To a kid, one of the great advantages of being a Navy Brat is that you change home ports from time to time – a life changing event you were powerless to accomplish on your own. Our final move brought the family to Houston, my father to Cameron Iron Works, and me to Mrs. Martin’s Fifth Grade at Roberts Elementary. There I met some of my future Lamar classmates: Letitia Kinzbach, Tony Ullrich, Tom Wise, Vanita Berson... At her birthday party, Vanita’s mother actually encouraged us to play Spin The Bottle – wow! this is living in the fast lane! I also learned some of the harsh realities of life: Tom told me when we double-dated to take Vanita and Janet Junker to the Village Theater that we boys were expected to pay for their tickets too – say what?
Then came Pershing Junior High – for three years I rode my bicycle (mostly on Bellaire Blvd) to get to school and home again. And I found that when you rode a school bus to a football game, you had an oh-so-mature cheerleader [Marilu Ellis] thanking you for riding her bus – could life possible get any better?
It could. It did. At Mirabeau B. Lamar Senior High School. Wow, I had made it into the big time. My twin sisters had blazed the trail for me, of course – and by senior year I was living large. I had “my” car – a Renault 4CV that Jimmy Jennings, Eldon Jones, Rick Lilliott, and others managed to put up on someone’s porch during a party – and I had my first steady girlfriend: Sally Clay wore my class ring – right up until the day she dumped me just two weeks before the Senior Prom. I somehow survived and came this close to getting a replacement date with my long-time crush, Letitia – but some snake had asked her out just the night before I called. Then miracle of miracles – I discovered Puff was available and she actually accepted my last minute plea.
Lamar was a continual amazement to me, where it seemed we inmates often were in charge of this marvelous asylum, with just a little choreography from Mr. Keding and Mrs Denny. What great teachers and fun classes – Ms Gladys Pushard for Math [with sliderules at the side: “Don’t take your guns to town, son!”], Ms Hollingsworth for Chemistry, and of course the inimitable Ms Greenwood’s 5th Period Major Works English. Travis wrote his infamous essay on Robin Hood and the Arrow Shirt, and Mike Hattwick was continually due to report on The Fall of the House of Usher which I think he still hasn't read. Ms Greenwood would always end the class by saying, “Oh, you people have distracted me and we haven’t accomplished anything!” And somehow we all got an A.
The Class of 1959 was everywhere doing everything. Especially on-stage. I sat in awe as I watched Susan Ellis, Tommy Tune, and (who? I couldn’t get my eyes off of Susan in those tight black leotards…) perform this sultry sexy song and dance number, Steam Heat. And I listened in awe to the dulcet blend of Jere Wicker, Larry Hitt, and Pat Haragan as they sang to Tony Ullrich’s guitar … songs about whiskey and women and hanging – wow, whiskey? – they gave a class face to a group I had only heard on the 45s: The Kingston Trio.
At the end of the Fourth Grade in Indianapolis many years previously, my teacher brought me to the front of the class and told everyone I would be moving to Houston next school year and admonished me, “Don’t forget us!” I remember looking at her in shock: don’t forget you? Hey, these were my buddies, my teacher – how could you even think I would forget you? Now I can’t tell you a single name or another anecdote from Indiana – but I’ll never forget the great folks and stories of the Lamar Class of 1959. (Summer 2009)
I must say, I'm having trouble separating Lamar memories from the late '50s memories. Our neighborhood seemed to have a large supply of Lamar kids and Lamar friends of kids. Some were in our class (Stephen Engberg, Letitia Kinzbach, myself), some were "older Lamar kids" (Brooke Hamilton, Mary Helen Gibson, Sally Bell, Maureen Miller), and some were a younger Lamar set (Jody Todd, Alice Bell, Carol Guthrie, Kendall Hamilton) to name a few. Many a night we had a fair number of those folks, plus their friends (Tom Henderson, Tom Wise, James Davis, Gus Comiskey, Jack Whitley, Sheryl Schoenfield, to name a few), just "hanging out". Then there was the ever popular Haragan Pool Hall, where Pat would make you think you could beat him at 8 ball (I lost a lot of money there).
For whatever reason, the memories of the many dances and pool parties remind me most of "Lamar days". Going over (or calling) to Breen's to get the perfect corsage, only to find out she wanted a wrist corsage. Or worse, she didn't like orchids. It's hard to believe these dances are a thing of the past, as they really were filled with fun, romance and intrigue (like, which boy would wear the white socks). Of course, today my dermatologist is also very pleased we had so many pool parties.
I also have fond memories of the great number of teachers willing to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to help me. I was, perhaps, the least talented student in the history of the school, and still, Ms. Huddleston, Hank Grover (Mr. Lovable), Ms. Chase and Ms. Coats to name a few, never seemed to give up on trying to pull me into the world of achievers. I count myself fortunate to have had such teachers. Lastly, there were a extraordinary bunch of kids at Lamar. Like the people that put the reunions together, Lamar was full of people that tried very hard to make us all feel a part of the Lamar family.
After leaving Lamar, I joined the Navy "to see the world". While I had a really wonderful time, all my years (only 3) were spent in the US. I had to settle for San Francisco, Norfolk and Pensacola, and not "the world". At the time, if you joined before your 18th birthday, you got out when you turned 21. So, at 21, it was back to Houston where I did a bit of welding and shop work for Metallic Building Co. before joining Gulf Oil Corporation as a file clerk. The pay was awful, but the environment was a lot cooler and cleaner! Eventually I got in to a new field called Data Processing and found my career for life.
In 1968, I married Betty Sterrett (my wife of 40 years). We had our daughter Jennifer, in 1972. Jennifer went on to graduate from Rice and I went on to retire from Chevron in 1998 (after 35 years - hard to believe). Since my retirement, I have tried to become a bird watcher, photographer and fisherman. The fish and birds do not like me, apparently, as I have had limited success catching/photographing either. My other time consumer is the PC. I have a web site (not as nice as this one!) where I store all of my bird photos. For those with insomnia, my web site might be helpful: www.itldo.com. By the way, I am happy to report my favorite hobby, weight gaining, is coming along just fine.
A sad note to add; my wife, Betty, passed away in March, this year (2009).
