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” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiueIiFJdN8 Doris Day

“Till Then.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8iIplONQ-s 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.

Blog 116 Flashback, Part 1

Blog 116 Flashback, Part 1

This blog and the next one or two will share notes that were created for one of our reunions. The notes are undated and the author uncited. However, I believe the notes were generated for our reunion number 45 or 50. And I strongly suspect the author was Kay Gregory. The notes have the touch of a librarian, which Kay was in her working days. Because of the length, I will divide them. And I may insert remarks along the way, which I will post in red.

But first, RIP Jaime Ornelas. Jaime is another classmate who recently died. I remember Jaime from Jeff though I did not know him well. About two years ago, Jaime moved back to San Antonio and called me. We had coffee and traded stories. Following Jeff, Jaime enlisted in the Navy and found Rudy Alvarez, also from our class, at boot camp in San Diego. Following his Navy tour, Jaime received his engineering degree and worked for thiry-five years for Aramco, much of that time in the Middle East. Jaime had married two or three times but had no children, so he was staying with a nephew here in Castle Hills. Jaime was widowed and came back to SA for cancer treatment. We had coffee once more some months later, and that was when Jaime told me that the oncologist told him they had done all they had and that he had about twelve months left. Jaime said, “and I have frittered away about five of them.” Jaime had bone cancer and was experiencing a fair amount of pain at that point. I called several times after that and left messages to no response. Recently, I stopped by and spoke with his nephew, who told me that Jaime had passed away November11, 2019. I enjoyed the brief moments I shared with Jaime and regret not knowing him better.

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

Our senior year at Jefferson opens with an innovation: for the first time ever, school begins before Labor Day. A poll taken during our senior year shows that most students still “like Ike.” But Ike is not the only president we like. We like Bobby Tate
as Student Council President. We like Tommy French
as Senior Class President. The Lassos like Carolyn Taylor; the Band likes Ralph Dorchester. The Skeltons like Jean Milam. ‘Ihe Jeffersonaires like Jane Isherwood
and the Jefferson International Club likes Margot Gonzalez. ‘Ihe Lloyd advisory likes Sock Bitsis. Congratulations to all these senior presidents.

Victor Weiss arrives as new science and math instructor.
(He was the last living teacher from our era. I visited with him around 2001 to borrow photos he had taken of Jefferson. I will post some of them at the end of the blog.)

Robert Webber
is named the commander of the ROTC drill team. The senior majorettes this year are Sarah Belcia, Mary Ann Lothringer, and Texas Nowotny.

The senior cheerleaders are Douglas Campbell, Carl Conn, Bettye Sue Conrad, Bill McLaughlin, and Betty Stensland.

The cafeteria now offers a new white vending machine with 7-Up (of course, we didn’t know about the “uncola” then, but we had it available). Pullen’s advertises flats for $2.98 and $3.98.
(Does anyone remember Pullen’s? I do not.)

The senior class standing committees are: Social, Courtesy, Publicity, Membership Cards, Senior Picture Show, and the Senior Gift.
(If anyone can remember what the courtesy Committee’s function was, please let us know.)

A one-pound loaf of bread is 17¢. It costs 3¢ to mail a first-class letter. Milk is 23¢ a quart (that’s 92¢ a gallon, but you can’t easily get milk by the gallon.). Gasoline is 23¢ a gallon and there is plenty of it. A decent car costs $2,700. But the minimum wage is 75¢ an hour
(equates to $7.19 today. The actual minimum today is $7.25 per hour.) The median family income is $4,173.

Away from our classrooms, Colonel Nasser seizes power in Egypt and becomes premier and head of state. Dien Bien Phu falls to Vietnamese communists. Henri Matisse (b. 1869), French impressionist painter, dies. Graham Sutherland paints a portrait of Churchill that Churchill hates so much, he never allows it to be shown, and when he dies, his wife burns it. The American Cancer Society reports a higher death rates among cigarette smokers. Plastic contact lenses are developed. The Tobacco Industry finds 36 specialists who say lung cancer is not caused by smoking. The average American’s favorite meal is fruit cup, vegetable soup, steak, potatoes, peas, rolls, butter, and pie a la mode. Playboy magazine is one year old.

Cadets from the French Air Force visit Miss Virginia Nau’s French Class. There is probably no connection, but Bible classes start at Jefferson. This could never happen today. The malleable minds of the students might be corrupted by religious and moral concepts foreign to a free and politically correct society.

Glenn Wogstad
is named editor of Projector, a newspaper published by the Grace Presbyterian Church. A sad note was struck when the Declaration announces that Miss Audrey Terry, long-time math teacher, died on October 8.

