LOOKING BACK PAGE 2
Due to the tremendous response we have had for memories of Humes, we are adding this page to increase the speed in which you can view comments from our classmates. Enjoy.
The views expressed by those submitting memories to this website are strictly the views of the writer and not that of the website.
The memories of the following classmates can be found on this page: Kenneth Hearn; Lena Langley; Bob Haley; Don Sage; Lillian Jenne; Rose Howell; Jim Humphries; Robert Millican; Lillian Davis; Bob Morrison; George Carros; George Grimes.
MEMORIES OF HUMES
My arrival at Humes was delayed until the 9th grade because I attended Guthrie School for 8 years. I had lots of company: Arma Jean Hewlett, Bobby Perry, Kenny Wray, Jimmy Cunningham, Betty Diepholz, Margie Paulus, Carolyn Jones, Barbara Logan, Beverly Bailey, Monte Wener, to name a few. We were welcomed by Mr. Brindley, who had been the principal at Guthrie for our first 6 years. He set a very high standard for any administrator to follow.
Like many others, I had an older sister at Humes which caused me some difficulty. Wherever she had excelled, I was in trouble! I can only imagine how hard it would have been to have an older brother.
My first love was sports. Tall for my age, but a little on the thin side, I still managed to play football, basketball, and track each year. There are so many happy memories on the field and a few sad ones. At our 50 years reunion this past year, George Grimes and I sat in the breakfast bar at the hotel for hours, reliving many on those experiences-each remembering some the other had forgotten (and we've forgotten a lot!).
Coach Ray in the 9th grade, Sonny Shelby in the 10th and Malcolm Phillips in the 11th and 12th were major players in our athletic development. Coach Phillips and Rube Boyce also need some credit, but to a lesser degree. I really didn't care for Boyce in school, but later in life I did appreciate many of the values he worked into our fibers.
I'll never forget the "character" he built that first fall, when we started "two-a-days" in August with about 80 players and by September we were down to 20 some days, not enough for scrimmage! And the famous full scrimmage we had at Bartlett when it was 100 degrees and the player who made the tackle was allowed to suck a wet towel. (The philosophy at that time was that drinking water was BAD for football players).
I well remember my initiation into the "H" club. It would have put most of what I've heard about college frat hazing to shame. To this day I can't get near Tabasco Sauce. It was real good preparation for later when I went through Marine boot camp training at Paris Island.
Miss Moss has to get my vote as THE FAVORITE TEACHER. She also taught at Guthrie before she came to Humes, but I never had her there. She had a very positive influence on most of us. It was in her class that I pretty much made a decision about a career in the military.
We didn't let our lack of money stop us from having a load of fun. As Dolly Parton says in one of her songs, "You're only poor if you choose to be." I remember variety shows in the school auditorium (where Elvis sang, Gloria Trout danced, and Tommie Young won the "Male Beauty Contest"), the plays put on my our thespians, the dances at Dave Wells Community Center, the dances on the tennis court at Guthrie, burgers and shakes at Thompson's and Porky's, outings to Eudora and Shelby Forest, double and triple dates (few people had cars), hay rides to the Optimist Club Camp, and Senior Day at Maywood.
I will never forget the fabulous football banquet at the Peabody, given by Nat Buring, featuring The Basin Street Six all the way from New Orleans, with Pete Fountain on the clarinet. We went conga style through the hotel to the strains of "When the Saints Go Marching In".
Our horizons were broadened by our experiences with each other and our activities. Football road trips to beautiful Greenwood, Mississippi and Jackson, Tennessee: a basketball trip to Brinkley, Arkansas come to mind. I remember talks with friends, sometimes for hours, walking or just sitting on the porch. Many of us met our future spouses, like my Ann, at Humes and most of us are still together 50 years later!
I remember the annual ROTC inspections, and the parades downtown. I believe Humes won every parade we marched in for three years. I was one of two chosen from Humes to be on the Honor Guard for the King and Queen of the Cotton Carnival. We went to every party given for the Royal Court during Carnival Week. After the first session, we convinced the powers that be that we needed a fanfare. They added Vernon and Bobby Yarbrough on trumpet and drums! What a week!
We also participated in Boys Town. I remember some back of the auditorium meetings with other school reps to form a ticket that put Mike Henderson in the Mayor's spot-much to the chagrin of our friends from Central.
"Dear Ole Humes, we'll always love you" - and we will always be proud of you and the people we met and knew and loved. THANKS.
MY MEMORIES OF HUMES
My family moved from Ripley, Tennessee to the Whitehaven area in October, 1950.
After my sophomore year at Whitehaven High School we moved to Chelsea Ave. in the Hollywood area. During that summer I met several kids in the neighborhood who went to Tech and a couple who went to Humes. I chose Humes because I became best friends with Mary Frances Holliman, who attended Humes. This was my fourth school since the seventh grade, so I was a little apprehensive.
