It was non-descript during our day, and my best memory of it is where bus riders were let out in the morning and picked up after school. The blog and email offered a short video on its renovation.

The renovation is now completed and was featured in a recent newscast. Thanks to the Jeff historian, David Segura, who forwarded the reference to the news spot. If you wish to view the revitalized Thespian Island, click on this website:

Who is cornstalker23 and where is wolfpainter?
Whenever I send out an email blast to the class, one or two emails bounce back as undeliverable. Several times now, pops up as undeliverable. It belongs to Beverly Wolf Russell. Cornstalker was part of an email attached to Munson Fuller
(segue to the next section, coming up). It is incorrect, so if anyone knows of a classmate with cornstalker as part of the email address, please let me know.

Speaking of Munson, I called and had a totally excellent chat with him. Munson is a still practicing ENT doctor in Tulsa. I asked why he chose Tulsa for his practice and learned that his family was Oklahoma bred, but that a war job brought them here during WWII. The family roots beckoned them back to Tulsa, almost the day after our graduation. Munson went to college and dental school in Oklahoma. With the incorrect email address from him, Munson had not heard from our class in quite a long time. If anyone wishes to contact him, give me a shout for contact information.

A bit before that, I had a good conversation with David Bamberg. Like Munson, David moved after graduation to Birmingham, went to Samford U there and married a Birmingham girl, Rose. Penny and I used to lunch with them when we visited our son and family in Birmingham. David is well, though he was recently knocked of a loading dock by an inattentive driver. Fortunately, David has healed without lasting injuries.

More classmate greetings—Last blog included a bunch of classmate greetings in response to one of my emails. Here are the remainder,

Bill Crocker
Still unpacking boxes and getting squared away in our new house.  When you drive north through Marble Falls, the biggest intersection is with FM 1431 which goes northwest to Granite Shoals and Kingsland.  We are just off that road just before you get to Kingsland, on Lake LBJ. 

Gerry Gabehart
I r here. Fat and sassy. Looking forward to joining everyone

Jimmy Worley
(sent by Cheryl Worley) Just a quick reply to let you know that Jim is doing well.  He had a mild stroke on Christmas Day 2018 that didn’t cause any physical paralysis, but affected the communication center of the brain, so he deals with Aphasia.  He can talk but sometimes words are scrambled.  He has been busy in the garden.  He always has a big beautiful garden and loves doing that!  Here you can see a couple of photos.  With all the rain we have had we are sure to have a great bounty of vegetables!

Toni Hair Ritter
I live with my daughter Georgia and family in Lantana, TX.  My other children John, Laura and Cash are all nearby.

Carolyn Pope Boitnoit
We are still at our same address but may be moving in a year or so to a retirement community.  Our four story three/four-bedroom house is more than we need and getting harder to keep up with.  We still can make it up the stairs and are well for our age. Will let you know when/if we move.  

Ron Bridges
Count us in-been too long since last party.

Peggy Page Murry
Look forward to hearing all news  Thanks

Ben Williams
I don’t think I am dead yet. Still having fun.

Chuck Slagle
Still kicking. Hopefully, will see you in Sept.

Gilda Ackermann Gunz
Forgive me for not letting you know that I thoroughly enjoy reading your messages. Please keep them coming.  We followed the kids to East TX after 45 years in the same house in Corpus Christi. Life was good there, but I never enjoyed the wind and humidity. The best part of going to the beach was coming home to the shower. Today I would rather live right where I am in Tyler than anywhere else in the world.

When I lost all my hair to chemotherapy, the oncologist prescribed a “cranial prosthesis – diagnosis:  alopecia of chemotherapy.” In case you find that an unusual prescription, it is commonly called a wig. To my surprise, insurance covered the cost. I’ve enjoyed saying I didn’t wear a wig, but a cranial prosthesis.

Mike Esparza
I’m still here and have some news. I stopped driving, mostly for my own health, and my oldest daughter and her husband are in the process of selling my 17-year old Acura TL. That’s all this time.

Johnny Coyle
Good to hear from u, Jack!  September 9th is on our calendar— looking forward t it😊.

Also checking in: Rudy Alvarez, Patsy Hatch Patterson, Mike Gill, Bob Blake, Bobby Hunt, and Warner Fassnidge

Who was an altar boy? Have you guessed? He was Danny Sciaraffia! He was not the only one, however. Both Edward Davis
and George Pierce
were also, assisting at St. Mark’s. I don’t recall about Dan.

See you next time. Thanks for reading.


