LOOKING BACK PAGE 3
Due to the tremendous response we have had for memories of Humes, we are adding another 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: Nona Bass; Dennis Wilson; Harry Karris; Dwight Malone; Geneva North; Norma Garner; Rachael Maddox; Donald Morris; Lillian Jenne; Bobbie Horne; Evelyn Huffman; Barbara Olivier.
Here goes, I am thinking back about my feelings.
SEVENTH GRADE: Such awe of the big school and the BIG people. We were only allowed on the second floor for events in the auditorium. It was a really big deal to walk up those stairs, which were usually off limits to 7th graders.
Miss Conyers was the teacher I remember most. Thank heavens she kept after me to make that darn apron. She taught me the basic rules of sewing. Later I made my own clothes, including my prom dress, and my daughter's clothes. Thanks, Miss Conyers.
EIGHTH GRADE: Such excitement! I made the Junior High Cheerleading Squad. Wearing that orange sweater and white pleated skirt had to be the best life had to offer. (Oh, and don't forget the orange and white saddle oxfords and the orange pom-poms.)
During Mr. Meeks class, Billie Mae Chiles and I learned more than math. We developed strong leg and thigh muscles because Mr. Meeks gave us the opportunity to sit in the "pretend chair" against the wall to work off our penalty minutes for talking instead of getting bad marks in conduct. Our parents would have grounded us for six weeks for less than a B in deportment. Did we learn to be quiet?
NINTH GRADE: Disaster. My father was transferred to Nashville and my life took a turn for the worst. Leaving Humes and friends was painful and I thought for sure I would die. However, I actually made friends and enjoyed my new school.
In July, before the tenth grade, we returned to Memphis and Billie Mae Chiles introduced me to Friday night tennis court dances at Guthrie Park. We didn't miss a beat. Still talked for hours.
TENTH GRADE: It was as if I had not been away for a year. There was Billie Mae Chiles, Esther Crook, Ann Duncan, Joan Liberto, Martha Woodward, Katie Mae Robinson, Jo Ann Van Blake. Gee, just check the yearbook from A to Z. The only downer was the dreaded Algebra class with Miss Fischer. I did manage to make all A's. (Can't recall a single formula-guess it was one of those unnecessary classes or did we learn reason from it?)
Football games, pep rallies school dances, basketball games, baseball games. Fun, fun, fun! Of course, those important events were always discussed at lunch while sitting on the big hill outside by the front entrance. We soon learned Miss Richmond had "Superman X-ray vision." She told me that I sat too close to David McCoy during lunch period. I didn't find out until much later how she knew. On a return visit to Humes several years ago, I realized that the big hill was only a slight incline and we had been sitting directly under Miss Richmond's window.
Yeah! I made the cheer leading squad for the coming year. Life was perfect again. Now I could cheer David McCoy in all 3 sports. It became a habit and 53 years later, I am still cheering his accomplishments.
ELEVENTH GRADE: Shorthand, typing, office machines, bookkeeping were the business courses that I took. Coach Taylor's class was a favorite for the football players who had to leave the last period open for practice. We only had four girls in the class and Coach would put the class on our honor for exams. He would leave the room and return just in time to collect our papers. As soon as I completed my paper, I would help as many of the guys as I could, as would some of the other girls. When he read the grades he commented that perhaps the unnamed helpers should alternate the order in which they helped the unnamed jocks so the ones with the lowest grades would get the most help.
Gloria Trout was told it was almost impossible for a person who held her hand like a left-handed person to pass shorthand. Well, Miss Gloria smiled and took the challenge. She didn't change her hand position, but passed with flying colors. We were so proud of her. She still has that wonderful smile.
TWELFTH GRADE: I'm a SENIOR! I vaguely remember English, History, and 2 hour business courses. I do remember Student Council, cheerleading, ROTC, girls basketball, laughs, girlfriends, boyfriends, two hours per day in Miss Richmond's office and talent shows. We had the best of all worlds. Our teachers really cared about us as people and took pride in helping us develop our full potential. Free thought was encouraged. If classmates were struggling, we were to help them. Humes teachers expected us to care for each other.