Mary Frances showed me where to register. There was a long line of new students waiting in Line. I started talking to a young man named George Carros. He had left his family in Greece to come to Memphis to work for his uncle. Suddenly my situation didn't seem all that bad. I loved everything about Humes. I even enjoyed the cafeteria food. I felt completely at home.
I had study hall with Elvis and a couple of his friends. They towered over most of the other kids., but then I was only five feet tall, so everybody looked taller than me. He was very shy. We had English together in our senior year. I remember we acted out a Shakespearean play "Julius Caesar", I think. Elvis was assigned the biggest part because of his deep, rich voice.
After graduation I moved away from Memphis. When I returned for a visit a couple of years later, Mary Frances told me that Elvis had made a record and they were playing it on the radio stations in Memphis. Within a few months the record was being played all over the country. We all know the rest of the story.
I always enjoyed student elections. The candidates and their campaign managers would often give speeches in the cafeteria before school started. We had an orange and a white ticket. You could even vote a split ticket. I learned how important it is to vote. I learned more from those elections than just studying about it in class. I have never missed voting in a presidential election since I was old enough to register. I remember that Dwight Eisenhower was running for president that year. He came through Memphis on a train and stopped long enough to give a short speech. Classes were dismissed for the afternoon and we went downtown to see him
We were too young to remember the great depression, but we heard our parents talk about it often. Many of them believed that the Republicans were responsible and electing another Republican president would surely cause another depression. Lillian Jenne was in my homeroom that year. She sat almost in the center of the room. Lillian was never shy about anything and I often left homeroom thinking about her words of wisdom for the day. The day after Eisenhower was elected, Lillian came into homeroom and announced that we had better find a street corner to sell apples because with a Republican president we would need it. In my yearbook Lillian wrote, "Hope you never forget me." I never have forgotten her and I have passed that story on to my children and grandchildren.
I didn't have much of a social life with my Humes classmates since we lived way out east in Highland Heights. I attended Humes because of the special sight-saving study hall there. Bob Morrison and Dennis Wilson were my best friends. Bob and I went to Maury School first through sixth grades and Humes seventh through twelfth grades together. We have been life long friends and keep in touch.
After graduation Bob and I took a long bicycle trip from Memphis to Biloxi, Mississippi. We had very little money so that was the cheapest way to go. I was in better shape than he was, so I would ride ahead, sometimes out of sight. He would stop and ask people if they had seen a guy go by recently on a bicycle. They would tell him that an old white-haired man had gone by. My white hair kept them guessing about how old I was.
On the way through Jackson, Mississippi, we rode by the jail and some guy called to us from a cell block window. We stopped and it turned out to be a Humes classmate. We talked to him a while, but he was inside and we were outside. We said good bye and continued on our way, sleeping beside the road each night.
Upon arrival in Biloxi, we swam in the Gulf and slept on the beach. One night it got so cold we decided to get under both blankets together to stay warm. When I woke up at dawn, there was no sign of my friend anywhere on the beach. I later found him in the Greyhound Bus Station asleep on a bench. He said that I had pulled the blankets off of him during the night and rolled up in them, and he was freezing.
My grandfather had said before we left on our trip that we would never ride all the way to the Gulf and back. I had an odometer installed on my bike to register our mileage. On the way back home we were getting a little tired around Hattisburg and decided to try hitching. That took some real positive thinking, that two guys with bikes and camping gear could get a ride. After a while, along came a couple of college guys in a stake bed truck headed for Memphis. We piled in back, bikes and all. Thinking about that prediction that my grandfather had made, we turned my bike upside down and hand spun the front wheel all the way to Memphis to run up the miles on my odometer. Neither of us will ever forget that trip nor exchange it for any other experience of our young lives. After our great adventure, we went to Memphis State College for a while. Then we went to work in the real world.
After my Memphis years, my wife Jane and I spend four years in Atlanta, five years in Missouri, and nineteen years in the mountains of Colorado. In 1993, we bought a motor coach and hit the road, producing Guest Services Guides for RV resorts. We travel from Florida to Oregon and back each year with jobs in Florida, Texas, Nevada and Oregon. This is a great country with great people. We love our life.
SOME OF MY ELVIS STORIES-
My favorite high school memory of Elvis came when I was playing in the senior band. The band put on a minstrel show and I was one of the end men cracking jokes and doing skits. (Can you imagine me, the white-haired one with a black face?). My name was at the top of the program in capital letters. Elvis was half-way down listed in smaller letters as "Elvis Prestley, Guitarist". They misspelled his name. I bet that was the last time they spelled his name wrong. I guess that is my big claim to fame, that I once had top billing over Elvis.
After graduation and after RCA bought Elvis' contract from Sun Records, Elvis became so well known, he had a difficult time going anywhere without being mobbed. He would pay to have the lights turned on at a local park and invite a bunch of us to come and play touch football with him.