Blog 135 Classmate Updates and Other Ramblings

Blog 135 Classmate Updates and Other Ramblings

Note: blog subscribers who are not from the TJHS class of ’87, today’s effort is mostly about past and present classmates.

Regarding Facebook:
I have little use for Facebook and spend almost zero time on it, but that is gist for another time. Last Friday, I found something useful. It was Gordon Jamison’s birthday. I had not heard from Gordon for several years, though he used to call Ben Williams
and me somewhat regularly. At that time Gordon was living in a double-wide in Pflugerville. He moved to Bastrop to be close to children, and that is when he dropped out of sight.

Reading the Facebook comments, I discovered that Gordon died in February, 2019. Sadly, I cannot offer more, other than I captured two photos off Facebook and publish them after the Shoutout below. I will also relate what I recall from some of my conversations with him. The other timely Facebook notification urged wishing Joy Robertson
a Happy Birthday. Joy died in 2010, but every year, the reminder email appears.

Shoutout First, though, here is a Texas-sized thanks to those who have sent greetings after the last two class blast emails from February and April. Many of the notes were written in February during the severe winter storm across Texas. I am making the assumption that no one will object to being quoted here and perhaps more tenuous is the assumption that most of you will find the greetings and updates of some interest. They follow in the order they were received. Half the comments today and the other half in a day or so.

Jerry Cline Jerry reported having both vaccine shots and was looking forward to joining family and friends. He sadly recalled the deaths of Bobby Chalman, Richard Kaufman, and Jerry Harris. Jerry is still in California, while brother Barney lives in Blanco.

Jerry Stephens Jerry quickly volunteered to set up a virtual meeting for all who wish to participate. He is still working on it, but I think it is like herding a bunch of cats to get all the pieces to fit. Thanks for keeping at it, Jerry.

Bill Carls Bill wrote “Jo and I are still well and kicking. The only problem is that when I do some work I take longer breaks. I would be happy to join in on a virtual reunion.

I don’t know if I ever told you before but I graduated from the University of Michigan with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1964. After Jeff I went into the Navy for 4 years with one year in school for fire control radar and then traveled the Pacific for almost 3 years. After that I worked for RCA aboard a converted liberty ship with the last 6 months traveling the Caribbean. After graduation I went to work for the Jet Propulsion Lab, a NASA facility, until I retired at the age of 62. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been retired for 23 years. I guess time flies when you’re having fun.” Bill has driven down from Leander for the last Jeff lunch in October 2019.

Sue Elo Settles From Sue:” I’m missing the lunches as I’m sure most of those who were able to participate are also missing but understand the reason. I would be interested in a virtual get together, but don’t know how it works.

We have had a whirlwind of happenings since moving back to TX, my husband Jim passed away last year and our whole family had the COVID-19 in Nov but thankfully all survived. We are moving along into 2021 and as you know we are experiencing a unheard of winter storm as I write this note, just thankful it is not sleet and snow which would be even worse.

Genevieve Brooks Reggie and I are still here and rolling with the times.  As of last November we now have 11 Great Grands. It’s like we have to rent a hall to have a family get to gather.  It would be great to have a class get to gather again.”

Nancy Driesslein Pierce Enjoyed the info on improvements around Jeff since I  grew up only 3 blocks away on Furr Drive but haven’t been there in a while.  Loved the fish in the pond on Thespian Island as a kid.  (Kids could bike and walk around by themselves then.)  Thanks for the memory. 

Marcia Dickinson Hudson Hi all. Still alive and kicking(sometimes). Got my first covid shot last week. Hope you are all well.

Delbert Phillips Thanks for the update.  I live in Houston and was a good friend of Jerry (Harris). We’ve been without power off and on since Monday, usually 14 hours off and 3 hours on at a time..  Jerry Harris and I worked together  in the past and were good friends but didn’t know he passed.

Robert Huff Thanks for keeping us informed. I wish to stay on your distribution list.

Kathy Lentz Miller

Bruce Cassell Thanks for Jerry Stephens’ efforts putting this (virtual meeting) together. At this stage of my life, I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule.

Living way out West, I don’t have contact with our classmates (other than Rich Kaufman who recently passed away).

Still in Coppell (Dallas suburb).

Ofelia Villarreal Siordio
Have added September 9th on my calendar. Still driving to SA. Praise the Lord!

Betty Davis Russell
Hooray!Hooray!  Great news about the lunch.

Jeanine Price
I am still here.