Monticello’s go on sale for $4.00. W. T. Neill Co. is selling MJR pins for $3.60. ‘Ihe Hot Dog Haven invites customers to hot dogs at 20¢, and hamburgers at 18¢.

The Girl’s Cadet Corps Rifle team is: Marilyn Black, Nancy Elbel, Ann Hundley, Nancy Jones, Charlotte Karotkin, Betty Jeanne Moore, and Margaret Pratt.

Four terrorists, shouting for Puerto Rican independence, fire shots in the House of Representatives, wounding five Congressmen. U. S. and Canada agree to build the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line across northern Canada. Hemingway wins the Nobel prize for literature. William Golding writes Lord of the Flies. J. R. R. Tolkien completes The Lord of the Rings. Charles Lindberg wins a Pulitzer Prize for The Spirit of St Louis. So does Bruce Catton for A Stillness at Appomattox.

The library experiments with paperback “pocket books.” Members of the Girls Cadet Corps refuse to say why they offered congratulations to Frances Folkes and Charlotte Karotkin. In exercising a privilege available only to a select elite, Myrna Bieberdorf, Joe Coreth, Dorothy Crawford, Tommy French, and Bobby Tate climb up to the dome, enjoy the view, and leave their marks behind.

The Arnold Hobby Shop offers a complete line of hobbies, specializing in model train supplies. Larry’s Shoeland is selling Men’s shoes with a zipper closure for $10.95.

Sammie Granato
is discovered to have memorized the entire girl’s file in the Lost and Found office.

(If anyone remembers what the girl’s file is, please resond.)

Marilyn Monroe marries Joe Dimaggio.

Henry Monsalvo
plays a bullfighter in the San Antonio Little Theater production of “La Traviata.
Sammie Kindrick
is named Miss Teena Texas.

On the trip to Corpus for the Miller game, Joe Coretht s
colonel shirt, with all his ribbons and cords, flies out the bus window. Joe attends the game in khaki pants and a blue civilian shirt.

Jay Weidenfeld
is elected “Beau” of the B’nai B’
rith Girls. Robert Welch publishes The Life of John Birch.

XXX Root Beer has sandwiches for 20¢ to 40¢. But for 99¢, you can get a sirloin meal at Copeland’s (closed Sundays).

Popular songs include: “Hernando’s Hideaway”

“Mister Sandman”

“Young at Heart”

“Three Coins in the Fountain”

“Hey There”

If anyone wants to listen to the above songs, click here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1HRk2wVD2U
Hernando’s Hideaway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX45pYvxDiA The Chordettes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG7suS4YJWk Frank Sinatra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_EbXMl-XWE The Four Aces

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSASnjrWxmY Rosemary Clooney

Photos by Victor Weiss will have to come later, as I do not readily find them on the computer. They are tucked away somewhere. Next time, maybe.

Blog 115 Flappers (not the toilet kind)

Blog 115 Flappers (not the toilet kind)

Flappers We are a century away from the Jazz era, prohibition, Al Capone and Elliot Ness, and the silent film era. What is remarkable to me is that when we were industrious (or not) students at Jeff, we were only about 25 years removed from those times. Back then, we all knew that flappers were those daring young ladies of the 20’s who shortened their hemlines, bobbed their hair, and rolled their stockings down below their knees (remember those stockings, before panty hose, and bare legs, ladies?) Guys wore straw katy (also called boater) hats and sometime knickers. In fact, about fifteen years ago, I sold on eBay a straw boater that belonged to my dad and had been stored in the attic for a few decades. Today, probably one in a hundred if they are under fifty can tell you what a flapper was. The Charleston dance was the rage then, and I do recall that some of us in high school learned the steps.

An email I receive fairly regularly is Word Genius, which offers up a words to expand vocabulary, (something I still need.) Sometimes the email has addons. One recently spoke of slang words of the 20’s, which brought this topic to mind. I looked at their list of slang and recognized some such as bees knees, which described someone visually pleasing, or spiffy, the cat’s pajamas, the cat’s meow, hotsy-totsy, or keen. Since the 50’s we have been saying cool for someone or something who is the bees knees.

Heard from:
Had a couple of emails from Carolyn Pope Boitnot. “John and I are well and still enjoying living in our four-story row home in Baltimore.  Stairs have kept us healthy so far.” I asked Carolyn if she always remembered why she was going up to the forth floor when she got there, since I have sometimes forgotten when going up to the second floor. Carolyn said, “While our laundry and home office ( computer) are in the basement, kitchen on 1st floor, bedroom on 2nd and family room ( TV) on 3rd, I rarely need to do all stairs for one trip.  If that happens I need to take a ” breather”  between floors.  But it does help keep us in shape and yes, I too forget what I have gone to one space for sometimes.”