One night when his chauffeur drove up in the black Cadillac limousine he had purchased the year before at Southern Motors for $11,000, Elvis told us that during the week, he had gone to see about trading it in on a new model. They only wanted to give him $4,000 for his trade-in. They told him that nobody but a funeral home or a damn fool would want one. Elvis said, "I'm no funeral home, so what does that make me?" Can you imagine what that limo would be worth today?
After the touch football games, Elvis made arrangements with the Fairgrounds to hold over a skeleton crew after regular hours. We would all go over there and ride all the rides we wanted as many times as we wanted and eat and drink anything they had at the concession stands. Elvis paid for everything. This went on all night. At daybreak Elvis would go home and we would clean up and go to work. Sometimes we didn't make it to work.
Another thing Elvis liked to do was rent the Memphian Theater. They would show three first run movies and keep the refreshments available all night. He would go home at dawn and we would drag off to work. What a tough life we had! Ha!
1953 HUMES HIGH GRADUATE,
I have heard or read stories related to Elvis Presley and Humes High School that "Humes was a school in the poor industrial area of Memphis." Nothing is more untrue. Many of our parents held jobs at the best paying large industries and companies located within the Humes boundary area. These consisted of : Firestone Tire and Rubber, Kimberly Clark, Humko, Bruce Flooring, Falstaff Beer, Frey Roofing, and Lay's Potato Chips. Some worked for the Memphis Police Department, Memphis Fire Department or other governmental agencies. A number owned their own businesses. Others worked in the medical centers close by.
Basically Humes students lived in an area bound by the Mississippi River on the west, Hollywood on the east, the Wolf River on the north and Poplar Ave. on the south. Some students even transferred from the Central and Tech school areas. The feeder schools were Leroy Pope, Guthrie, and Gordon.
Students came from a wide range of income levels from high-middle to extremely low. Households were probably evenly split among those different categories. Elvis Presley was in the extremely low income level, living in the public housing project, Lauderdale Courts.
While integration hadn't yet taken place, we had diversity with students from Italian, Greek, Jewish and other ethnic backgrounds. We came together to form a strong student body. I didn't realize until several years after graduation that I had a better liberal education that the best preparatory schools offered. We had a dynamic Humes Alumni Association and Parent Teacher Association that provided many extras for the school that the Board of Education didn't.
Mr. T. C. Brindley was the strong principal during my last 4 years. Miss Eleanor Richmond was the assistant principal and "watchdog" over everything during all my time there. In never had a teacher that I didn't like or respect, including Miss Almond (Peanut). The teachers were very dedicated and made every effort to get subjects being taught across to us. Miss Suzie Johnson and Miss Mildred Scrivener worked with me after school and on breaks to help me make passing grades. I doubt that I would have passed Miss Scrivener's 12th grade history class without her help and that of fellow student, Mattie Rainey.
Miss Scrivener was also my home room teacher. I was the class treasurer and collected dues of 25 cents a week from each student. Elvis Presley was in my homeroom, but he was never able to pay the first 25 cents.
Special work related subjects were: wood shop, electric shop, cosmetology, typing and general office skills. Many students used these classes to learn the basics for occupations they pursued after graduation.
We were very competitive in sports, especially football and baseball. We consistently won the City Boxing Championship. We had a few other activities such as club meetings, talent shows, and an annual male beauty show.
In 1956, Elvis Presley put on a show in a packed Humes Auditorium. He paid all the expenses so the proceeds could be used for student activities. Elvis' show probably brought in more money than the school could have made in years.
We had many social activities away from school. In cold weather, the Friday night dance was at Dave Wells Community Center. In warm weather, it was on the Guthrie tennis court. The Saturday night dance was at Holy Names School Gym.
Some of us had automobiles. My good friend, James Rotenberry, drove a new Buick to school every day from grades 9-12. We always took other students with us to favorite gathering places; Jungle Gardens #1 on Union Ave, Jungle Gardens #2 on Poplar and Duke's on Summer Ave. Moon Lake, Arkansas was a favorite for swimming, dancing and picnics.
The education that I received at Humes prepared me to achieve the high professional and personal goals I had set.
MY MEMORIES OF HUMES
My favorite memories are about the Humes band, but Mary Sanders Anderson and James Yarbrough have written about most of those experiences. I remember going to the Humboldt Strawberry Festival every year. I looked forward to that trip with great anticipation
I was in the Y-Teens with Rhelda Alpuente, Iris Hopps, Billie Mae Chiles and Shirley Cotton. I loved that group. We had fun and did many worthy service projects in the community.