Fritzi Connelly
Good to hear from you, good health to everyone.

Frank Hagan
I am still here. 👍👍

Tas (Dorothy) Crawford McGraw
Good to hear from you Lunch in September sounds good.

Priscilla Tate
I’m still here! And getting ready to fly to my beloved Maine on June 5.  I’ll stay until mid-October and come back when the heat is mostly down to the 80s.

I’m so lucky to be in good health; I’ve had one knee and one hip replaced and walk at least a mile every day.

Gordon Bartley Still here and kicking but not very hard

More comments next time.

Gordon Jamison

I did not know Gordon well at Jeff, but here is my recall of conversations since then.

In later years Gordon adopted “Buffalo” as his middle name, not officially, but when he added his name to something, it was always “Gordon Buffalo Jamison.”

When putting together the class book of memories after our sixtieth reunion, I asked Gordon about sending his input. He began telling me about his life and I jotted down as much as I could as he rambled.

Succinctly, Gordon graduated from UT in 1959, sold insurance for a number of years, married, divorced, and married a Jeff grad a few years behind us (sorry, I don’t have her name.)

Gordon was in two serious auto accidents with long rehab periods. Afterward, he taught school for a couple of years, moved his family to California, back to Texas in 1970, and returned to selling insurance. After being widowed and retiring, Gordon moved to Guatemala for nine years and later to Honduras for a year or two. Too much rain brought him back to Austin, and hence to Bastrop. RIP Gordon.

“I shall return.”
Douglas Macarthur

Blog 134 Diversions

Blog 134 Diversions

Time flies. Like fireflies, time lights up and disappears. No heavy news to report, so here are some things on my mind, either here or next time:

Words and music

Texas boasts

San Antonio Monopoly

The Case of the Lost Mask



Music with words:
It seems that today everyone needs to listen to music all the time. People wear earbuds and stream music into the ears and brain and each has a playlist of favorites. I don’t, except when in the car with the radio tuned in. The other day, Cole Porter’s great song “Anything Goes” played and the words struck a chord regarding our society today. Quoting one verse:

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking

But now, God knows
Anything goes

Good authors, too, who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose
Anything goes


Keep in mind that the above was written in eighty-odd years ago. The title perfectly describes our society today, when obscenities screamed from the silver screen, television and newspapers make no apologies over vulgarities, and books let us visualize the words.

In 1959, a shipmate invited several of us to weekend at his home in Hickory, North Carolina. The novel The Spanish Gardner
by D.H. Lawrence had recently been republished and was being banned everywhere in the US. The book was racy for the time but oh so tame by today’s standards. One evening in Hickory, we sat around the kitchen table in a discussion with our host’s sister, Susie. She was an English professor at a local college. Susie maintained that we should be free and comfortable to use profane words in casual conversation and not be chagrined. I was not convinced then and not now, although our sensibilities are deadened by constantly being bombarded with profanities that no longer have meaning and no longer shock.

I have two books to recommend, neither filled with four letter words. First is The Thursday Murder Club, in which the characters are just like us—septuagenarians and octogenarians. It takes place in a posh retirement community in England and is filled with laughs and good manners. No four-letter words, but good observations and philosophy. For example, one proclaims that if one is in professional sports today, it is mandatory to get covered in tattoos. It is well written by an English television writer.

The second book someone gave to me: Murder on the Riverwalk. Yes, it takes place on our SA Riverwalk and is full of references to places and streets around town. It is not a bad book and again pretty much devoid of four-letter words.

And ends the discourse about authors who once knew better words. Next time I will tell how I learned the origin of the f-bomb from Bishop Pike in a church service.

If you want to listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing Anything Goes, click here:

San Antonio Monopoly:
Parker Brothers has announced a new Monopoly version featuring San Antonio place names and streets. I suspect Boardwalk will become Broadway, and the missions will replace the railroads, we will see Houston and Commerce Streets. I believe people can send in suggestions. I thought of sending Stutts Street. Truly, Stutts Street does exist somewhere near the Freeman Coliseum, believe it or not.

Below is a cartoon someone sent across the internet. It may not show up when the blog is posted. If not, it says “My wife asked me why I spoke so softly in the house. I said I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening! She laughed. I laughed. Alexa laughed. Siri laughed.”

There is so much truth in the fact that business and our government know all about our movements, our habits, and some of our thoughts, just by what we post on social media or check out on internet. Shades of Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984.

Will wrap this blog up and continue next time with Texas Boasts, The Case of the Lost Mask, maybe more words and music, and what Bishop Pike taught me about the origin of the F-bomb.