Repeating:
If you missed my recent email, let me strongly recommend a video that highlights Jefferson High School, with its architecture, interior and exterior shots, a few architectural drawings, and some pictures of the school under construction. It will make any alumnus/alumnae proud to call that school home. The video was put together for the TJHS National Preservation Society (TJHS HPS), which, by the way, all should join to help preserve this national historic treasure. Dues are $24 per year. So here are the two sites:

Video of the school: Preserve Jeff Visual Tour

Website to join the TJHS HPS: https://tjhshps.wildapricot.org/membership

I heard from about a dozen classmates acclaiming this video. Comments from classmates on viewing the video:

Lon Carpenter: “There can’t be a high school in the United States that comes close to the beauty of our Thomas Jefferson. I’ll fight anyone who impugns the dedication and reputation of the man.

The video, I think, is very well done. The music matches the grandeur of the place.”

Kay Gregory:
The video is beautiful!

Wonder how much the same construction would cost today??  Also wonder how long before some will want any signs of Thomas Jefferson removed from the campus. And, even worse, how long before some will want the name of our school changed??

Janet Walker Mathes:
Amazing what we took for granted all those years ago.

Barney Cline:
I can’t top Lon’s comment…to think that as students there we sort of took it for granted, assuming that all high schools were like that.  Wow, in retrospect!

Carolyn Pope Boitnoitt:   I am embarrassed that I did not appreciate the beauty of the place while there, I am sure though its beauty had more of an influence on us than we know.  Kudos to all the workers that made it happen.  A wonderful video

Rudy Alvarez:
Many, many thanks for this video.

It brought back so many memories as well as providing important historical/architectural information.

Laura Brusenhan:
It is a treasure to see as we fondly remember our high school days there.

Frank Hagan:
Thanks Jack, very interesting and brings back good memories. Dr Weiss was my home room teacher, a very nice gentleman.

Rich Kaufman:
This is wonderful!

Beverly Graham Hime:
It is a must watch.

Pictures from the lunch in April, 2019


Betty Russell and Patty Neavitt


Don Martin and Harry Wharton


Sue Elo Judge, Heinz and Marlene Loth


Texas Myers and Jane Cobb


Ruth Stewart and children

 

Mary Lou Briseno Davis & Stella Muniz Rodriguez

Sam and Mary Helen Bell

Glenn and Marilyn Wogstad

Margot Rocha and Sylvia de la Rocha


Reggie & Genevieve Brooks

Blog 114 Classmates Speak

Blog 114 Classmates Speak

As ideas for the blog pop into mind, I jot them down. That is a great idea, but as usual, I cannot find the notes, which are somewhere in the clutter on my desk. I once saw a sign that stated: “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk the sign of?” Rest assured; my mind is cluttered.

So today, here are some comments that arrived after the recent class email asking for updates. Add to that thoughts about comics and Senior Class Day.

Let’s start with comics.
I was an avid reader back in the day. Today, I don’t bother, except for Pickles and Zits. Most are weird or just plain not amusing. But here are a few that I recall. How many more can you all dredge up from the distant past. Most but not all of these ran in the Express and the Evening News, back when San Antonio had the luxury of three dailies. Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon, Lil’ Abner, Pogo, Mark Trail, Brenda Starr, Rex, Morgan, Steve Roper, Mary Worth, and Apartment 3G. Blondie is still around today with the same tired jokes and should have been retired twenty years ago. Name some more for us, if you can. I left out some, so add on. Oh yeah, there was Archie. Who remembers Invisible Scarlett O’Neill?

Comments from classmates:
I have indicated that this is not a gossip sheet, but as we toddle on down the road to oblivion, maybe its okay to mention a name or two whom you have wondered about. I hope not to anger anyone with the comments that follow.

Old Aggies don’t fall far from the tree. Jerry Harris
and I spoke after his emails started bouncing back. Jerry moved from the Houston area to Bryan, Texas into what I term an “age appropriate” community. Jerry was one of the many engineers from our class. He gave up his computer when he retired, hence the email bounceback. He is in pretty good health.

Marilyn Black, aka Lynn Warren
and I chatted after several email efforts failed. Lynn is in the McKinney area near kids and grandkids. Lynn lamented that her computer is old and not functioning well. We agreed that computers are like people, and just as we get new hips and knees from time to time, computers need replacing as well.