I remember walking to Gordon Grammar School and Humes High School most days with a group of kids including Billie Ann Banks and Margaret Johnson. By the time we arrived there were at least 20 of us plodding along together. During bad weather my mother made me ride the bus. I was the baby of 7 children. By the time I came along I had to deal with teachers who knew many of my older siblings. Miss Boswell told me that my sister, Esther Louise, would never have done what I did in her class. (I was only defending myself from getting my hair pulled.)
Miss Mary Fischer was my favorite teacher. Frank Greer, Nancy Fisher and I were her pets. Miss Conyers, the sewing teacher, would ask me to be her lookout while she went into the coat room (to take a swig or two). Miss Mildred Schrivener gave me the only B I made in the 12th grade. My grade was 89.75. All she had to do was give me .25 of a point and I would have made an A. I told her I would do extra work to make up the difference. She wouldn't let me do it.
The day I was inducted into the National Honor Society, I came in a little late and had to sit in the back of the auditorium. Jerry Hunter had a hard time finding me to bring me to the stage. I was the last one tapped.
Jackson Ave. had many shopping and entertainment establishments. After school I worked at the Speedway Terrace Drug Store at Decatur and Jackson. My father walked me home at night after work. My parents were very strict and I was not allowed to go into Greer's Sandwich Shop because it was a beer joint. They had wonderful barbeque so my father would buy it and bring it home. I went to the Rialto and the Rosemary Theaters, but not the Suzore. My father said it was in a bad neighborhood. I hung out in the O & S Five and Dime Store a lot.
It was a wonderful time to be a kid. I enjoyed every day of it.
Several years after high school I met my husband, Gus who was a handsome sailor about 11 years older than me. We married 3 months later. Some people said it wouldn't last. It lasted for 42 years until his death 3 years ago. Even though I now have some health problems of my own, I have had a truly blessed life. God has been good to me.
SOME OF MY HUMES MEMORIES
It has been over 50 years since I attended Humes for 6 years., but I still remember the school, the teachers, my friends and most of the students in the class of 1953. I lived on Breedlove for the first 3 years and walked to school no matter what the weather. When my family moved to Midtown, I was supposed to go to Central. I stayed for 2 hours and headed back to Humes after the homework assignments on registration day convinced me I was in the wrong school. I rode the bus for the next 3 years and thought it was worth the extra effort. The people were friendly and most of the teachers were dedicated and caring. Humes was my kind of place.
I spent so much time working downtown at the B and J Cafe and Gerber's Department Store and in the neighborhood at the Lamar Theater that I missed a lot of sports events and extra curricular activities which I would have liked to attend.
My favorite teachers were Miss Mary Fischer and Miss Frances Moss. Miss Fischer saved me from being kicked out of the Honor Society when I got caught leaving school early to attend a Y basketball game. Miss Moss encouraged me to excel so I worked harder to improve my grades in all my subjects.
I received a wonderful basic education which allowed me to pursue a variety of interests. My one regret is that I did not take typing. My older sister begged me to take the courses she had taken so I could master office skills. I was so stubborn, I wouldn't do it because I didn't plan on working in an office. I had to learn typing as an adult. I still can't type well, but thanks to the word processor, I get by. I should have listened to Doris.
Doris was a super achiever. Miss Richmond, the Assistant Principal, told me that I should be more like my sister. She and the Principal, Mr. Brindley, thought Doris hung the moon. I just wanted to follow my own star. I had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and dozens of cousins. It was not easy to be an individual in the Howell-Davis clan.
When I was in the ninth grade I won a state essay contest "What America Means to Me". I have always been patriotic, always voted and even worked in political campaigns from time to time. I owe my patriotism to the teachers at Humes who really believed in America and freedom and passed those ideals on to us.
My first steady boyfriend, George Grimes, had wonderful parents. They treated me like their own daughter. When George and I broke up, which is what happens when you are both immature, I felt like I had lost part of my family. I did not have another boyfriend at Humes, although I spent a couple of years mooning over Carl Bethea and Frank Simonton. We attended Speedway Terrace Baptist church with many of our classmates because of the great teen programs.
Shirley Patterson and I knocked on every door within 3 miles of Humes to raise funds to elect Gloria Trout "Queen" of the eighth grade. She won! We each wore out a pair of shoes collecting those penny votes. We never told Gloria what we did. No one else had a chance with Shirley and Rose on the job.
Carol Gillespie and Barbara McKenzie were my best friends during high school. Barbara moved to California before she graduated and Carol got married during our senior year and moved to Las Vegas. Iris Hopps, Jim Music, Frank Greer, Jo Anne Hammett, James Thomas, Carolyn Dellinger and Margaret Johnson (class of '52) were other students I knew well. I haven't seen Jo Ann or Iris since graduation. I would love to see or talk to them.
One night after an event at Humes, I accepted a ride home with Donald Clatworthy and several other kids. He had an old junk car which he drove like a maniac. I was lucky to get home alive. I always liked Don but I never got in his car again.