Blog 133 The week that wasn’t

Blog 133 The week that wasn’t

Stormy Weather!
Most know about the storms that lambasted Texas last week. So many were without power, water, and other necessities. We survived comfortably and have harvested a sense of guilt now that we know how bad it was. We had no internet, TV (no big loss there), land line, no newspaper, and not much news for six days. It was a revelation that ignorance is indeed bliss.

Because we live in very close proximity to two hospitals, we are on their power grid and had electricity all week, and hence warmth. Water pressure was low for a couple of hours one day, and we are still boiling water. We are so fortunate.

After record-breaking low temperatures last week, today was a warm 76 degrees. We are back to normal now. Though we may be in for a shock with the next utility bill.

Happiness is…We have all heard the jokes about us older folks with aches and pains, failing eyesight and health issues but rejoicing that we still have our driver’s license. Mine expires on my early March birthday. I have been dreading the requirement to appear in person for a vision test because I am having some eye issues which required glasses a year ago. Well, let me tell you! I not only passed the vision test, but WITHOUT GLASSES.

Now for the rest of the story: After a certain age, (not sure but maybe 85) the interval between renewals in Texas drops to four years. BUT, my new license is good for eight more years, expiring in 2029! I can drive without another check till I am 91! They may have to wrench my car keys away from my clenched fist on my cold dead body.

News from classmates…Thanks to those who recently responded to my request to touch base if no recent. Checking in were Jerry Cline, Jerry Stephens, Heinz Loth, Bill Carls, Sue Elo Settles, Genevieve Brooks, Nancy Driesslein Pierce, Marcia Dickinson Hudson, Delbert Phillips, Warner Fassnidge, Robert Huff, and Rudy Alvarez. Jerry Stephens has volunteered to set up a virtual meeting, so stay tuned for that. I will summarize greetings from the above over the next blog or two, starting with a note from Marlene Loth on behalf of Heinz:

Hello Jack,

Thank you as always for your interesting blog. I am writing for Heinz who is well and watching the birds feed from his easy chair by the window at the moment. We are looking down on a very snowy landscape and ice is covering our lake.

Here in Canada the vaccination program is slow and we have not yet been vaccinated. However, we live out in the country far from the maddening crowd and it is easy to get along, while just wearing masks and handwashing. We have a beautiful husky, Angie, who loves the snow and lies in the sunshine and snow in freezing temperatures. Life up here is good and we are not wanting for anything. I’m sending a couple of photos for your enjoyment. Two photos are of Heinz on his 85th Zoom birthday.

Thanks again for all your efforts. We will not be returning to Texas this year breaking our record of driving down to New Braunfels for 33 years in a row. The borders remain closed and our government prohibits travel.

Take care and stay safe,

Heinz and Marlene Loth


Blog 132 Celebration and Sorrow

Blog 132 Celebration and Sorrow

The Jefferson girls’ basketball team won the district championship earlier this month. The was the first district win since the team was organized 45 years ago! Sadly, they lost the first playoff game, but we should all be proud of their effort. The glamour days of players like Kyle Rote and Tommy Nobis seem long past, but one of these days, another star will come along, and it could be a girl.

Did anyone dream that girls would play basketball in our day? There are probably a lot of naysayers, but Title IX has given opportunity to female athletes who otherwise would never have had opportunity to play and excel in sports beyond tennis and swimming.

Sorrow…Bobby Chalman
passed away January 23
rd in Austin. Bobby contracted MS when in his thirties but lived an active and productive life for the next five decades. I spoke briefly with Bobby’s widow to express condolences on behalf of the class.

I did not know Bobby personally. According to the Monticello, he was on the track team. David Chester
was a good friend of Bobby. I asked David to share a few memories. David wrote:

Bobby went to Thomas Jefferson and graduated in 1954.  During the summers while in school and college we worked as a Roustabout in Jourdanton, TX, and a Rod & Chainmen in Midland, TX, and worked at the Southern Steel Company testing jail bars, Lawn Business, and Painting Bill Boards.  He went to the Citadel, a military school in South Caroline for 2 years and transferred to The University of Texas.  He married Kay and they had four kids two boys and two girls living in Austin.  He worked in Austin all his working life for the Texas Highway Department.  They had an home in West Texas which Bobby spent many happy days.  He will be sadly missed.  