Lana Feagin (Stripling)
My favorite memory was the Choralettes' trip to Washington DC to the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was so much fun singing with West Point Cadets and seeing Eisenhower's plane along with the snow that kept us there an extra day.
…My education continued from Lamar to Baylor where I got a BA in Education. After two years of teaching, then I went to SMU and got MA in Psychology and Counseling. I married Bob Stripling in 1962 and we have a daughter and a son living in Dallas. At age 50 and after teaching 20 years in Dallas, I went back to school so I could get a license in Counseling. Working with learning disabled children and their families has been such a joy and privilege for me. Bob and I have enjoyed traveling together. He is a graduate of St Johns’ School in Houston and attended Baylor also. Bob is a lawyer in Dallas before he retired and is now managing the family ranch near Corpus. Lamar was special in many ways, the teachers were excellent and really prepared us for college. Miss Hollingsworth was a great example. (Spring 2009)
Ruth Hergens (Davis)
My very favorite class ever at Lamar was Mable Scott’s Major Works English class. Characters like Susan Campbell, Nick Kuntz, Jimmy Bass and my dear friend, Betty Ellington, were so much fun to be around. We all loved Mable Scott’s crawfish gumbo parties she gave for the class at her home a couple of times a year. During our first period class, we endlessly “analyzed” novels and Lamar gossip as we talked above Mrs. Glossup’s Mixed Chorus, who met during first period also. On rare occasions, someone was given special permission to go across the street to the drugstore and bring back “vanilla cokes” to the class.
I also vaguely remember my days with the Palamar Club and also a very brief stint with the Orchestra. I also remember that I could always smell the swimming pool whenever I ate in the cafeteria.
After graduating from Lamar in 1959, I attended the University of Texas and graduated with a BA. Soon after, I married, and had three wonderful sons, who kept me extraordinarily busy for a number of years. I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for 15 years, and in 2005 I retired and did some traveling - most noteworthy to Russia.
Currently, I spend my time relaxing with friends and family. I do not like to exercise! I do, however, enjoy ballroom dancing - a lot! And I think that counts. My newest "addiction" is Ancestry.com.
Even though I have lived in Houston for the past fifty years, I have run into only a handful of 1959 Lamar Redskins. I really look forward to the upcoming Reunion and can't wait to see everyone.
Since 1985, I have been serving as a United States District Judge in Houston. Before that I was a Texas trial judge. Olive Dixon Allen (Kinkaid '59) and I eventually married and have three children and four grandchildren. My hobby is unremunerative farming. Olive taught at Kinkaid, co-founded the Fay School, designed award-winning costumes, and chaired Trees For Houston.
I picked up my anthropology degree at Alabama and law degrees from Texas and Virginia. I taught at South Texas College of Law for 30 years and at UT for two stints. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists has had me as its distinguished lecturer on ethics. In my spare time, I am chairman of the trustees for the World Affairs Council of Houston and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In the 1990s, I advised the European Union and a few East European countries on constitutional law and privatization. I am an advisor at Law & Economics Center at George Mason University's law school. (updated June 2009)
After my stay at Lamar I studied mathematics, first at Rice and then, for my graduate work, at Wisconsin. I taught at the University of Georgia and at Bowling Green State University. BG's mathematics department had a corner on the market in the small mathematical niche in which my research interest lay. This area is called Ordered Groups, which persuades people that I must also be a sociologist.
There were briefer visits to various other universities. The most exotic of these was a round-the-world trip to Japen, New Guinea, Australia (my visit at a university there being the point of all this), Thailand, India, Jordan, Israel, and Greece. This was before going around the world became almost routine. Become a mathematician and see the world!
I am now retired. I was enjoying my retired state until a year ago, when my wife died. That has been very hard, but I think the worst is past.
From my living room you can see Organ Mountains and the Rio Grande. And up behind the house is a mesa on which I do a lot of walking and running. Hiking has been a lifelong favorite activity of mine, and my interest in chess, which began at Lamar, has recently been revived. Las Cruces is a great place to live ... if you like deserts. (March 2009)
... Well, I have a couple of small memories.
I was a member of the clique dubbed the Slydroolers by Ignatius Snigglefritz. Three of us were on the chess team: Steve McCleary, Mike McCants, et moi. (I have an issue of the Lamar Lancer to prove it.) We also were in Mr. Gentry's Major Works Physics class. I was a mid-termer but decided to stay an extra semester and graduate with the June class. I had already taken standard physics, but Calvin told me that he was going to be teaching a brand new physics course developed at MIT called PSSC Physics. He was excited about it, and I enrolled for my second dose of Newton and Maxwell in the fall of 1958.
The class was held in a room that at one time had been a lab. Running down the center of the room longwise were a series of sinks on the top of pedestals. Mr. Gentry liked to lecture in front of the blackboard running the length of the room. Steve and Mike sat in chairs across from one another, on the opposite side of a pedestal from Mr. Gentry. During class, they would bring out a chessboard and set it up just behind the pedestal, technically hidden from the teacher. I can't believe he did not know what was going on, but these were two of his best students. The physics class policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" worked fine for awhile. The whole charade fell apart one day when McCants made a particularly devastating move and jumped up from his chair shouting, "I got you! I got you! I got you!"
_______________________One of the great characters of Pershing and Lamar was Ronnie Armer. He was a mid-termer, so I am sure that he is relatively unknown in the '59 class. Ronnie's oeuvre was a persona that emerged when he adopted a certain rhythm of speech. In this persona, he would commit outrageous acts and make fantastical claims about his deeds. I remember Bob Foxworth and me walking home from Pershing in hysterics over Armer's latest escapade.
Being a mid-termer, I had Mr. Outterson for English. He was a large, graying, owlish man with glasses. He was very gentle, and I own a small book of his poetry. His tests on Shakespeare were fill-in-the-blank. The day before an exam, Mr. Outterson would write the entire test on the blackboard. For each sentence, he would include the answer, carefully underlining it to emphasize that this word or phrase was to be written into the blank on the test. People still failed. (If any of you come to the reunion, please explain this to me.)
Leslie Outterson was a creature of ritual. Each day he would stand in the hall just outside his door. When the last student had entered the classroom, he would close the door, walk over to the waste basket, and compact the contents with his right foot. One day, someone filled it with water and floated a layer of paper on top.