After church on Sunday night, my friends and I liked to go to Leonard's Barbeque on Bellevue and then to East Trigg Baptist Church to listen to the spirituals. The church had a special section for white visitors. Elvis Presley was often there and occasionally sang with the choir. I loved to watch the people who got the spirit dance and roll in the aisles. I guess that's where the term "holy rollers" came from.
Other Elvis stories: He was in the study hall where I called the roll. As soon as I called his name he would get up and leave. Then I would go downstairs to cashier in the lunch room. He was usually my first customer and always bought the same thing - two ice cream sandwiches.
One night he showed up at a school event wearing black clothes and pink socks. Miss Richmond didn't recognize him and asked me who that rogue was. Later she liked to brag that she always knew that Elvis would make it big.
After he became famous, he would ride around Memphis incognito in a panel truck. Sometimes he drove through my neighborhood and would stop and chat if he saw me walking down the street.
My daughters, Roxanne and Rozanne, went to Hillcrest High School with Elvis' stepbrothers. We had parties in our back yard which Ricky and Billy attended. Several times Elvis dropped them off in one of his fancy cars and created quite a stir in the neighborhood.
My memories of Humes are precious and I love attending our class reunions. The years fade away and I see all those bright shiny faces again. We were special, but not because we had Elvis in our class. We were the last innocent generation.
I went to school the first eleven years in Dyess, Arkansas. There were 26 students in my junior class. My family moved to Memphis right after my junior year and I planned to go back to Dyess to finish the 12th grade. Over the summer I made some good friends, Jim Music and Herbert Howell, and rediscovered an old friend from Dyess, Gloria Tate. I decided to give Humes a try.
The senior class at Humes had more students than the entire school at Dyess. I was in a state of shock for a while. Jim Music, Herbert and I were always getting into trouble. Herbert, with his charm and wit, would usually manage to get us off the hook. I only dated one girl that year, so I spent a lot of time making the rounds of the drive-ins with the guys. After graduation, we stayed close until I went into the Air Force.
One teacher stands out in my mind. Miss Weeks, the typing teacher, threw out a challenge to the class that still seems like it happened yesterday. She told us that if we were as smart as we thought we were, her typing class should be easy. I accepted her challenge and at 69 I can still type better than most people. Herbert didn't learn how, but Jim Music did.
Miss Richmond told me that I shouldn't plan on going to college, because I would never make it. Her prediction came true. I enrolled at Memphis State in July 1953, quit in November and joined the Air Force where I stayed for the next 5 1/2 years.
About 1959 or 1960, I ran into Mr. Brindley, the principal at Humes, at a dentist's office on Jackson Ave. He was very friendly and remembered my name (which surprised me) and mentioned I was one of several Humes boys he would never forget. He expressed the opinion that Jim Music and I were the worst drivers he had ever known and was sure that we would get killed in a car wreck.
In 1959 I met and married Wanda Pittman who graduated from Humes in 1959. We are still happily married after 45 years.
I have so many good memories of Humes because there were so many good people there.
My school years started in 1941. My family was fortunate to have an apartment in Lauderdale Courts. I attended Christine Elementary on North Third Street for six years and Humes for the next six years. This was a scary experience for me as seventh graders and seniors were competing for the same hall space. With the help of some kind and understanding students and teachers I soon learned my way around and settled in.
In the eighth grade I joined the Junior High Glee Club. The next year I made the Junior High Football team where I met many players I admired. The Blancett brothers (Bob and George), Ken Hearn and Robert Lyles come to mind.
Although I didn't date much, I had many friends who were girls. I usually took Nancy Carroll to school functions. She was a date I was proud to have. Nancy and I went to the Senior Prom at the Peabody on the city bus, since I didn't have a car. Now kids go to their proms in limousines. I haven't seen Nancy since graduation and do not know what happened to her.
I knew Elvis about as well as anyone in the class, having met him in 1948 when he moved to Memphis from Tupelo, Mississippi. His family settled in the Lauderdale Courts area and he enrolled at Humes. Later we attended church together at the First Assembly of God Church on McLemore Ave.
In the eleventh grade Elvis and I were in Miss Thompson's Civics class. He was a class clown and in the middle of our mid-term exams with everyone concentrating on the test, he called from the back of the room in a loud voice "Miss Thompson, Miss Thompson," "What Elvis?" she answered. Then he asked "Why did the chicken cross the road?" The whole class broke up laughing except, of course, Miss Thompson. She quickly replied "See me after class, Elvis!"
I have great memories of those days and I wish I could share them all. I am proud to be a member of the Humes High Class of 1953 and to have so many fine men and women as my classmates.
MY MEMORIES OF HUMES HIGH
My family moved from Hornbeak, Tennessee to Memphis when I was 7 years old. My father found a job driving a city bus. We lived in an apartment until my parents saved enough money to buy a house on Seventh Street. We rented out the upstairs to help make ends meet. I attended Pope Elementary, then went to Humes.