Thespian Island again…Since writing about Thespian Island in the last blog, I heard from Ed Garza. Ed is a Jeff grad, a former mayor of San Antonio, and a board member of the San Antonio Independent School District. Ed has been instrumental in attaining the bond-funded improvements in and around the campus.

Here is a minute and a half video to describe the upgrades on Donaldson and the renovation of the Thespian Island.

who of you knew about the island and the fountain in the center? I only remember it as the bus stop for arriving and departing from school.

Here is what Ed wrote:

Thespian Island, in front of Jefferson High School (at the Kampmann and Donaldson intersection) was adopted by the school’s theater club in the early 1930’s, thus the name.  In 1938 the Thespians donated, and had constructed, a fountain, 3′ deep pond, and stone pathways.  The pond was filled with koi, goldfish, water lilies and the fountain was operating and circulated water until the 1950’s.  However, sometime in the late 1950’s the fountain stopped working and the water was drained from the pond.  For over fifty years the pond stayed empty, and eventually the concrete walls began to crack.  


In 2010, and as part of a comprehensive master plan to renovate and restore the local, state and national historic campus, San Antonio ISD Board Trustee Ed Garza collaborated with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to phase in street, drainage, and pedestrian infrastructure improvements around the school, including Thespian Island.  The city/county improvements were leveraged using the SAISD Bond investment in the school building and site work.     

The improvements to Thespian Island include:

  • Fountain Restoration with new pump and electrical system;
  • Water Feature fill (for safety purpose) and repair;
  • Rebuild existing stone pathways with a concrete base and add new pathways on the extended island to the main walkway on campus;
  • Add a new irrigation system; and
  • Replace sod grass and landscaping.  

The Thespian Island renovation and restoration project is a small piece of the overall $145 million campus and surrounding street infrastructure renovation.  The 15-year (2010-2025) phased project that includes:

2010-2015 PHASE I

  • SAISD Bond for Jefferson High School for $28 million (E-Wing CTE expansion/renovation; Audio-Video CTE Studio; Administration Building Foundation and Historic Restoration; Main Gym Foundation; Health Clinic; Pony Field all-weather track and bleachers; Land acquisition for half soccer training field; New Baseball/Softball Fields; New Drill Marching Pad; HVAC; site landscaping);  
  • City of San Antonio Bond project for $1 million to construct a pedestrian median on Wilson Boulevard (from Club to Donaldson) and re-align/expand Thespian Island to form a one-way bus drop off in front of the school;
  • CPS Energy investment of $2 million to remove wood utility poles and install underground utilities and historic lamp post lighting at Thespian Island on the main walkway to the schools front entrance, as well as, on along Kampmann next to the new marching pad (across from Monticello Park);  
  • City of San Antonio and Bexar County General Fund drainage and stormwater site improvements at Jefferson $1.5 million;

2016-2020 PHASE II

  • 2016 SAISD Bond for Jefferson High School for $60 million (Main Gym, Field House and Auxiliary Gym interior renovation; Pony Field Concessions Building Renovation; Cafeteria/SUB interior renovation; Black Box retrofit; Auditorium backstage and seating renovation/restoration; Main Building 1st/2nd Floor Corridors and Classroom renovations/restoration; 3rd Floor Science Wing Renovation; Replace/restore Roof System; HVAC/Chiller)
  • 2017 City of San Antonio Bond project for $.3 million at Monticello Park for gazebo and trail enhancements;
  • 2017 City of San Antonio Bond project for $3.738 million  Wilson median landscaping/irrigation; Thespian Island fountain, walkways, landscaping and irrigation renovation; historic street lamp installation around campus; underground utility conversion at Wilson/Donaldson and Wilson/Club intersections. 

2020-2025 PHASE III 

  • 2020 State of Texas Historic Tax Credits for Phase II work $10 million (Historic Restoration of building exterior and interior)
  • 2020 SAISD Bond for Jefferson High School Phase III for $32 million (Auditorium, Library , President’s Hall, Main Hall Historic Restoration;  Comprehensive Exterior Restoration; Window repair/replacement/blinds; Comprehensive Lighting System; Way-Finding; Campus Branding; Locker restoration/conversion; Stairwells; Breezway’s Renovation; Pony Field Pedestrian Lighting; Synthetic Turf conversion to Pony Field, Baseball/Softball, soccer fields; Parking Lot renovation; Courtyard/campus landscaping and restoration); 
  • 2022 State of Texas Historic Tax Credits for Phase III work $6 million (Historic Restoration of building exterior and interior)

All work to be completed by early 2025.  



