Tag Archives: Ben Williams

Blog 43 March 6, 2015


About the book! Most everyone who ordered a book has received it by now, and the response has been completely gratifying. To all who sent kind comments, thank you. The post office does strange and not so wonderful things, so if your copy has not arrived, be patient. I followed some of the tracking numbers and found that our astute postal service sent a number of the books to Dallas even though for delivery in Austin and here in SA. Go figure.

I will include a few of your comments below, edited a bit.

From Pete Sweet: My reflections booklet arrived on Monday. I cannot begin to tell all of you what a terrific job you did with it. It has so many memories and I started at the front and have read through letter “C”, the information submitted by classmates shows what a diversified group of young people attended Jefferson High School graduating in 1954. To see everyone of our classmates is a true joy and to hear their adventures and experiences was a true gift. I do not know what those who did not order a copy of the publication thought they might be getting, but I can personally say that I got way more than I expected. I thought that I would get a pamphlet containing what those who replied about the past 60 years had written. To get as much information as this fine book contains is priceless. I hope that perhaps in the future when classmates are in San Antonio they might be able to get together to keep in touch.

From Janet Walker Mathes: I just received my 6o Years of Memories book today and I can’t put it down. It is so great and I am so very thankful to all those who helped you get this together and get it out. It is such a treasure. Please relay may heartfelt thanks to all those who took their time and energy to compile and distribute this to all of us. I wish I had known all this about my fellow classmates before we were together. What interesting lives.

From Sue Grum Redding: Received the ’54 History Book on Wednesday. I spent all afternoon reading it from cover to cover and then reread some parts yesterday.  It is awesome.  Thanks for all your work and the others that were involved.  Thinking back on my time at Jefferson, I remember more about the fun and friends instead of all the studying we must have done.  Would you have believed when we graduated that 60 years later there would be this volume of success stores? 

Enough of the praises. On to more interesting:

History factoids: The bit on the Hertzberg clock history generated memories and comments. Patsy Hatch Patterson and Jeanine Kliefoth Price both remember getting off the bus at that corner and checking the time. Patsy walked down Houston Street and up Alamo Plaza to get to Joske’s. Ben Williams that “You may not know that Hertzberg’s is where Ike bought Mamie her engagement ring. He was an instructor for ROTC at TMI in his first assignment after West Point.” Back in the 80’s (1980’s) when I often presided over ribbon cuttings for the Chamber of Commerce, one of the events took place on a newly converted office building on Broadway. It had originally been an apartment building and was the first residence of Ike and Mamie after they were married.

And on TMI, how many of you remember that Douglas MacArthur was as student there? TMI (Texas Military Institute) opened its doors in 1893. Douglas MacArthur was an early graduate, finishing in 1897, before entering West Point two years later. Here are a couple of photos of MacArthur. More about TMI in a later blog.


Closing with a few more photos sent by Jim Warren:

clip_image004 Bonnie Hirsch   clip_image006   Margaret Pratt

If you have old photos to include here, send them along to jeff-54@satx.rr.com

Blog 38 November 24, 2014

Time flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it. So I must be having a hilarious time—I just have not realized it. Has been a month since I last posted. Best intentions and all that. When a thought comes to mind, I usually jot it down to write about. I have a bunch of comments to send along, but I cannot find my paper with the notes. Does anyone remember Sophie Tucker on the early days of television? She billed herself as “The Last of the Redhot Mammas” and was a definite plus size. I recall one skit on a TV show. She sang a memorable ditty: “I Brought My Harp to the Party, But No One Asked Me to Play.” That is sort of how I feel not finding my notes, but in this case, I can’t play my notes.

From memory, then, a few odds and ends.

Marcia Pittman/Rock Mogas: Marcia and Rock hooked up at our last reunion. I heard from Marcia the other day that they began dating and have just become engaged. No date for the nuptials has been set, but both are very happy. Congrats and felicitations to Marcia and Rock.

Laura Moore Brusenhan and Groucho Marx and Gonzales Gonzales: Laura sent the website url for an enormously funny clip from a time many years ago when Gonzales Gonzales from San Antonio appeared on Groucho’s TV show with the opportunity to say the secret word and win $100 (wow!). This was the appearance that launched GG’ movie career. Here is the website: http://www.chonday.com/Videos/funny-mexican-guy-with-groucho-marx#.UfVbmBN44QQ.email


Advance scoop! I asked recently if anyone remembers the Class of ’54 gift to the school. I had two responses that were totally different, and I intend to post the replies to the class to see if either sounds right. Ron Bridges wrote “Our 1954 gift to the glass was a gold curtain for the auditorium. Check this out but I remember the moment when it was announced.” Ben Williams wrote: “My memory of our class gift was a piano for the auditorium. It was a full 8′ grand piano, not new, but we had it reconditioned and it looked and sounded great. One of our students, name forgotten, convinced Miss Mattie Sharp Brewer that his senior class research project should be a piano concerto, rather than a paper written in English. He played it for the class and for all the music related faculty members. Ms Brewer wanted to try and verify it was all original. All of the faculty members thought it was fantastic.”

Jack Davis, sir! You made the presentation. Does either sound familiar? My gut feel is that we probably had funds for a curtain. Giving a reconditioned piano would certainly score high marks for originality. I doubt either is still in use after sixty years. And what about the original piano composition? Only David Mills might have pulled that off. We need to ask David.

I have not checked lately to see how many have been reading the blogs. I do get nice comments periodically, though great lapses probably has damaged the circulation.