Dorothy Darrah aka
Dot Putnam:
At almost 84 things are slowing down a bit, but am still strong and healthy, and no Covid 19. I live with my daughter and my youngest granddaughter who is 20 and in college. This keeps mind and body active. I don’t travel as much or as far as I did a couple years ago, but now I couldn’t if I wanted to. I don’t have family anymore in San Antonio (but do in Salado and Austin and Corpus) so it’s hard to get there for lunches and reunions.”

I asked Dorothy if she still goes by Dot or Dorothy now and if she and Carolyn Pope hung out at Jeff. She said, “Yes I have been Dorothy ever since college days! Never did like Dot so got rid of it when I went away to college. I moved in with my daughter a couple years ago when I could sell my condo at a good price and she was living in a 5-bedroom house with just her 20-year-old daughter, the youngest, living with her. It has worked out well with 3 generations living together. And yes, Carolyn and I were very close in high school and we still communicate at least at Christmas time. We have both been big time travelers all over the world so we share our stories! She and her husband still live in Baltimore. Our husbands were both doctors.

Walt Graham
checked in with a greeting. A while back, Walt gave this rundown on his life after Jeff.

“My business was Advertising and Decal production – Graham Graphics. Reasonably successful, was honored to be president and twice chairman of the board of our international trade association, representing over 2,000 companies. An honor never before granted to someone out of the major metropolitan areas.

 

Computers eventually took over our trade and completely subdued the screen-printing aspect of it. Just think of the mainstream things we grew up with that are no longer viable.”

 

Margaret Reming Metcalf:


I’m one of the silent ones, and always was.  I would be very surprised if very many classmates remember me. I’m still alive and kicking, though not very high. Retired from my position as secretary at the IRS in January 2003, and have been a “stay at home” person since then, although active in my church. Nothing special happening, just wanted to say “Hi!”. 

Sylvia Cueva:
Hope we can make the lunch on the 8th of October.  That’s my birthdayI will be there if I’m still around. I will be 84 years young. With all this going on, who knows what’s in store. We’re still around in our eighty’s so we can’t complain. See you in Oct

 

Also heard from Frank Hagan, Warner Fassnidge, Ben Williams, Rich Kaufman, Bill Finch, Nathalie Grum Redding, Margaret Cater Swarts and Patsy Patterson.

Frank Hagan commented on Dick Brusenan’s passing—”I am so very sorry to learn of Dick’s passing. He was a good friend and I remember playing poker with the gang at his garage apartment. It is hard to learn of the passing of so many of our high school buddies.

Did I tell you that I talked with John Jones a while back and he seems to be doing good except for a very painful back. He lives in Houston Texas, or he did when I talked to him.

If this corona thing ever stops, I plan on visiting San Antonio one more time. If so, hope we can get together. (Frank lives in the Seattle area.

 We sold the property near the river a couple of years ago to the city. From what I hear the city is building an apartment building there for low incoming folks. That is the last property I had in San Antonio. Makes me sad, had a great time there growing up with a wonderful family and friends.

Stay safe and wear your mask.

Ps !!! don’t take me off your email 

Nathalie (Sue)Grum Redding
was out of touch for a while and said “Thanks for getting me back in the loop.  I have spent the last hour reading “old” information– lots of obits.  We really had a great class,  Will try to stay current now.

Rich Kaufman
checked in, as did Warner Fassnidge, who said he had spoken with Ed Davis, and Ben Williams, who said he may travel to Houston next month for a memorial. Houston is a hot spot for the virus, Ben.

Bill Finch
asked about the class history published on line and sent along the following update on Mike Gill, who has lived in Germany for many years now..

“I talked to Michael Gill in Germany recently and aside from having Parkinson’s and bad knees and a serious retina problem he’s doing OK. They have the same corona virus over there so they mostly stay inside. Germany is more formal in their approach toward handling things so things are somewhat better there. Also he keeps gigging me about living in Trump world. It was hard for them to understand what was happening here at first. Now it seems more like a clown show that will hopefully end in the near future.”

 

Note: If you want to have look at the class history published five years ago, here is a website. I believe it is the second item listed. And if you are not included, send along your update to me.

https://1drv.ms/f/s!Av2ZuW4OyBQktFWz1ykOr3wAv_T1

 

Patsy Patterson
moved to Oklahoma several months ago. She comments,
“Tom and I are still plugging along.  Our most exciting event is going to pick up the groceries that we purchased online. We walk around our block nearly every day which is about 1/2 mile.  Then we have to take a nap.  We are enjoying our new home and getting to see our kids even if we visit in the garage.  In fact that is our newest living and dining space when we have company.  We really miss church family but at least we can attend online.  We see the sermons from our church in Houston as well as here in Tulsa.  I miss the hugs.  Wish the end was insight instead of escalating.” (Note: Missing hugs is not all bad: a church here in San Antonio allowed hugs one Sunday, and fifty cases of Covid-19 followed.)