_________________________In my last semester of high school, I received a phone call one night from one of the popular girls, a unique event in my life. She invited me to a Beatnik Party the following weekend, apologizing for the somewhat late notice. I was bowled over by the honor and accepted immediately. I had to wear some kind of beatnik gear and, most importantly, I had to create a Work of Art to be exhibited at the party. During the week, Mike Hattwick told me that he had been invited but could not come because he had a job at a service station. Needing an equal number of each gender, the hostesses had decided to call me.
The party was given by three girls at the house of one of them. Everyone sat on the floor around a spread of dips and stuff. One of the hostesses came out of the kitchen after I arrived and noticed me. In a loud voice, she said, "Wendell Mendell! What are you doing here?" I immediately replied, "Hattwick couldn't come, so I am his substitute." After a flurry of consultation in the kitchen, I was assured that I was mistaken.
For my work of art, I had composed a massive poem of rhymed couplets, á la Alexander Pope. It was a narrative, and each stanza ended in a pun. I was rather proud of the monstrosity and read it with proper gusto and timing so that the terminal puns would have maximum effect. Sure enough, in the brief pause after each stanza, there were appreciative groans or laughs. Unfortunately, as I would begin the next stanza to build the pun, Mike Blackledge would interrupt me on the second line with a loud laugh, calling out "Oh, I get it!" My carefully constructed rhythm was decimated and I am sure no one remembers what could have been a monument to punnery.
Reading Tony Ullrich’s detailed memories is a humbling experience as I realize that my 3 years at Lamar are largely blank. However, Tony’s mention of Mrs. Teshner resurrected one small vignette from my subconscious, albeit not one from the classroom. As Tony notes, Jennie Teshner was the consummate Southern belle with all the associated manners and body language. The incongruity was that she was a large woman, visually suited to be a mate to Paul Bunyan. She was not fat; she was what we called ‘big-boned’. I fully understand how she could be the kin of a professional athletic coach.
winter morning, I climbed the outside steps to the front of the school
to see Mrs. Teshner perfectly coiffed in a perfectly tailored suit
pressing her bulk against the door, appearing to strain (with delicacy)
every muscle against the obstacle. I probably weighed only 120
soaking wet; but I strode to the rescue, opening the door
for her. She
moved into the school, thanking me graciously; and I was immediately
aware that the universe was in alignment as a Southern man and a
Southern woman had interacted in their proper gender-defined roles.
My only clear memory goes back to Mr. Wheeler's chemistry class. Ronnie sat behind me and across from Anabel Stelfox (Class of '58), one of the very pretty and proper young women of Lamar. I remember her wearing a skirt with multiple petticoats that draped over the seat of her desk. Ronnie reached and lifted her skirt, ostensibly to see what books were hidden behind it under the seat. After Anabel slapped his arm, he leaned over and inquired if she would help test out his Sealy Posturepedic. I had no idea what that meant; but from the look on Anabel's face, I knew it had to be pretty funny.
Mr. Wheeler had been honored with a summer fellowship to the federal laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that had been founded to perform nuclear weapons research during the Second World War. One day he announced that he was going to show slides from his summer work. Ronnie offered to operate the projector in the back of the room, and Mr. Wheeler acquiesced somewhat hesitantly. Before the presentation began, he apologized that he might not remember what was in every picture because there were so many facilities. Ronnie assured him that he (Ronnie) had also worked at Oak Ridge and would be glad to help out if Mr. Wheeler got stuck. Sure enough, Mr. Wheeler was stumped by a picture of a building, and Ronnie told him the name of the building and its purpose. After the second assist, Mr. Wheeler remarked with complete astonishment that he could not believe that Ronnie had been telling the truth. Later, we discovered that Mr. Wheeler had carefully labeled each slide, which Ronnie read before putting it in the projector.
Wendell's Life: After I graduated in 1959, I attended the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Physics in 1963. The vast majority of graduates were going to Grad School, but my GPA was not very robust. I began looking for a job.
IBM recruited all CalTech graduates and I got an offer. However, my mother wrote tearful letters urging me to leave the evil California and come home. My Aunt Aileen knew a person in HR in the new NASA installation and could get me a job. I ended up working at the new Manned Spacecraft Center (that had not yet been built) in a group collecting information about the Moon for use by engineers designing the Apollo spacecraft. Note that I said ‘collecting information’ rather than ‘studying’ or ‘researching’. The group had some Ph.D. members but could not be called a research organization.
The intellectual environment at MSC was a stark contrast to CalTech, and I began exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. In 1965, I wangled a one-year NASA fellowship to get a Masters degree. Most people who entered the program went to Univ. Houston or even as far away as Texas A&M. I broke tradition by enrolling at UCLA.
When I returned home for Christmas vacation with Beatle-length hair, my father marched me to his barber to ‘get it trimmed’. (The barber assured him it was not as long as some bikers.) When I returned in June, 1966, with my Masters in Physics, I also brought back a fiance - a Canadian nurse / United Airlines stewardess. My parents were taken aback by her, and she went into long-term culture shock.
We married, had 2 children (now ages 42 and 38), and parted ways 12 years later. When we were pregnant with the first child (daughter), we went to hear Andy Warhol somewhere over in Montrose. I was struck by how different people in the audience looked and immediately began to grow a beard, which I still have. Upon seeing me for the first time, my mother ran from the room crying, talking about murderers.
During my first marriage, I enrolled at Rice part-time in a Ph.D. program, paid for by NASA. The organization I worked for had morphed into a real research group. [The finding of possible evidence of life in a meteorite from Mars was made by some of my long-time colleagues.] When my second child (son) was born, I was studying for Orals. I eventually wrote and defended a Thesis on an experiment flown to the Moon aboard Apollo 17.
In 1986, I married a ‘spinster’ 11 years my junior. Pam had a mathematics degree from Ohio State and had worked in Houston for IBM on the Space Shuttle navigation system for 12 years since her graduation. We are still married and have 2 children, ages 18 and 14.
On my 60th birthday - December 31 - I cut off my Beatle-length hair for a buzz-cut. It will be my coiffure for the next 35 years. Then we will see.
