Tag Archives: Aleen Smith

Blog 34 September 9, 2014

As the class coordinator/moderator/amanuensis/cat-herder, the best part of this job is the frequent opportunities to communicate with other class members. This morning, I had a super-nice, fun phone call with Beverly Cole Phillipp. We reminisced quiet a bit about the good old days and more recent events. I asked Beverly about the Class Day program event in which she and Bobby Rios did a reading from Saint Joan of Lorraine. She said she was Joan of Arc, burning on the stake, giving her impassioned plea to the French people. Bobby was a French guard. She sends greeting to all.

The Tobin Center has opened. You all remember the Municipal Auditorium, from which we graduated.  It burned in 1979, was reopened circa 1984 and pretty much fell into disuse around 2005. It has now been completely rebuilt at a cost of $251 million and re-opened this week. It is unique. The hall we knew held 5,500 people seated. The rebuilt facility was torn down, except for the front façade and now houses two separate theaters. The main auditorium has 1759 seats and a small black-box theater can seat 330. There is also a open air river plaza that can hold 650 seated or 1100 standing. The two inside theaters are two separate buildings with a 3 inch gap between to prevent sound transfer. The unique aspect is the floor, which and accommodate seven different configurations, from flat floor to a tiered seating to a rake seating as in a regular auditorium. It can change within 25 minutes. There are only three such configurations existing today—one in Vancouver, one in Spain, and the one here in San Antonio. I am going to include some renderings and some photos below.


Note the superstructure behind it, also known as the veil. It is aluminum 18,8 separate aluminum panels weighing 111,000 pounds. It has LED lights that can be programmed with various colors and designs. The façade above is the only original part of the building.

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On top is the original configuration. Below is the current configuration while under construction.


And here is a rendering of the river walk side. Originally an 18-foot wall  separated the auditorium from the river walk. The pillars up the right side commemorate the 32 medal of honor recipients from San Antonio.

This is truly a beautiful facility. Some of you took a hard hat tour while it was under construction during our reunion. I will be giving tours and ushering some, as will Don and Patsy Martin.


Pat Freeman, Aleen Smith, and Connie Mayes after the hardhat tour was over.


Betty Ann Canfield Pennick and Tinsley


A moment of mirth: Betty Sue Conrad Dube, Doug Campbell, Betty Stensland Saunders, and Warner Fassnidge

Blog 33 September 5, 2014

Seven weeks! From August 7th to September 18th, 1954—that is seven weeks—the number one song played on juke boxes, by disc jockeys, and sold in the stores was “Sh-Boom” by the Crewcuts. Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford, and Eddie Fisher also had number one hits over the course of the year.

Top movies: The five highest grossing movies in 1954 surprised me:

  • White Christmas (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Kirk Douglas, James Mason)
  • Rear Window (James Stewart & Grace Kelly)
  • Demetrius & the Gladiators (Victor Mature, Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine)
  • The Caine Mutiny (Humphrey Bogart, Fred McMurray)

If you want to see the top twenty films and the gross sales, go to Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_in_film

Class Day: Who can remember the Class Day on one of our very last days of school before graduation? Bob Blake sent me a program he found tucked away in his Monticello. I am inserting the four pages below and posing some questions. I vaguely remember the program, and others do as well, because several people have remembered a dance by Aleen Smith, Connie Mayes, and Shirley France. Here is, in all its mimeographed glory:




Can anyone answer any of these questions?

· How did one get on the program?

· Why did Bill Crocker give the invocation and Shirley Inselman the benediction, even though Paul Medley is listed as the class chaplain? I would guess that Shirley sand The Lord’s Prayer.

· What was the class gift that Jack Davis presented on our behalf? We had a senior gift committee of five people (see last page of program)

· Did Joe Coreth write the class poem? If not, who did, and why did Joe recite it? Does anyone have a copy of it? (Maybe I should ask, does anyone care?)

· Who were scholarship recipients? I was not one of them.

Finally, look at the last page, which is good for a chuckle.

  • What did the courtesy committee do? Really?
  • Were we all card carrying members of the class? Did it take five people to design the card or sign them or pass them out or check to make sure we were legal attending the prom or what?

Well, I am poking a bit of fun, as I am sure all of that was important to us back in the day. I vaguely remember going to the Olmos Theater to see some inspiring class movie about a singer with broken legs. Quite honestly, my preference would have been Marilyn Monroe or a John Wayne oater.

I do hope someone will shed some light on the questions above and add some of your own.

Sad to note: A friend from the class of ’55 recently passed me some news about Gary Valentine. Gary lives in Australia and suffers from severe dementia. The tales told were distressing. Remember how well Gary could sing? I knew Gary from elementary school on. Rumor had it that Gary’s father was the emcee on the nationally broadcast radio show, Dr. I.Q.  Or he may have been Dr. I.Q. I don’t know that was ever confirmed.