 

Margaret Cater Swarts: Not much has changed with me since our 2014 class reunion. I am still in my house in Houston. My older daughter moved in with me in January, which proved to be a blessing when we were surprised by the pandemic and told to stay home. We walk the neighborhood most days, and I try to stay in touch with family and friends. I miss going to church but can watch the virtual service on YouTube. This too will pass though we’d all like to know when.”

Margaret and I share a Rosewood Street commonality. Until I was three, my family lived in the next block from Margaret’s family.

This has gotten a bit long, so will talk about Senior Class Day another time. With most everyone staying in, the length will keep some of you occupied and out of harm’s way. Take care till next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Blog 113 Almost No Obituaries

Blog 113 Almost No Obituaries

Editorializing:
After all these weeks staying home, most of the time, and with our government beginning to open the country again, I ponder what I have accomplished and should I be proud of it? And I ponder the attitude of the country about the stay-at-home orders.

I read of all the whining about individual freedom and rights. It occurs to me that the vast majority are probably the younger generation fed the pap we see on television and from vapid talk show hosts. The younger generations don’t have a feel for history and the sacrifices made by earlier generations to get the nation to where it was just a few years ago.

People forget that we are a nation governed by laws. Most are good laws, some not so, but as a society, we need to follow those laws and work to change those with which we disagree. Flouting the law because it impinges on “individual rights” weakens the country.

More Editorially:
Someone sent a video clip of Ronnie Milsap singing “Lost in the Fifties Tonight.” News clips from the 50’s accompany the music and lyrics. It was shocking to see a flashback to the time of forced school integration, with the demonstrations and the shouting. That was about sixty-five years ago, and it strikes me that we have learned so little about justice and equality in the intervening years.

Self Assessing:
Staying at home for the past six or so weeks, I conclude that I have accomplished a few items on my never shortening ‘to do’ list. I would self-grade with a C.

Joy Weir Stamm
In the last blog, I asked if anyone has had recent contact with Joy Weir. Joyce Skolnik wrote that Joy passed away March 17, 2020 as a result of cardiac arrest. No further information is available. I last spoke with Joy prior to one of the reunions after 2004. As I recall, she was living on the side of a mountain in Oregon, with poor TV, Internet, and phone reception. If anyone has memories to share about Joy, please post them via comment on the blog page.

Memories I think a national past time has become one of sending out items found on the Internet, and it appears those transmission have increased with everyone staying at home and finding things to occupy their time. Two of the most common are jokes about getting older and sending pictures of things we knew very well back in the day but are not just dim memories. For a change, here are a few of those sent to me recently—as gone as the buggy whip.

Missing in Action:
I wonder what happened to old…Sadly, as people move around the country to be looked after by children or grandchildren, we lose touch. A variety of emails have bounced back over time. There are 81 classmates on the lost list today. Some have probably died and we will just never know about it. These emails will just end up in a mailbox that is never checked. That is sort of like Facebook, which reminds you to wish someone a Happy Birthday every year, even though the person may have been dead for ten or so years. If I had a phone line to heaven and hell, I would call and wish them best returns of the day. Sounding off on Facebook, though, is a topic for another time.

Nostalgia lives:
I received the same email from both coasts with a bit of nostalgia from the Statler Brothers. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puGQsQux80k

Are you aware that you can find a variety of music on YouTube, with an occasional add thrown in (which you skip after 4-5 seconds)? For example, here you can listen to a couple of hours of pre-rock-and-roll music titled “Beautiful Romantic 1950s Music” though I think much of is is post-1950.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJMC3htVqOo


Someone else sent in a montage titled “Our Generation in Pictures
!” shown below. Hope it generates a smile and some good memories.

I will stop here with nothing more to add. You can also stop or scroll down for a few memories.















 







Blog 112 Ramblings

Blog 112 Ramblings

Apologia:
While the original intent of these blogs back in 2014 was to reminisce about our (mostly) good memories of days at Jeff, from time to time I feel a need to dwell on other things. Lewis Carroll said it very well in his poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”

‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

And whether pigs have wings.’