Addendum (filed September 2009):
My current kids are now 18 and 14. John has entered Rice as a freshman, starting as a psychology major. Mark has started 9th grade at Clear Springs High School. Mark will be performing at the Texas Renaissance Festival, playing the character Henry Fitzroy in the English Court. For the five years, ending this past spring, one or both of the boys has been singing with the Houston Boychoir, a quality organization. Pam and I have been officers in the Friends of the Houston Boychoir for the last couple of years. Pam is now serving as a part-time Executive Director, even though Mark no longer sings with the choir in anticipation of a voice change. Our big event last year was Mark’s appearance with the Houston Symphony as a featured vocalist in their Christmas program. Both kids love to be on the stage and have become excellent performers.
Pam retired from IBM in 2004 after 30 years but keeps very busy, currently with the Boychoir and the Bible Study Fellowship where she is an administrator. We live in a house in League City that we remodeled in 2005 and in which we had a fire in January, resulting in more remodeling.
My 39-year old son Jason has been working as an aerospace (mechanical) engineer since graduating from UT Austin quite some years ago. Right now he works for Lockheed on a project related to the International Space Station. His older sister Crystal has worked in a number of positions related to various forms of project management and is currently underemployed and looking.
I now have been at NASA for 46 years, working on research and project planning relating to the Moon. By the time I get both kids out of college, I will be able to retire at age 75. In January 2006 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had the thing removed, but postoperative lab work showed that the tumor (though small and caught early) had grown along a nerve and escaped “the capsule”. We are watching the PSA for signs of residual malignancy that would send me for radiation therapy. (updated November 2009)
After graduating from Rice, teaching math at Kinkaid High School, going back to Rice for a graduate degree in medieval studies, and discovering (before I wrote my PhD dissertation) that demand for professors in that field was abysmally low, I settled into a career as a professional editor. I've been in California for 25 years now, 19 of them as editor for the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. I semi-retired in 2005 and now now have a freelance editorial business called The Book Doctor. Mostly I edit scholarly books and articles for social science professors, but occasionally I get to do books with more popular appeal.
In 1988 I married Stanley Peters (he's a '59 Kinkaid and '63 MIT grad, now professor emeritus of linguistics at Stanford). Stanley has four grown children and I have two; between us we now have six grandchildren. My identical twin granddaughters, Carrie and Allison Murfin (see photo at right), live in Austin with their father, my son Brian Murfin, so I make frequent trips to Texas. (Menlo Park, CA; updated November 2009)
I retired from HR Works in January of 2007. Since that time I have been active with our local YWCA, an organization that provides housing for women in transition and support for pregnant and parenting teens. I finished a two year term as Board Chair in September and am currently finishing my last year on the Board. I have recently gone on the Board of Planned Parenthood of the Rochester /Syracuse region and have joined the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle. My husband and I help with marriage preparation for couples planning to be married in our church. We especially love gardening, cooking and entertaining. We travel a lot to keep up with all of these children and grandchildren, none of whom live here! One family now lives in the Netherlands!
Our current number of grandchildren is 10 and one is expected any minute to our youngest son and his wife, in Salt Lake City. (November 2009)
It's rare that I'll send a file I receive on to others (I promise), but this one is so impressive, I just had to do it. Hope you enjoy it as much as Kathy and I did. I can really rap with the pics in the attachment. It's a pretty large [6 MB PowerPoint] file so it may take a moment or so to down load. I found it VERY thought provoking and fun +, for people my age.
To me this is an unbelievable set of pictures. Nice music too. Now get this! Re the picture of a young man getting a flat top hair cut - On the shelf you will see three jars of "Butch Wax." Yep, the pink stuff! I bought my jar of Butch Wax in about 1954 when I got my flat top. Mom raised cane over that hair cut! I didn't tell her ahead of time and I think she was ready to go after the barber with a pitch fork! I still have the Butch Wax - the same jar. It went to Japan for two years and Australia for two and a half years and all over the world AND it's only about half gone! That stuff is so potent that if you ever put a lot on, I'm convinced your hair would stay put for ever! Actually, I rarely use Butch Wax any more since my hair has been trained pretty well by now. I guess next step is falling out! (October 2009)
I married Bruce Nelson who I met at UT. He was an ATO, Navy pilot, and Captain for Braniff Airways. We are grateful to God for our three healthy and beautiful children who have been very successful in their own fields. We also have a very smart and active grandchild!
Bruce and I have had four custom framing and art stores in the past. We now have antique furniture as well as small antiques for sale in Minneola, TX, and limited edition art and collectables for sale on the internet on our eBay store Art-n-things Gallery. My passion has been to do portraits since 1978. I have been selling to the public since that time. I have my business website www.art-n-things.com up and running again. I am still working on the pages. Another passion is to find homes for abandoned animals of which we have an unbelievable amount in my area. It breaks my heart to see how callous people are today. I am looking forward to the reunion....a blast from the past! (Updated by Kylene in November 2009. Please note: Kylene died 22 October 2014 in Holly Lake Ranch, Texas. Her obituary is here. )
I attended Lamar the first half of my sophomore year (1956). I understand that, based on that, I may be considered a sort of 1959 "scab". I would love to attend the [50th] reunion.
Lamar is the only high school I ever attended; there was this problem back then about pregnancy. I got my GED in 1966, and graduated 'magna cum laude' from the University of Houston in 1988 (after 18 years of on-and-off night school). I then passed the CPA exam (all five parts at my first attempt) -- of course, I had terrific OJT since I had to start my working career at age 17.
I'm still working; I perform financial and accounting services for several professional services firms (mostly engineers and architects). I asked Lamar if they would consider awarding me a diploma based on my subsequent history but they evidently only do this for military veterans. Oh well......
Nevertheless, I was delighted to find the '59 website and would be pleased to catch up with some of those I recall (mainly from Lanier!). (Spring 2009)
BA from UT , Austin, Plan II, 1964, JD from Loyola of Los Angeles 1976
Former Social Worker for the County of Los Angeles, then organizer for Social Workers Union, Local 535, SEIU. Married to Ed Munak, and we grow organic produce in Paso Robles, CA: heirloom tomatoes, gourmet melons and baby seedless watermelons, lemon cucumbers. No longer practicing law.