And closing with a couple of photos:


Bill Hundley, Fritzie Connally, Larry Byrd, John Patmore


Louise Dobbins, Mary Helen Bass, Janet Walker  (aka Rawlings, Bell, and Mathes)



Blog 24 June 18, 2014

Man Working! No need for a hard hat here, diligently working on the reunion project, which probably should be named “why did I think this would be a good idea?” On June 7, I sent out the email asking for changes to the preliminary class directory. There were over fifty responses, most arriving immediately, but a few still trickling in.  Most input was to add a cell number, although there were a few corrections that I believe were in the data base when I inherited it 25 years ago. I will be sending out revisions in a few days.

What is taking a lot of time is the class history portion. As mentioned in a previous blog, Yvonne Kennedy Bradfield scanned in each picture in the year book. That was a monumental task. The project now is to add the histories and obituaries that we have. As I look at the accomplishments we listed in the Monticello, I see all sorts of activities .It seems like most in the class were either on the Library Council or a Class Representative. Does anyone remember exactly what either group did?

I noticed some were a member of the Freshman or Sophomore Scholastic Society. But they did not progress from there to the Junior National Honor Society or NHS. One wonders, did they lose their scholastic enthusiasm? What did the Scribblers do? What was the JLC? Did you know that there was a Skating Club, a Chess Club? Mike Gill listed as belonging to the Institute for Space Travel, way back in 1954. That calls to mind Flash Gordon.

In the meantime, here several more photos.

Spin the Bottle….

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…and the spin points to Peggy Frazier. Who else do you see? Bettye Sue Conrad  4th from left and Carl Conn with a polka dot cap and Elizabeth White, complete with curls, two down from Carl.

And forever blowing bubbles….

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Don’t know who she is, but that is Joy Robertson seated and Harvey Clouser looking like he is doing a pushup. Billy Dube in a jersey, and maybe Hap Veltman with a bubble next to Billy.

And a little more staid…


Louise Dobbins, Mary Helen Bass Bell, and Janet Walker. Looking lovely, ladies!


Pat Freeman, Aleen Smith, and Connie Mayes after touring the old Municipal Auditorium, now known as the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Comments anyone?

Blog 14 April 2, 2014

Does anyone remember Karotkin’s Furniture down on Commerce Street behind the Aztec Theater? Some years back it was converted to a boutique hotel that has been awarded four diamonds and is consistently ranked one as one of the top hundred hotels in the country. Or something like that…

Gay Scarborough (we all knew her at Jeff as Era Mae McFarland) has sent me several emails, and I am going to include a portion of her latest here. She brought back memories I had not thought of for years. For example, Gay (her preferred name) mentioned the Black and White Ball. I did not know a whole lot about it, but I sort of recall it was a big deal and a somewhat political thing dealing with what today we would call raising social consciousness. Here are Gay’s comments:

Sweet memories.  Does anyone remember the Saturday, cliff hanger, to be continued, shows at the Woodlawn theatre?  Also, the dances at Woodlawn Lake?  My first kiss.  Not so romantic.

I enjoy your blogs sooo much.   Omar and I put a bid in on one of the homes on King’s Row in King William.  As we were uncertain about moving there we didn’t up our bid and it went to someone else. It was really interesting to read Jeanines’ family’s history of their homes. 

I was a member of the Pioneer Club and attended the dances.  (Tried to comment on your blog but was interrupted in the middle and canceled). That’s where I had the great honor of being first choice for the Black & White Ball but my grandmother was convinced by someone’s mom to have me step down and let her daughter have the crown. I remember being relieved.  Being a princess didn’t seem to be a fit. It was an almost honor. Ha!  My family actually pioneered the Austin, Georgetown, Liberty Hill area.  My family’s names are on street signs and nearly everyone in the Liberty Hill cemetary are relatives of mine.  I plan to visit the museum and see if my name is there somewhere. Ok for blog. Ha

Fun to see my buddy Rich Kaufmans’ picture.  My husband and I had fun hanging out when he lived in LA way.

Aleen Smith sent along a nice update for the class booklet on what we have done in our lives since leaving Jeff. Aleen was chosen as Miss Fiesta of 1952. As I recall, she was either the first or second to hold that title. I think Texas Nowotny was selected the following year. It was a great honor back then. Today, I think they have several dozen queens (and kings) to reign during fiesta—so many you can hardly keep track of them, but it is something to please everyone, I suppose.

The Reunion update: Those registrations are coming in, several each day. We have 96 registered already with three plus weeks to go, which is very encouraging. There is still room to play miniature golf at Cool Crest if you want to sgin up. Contact Tas McGraw (at Jeff, we knew her as Dorothy Crawford) at joetas@att.net.

I intend to get downtown in the next week or so and map out a walking tour around town. One possibility is a tour of the grand old hotels, several of which have undergone recent renovations. These will include the St Anthony, Gunter, Menger, Emily Morgan (we knew this as the Medical Arts Building back in the day), and maybe the Crockett.

Travis Park just reopened after a 3-month, $500,000 face lift. I drove by last nilght and did not see significant change, though they tout replacing some dead trees, looks like they laid sod and added pavers and added a bicycle station for renting or returning, plus a dog park.

Next blog will have info about a maybe contest. Unless the contest does not materialize. I believe this is what the ad experts call a teaser. No more teasing today.