If only our children and grandchildren could have enjoyed the safe, fun-filled youth we had. My education must have been by osmosis. I don't remember ever cramming for exams or being stressed out waiting for test results.
GRADUATION 1953: It came and we all scattered. Reunions allow us to touch base and relive and renew all those special times we shared. Dear Ole Humes, that grand ole three story building. If walls could talk we would hear them wishing us well. If Billie Mae Chiles Turner was writing this, she would end with "WHAT DID I SAY?"
I grew up on Lee Ave., a block behind Guthrie School. So naturally that's where I started school. I went there thru the 6th grade. I spent my summers playing at Guthrie playground and my winters at Dave Wells Community Center. Those places became my home away from home. I was very surprised to be transferred to Humes in the seventh grade. They had a "Sight Saving Class" and since I had very poor eyesight, it was decided that I should go to Humes. My sister, who was two years older, started the 9th grade at Humes the same year. I don't know what benefit I gained from the "special" class, but it did allow me to meet and become life long friends with Bob Morrison and Bob Haley. It also allowed me to skip music and art classes, which I hated. I am now sorry that I didn't take music, since I would love to be able to read music and possibly sing better in the church choir.
I didn't have a lot of memorable moments at Humes, but there were some good times. My favorite teachers were Miss Fischer and Mr. Emigh. I've always had a knack for math and sciences, I guess because I took those courses. My favorite times were in the 3rd year ROTC, with the parades downtown, the drilling, the socializing with other officers and sponsors.
I was kinda shy and backward when it came to girls and never had a girlfriend during my school years. Oh, I was in "love" with several girls, but I didn't have the nerve to do anything about it. I fell in "love" with Margie Paullus in the first grade. That lasted several years. In high school, I thought Nona Bass was the most attractive girl I had ever met. Actually, I never had a date until the Senior Prom when I somehow gathered up the courage to ask Betty Chipman. Not having a car, I arranged to double date with Danny Paccasassi and his girlfriend. I don't remember her first name, but I think her last name was Dagastino.
Jerry Joyner helped me get a full-time job at the A&P Grocery Store near Sears Crosstown. I had study hall the last period so I could leave school early. I worked 3-9 Monday thru Friday and 10 hours on Saturday. That didn't leave much time for socializing, although I do remember walking to Crump Stadium on some Friday nights to watch the Humes Tigers play football.
After graduation, I had planned to take the infamous bike ride to the Gulf Coast with Bob Morrison and Bob Haley, but a family trip to upstate New York to visit my sister side-tracked my involvement in the bike trip. I decided on the spur of the moment an extended visit with my sister and her family would be a great opportunity to get away from my abusive father. As they say, the rest is history.
I found a job and met a Yankee girl who would actually go out with me. After nine years of the cold frozen North, I had enough and moved my family back to Memphis. After knocking around for a few years, I went to work for the Commercial Appeal. I worked there 28+ years and retired as Manager of the Data Management Department. My wife and I separated in 1983 and divorced in 1985. In 1987, I married a Yankee girl from Pittsburgh. We were married for 10 years when she lost her long battle with cancer.
When I decided to retire in 1997, I had to train a co-worker for 3 months to take my place. As my retirement drew near, she decided that I needed a retirement party. She asked her best friend Linda, who was also a good friend of mine, to handle the arrangements. The party was a roaring success (they still talk about it at the paper.)
Later, I asked Linda out to dinner as a way of thanking her for all her hard work. Lo and behold, Linda, with whom I had worked with for 25 years, and I hit it off; started to date and a year and a half later were married. We've been married for 5 years and I have never been happier! Between us, we have 6 children, 16 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and another on the way.
Linda still works and I take care of the house, etc. I tell everyone I am a house-husband.
I don't have any Elvis stories. I really didn't know him well. I think the only class we may have had together was first year ROTC. I do remember him singing in the amateur night competitions and thought that he could sing very well.
Harry Karris came over from Greece about the same time I did. He basically went thru the same experiences: learning English, going to school and working hard to be able to stay in America. He often spoke of how much he enjoyed going to Humes. After school he served in the Army and then became an American citizen.