Volunteer work: founded The Toy Bank, a Christmas program in Paso Robles. Now president of Transitional Food and Shelter, Inc., providing temporary shelter for disabled homeless persons and their families when the patient is too ill to be in an overnight shelter at night and out all day. No one was doing this, so we do it. People were coming out of hospitals with a prescription for bed rest, but no bed. Go to nowheretogo.com to see our work. We serve the whole county of San Luis Obispo, CA , and provided 5389 shelter nights last year. We are an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit working from our homes, renting 12 apartments for our clients' use, at a cost of $60,060/year, plus overflow in motels. We could save on operating expenses if we could buy property, but this has not yet been possible. (Spring 2009)
Polio, several bouts with pneumonia, very dangerous strains of influenza during terrible epidemics…these were overcome in my childhood. My ne plus ultra consisted of some successes as a practicing attorney, sundry scholarly publications, as in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES, a few brilliant investment decisions, and reams of beautiful poetry, which I put to the flames long ago, having written it solely for myself, and with the comfort that it is fixed immovable in the mind of God for eternity. The sure and certain knowledge that I can laugh with abandon, cry without shame, love deeply, and show dogged devotion to whomever I have become inextricably bound is all I have remaining; but these are all that ever really mattered anyway. I have little advice to offer other than the words of Aristotle…Criticism is something we can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing. One ought to stand for something; believing in everything, one will fall for anything. Be committed, though it traverses the Universe Divide as the mist, like sparks dancing silently in the straw, without notice in the mind or memory of Man. (November 2009)
I'm retired now after a life spent in the laboratory doing biomedical research, first in graduate school at UT in Austin, then and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, then at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelpha, and finally at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. I was (am) a virologist and spent most of my time researching the molecular biology of hepatitis B virus.
I married Kay Stribling in 1963 and we had two children, Jennifer now (42) and David (now 39). Kay and I divorced around 1975, she moved to Japan to work teaching English, and I remarried in 1984 to my present wife Helen. Jennifer lives in Israel, and David and Kay (she is now retired) live in Houston and we all maintain close ties and visit each other. I have one grandaughter, Kate Summers, David's daughter, and we enjoy visiting with her and David and Kay at his place in Houston, or in Rockport, where Helen and I have a second home. Here is a picture of me with a small redfish that I caught in Rockport off the dock in back of our house.
Well, that sounds pretty dull, but I've enjoyed a number of entertaining activites over time: motorcycling, horseback riding, skydiving, flying my small plane for 20 years, and most recently boating and fishing in the bays around Rockport - none of which I have been particularly good at! But I am still alive.. I learned with regret the death of my boyhood friend Glen Stanbaugh.
I hope to see everyone this fall. (Spring 2009)
When my family moved to Houston from Dallas in June of 1949, our first home was at 2223 Dorrington, in the shadow of the Shamrock Hilton Hotel. I began the 3rd grade at Oran M. Roberts Elementary on Greenbriar, then on to John J. Pershing Jr. High. Some of you will remember Celeste Ullrich, my older sister, class of 1957. We had no TV, The home was not yet air-conditioned. I remember sleeping with the windows open, And I could hear the noise coming from the horse-racing track, the clickity clack of the railroad trains coming and going, and the car-racing noise from Playland Park. That was the music that put me to sleep at night.
Mom and dad bought me a small AM radio, and I began listening to radio. My main memories there were of KLBS ( which years later became KILT). KLBS was owned by one Gordon McClendon, who called himself “the Old Scotsman.” Because of KLBS, I began hearing old Houston Buff games called by Lowell Passe; the days of Vinegar Bend Mizell, Harry “the Hat” Walker and others. We went to many Houston Buff games, down off the Gulf Freeway. I got to see Baseball clown prince, Max Patkin, at least 3-4 time over those quick, short years.
Now, back to the music. One night ( this was about 1953 ), I got curious about the other end of the radio dial. I turned down to the far right end, and discovered “the Blues.” I had discovered KYOK and KCOH. The DJ’S were totally different from what I had ever heard, but the music was just wonderful. I didn’t know it at the time, but those Years, on through the years in Lamar were the hey-day of blues stars like Muddy Waters, Little Junior Parker, Wille Mae “ Hound Dog” Thornton, Howlin’ Wolf, Jack Champion Dupree, Jimmy Reed, and all you reading this can add your favorites. The DJ’s all had funny names. “Zing Zang” Davis & Dizzy Lizzie, Daddy Deep-throat”, amongst others. I was enthralled. I had no interest in playing this genre, but I couldn’t take my ears off of it for years. So, all through Lamar, I was enjoying the pop stuff, but my main interest was the blues, until “Tom Dooley” hit the airwaves.
Tom Dooley, the first smash-hit for the Kingston Trio was released in August, 1958, just as we were beginning our senior year. I was smitten. I didn’t know what that odd-sounding instrument was, but I knew I had to learn to play it. That odd- sounding instrument was the 5-string banjo, as played by the late Dave Guard. (Please see my website: www.5stringbanjer.com ). Well, I searched all over Houston for a 5-string banjo, that I could afford, and I found one for $35 at a pawn shop on Market Square. I took it to Red Novak at H&H Music, and he put it back to playing order for me, and I was on my way. I spent a lot of hours, during our senior year, trying to figure out what Dave Guard was doing. I just had to pick that banjo. And here I am, 50+ years later, still sitting in a small music studio, teaching folks to play that great sound of Bluegrass Style banjo.
Having come from Pershing Jr. High, my first experience with group singing was the mixed chorus, there, under the direction of Mrs. Virginia Perkins. I loved that class, that first time of singing with others, in an organized group. That love of group singing carried over to Lamar, and the mixed chorus under Mrs. Rosamund Glosup, a great lady, and a huge influence on my high school life. Most of my specific memories are faded, but I do count those class times as some of my happiest times in school. One memory that I’ll never forget, and someone else might also remember; Mrs. Glosup had chosen a really hard piece, that I believe was titled; “Ho Spo Dee Po Milwee.” Not sure what language that was, but It was difficult to perform. We practiced and we practiced ……. The musical piece was accapella, and it modulated many times. Well, We performed it one time, in the Lamar auditorium, at some function ( someone help me, here), and we got off, off-timing, off-key, off- everything. It was tough going, for what seemed eternity. Mrs. Glosup just stood there and pulled us along, and somehow, near the end, we got back on track and finished, on-key, together. Whew !!!! Mrs. Glosup was a great lady.