I was proud of my school. My classmates were friendly and we shared a variety of experiences. The teachers were great, some stricter than others, but we learned from all of them. Our wonderful principal, Mr. Brindley, knew most of us by name. I was a hall monitor during the lunch hour. I really enjoyed singing in the Glee Club. I also enjoyed boy watching. I had crushes on many boys (including Elvis Presley), but most of them were already dating other girls.
My friends and family called me Wee-Wee because my sister couldn't pronounce my name. My best friend was Doris Wilburn. She is gone now, but I still remember the great times we had together. When I was in the 11th grade, I went to the Junior-Senior Prom with Jackie Fortune, a senior who was my first true love. I ran around mostly with 11th grade kids who lived in my neighborhood. We would swap clothes at each others houses on the way to school. That way it looked like we had more clothes.
There were lots of activities after school. I loved going to the football games at Crump Stadium. I remember going there once to hear Billy Graham preach. It was so crowded we had to sit on the football field. He touched many hearts that night.
My favorite hangouts were Porky's Barbeque, the Rialto and Roxy theaters, the Dave Wells Community Center for dances (especially the jitterbug), the Rainbow Skating Rink (my favorite activity) and the Fairgrounds Amusement Park to ride all the rides.
After graduation in 1953, I moved to Michigan to attend school to become a Western Union teletypist. In 1954 I was in the Miss Plymouth Michigan Beauty Pageant. I came in second. They must have liked my southern charm.
I worked in the press box at all of the University of Michigan football games. I met a young man named Cal Hicks who was working down on the field. We fell in love and were married in 1955. We had a wonderful life together. He retired as a captain in the Ann Arbor Police Department. I am now a widow with 4 children, 8 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
I truly loved all of my classmates, each special in his or her own way. It was so wonderful seeing some of them at the 35th Class Reunion. We were invited to a fantastic event where we heard the Jordanaires (Elvis' backup group), T. G. Sheppard and Rodney McDowell perform. Elvis fans asked for our autographs.
In January, 2003, I came to Memphis to attend the Humes 53 Revisited Elvis Birthday Dance at the Peabody. I wore a poodle skirt with saddle oxfords and pink socks. I felt transformed back to the 50's. I saw George Klein, the president of our class, and many other treasured classmates. It was a magical night. I knew Elvis very well, but I am saving those stories for our Humes Memory Book which the Class of 1953 is going to publish.
"Here's to the Class of '53. I will never forget you."
After I flunked the 1st grade, my parents had me tested and I was diagnosed as industrially blind. My family lived in the Cooper-Young area and the only grammar school with a sight saving program was Maury in North Memphis. I rode the bus there for 6years. My best friend from the first grade was Bob Haley.
I transferred to Humes in the 7th grade because they moved the sight saving program there. It shut down after one year for lack of funding, but by that time, I like the people at Humes so much I decided to stay even though it meant riding the bus for 6 more years.
Miss Harris, my 7th grade home room teacher was a very kind, understanding lady who treated me with dignity. She was my favorite teacher at Humes. Miss Pierce and Mr. Harrison, two of my eighth grade teachers, got in a huge argument right in front of our class. Mr. Harrison would take orders for afternoon snacks and send some kids across the street to buy them. The 8th grade boys liked to fight and usually picked on Bob Smith, who was hearing impaired. The boys would use the smoking room to flip pennies. The Second Street boys and the Seventh Street boys were really good at it. One day I lost my bus money and had to walk all the way home. I dragged in about supper time. I didn't flip pennies after that.
I did have many friends and kind benefactors at school. Bob Haley and Dennis Wilson were my best buddies. I had a tough time in ROTC. Ken Hearn was very kind and helpful to me. Billy Leaptrott lent me his black dress shoes when I was a groomsman in a wedding.
My church, social and work life mostly revolved around Midtown. I attended Union Ave. Baptist Church with kids who went to other schools. I was very shy around girls so I never made the dating scene. I do remember going to the Joy Theater in West Memphis with my running mates to see the girlie shows. Every time I went I would see guys from Humes.
I helped the Clover Farm Dairy delivery man from 4 to 7:15 a.m. every morning, 7 days a week for 2 years. I made $1.00 a day plus $.50 for collecting and loading up the used bottles once a week.
I delivered newspapers for four years. One lady even ordered an extra bottle of chocolate milk for me when she discovered that I was drinking her children's milk while delivering her paper. After I collected the paper bill at the Memphian I would go in and see the movie free.
Sometimes I would cut classes to see a movie. My father worked for the city and one afternoon he was working close by when I went into the Warner Theater in downtown Memphis. When I got home he told me not to do it again. After that I would ride the bus around the block to see if his work truck was in the area before I would get off the bus.