Blog 131 Island in the Sun

Blog 131 Island in the Sun

Three topics are up today: Renovation at Jefferson, how Ed Schleyer caused the annual drag show at Jeff to be banned, and a bit about Englebert Humperdinck. Read on.

Island in the Sun…No, not a song sung by Engelbart Humperdinck, the British pop singer from the mid-fifties until today. (Will get to Englebert at blog’s end.) This is the small island across the street from where the walk starts to the main doors at Jeff. From my rusty memory, that is where the buses all waited at the end of the school day to transport our classmates home. Across the street is a church. I believe the denomination then was Church of Christ, but today it is named The Living Church at Woodlawn Pointe.

Back to the island, which is known as Thespian Island. My recall is that it is roughly triangular in shape and back then had a walk around its perimeter and then a waist high hedge adjacent to and inside the walk. If anyone else recalls, please confirm or set me straight.

Lon Carpenter recently sent a photo that shows major renovation of the island:

The city is currently renovating it and upgrading Wilson Avenue on the west side of the school. Today, the school drama department stakes some claim to it. This the site to their Facebook page:

I have asked the city for more information and am waiting for a response, if any, and also Ed Garza, a Jeff alum and ex-city mayor. Ed is on the school board and instrumental in protecting Jeff. He spoke at one of our lunches a couple of years ago. Will add more in a future blog if/as info becomes available.

I also contacted a former Jeff student, David Segura, who is writing a book on the history of Jefferson. Here is what he had to say about Thespian Island:


I have a chapter on the complete history of Thespian Island. Too massive for this email; however…

IMO, the Island’s beauty has been destroyed with this latest project. The beautiful stone sidewalks (3) were replaced with massive concrete walls. My heart sank when I saw the jaw-dropping bulldozers on our sacred island.

Ok, yes, there is a lily pond and a fountain (1938 & 1939). Originally, there was a birdbath in 1932.

During some years (a whole decade), the island was overrun by grass, weeds, overgrown bushes, etc.

Thespians used to plant flowers to provide fresh flowers for teachers….

Much more in my book


In researching, I found the following information from 2012, when the renovations at our school were discussed.

March 21, 2012


Adopt a new Master Plan to guide the design, prioritization, phasing, and budgeting of site-related improvements to the campus. Proposed work includes the following:

  1. Renovation of Pony Field with new irrigated turf for football and soccer, new bleacher seating with a small press box, and associated drainage improvements
  2. New baseball and softball fields and appurtenant structures, with associated drainage improvements
  3. New paved Band/ROTC marching field
  4. New natural-turf soccer practice fields (to be located off-campus on property yet to be acquired)
  5. Rehabilitation of school exterior areas – courtyards and other interstitial spaces
  6. Lighting upgrades for Pony Field and overall campus
  7. Rehabilitation of overall school landscape and irrigation
  8. Accommodation of building expansion and new construction, including the demolition of one building and an addition to another
  9. Rehabilitation of perimeter fencing
  10. Removal of selected on-site parking to accommodate improved school program facilities
  11. Reconfiguration of on-street parking for vehicles and busses on Donaldson Avenue

12. Parking on Kampmann Boulevard

13. Reconfiguration of main vehicular entrance from Wilson Boulevard to im

prove pick•up / drop-off traffic flow

14.  Resolution of on-site drainage issues

15.  Renovation of Thespian Island

This plan was approved and has been in progress since 2012

Famous minutes of infamy…
Here is a photo of Ed Schleyer (right), his wife, Vicki, and Johnny Coyle taken at one of our past reunions.

Seeing Ed recalls a long hidden memory from our school days. One of the boy’s clubs was the Senate. Every spring the Senate put on a drag show—imagine that in the 1950’s! In the spring of ’56, Ed and I and others were in a ballet chorus—Madame (someone’s) Blue Butterflies. Fittingly, we wore baggy blue pants, blue tops, and had some sort of netting attached at wrists and somewhere on the costume.

Ed’s dance caused the show to be banned from the Jeff stage forever. Here is what happened. Just before our “performance,” which was some rather un-coordinated leaping around the stage to a Strauss waltz, Ed excused himself to the restroom and came back ready to go on stage with his costume “enhanced.” Ed had taken a large handfuls of paper towels and molded them into small mountains, which he stuffed down the front of his blue top, putting Dolly Parten to shame.

Midway through the ballet, half of Ed’s enhancement went south toward his stomach. To remedy that, Ed calmly stopped his performance and reached into his top and re-positioned his sagging mammary, then proceeded with his dance steps. Those actions brought the house down.