Rambling:
This morning, I recalled a statement I made some forty-odd years ago: “I don’t know when middle age starts, but when I get there, I will let you know.” I never got there, and then, one day I realized that I had leaped right over middle age and later middle age. Here I am, old. Isn’t it difficult to finally acknowledge that you are old? I think realization hit me when I turned eighty. Pretense dropped away, and here I am.

Serious time:
The middle-age thought came to mind after reading an article in USA Today, focusing on Tom Herman, (head football coach at The University of Texas) in an interview after the rioting out country has been enduring. Mr. Herman, who is 44, described himself as a “middle-aged man.”

Another article related an encounter that CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker, had with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, Jacque Rae Hill, while on a Southwest flight (which is unusual, to say the least.) Ms. Hill saw a book belonging to Mr. Parker and asked him about it, leading to a long discussion. That book is White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin diAngelo, Ph.D.

I may or may not read the book, as it sounds a bit more scholarly than I am up for. But the title alone expresses a personal sentiment that I intend to explore further.

I have been asked on maybe a dozen occasions if we had (a) any black or (b) anyAsian classmates at Jeff. The answer is no and a few of the two races. Integration into public schools began in 1958, when President Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas to enforce the new law. At the college level, my rusty history recalls Brown vs. The Board of Education (or similar notation) in which the Supreme Court opened The University of Texas to integration. Even though the Civil War ended 135 years ago and school integration was accomplished sixty-two years back, we still have a divisive mentality in the country.

At Jeff, we our class included a fair number of highly capable Hispanic classmates, some of whom I have developed a friendship with over the years, just as I did with some of “in” group at school. (I will dwell on that a bit later or in another blog.) But if any of you recall, there was not a lot of interaction back then. Ruth Hernandez Stewart
and I had a fruitful email dialog last year on that fact and how at our reunions over the years and lunches, there is still not a lot of mixing. I attribute that more to the fact that at our infrequent gatherings, we tend to spend our two hours visiting with old friends rather than making new friends from the old days. I would enjoy further conversation on this subject from anyone who wishes to contribute. Post on here or reply to my email.

And finally, I suspect that at least ninety percent of our class were reared in a churchgoing family. Some of us still practice today and some have dropped out over the years. In this time of stress and radical upheaval I urge that those who pray, do so, asking for the healing of our country. And for those who remember their upbringing but have no church family today, send up a prayer as well.

Till next time…

Blog 110 Dick Brusenhan

Blog 110 Dick Brusenhan

Sadly, here is another report of the death of one of our classmates. It feels as if the clock is ticking faster as we are still marching uphill in our eighties.

I first knew Dick and the Brusenhan family from Travis Park Methodist Church and kindergarten Sunday School class. Sadly, I did not know Dick well. Those of you with good memories might share some of them with us on here. In our yearbook, Dick listed activities as National Honor Society (President), Student Council (Parliamentarian), and Senate.

I am aware that Dick, Bobby Tate, and Jack Davis were very close, dating back to first grade and that they shared a special bond. Sadly, all three have passed on in recent months.

Dick’s death follows very soon after his brother, Harry, who was married to our classmate Laura Moore Brusenhan.

DR. J. “DICK” RICHARD BRUSENHAN
November 16, 1936 May 12, 2020



Dr. J. Richard Brusenhan (Dick) passed away the evening of May 12, 2020 at home in the care of his family. Dick was born November 16, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas to Robert (Bruce) and Alice Brusenhan. He attended Jefferson High School, graduated from Rice university in Houston, Texas and went on to earn a medical degree from Baylor Medical School in Houston.

After medical school, Dick spent three years as an Air Force Flight Surgeon in Germany before returning to complete his residency at Baylor specializing in OB/Gyn. He moved to Colorado Springs in 1969 where he practiced until his retirement in 1999. Dick was dedicated to his work, and not only gave his patients the best care possible, but also was recognized as a leader and served in positions where his experience, education, and passion for excellence in the practice of medicine impacted many medical providers and institutions. At Memorial Hospital he served as Chief OB/Gyn from 1978-1979 and as Chief of Staff in 1984. He belonged to the El Paso County Medical Society serving on the Board of Directors, Colorado Medical Society where he served on the Board of Directors and as President 1987-1988, Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, Colorado OB/Gyn Society and was Fellow of American College of OB/Gyn. He served as President and Chairman of the Memorial Medical Group from 1986-1998, Memorial Medical Network and Physician’s Health Network as Vice Chairman from 1986-1998. He served his community as an active member of the Sertoma Club, and was a long time member of the Colorado Springs Country Club.