It is Thanksgiving week. I send along best wishes to all of you and hope you have a memorable holiday. Penny and I are leaving in the morning for a few days at South Padre. I am a bit ashamed to admit that having lived almost three quarters of my life in Texas, I have never been to the valley.

Take care for now. I will return with more pictures and maybe my lost notes.

Blog 31 August 21, 2014

My procrastination level has kicked in—since retiring, procrastination is something I have perfected. Now if I can just refrain from apologizing about it.

The dancing cigarette pack: That photo is reminiscent of Connie Mayes (Dyer) re-creating that scene on the stage at Jefferson. Actually, I learned from Connie that she was replicating the Monticello—our yearbook. Here is what Connie wrote about that dance: “It’s a miracle I finished that performance of the dancing Jefferson Yearbook upright. It was about 110 degrees in that box and I had no peripheral vision out of the peepholes. What in the world was the purpose of that, anyhow? I can’t even remember what assembly it was.” Does anyone recall that assembly? Does anyone recall any of the assemblies? It seems like there were a lot of them.

I do know that when there was a drama performance, we could buy tickets and skip sixth period class. Early on, I may have recalled on this blog that the auditorium filled for a performance of “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan, presented by the various choir classes. When the last bell rang at 3:25, I think three-fourths of the audience, including me, got up and left. I recall how awful I thought it was. Since then I have developed an appreciation of Gilbert and Sullivan and enjoy some of the songs.

Roy McBride: Did you all know that Roy McBride still works in the Florida Everglades trapping panthers? I came across a video on line of Roy talking about the work. If you care to watch, here is the web site. http://vimeo.com/60689825 It is short.

McBride 1072

The Project: I have been working on the class history project. A few more histories are arriving, a few have re-written what they sent the first time, and a few forgot that they already sent something and sent again. At the moment, it has reached 146 pages, but the photos from the yearbook take a lot of space. So far, only six people wrote back that they will not submit anything, along with a couple who don’t have emails. Jeanine Kliefoth Price called the ten people who had told us to put them on an inactive list, and the majority were happy to hear and will send us something. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Annice Horn, who goes by Ann Horn, last we heard? Again, special thanks to Jeanine, Kathy Lentz, Patsy Hatch Patterson, and Lavonne Kennedy, who have been helping with the project.

A few photos from the Majestic: Ben Williams took the following. They were taken with the lights lowered.

_DSC0322  _DSC0324

Note the ceiling here below:


Ice Cream Sings: In the last class e-blast, I included the little essay called Ice Cream Sings. I was amazed at the number of classmates who sent a comment, and all were positive.

More soon.


Blog 29 August 8, 2014

The Texas Theater: Jeanine Price raised a question about the Texas Theater. Here are photos I found on the Internet:


Opened in 1926 for the Publix-Paramount chain, this large downtown theater was designed by the Boller Brothers firm, and was done in Spanish Colonial and Rococco style. Its fantastic terra-cotta facade, complete with columns and multicolored arches decorated with gilded medallions, in addition to its huge vertical marquee, were as spectacular as the interior, which was one of the city’s finest movie houses of the 20s, along with the Empire, Aztec and, later, Majestic Theatres.

Hailed by Publix as ‘San Antonio’s Two-Million Dollar Showplace’ when it opened, it was the site of the premiere of Paramount’s “Wings” less than a year later, which was filmed near San Antonio. Stars Buddy Rogers and Clara Bow were both in attendance.

However, after many years as a successful first-run house, even thriving during the Depression era, the Texas began to decline, and closed in the 70s. Unfortunately, just as interest in saving many of the area’s historic buildings was starting to pick up, the Texas was razed, in 1983, but its facade was salvaged, and incorpated into the modern office building built on the site. When Southwestern Bell took over the building, it meticulously restored the Texas’ terra-cotta facade to its 20s appearance.

Below is the interior. Wish it were in color.  And look at this great view of Houston Street.  All the old signs are gone.

clip_image004   clip_image006

This is how it looks today:


Does anyone recall: When we had to figure out our schedule at the start of each semester, the strategy I recall was to arrange a third period class in or near the cafeteria wing. I generally opted for Spanish, just down the outdoor arcade by Mrs. Hicks’ rose garden. Or you could do history upstairs or math or typing or whatever was near the first floor main entrance. Back then, we had the precursor of today’s fast food stores. There was a small kiosk on both the boys and the girls side, where you could get hamburgers, and maybe hot dogs. Does anyone remember what else they sold there? I do recall the burgers were pretty bad, but fast. The early McDonalds. People like Jim McNeel and Ben Williams worked in the booth. I don’t remember who else. The good old days. I will bet that the boys and girls are not segregated now. I wonder why it was done back then? Anyone have a clue?

The lockers: When I visited Jeff last March for an open house, all of the lockers still line the hallways, but most appeared to be empty. The combination locks are gone and a few had padlocks. I recall with the combination locks, you could stuff a small piece of paper in the mechanism so that the locker would not lock. Some of us managed to get a paper stuffed into the lock of one of our classmates (nameless, of course), so that we had access to it. He was not aware and dutifully unlocked it every time he needed something. We used to leave notes, re-arrange things in the locker, and generally make him wonder what was going on. Don’t know if he ever caught on or not.

I hope today’s comments have triggered some of your own memories that you will share. Thanks to all who have made a comment.

Beth Wilcox: Sadly, Beth Wilcox passed away last Saturday, August 2.