The Dean of Girls, Frances Smith, was scandalized!!! She immediately went face-to-face with T. Guy Rogers, demanding that all future shows be cancelled. T. Guy acquiesced, and that was the end of the Senate drag show. What a great way to end!

I don’t know much about Dean Smith, other than she was short enough to be gnome-like and had a Dutch boy haircut. And she was a maiden lady, like so many teachers back then.

Now about Englebert Humperdinck
Englebert was English,
not to be confused with the German composer, born Arnold George Dorsey in India. He recorded some songs in the fifties but made his name (after converting to Englebert), with his breakthrough coming with “Release Me” in 1967 followed by “The Last Waltz”. Many more hits followed. Old Eng is still singing today with scheduled performances in Europe in 2021 and a recording in 2020. By the way: Eng is 84 like us. If you want to see all the songs he recorded, go to Google or other browser and search on Englebert Humperdinck songs. You will recognize most of them.

Confession time…Having researched and written the above about old Englebert, I looked for Island in the Sun
and find it was sung by Harry Belafonte. Remember him? More famous for his rendition of the Banana Boat song.

Englebert sang A Place in the Sun
and There’s An Island
instead. Nancy Driesslein Pearce
will tell you that our 1954 Monticello had a sunburst on the cover and the title page read “A Place in the Sun”. Nancy, do you have any recall how that became the title?

IF you are confused by this, so am I. And if you care to listen to the three songs, here is where:

There’s an Island
–Englebert Humperdinck

A Place in the Sun— Englebert Humperdinck

Island in the Sun—Harry Belafonte

Till the next time…




Blog 130 I Am Sick, I Am Ashamed, I Am Embarrassed, I Am Angry

Blog 130
I Am Sick, I Am Ashamed, I Am Embarrassed, I Am Angry

Let’s all shed a tear for what is happening in Washington, D.C. right now!

This is a vent. If you are a misguided supporter of our disgraceful president, you may not want to read further, but I need to get this off my chest. Some of you are strong reporters of political party and Trump over all else, including the constitution and a functioning of this country for over two hundred years. For you, I am sorry, because you should know better. You come from a generation that studied in civics and government why our country has succeeded and you should know better than to support insurrection.

What has Trump wrought? Several hours ago I turned on the TV to watch Congress tally the electoral vote after a stupid attempt by misguided senators and representatives to try to halt the democratic process. Thanks to our deranged soon-to-be ex-President, he urged ill-informed protestors to march on the capitol. They have surged to and broken into the capitol building, forcing our Congressman to take cover.

This is an act of sedition, of terrorism. It is disgraceful, it is embarrassing to us as a country to have a show of ignorant people storm the capitol because they believe all the false misinformation circulated on social media by Russia and encouraged by the president.

Trump is engaged in a coup to try and overthrow our democratic process by encouraging protestors to pursue his refusal to gracefully admit that he did not win the election. It is insurrection. And Trump is sitting in the oval office watching it all on television. This is no longer a protest. It is a mob doing violence. As a commentator just said, those breaking windows to enter the capitol are too stupid to know that there are surveillance cameras all over and they will be arrested and thrown in jail.

If we can take any solace at all, Trump will be regarded in time with the same respect as former presidents Franklin Pierce and Millard Fillmore. They were the worst up till now. It is a pity that Trump was not impeached last year.

Send a rebuttal if you wish. In the meantime, I will see if there is a movement to recall Senator Cruz. He, the Texas attorney general Paxton, and Louie Gohmert have all embarrassed our great state and made us a laughing stock across the country.

The national guard of VA and MD are arriving on the scene. VP Pence and Pres Elect Biden have both spoken. We can only hope that this disgraceful act of terrorism ends soon and without too much more bloodshed. Yes, someone was shot.

Blog 129 The Year That Wasn’t

Blog 129 The Year That Wasn’t

New Year’s Greetings!
Let’s look for a more rewarding and fun 2021, with good health, good food, and good friends and let’s leave 2020 a dim speck in the rearview mirror.

Today is December 31. Weatherwise, it is a very ugly day in San Antonio, an apt ending for an ugly year. I wish to write something light and uplifting and inspirational and witty to usher in 2021. However, this blog is partly a history of our class; sadly, it ends on a sorrowful note as our classmates time on earth continues to lapse. Add Richard Kaufman
and Jerry Harris
to the list.