I had a tough time in math class in the 10th grade. I dropped a book one day and the teacher yelled at me for picking it up by the pages. She said, "Mr. Morrison if you learn anything in this class, please learn to pick up a book properly!" She slapped me on the hand one day for picking up my pencil before a test and called me a darn ox because it hurt her hand. Dennis Wilson and I laughed a lot about that incident.
I flunked algebra because I couldn't see the problems on the board. I asked Mr. Emmit if I could take it over in his class and sit close to the front. He was very accommodating and I made an A. After getting up at 4 a.m. every day and eating a big lunch, I would nod off in last period English class. Betty Chipman sat behind me and would wake me up when I started snoring. My favorite class was commercial law with Mr. C. C. Jones. I wanted to start my own business after graduation.
Riding the bus to and from school was an interesting experience. One day I watched Elvis Presley and Red West wrestling in a field on Manasses. Coach Hiltpold, Mr. Coates and Miss Hall were teachers that rode with me regularly. Coach Hiltpold helped me get a summer job in a chair factory.
One of the most important things taught at Humes was a good work ethic. Don't quit when the going gets tough was drummed into us from the get-go. I learned to "hang in there." I am so thankful that I went to Humes and had those experiences.
I had wonderful parents, a good education, my own office cleaning business, a great wife, and a fine son. My life has been very blessed. I turned over my business to my son (I only help him a little) and am now enjoying my retirement.
MY HUMES MEMORIES
My memories do not start in Memphis, but in Greece. My family lived in a beautiful mountain valley with a view of the Alps. My father and his brothers had come to America in the early 1900's to seek their fortunes. They did well and my father went back to Greece to find a wife. He married and had 8 children and never returned to America because of the turmoil of wars and other circumstances. When I was a teenager he sent me and my younger brother Lucas to Memphis to work for my Uncle Jim who owned the J and J Cafe at Third and Poplar. He lived at the Arlington Hotel at Main and Washington.
When we arrived in Memphis, we did not speak English, so my uncle enrolled us at Guthrie School to study under Miss Mary Johnson, a teacher who specialized in helping foreign students learn English. She was a kind, wonderful lady who encouraged me and wouldn't let me give up on myself. We were still friends when she died and I was a pallbearer at her funeral.
After 6 months, I was able to transfer to Humes and enroll in regular classes. I had to get up every morning at 4:00 a.m. and work at Uncle Jim's cafe until 8:00 a.m. School started at 8:15 so I was usually late for homeroom. I especially remember Miss Lochrie, the speech teacher, and Miss Moss helping me with my speech difficulties. All of the teachers and students were very kind to me. Davie Lee Lawrence, one of the football players in my class, watched out for me. I was so happy to be at such a wonderful school. As soon as school was over in the afternoon I had to go back to work.
I met Elvis at Humes but I knew him better at the cafe. He was a very polite young man who neither looked nor acted like the rest of the guys. He would come into the cafe with a bunch of young girls from Lauderdale Courts and play the juke box, eat chips and drink cokes. His hair hung down in his face and he was often dressed in very bright colored pants. The girls liked him even then. But that didn't keep them from flirting with my brother and me. He always called me "Champ". The last time I saw him was right after his mother died. We ran into each other on Beale Street. We had a nice chat, shook hands and he said "Bye, Champ" and got into his waiting limo.
After 2 years at Humes I became a special student at Memphis State. Mr. Brindley, the Humes Principal, came out there one day to present me with my diploma from Humes. He said if anyone deserved a diploma, it was me. I was very honored by the kind gesture of a very dedicated educator.
I finished my courses at Memphis State and joined the Navy for 2 years. I received my citizenship papers in 1957. After I returned home from service I became a man about town, hanging out at the Cotton Club in West Memphis and other local hangouts. I dated a different girl every night. I managed the Ship Ahoy and later, George and David's at 147 Jefferson with my partner, David. We were on Jefferson for 23 years before moving out east. I had a wonderful career in the restaurant business.
I went back to Greece in the 1960's for a visit and my mother advised me to find an American girl. I took her advice and married my beautiful wife Sarah when I was 34. We were blessed with two children. Our son, Tommy, was born brain-damaged and died at 22. Our daughter, Vickie, is a very successful account executive. Sarah is in a nursing home now, but she still tries to take care of me.
My father always told me to be honest, tell the truth, pay my bills and then I could look anybody in the eye. I have always tried to do that.
I loved my time at Humes; I love seeing old friends from Humes. Once when I ran into Bobby Tribble, we got into a friendly debate about the merits of Greeks versus Anglo-Saxons. I think I won the debate when I reminded him that without Greece there would not be much of an English language. I am proud to be a Greek-American and a graduate of Humes High School.