The Satellites, Larry Hitt, Pat Haragan, and Jeremy Wicker, already an established group, asked me, I believe, to join them, with guitar, near the end of our junior year. We were all in the mixed chorus, and I felt very fortunate to be able to provide back-up for their vocal arrangements of the pop songs everyone loved to hear. As our senior year continued, we began singing some of the folk songs that were becoming so popular at that time. I had not yet begun using the banjo, so I believe all our performances that included me, included me on guitar, only. Larry’s booming bass / baritone voice kept the vocals steady, and Pat and Jeremy’s same voice range allowed them to trade off on upper parts. Believe me, all three could really sing, and their voices worked very, very well together. We spent part of one day. at our 40th reunion, singing and playing, and getting caught up on our lives, and we promised ourselves we would get together from time to time and play and sing. Thanks to The Satellites for letting me be part of the musical group.
The death of Garry Boggs
We talked many times about getting together and spending a weekend doing Satellite music, and it finally happened, the weekend of December 3-5, 2004. Jeremy and Pat both had beautiful homes at Wimberley, so Larry and I drove up to get us all together. Larry stayed with Jeremy, I bunked at Pat’s lovely home. We had two and half days together, and once again, I was reminded of Larry’s beautiful bass / baritone voice. Boy, can Larry sing !!!! Jeremy and Pat have maintained the quality of their tenor voices, and once, again, traded off on the higher parts of the songs they sang.
There is this restaurant, named Charlie’s I believe, and the menu, filled with fried food, is your cardiologist’s nightmare. At the time, this place was known for having a mostly Bluegrass jam session on Friday nights, so to off Charlie’s we went.
We were standing in line, and I looked up to the wall, and there were pictures of the various pickers, and I noticed the name, Garry Boggs, with an arrow pointing to his place in the picture. I said, “ look fellows, Garry Boggs is in this picture.!” Well, as we were looking, one of the employees at said Charlie’s asked us if we knew Garry, and we all chimed in with a simultaneous “yes! We had all gone to school together.” This fellow said, Garry was on his way for the jam session, so we were all ready to add Garry to the reunion, and the jam session.
The jam session was held on a really nice pavilion, built behind the restaurant, And included a really nice fireplace for the cold weather. There were about 20 pickers there, men and women, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, and two of us with banjos, filled out the group. Over the years, I have attended hundreds of these great jams, and they are always fun. The songs vary from Bluegrass, to country, to Christian
Gospel, both old-time and contemporary. The jam session had been going on for about an hour, when this same fellow, with a much more serious look on his face, came up and grabbed two of the regulars, and pulled them outside the jam session pavilion. It was obvious to all that something serious was going on, and finally he walked up to the group, and simply stated that he had just received word that Garry Boggs had just been found in the street in front of his house, dead of a heart attack. An immediate state of shock hit all of us. I waited to see if the jam was going to shut down, and the regulars all just voted to stay and pick. They thought Garry would have liked that, so we picked on until it got late.
Larry, Pat, & Jeremy were so kind that night, just to sit behind me, while I played with this group of total strangers. We had another day and a half to continue the Satellite reunion. I really had a great time. I wish we could get together more often.
Thanks Larry, Pat and Jeremy. We’ll all be interested to hear your individual memories of your history of the Satellites.
Bert Kivell - Bert Kivell - I always wanted to go only to Lamar, but a very large part of that desire was because of Bert Kivell. I had met Mr. Kivell during my Pershing years. And knew he was a great, thoughtful coach. I guess I can truly say, I came as close to idolizing him as I ever did any teacher. I truly loved Mr. Kivell.
My favorite memories of track ………Sophomore yearI remember the track team flying in someone’s DC-3 to the Border Olympics. The most beautiful Barbara Hoffman was our track queen and she went with us. I remember seeing Bobby Morrow in the Cadillac bar there, and being brave enough to walk up and shake his hand.
Our Junior Varsity 440 yard relay team, Frank Udemi, Pat Foley, Dickie Davis and I, won city in the 440 yard relay. I won the 220 yard dash, and I placed third in the 100 yard dash. I still have the ribbons in a shadow box mom and dad made for me, when we graduated and went on to the next steps in our lives.
Two of the fastest sprinters in entire the State of Texas, our sophomore year were Bert Coan ( Pasadena ) and Lynn Gray (Baytown). They were the Mutt and Jeff of track, because Bert Coan was about 6’ 4”, and Lynn Gray was only about 5’9”.
At the Pasadena Relays, Coach Kivell entered me in the 100 yard dash, and somehow, I qualified for the finals in the 100. I walked to the start line, and when the lanes were assigned, I found myself …. little old me …… little, skinny Tony, in the lane between Coan and Gray, with Coan on my left, and Gray on my right. There was one false start, and then, on the second gun, we were off. Now, here’s the funny part……. I came out of the blocks and when I got vertical to where I could see ahead, I noticed that Bert Coan and Lynn Gray were already 4-6 strides out ahead of me. This was my first taste of what it requires to be a world class sprinter. Coan won that night with a 9.7, and Lynn Gray finished second with the same 9.7 time. Seems Coan could lean further because of his height advantage. I placed 6th out of 8, with a 10.4 / 100. Still, this is one of my treasured memories. Coach Kivell put his arm around me, and told me I had done well, and as a sophomore, I still had a lot of time to improve.
In March of our junior year, while working on starts, I pulled my left hamstring, so severely, that I lost my entire junior year. Brokenhearted, I did not run one race my whole junior year. I was crushed, beyond words. I rested and re-hab’d over our junior year, ran in the Junior Olympics during the summer, and was ready to go for our senior year.
Early in our senior year, on a cold, rainy day at a triangular track meet at the old Jeppesen stadium, I ran in a 220 yard dash final with Ray Poage. I knew I couldn’t beat Ray, but I did know that if I ran with him, I would have a really good time in the 220. Well, Ray ran a 21:2 in that race, and I ran a 21:4. That was the fastest 220 I ever ran, and I owe it all to Ray, pulling me down the track.
I remember Bill Hamlett’s drive and determination as he trained for the long distance races. I got tired just watching Bill’s work ethic. Those are the things we remember about our friends and classmates. I remember the fun and humor of Frank Udemi and Dickie Davis. They made track practices fun. I remember the younger Freddie Ames and Mike Dalton, both of whom added so much to our team.