News of deaths comes to me in various ways. Charles Levinson
called to advise of Rich’s death and Bruce Cassell
notified that he had seen it posted on Facebook. Gail Smith Mydlow, class of ’55 called this afternoon to ask if I was aware (I was not) that Jerry died several months ago. Larry Harrison, also class of ’55 had notified her.

Richard “Rich” Kaufman:
Rich passed away December 27 in Santa Rosa, California. No obituary is available at this time, so I offer some recollections. I have known Rich since Travis Elementary days. He hasemailed somewhat frequently, usually asking about various classmates. Over the past few years Rich and Carol have driven 2-3 times to San Antonio in their 39-foot RV. Imagine doing that at eight-four! They parked in Castroville and spent a month or more here, golfing and visiting friends. Their last trip was this past October, as they wanted to be here for our Jeff lunch, which was, of course, cancelled.

Rich, Charles Levinson, and Danny Sciaraffa
lived blocks apart and within several blocks of Travis Elementary. Barney Cline
and I lived 8-10 blocks away in different directions. We five met in mid-October for a picnic lunch.  Rich was vigorous and excited that all of his recent various scans had good readings and he was feeling well.  They cut short the trip when Rich developed sever pain in his legs about two weeks later.  Back home, he was diagnosed with cancer of the spine and terminal. I spoke with him in mid-December, after the docs told him he had maybe six months.  It is a blessing his time came so quickly, as he was in pain. 

Jerry Harris:
Jerry’s obituary is posted below. I called Jerry 4-5 months ago after emails to him had bounced back. Jerry had moved from the Houston area to Bryan and a retirement community, closer to his children. Jerry said that he had given up the computer after being “forced” to use it in his job. Jerry was feeling good health-wise at that time. Larry Harrison reported that Jerry succumbed to Covid 19, which would be the first from our class, so far as I know.


Jerome Harris Jr.

JULY 10, 1936 – SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Jerome (“Jerry”) Dee Harris, Jr., 84, passed away peacefully on September 13, 2020, at the home of his youngest daughter in Iola, Texas.

Jerry was born on July 10, 1936, in San Antonio, Texas, to Jerome and Barbara Harris. He grew up enjoying time with family and friends, and participated in multiple sports. This included a special love for baseball and – beginning in his professional career – a passion for the game of golf. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jerry attended and graduated from Texas A&M University (then Texas A&M College), where he proudly served in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Following graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1958, Jerry served in the U.S. Army Reserves and was honorably discharged. In that same year, he married Betty Ann Hollers (also from San Antonio, Texas) and subsequently had three children.

Jerry enjoyed a successful engineering career that spanned more than 60 years. He prided himself on being a consummate professional that was respected by both his fellow colleagues and clients, and frequently served as a trusted advisor and mentor to team members and friends over the years. Outside of his professional life, Jerry was a devoted husband and father that enjoyed spending time with his family, including coaching his children’s many sports teams. Guiding all of his efforts was a devout Christian faith that drove Jerry’s enthusiastic involvement in local church activities and willingness to help those in need as evidenced by his strong financial support of numerous charities and social organizations.

He was preceded in death by his wife Betty who passed away in 2004 after 46 years of marriage, and is survived by his sister, Barbara Ann Shepard. Jerry is also survived by his three children – Kathy Milthorpe, Leslie Lundquist and Wes Harris – and their respective spouses – Mike Milthorpe, Jeff Lundquist and Brenda Harris. Finally, he was a beloved grandfather (“Papoo”) that will be greatly missed by Hannah Milthorpe (including fiancé, Ryan Roseboom), Lauren Lundquist, Justin Lundquist (including wife, Callie), Mitch Lundquist, Chloe Milthorpe, Peyton Harris and Kiersten Harris. Finally, the Harris family appreciates the kind and loving care provided by Texas Home Health Group of College Station, Texas, during Jerry’s final week of his life.

Given the health challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, a formal celebration of life for Jerry will be postponed until conditions warrant for a safe in-person group event. The Harris family looks forward to providing additional information as to the details for the celebration when appropriate. In lieu of flowers, the Harris family would appreciate any donations be made in Jerry’s name to the charity of the donor’s choice.


On a related note,
the obituary for Bruce Parker, also class of ’55, was in the paper last week. I mention because Bruce and Jerry were cousins. Bruce was an impressive and accomplished man. If you wish, you can read his obit here:

Lapsed2020 passed, and none too soon before I got this posted. It is sunny, breezy, and warming, so 2021 is already looking better.,

Happy new year!