I had a wonderful childhood. We lived on Breedlove and then Crockett in North Memphis. My friends and I spent countless hours exploring the creek behind our house. My mother would have died if she had known how far we went down that creek to find where it emptied. Crockett was a concrete street with very little traffic. We played hockey with wooden sticks and tin cans and lots of cork ball. My father put up a basketball goal next to our house which we threw the football through until he bought a basketball and demonstrated its' use.
I went to Gordon, a friendly little grammar school, with kids from the area. I felt as lost as the rest of the kids when I entered Humes with those three floors of long halls and strange kids. I will share my thoughts about Humes by categories.
SPORTS: I am and always will be smitten by football. The Humes Senior High team included Freddie Bargiacchi, Jerry Foropoulos and Jerry May. I don't know what their win and loss column was but I do remember that they looked very impressive in their orange and white uniforms.
When I joined the Junior High team I became the center. I was in on every offensive play. On defense, I was the linebacker. I received a knee injury which still bothers me today. Coach Guy was a fine coach and a nice person. We had a good team and I will remember the players, the season and the coach until I can no longer remember.
The next year I played guard under Coach Taylor. In practice I scrimmaged against Dick Spore and Nick Burress. Nick was built like a fire hydrant. When I blocked him, Coach Taylor fussed at Nick and the next play, he almost killed me. For our last game of the season, Coach came up with a new offense. We practiced playing two quarterbacks under the center. When we used the play we were penalized twice for illegal formation and Clarence Houston was kicked out of the game for mouthing off. We finished the game using the old offensive plays. Coach Taylor wasn't much of a coach, but he cared about his players. He took me to a specialist about my knee.
Rube Boyce was the head coach in the 11th grade. It was a tough year. His assistant, Coach Phillips, made it almost tolerable. I scrimmaged against the likes of Davie Lee Lawrence and big Bill Bishop. Davie Lee was a great athlete which he proved over and over again. I observed most of the game from the bench.
I played High Y Basketball in the 12th grade under Coach Grimes, my father. It was special for both of us. I got hurt worse playing basketball than football. Some kid pushed me and I was knocked out when my head hit an electrical box. Davie Lee was ready to punch him out, but was restrained by the rest of the team.
TEACHERS: I swear I was there when the kid opened the window when Miss Almond threatened to jump. Miss Stephens allowed us to grade our own spelling tests. Hum! When the boys acted up, she would say "Still water runs deep." They thought she was nuts. Miss Aymett sold expensive encyclopedias to poor people. Miss Patton must have saved a bundle on bras. Miss Keathley would say "Behave or I will hurt you cause I'm strong." Miss Boswell and Miss Morman must have killed or maimed a kid or two in the past because nobody dared misbehave in their classes. Miss Moss! wonderful teacher with a great personality. And Guthrie, she didn't need a good undercover man. She could handle anything all by herself. Miss Moreland was a no nonsense teacher. She had my number. I was Miss Alexander's pet and I played it for all it was worth. I was blackballed from the Honor Society by Miss Schilling. I only had her for home room. I must have been in rare form to draw such strong disapproval. Miss Weeks, attractive, business like and very nice. She reminded me two weeks before graduation that I have not passed my speed test. I thought she might let me off the hook. I got in high gear to pass it.
BOYS STATE: I was chosen to be a delegate to Boy's City and Boy's State.
ROTC: I served for 3 years and Shirley Cotton was my 3rd year sponsor. The Humes ROTC squadron was far superior to the ROTC squadron at UT Knoxville, where I attended college.
FRIENDS: I was friendly with many of the people at Humes, but I only had one best friend from the 7th grade, Dwight Malone. He was and is a special person. Davie Lee Lawrence was always a good buddy. Gene Gann and I became friends when we worked at Brent's Grocery Store together. He was spirited, always with a smile, always laughing. He was so full of life. His early death really shook me.
GIRLS: I had a crush on Billie Mae Chiles and Shirley Hubanks all the way through Gordon and in the 7th grade. My first hand holding girl friend was Rose Howell. She broke my heart when she broke up with me. There were lots of girls I flirted with. One I cared about I called "Bellefotch." She will know who she is. I pursued Shirley Cotton and she became my girl in the 10th grade. We will be married 50 years on September 2, 2004 and she is still my girl.
ELVIS: I am an eye witness to the fact that Elvis would make those moves that only he could make when he was walking down the halls of dear old Humes. He complimented me on a solo I sang for the Honor Society. We were in a talent show together and I liked to brag that I shared the same stage with him and didn't have to pay to see him perform. Billy Wooley, Dwight Malone, Sydney McKinney and I were a quartet. Everyone in the talent show got to make a trip to the University of Mississippi. I saw a bunch of students hassling Elvis about his hair and odd clothes and I didn't take up for him. I always felt guilty about that. I wonder if those kids remembered that incident after Elvis became the most famous entertainer of our time. He was and is unique.