I remember Joe Delorenzo’s true grit and drive as he trained with Ray in the 440 yard dash. I still wish I could see Ray Poage run that curve on the track, one more time… For those of us, who ran with Ray, and who loved track, there was just something about Ray Poage’s running stride, and the closest word I can find is “magnificent”.
Gladys Pushard – senior year Calculus, first floor, windows facing the main parking lot. I made the mistake of qualifying for major works math class, differential & integral calculus our senior year. I remember being in awe of all who were in the class. Wendel Mendel was there, as was Mike Hattwick, Jim Jennings, Kathleen Much, Jeremy Wicker, Mike Blackledge, Woody Tompkins and a lot of the other truly bright kids in our class. I really struggled with those calculus classes. The bright side was the one of the two southern belles I had as teachers, Gladys Pushard. Mrs. P. was such a thoughtful, wonderful lady. She showed me helpful patience, and somehow I got through with B in differential, and an A- in integral.
Mrs. Teshner – Mrs. Teshner, English grammar, was the other southern belle. I really loved that class. I loved diagramming sentences. I believe I got my love for words from her, in that class. What most of you don’t know, is that she was the sister of Polk Robison, the long-time basketball coach and A.D. at Texas Tech U., in Lubbock. Polk was a friend and classmate of my parents, both of whom graduated from Tech in 1934. I didn’t know this till many years later, but dad graduated at the top of his 1934 class. Dad was so shy, he never talked about it.
Mable Scott – Mrs. Scott, American Literature, third floor, window facing the football field. Some years ago, I saw a PBS interview with the now famous Lamar graduate, Linda Ellerbee. Linda’s interviewer asked her to name her biggest influences among her teachers, and without hesitating, Linda Ellerbee broke into this effusive praise and love for our Mable Scott. Mable Scott became almost her entire focus in that part of her interview. I remember, pretty much going into Mrs. Scott’s Lit. class, not wanting to be there, and leaving, really sad that I would not take another class from Mable Scott. Linda Ellerbee, where ever you are, you are right about Mrs. Mable Scott.
Mrs. Huddleston – “Bonus nachos”……. “Uh! I mean buenos noches.” Junior year Spanish, second floor, windows facing the main parking lot. I include Mrs. Huddleston, because she really loved to teach. Spanish was her class, and she really loved to see the light come on her student’s eyes. She was happy when we learned, and she showed it, in her words and actions. The term is “encouragement.”
Lee Keding – King of the white silk tie, the eclectic, the esoteric, the true meaning of “one-of-kind.” That’s our Lee Keding. Mr. Keding sponsored my club, Ramal, and we had fun, with him as our teacher / sponsor. The Choralettes went on a road trip, by bus, to perform at a function in Woodville, Texas. ( you ladies can fill in here with your memories ). Mr. Keding let me go along as moral support, and escort. All I remember is that my head was swimming the whole trip; all these beautiful girls and I got to go along for the trip. I never really got to know Mr. Keding, but he is truly a most “unforgettable character.”
Recently, I got an email from classmate, Jim Mcdugald. Jim made contact, and I was really glad that he did. We have chatted back and forth. Jim lives in Franklin, Tennesee. Jim sent me a picture, of our JV football team, from the 1958 Orenda, And there we are. Among others, are Ronnie Armer, Jim, Danny Tompkins, Larry Hitt, Ray Poage and Kenny Hardin. I couldn’t help but notice, that I was the smallest one on the team. The picture doesn’t lie. The JV squad played 7 games that year, and lost all but one. The 4th game was against Spring Branch, at their old stadium over there on Westview. We lost that game 19-0. Worst, that was the game in which I was injured and had to stop playing football. I was blocking for Ray on a punt return, and the Spring Branch player blind-sided me, plowing into my right hip, the result was a pinched nerve (sciatic), and a muscle injury I am still plagued with to this day. The doctors told mom and dad, I should never step on a football field again. I quit football, and it nearly killed me. I was never much more than a blocking dummy for the main offense, during practice, but I loved being out there on the field, being part of the team.
Pershing vs. Lanier
After Pershing beat Lanier in the City Football Championship game, the year before, and all things had calmed down, it began occurring to me that, pretty soon I was going to be playing with these guys from Lanier. Yikes! And Dubble-Yikes!
I do remember that the B-team dressing room, you know, the one with the peep holes cut into the cracks so we could see into the girl’s dressing room, was pretty cold for awhile, but time, I felt , would help to heal all wounds. One day, I smarted off about something, and Bruce Langston challenged me, and all of a sudden, I had a fight on my hands. So, with Joe Delorenzo as referee, Bruce and I walked across Westheimer to the front yard of a house, behind the drug store, where Bruce pretty much proceeded to pound me into grass. I think Joe’s presence stopped the need for my early funeral. Don’t remember what I said, but I’ll do my best to not say that again.
Loves, Crushes and Heartaches
There is one lady in our class who has had my heart since Pershing. A genuine love and caring for her. Ever since that 1st day in the 7th grade, and I saw her outside one of those wooden building classrooms. Some years ago, we had a chance to spend time together, and I confessed of that long-standing love. She was a little more than surprised. We had always been friends, and that’s all. I won’t tell you who she is, I don’t want to embarrass her publicly, but she knows who she is, and that’s enough.
My junior year, I dated an older woman, Sheila Scott [Class of 1958]. Sheila was just so much fun, And I really enjoyed her singing. I have a picture of Sheila and me at the Livestock show & rodeo that year. We were cowpoke and cowpokette that day, for sure.
I had a huge crush on Harriet Melendy [Class of 1961]. I have a picture of us, at the Sadie Hawkins Dance, that she invited me to attend as her date. Harriet is now Melendy Britt, TV star and actress. If you search Melendy Britt, she’ll come up. Looks like she is as beautiful as ever. I thought of trying to get in touch with her, and see if she would come to the 50th with me, but I finally said, probably best to just leave well enough alone.
Whenever I hear a Johnny Mathis song on the radio, I think of one Barbara Waddill . We dated at the beginning of our senior year, and we would go the den of her River Oaks home on Olympia, and a hug and kiss till our faces hurt, always with that Johnny Mathis album playing in the background. Fortunately, the Waddill’s had a maid, and she kept an eye on us for every minute I was there. “Momma Bop” was Barbara’s nick-name. Mom and Dad took Barbara and me to College Station one night for a Texas Tech / Aggie Basketball game. Momma Bop and I hugged and kissed in the back seat all the way home. I had never done anything like that before in my life, and I caught “what for” and a lot of grief for that, for days after. Barbara Waddill was one of the most genuine, honest, and funniest girls I have ever known.