Richard and his wife, Marilyn, were married in 1996. They were avid skiers, cyclists, golfers, travelers and had many adventures. They enjoyed attending and supporting the Colorado Springs Symphony. Dick loved football and loved to share football with others, especially his son Bruce. He always brought family and friends with him to the Denver Bronco home games, attending nearly all of them from 1974-2017. If the game was out of town, family and friends joined him at home to cheer their team on. He climbed 25 of the 14ers in Colorado and enjoyed many years of hunting with his son, Bruce and friends. Dick and Bruce always looked forward to the annual Brusenhan men’s hunting weekend at his brother Harry’s ranch in Texas. He and Marilyn enjoyed sharing their mountain home in Frisco for many years and the many memorable times with family and friends.

Dick was loved dearly and is missed by his wife, Marilyn, son, Bruce (Jerilynn) Brusenhan, and step-children Jan (Tom) Muzik, Jon (Kim) Nordby, Mark (Trish) Nordby, Jamey (Candace) Nordby. He has eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren by marriage, and many beloved nephews and nieces. He is also survived by his two sisters-in-law, Lollie Brusenhan and Laura Brusenhan. He was preceded in death by his parents and his two brothers, Robert and Harry Brusenhan, an infant daughter Katharine, and stepson Joseph Nordby.

The family is so grateful for the help and loving care Dick received from Home Care Assistance – the leadership and all the amazing caregivers truly helped Dick and the family through this difficult period. We are also grateful to Pikes Peak Hospice and their help in getting Dick home to be with family and for teaching us how to care for someone we loved so much. We will celebrate Dick’s life together on a date still to be determined.

Dick would be honored by gifts to any of the following scholarship funds or charities:
Baylor College of Medicine BCM Fund (PO 4976 Houston TX, 77210, Rice University Annual Fund (PO Box 1892, Houston TX, 77251), Trails and Open Space Coalition (702 E Boulder St Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80903), or a charity of your choice.

Other Information

Joyce Skolnik Meyer
has written about Joy Weir Stamm. She has been in touch with Joy over the years and has recently had mail returned and phone disconnected. If anyone has news of Joy, please pass it along. Sadly, obituaries are going out of style, making it more difficult to track people, as an obituary is one sure way to make an appearance on the Internet. The Social Security Administration posts a death notice on line, but only after three years have passed. That limitation is intended to slow unscrupulous people from preying on those in their early days of grieving.

Blog 110 Don’t Get Around Much Any More…

Don’t Get Around Much Any More…

Have you noticed these blog titles lately? Time on My Hands, As Time Goes By, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore? The Corona virus will eventually run its course, but while hunkered down at home, there is pause to ruminate on times long past. Here is old Willie singing Don’t Get Around Much Any More:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMzilyGZrHI

This version is from a Willie Nelson album, Stardust, in which he sings the old standards, including Stardust, September Song, Georgia On My Mind and others. Great album, both because of Willie singing them but because of the songs themselves.

Moving along…Are most of you familiar with Jim Lehrer? He was on public radio for years and moderated 12-15 presidential debates. He was so highly respected. Were you aware that Jim is a Jeff grad, class of ’52? I dug out the 1952 Monticello yearbook to see whether I recognized him smf did not. Not knowing him is my loss, and yours if you also were not acquainted with Jim. His activities included Hi-Y (Pres), Scribblers, Hayne, and Student Council.

From there
I thumbed through the 1952 annual and came across the sophomore class officers for our class of 1954. What struck me is how skinny everyone was in 1952especially the guys. If you want to see Betty Davis, Susan Crawford, Ann Hundley, Nancy Jones, and Bettye Sue Conrad
in penny loafers and bobby sox, look on page 61. Harry Jones
was class presi
dent, and Bobby Tate
and Skipper Quick
were first and second vice presidents. I wonder what their function actually was. Any idea? Bill Hundley
was chaplain—I suppose he usurped Paul Medley, who was the chaplain whom I remember. To round out the cast of officers, we had Billy Dube, Jack Davis,
and Harvey Clouser. It is a real eye-opener to see how young we all looked in 1952.

Now and then…We all remember the days of World War II, when most everything was rationed. There was the black market, but for the most part, my naïve belief is that most everyone played the game honestly and we all suffered together. To conserve gasoline, my dad walked several miles to work each day, even in the fierce summer heat. Compare that today, when most in our nation who have never experienced severe hardship rush out to stock up on months and months of supplies. I did need to make a run to the grocers yesterday for a missing ingredient for the evening meal and was amazed to see so many of the shelves next to empty. Any war time memories out there?

More photos…Last time I posted a variety of photos, which resulted in zero comments. I will include a few more this time.







Mid-termers who came to Jeff in January 1951. Four photos.

Blog 109 As Time Goes By

Blog 109 As Time Goes By

With the country staying home, it has come to my notice that too many people have time on their hands. I profess not to be one of them. Yet here is another submission to you. The impetus for that is that the company that posts the blogs advised that I only posted 14 times in the past 12 months.

How does this blog get posted? I write it in Microsoft Word and copy it to a blog format and then send it as a draft to the website. There I review and publish, though the published version rarely looks like I formatted it.

The website is free to post, hence the ads that sometime pop up. However, I do pay $18 a year for the simplified web address of www.jeffclassof54.com. Hence, I accept the foibles of publishing.

Title of the blog today came to mind from staying at home. Then came recall of the song. The song was featured in one of the great all-time movies, Casablanca, with As Time Goes By Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. If you have never seen it, you should, and for those who have, it is worth seeing again. The song was preceded by Bogart’s comment, “Play it again, Sam.” If you want to listen to the original version, sung by Sam (and played by Dooly Wilson—ever heard of him?), click here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d22CiKMPpaY

Mention of Bogart calls to mind Marvin Kalisky, whose nickname was Bogey. Jim McNeel
said the name came because Marvin was enamored with movies starring Bogart and saw every movie several times. If anyone has a better explanation, let me know.

Here is a shout-out from those who emailed after the last email I sent to all.

Gordon Bartley
checked in, happy to keep up with class happenings.

Edward Brown
has a 20-acre spread in Muldoon, Texas, near Smithville. Edward was widowed last year.

Richard Kaufman
sent these words: Hope this finds you guys well. Everything good here. I had my second round of radiation yesterday. 3 more to go.

Still planning on coming to the fall luncheon, assuming there will be one. Coming that way no matter what.

Jerry Cline
sent a good update:

Thanks for the email. I enjoy reading them all. I’m remain good health, doing well, sheltering in place in my home of 39 years in Thousand Oaks, California. Marianne, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in January 2013 lived at home with the help of caregivers until I needed to place her in an Alzheimer care facility. So I communicate with friends and my two daughters via phone and internet. Hiking the hills and trails around here keep me in good shape physically and help with stress. stay safe and healthy.

And here is a note from Jeanine (Kliefoth) Price
from the valley;

Just got around to reading your 108 blog.  I have been meaning to write about Billy Dube’s obit but the days seem to fly by.  I thought he was a nice guy and am so sorry about his passing.  If I remember correctly, Billy and Betty Sue dated in high school.  I thought they were such a cute couple then and also later when they reconnected.  Isn’t it amazing how many of our classmates went on to bigger and better things after graduating from Jeff?

Polio……oh, I remember that…..the Iron Lungs,etc.   My mother thought it was caused by flies, the ones that flew around the Watermelon Screened areas.  Do you remember those?  They were screened areas with picnic tables where slices of watermelons were sold.  I was forbidden to go there.  Well, one evening a neighbor took me with her family to the movies and then to get a slice of watermelon.  I refused but she insisted and bought me a slice.  I never told my mom, but for weeks I was afraid that I would get polio. To this day, I still think of that when I see watermelon.

After graduation, I trained at the Robert B. Green and that was the hospital that treated the polio patients.  In fact they still had some on the floors.  My supervisor was in a wheel chair because of her bout with polio.

Here is a photo taken at our 60th reunion in 2014. Do you recognize the lobby of the Aztec theater? The group was on tour. How many can you name? Send your list to me and I will attempt to list them in the next blog.

And do you recognize these classmates? Prize of no intrinsic value to the winners.








Blog 108A What went wrong?

Blog 108A What went wrong?

This did not print with Blog 108. Don’t know what caused the glitch, ’cause it was in the draft format.

Note: It is usually a surprise to see how the formatting ends up when these communiques are published, because they rarely appear as formatted by me.

As we all hunker down at home during this scourge sweeping around the world, the song from our youth came to mind. Does anyone remember Time on My Hands? The title is appropriate for many, though not the words. I only recall “time on my hands and you in my arms.”

I, for one, do not find time hanging heavy on my hands, as we moved to an “age appropriatecommunity recently—not an old people’s place, but people of similar ages and mobility.

Here is a song which I urge you to listen to, by Willie Nelson. It’s Nothing I Can Do About It Now. Willie sings about his transgressions through life and laments (perhaps) that there is nothing he can do about it now. If you do go to this site, scroll down and read a few of the comments by other listeners. The words have been inspirational to some. One comments “This song makes me think about the idea of “forgive yourself”.