My date to our senior prom at Lakeside C.C. was a beautiful junior named Melinda Kendall. I had seen her in halls at school, and thought she was such a beautiful girl. We were graduating and I just lost touch with her. Would have liked to continue to date. Some years ago, I saw an article in the Houston paper, that she had something to do with The Beatles, and some kind of on-going suit or something.
Like all the rest of you fellows, there were plenty of other girls I was madly in love with, if only for a day, (guys, wasn’t it fun to be young and stupid) or a week. Guys, all we have to do is go through our Orenda, and It is amazing the huge number of beautiful girls that stood around us, everyday, all day, at school. Fellows, we were truly surrounded by beautiful ladies. We were so very fortunate !!!!!! (Fall 2009)
[June 2012 update:] Hi, 59ers - my business partner, Gary Henderson, and I, after 2.5 years of a lot of work, are finally open for business, with my On-Line Bluegrass banjo lessons. See my videos here and the Banjer Productions website here.
"I went to Roberts Elementary from kindergarten through 4th grade, then transferred to West University Elem. because we moved. At Roberts, we lived on Southgate, just two houses east of Kirby (it was a narrow blacktop road then). While in Kindergarten, I kissed a girl right in the middle of class! Our dreaded (alcoholic) teacher, Ms. Howard, made us stand out in the hall for an hour with our noses touching. I swore off girls for months after that."
Jeremy’s fondest memories of his days at Lamar include singing in the Mixed Chorus and with his trio with Larry Hitt, Pat Haragan, accompanied by guitarist Tony Ullrich. They “specialized“ in singing Kingston Trio favorites, such as Tom Dooley. (Jeremy was selected as member of the Texas All-State Chorus for 1957 and 1958 – the only singer in Southeast Texas to win the tenor competition.) Second only to the music in his fondest-memory category was being a cheerleader with partner Pat Shannon, along with Betty Knauth, Mike Hattwick ("boy was he smart!"), Patsy Smith and Tom Herren.
"When I was a junior at Lamar, drama coach Ms. Denny had decided to produce and direct the Broadway play/musical, “Plain & Fancy” (to be performed in that infamous black-shack theater on Lamar’s “campus.”) I didn’t know about her plans at the time, but she recruited senior Tommy Tune to contact me and ask me to try out for the male lead. I did and she eventually culled the male tryouts down to two students – me and sophomore Robert Foxworth (you remember him as a co-star in TV’s Falcon Crest and Storefront Lawyers). I got the part.
"After the play’s run (about 3 weeks), Ms. Denny called me into her office (which I’ll never forget, was painted on all six sides in black matt paint). She got right in my face and yelled (I think she was agitated), “Wicker, you got a good voice, but you can’t act worth a damn!”
"Considering my zero career in acting and Foxworth’s success in the same (plus lassoing Elizabeth Montgomery), I think she was right.
"I remember Ronnie Armer well. We both played on Lamar's Jr. Varsity football team. As much as I hated football, with all its senseless violence, Ronnie hated it more. He just couldn't stand that kind of contact. (Ronnie had a real knack for frustrating Coach Pepper.) I didn't realize it at the time, but I think we both subconsciously subscribed to the notion "you gotta be a football hero to get along with the beautiful girls." I also saw Ronnie frequently off campus. We lived near each other in West U. I enjoyed Ronnie's always-smiling personality and his weird tales. He was always entertaining."
"Ms. Pushard was my favorite math teacher, and she was so kind to the students. Ms. Hollingsworth was great - so great that not long after we graduated, HISD bosses kicked her upstairs to the administrative head office. Such a shame to deprive students of her brilliance."
While a student at Georgia Tech, Jeremy studied for a year at the University of Munich on a World Student Fund Fellowship. After graduating from Georgia Tech, he worked as a computer engineer in NASA’s Flight Simulation Division alongside the original astronauts (e.g., Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter). He then decided to become a lawyer, eventually receiving a masters degree in law at Yale. The next 17 years he was a law professor at various universities, such as the University of Texas, Texas Tech and Ohio State. At the tender age of 48, he joined John O’Quinn’s Houston firm, specializing in commercial litigation. Eventually he retired to Wimberley. He currently resides in Kerrville with his wife, Cathryn (Meldrum) Conrad. (January 2014)
Re: receiving info of passing of Reed Robinson, June, 2015: thanks, we will get more bad news at regular intervals now. much as i hate to know it, i do want to know. as to Reed, i didn’t know him closely, but we did know each other and i liked and respected him. also see other familiar names in this chain. besides you there’s don grimes. one reunion we spent about 3 hours sitting outside, just relaxing and sharing old stories. i recall bain williams was with us. Redskins ’59, becomes more exceptional to me all the time. while we were in school i just assumed every high school class was like that. now of course we all know what an exceptional group that was. also have fond memories of sherry (and lynn), tom stults, and chris black. i think we (selected rabble and me) did the very first tree TP job ever, on sherry in 1957. i bought the roll in a 7-11 (u-tote-em, etc) for a dime, no tax. i have similar, though less dramatic, memories of all of the above. soriero, kenny hardin and i went to a tent meeting (after playland park) on south main, A.A. Allen (later from miracle valley AZ,) was the evangelist. we sat in back. i remembered this also later when i saw the movie popeye. what a collection of strange folks were there. we got all our pennies together, (after playland quite a pile), and tommy took them up for an offering. not long after, Allen pointed our way in this huge tent and said “people, there’s demons behind you!” they all (maybe a thousand or two?) turned and looked at us and of course we got the hell out of there, muy rapido. a few short tales of the others also. it WAS exceptional, and will likely never be like that for any group, anywhere, ever again. how very fortunate we are to have been in that group! have had previous such messages from don cook. trust he remains well? wish girls kept their maiden names. i don’t always know the current last names. we had a truly amazing group of ladies for sure. women are just not that beautiful these days. and it always amazes me when i hear of someone’s horrible high school days. they were wonderful to me. shut up bob time. be well all, enjoy. bob