He lived the American dream. He was a partner in the Claybrook Restaurant for many years. Many Humes alumni went to the Claybrook to eat those wonderful Greek specialties he served.
After he married, he and Georgia lived about 2 blocks from my wife Sarah and me. We were all good friends. Harry and his wife were my daughter's God parents. Our daughter Vicki and their daughter Abby grew up together. He was very proud of what he had achieved. He loved being a Greek-American.
He died too soon, and I miss him very much.
My first week at Humes High was neither easy nor happy. Merrill Elementary had less than 400 students; Humes had 1000+. We were always in the same room at Merrill; but at Humes I was continuously lost every hour as we changed classes all day long. My assigned locker was usually in the wrong direction from my next class. I had to walk the hall with older students who seemed to be 10 feet tall to a scared seventh grader. Week one was a gut wrenching experience.
Thankfully the feeling of helplessness subsided as I interacted with my neighborhood friends: Bill Bishop, Fuzzy Brady, Eddie Bryson, Paul Hathcock, Joan Liberto, Ada Lee Thompson and Don Williams. I quickly formed new friendships, chief among those was George Grimes. For the entire six years we had the same homeroom, most of the same classes and performed in a barber shop quartet with Sidney McKinney and Billy Wooley. We attended many school functions together and became closer than brothers. The bond is still strong after 56 years. George and his wife Shirley have visited us in Huntsville, AL. and my wife Patricia and I have visited them in Louisville, KY. We are all close friends.
Humes was blessed with a few outstanding teachers, a majority of very good or adequate teachers and a few substandard teachers. They are all unforgettable; but for me, the most unforgettable and outstanding was Miss Elsie Mormon, my seventh grade music teacher. She was a strict disciplinarian who demanded undivided attention and class participation from all of us. She usually didn't send anybody to the principal; she preferred to hit you with her baton to get immediate results if you got out of line. Later, she became a math teacher. My younger brother, Philip, tells the story of her breaking her finger on the blackboard. while trying to make a point about a mathematical problem.
Some teachers, such as Miss Moss, could hold your interest and demand your participation by the force of their personalities or the content of their lesson plans. A few teachers could not control their classes. Those were the "fun" classes where little information was exchanged and little knowledge was gained.
I was probably the worst player who ever put on a Humes High School football uniform. Many of my friends were on the team and I thought I could attract girls if I played. I had crushes on many of the girls in my class; but I was so timid that none of them ever suspected my intentions. Still, hope springs eternal. Practices were pure hell. Most of the players loved the sweat, blood and hitting. It always felt like Davie Lee Lawrence and Robert Lyles were trying to break every bone in my body. Of course, Coach Boyce was looking for those type hits to assure that we were ready for our next opponent. Thank goodness I am now a fan rather than a participant.
I had a paper route for four years. Getting out of bed so early was not easy, but for some reason I enjoyed throwing those missiles. I folded the papers into squares and hurled them up to 50 feet without breaking any windows, knocking over any milk bottles or breaking any flower pots. HA!
Church was an important part of my family life. Even though my brother Phillip, my sister Kay and I weren't that religious during our formative years, MAMA was. If the doors were open, we were there. Most sermons would slant toward "Hellfire and Damnation." Therefore, it's understandable why the siblings in our family tried to follow the straight and narrow. Fear is a great motivator. We still go to church, but we go to one that preaches "God is Love".
Elvis was different. Most boys had crew cuts and wore tee shirts and blue jeans. Elvis would appear at school in a pink jacket and yellow pants and a duck tail haircut. He was quiet, very courteous and largely stayed to himself. I did play touch football with him on the triangle at Lauderdale Courts. He was not fast, but he had very quick movements. He had those swivel hips even then. When he caught the ball, he was difficult to tag. He could swivel out of reach in a moment. To tag him, a player had to grab him and hold on until he could apply the tag.
Elvis and Warren Gregory were close friends. Warren was musically gifted. He could play a piano beautifully, the guitar, the trumpet and any other available instrument. He never took a lesson. He could play any tune he heard and improvise the melody. During the summer months Elvis and Warren would sit on the street curb, strumming their guitars and singing country songs. Frankly, in their early attempts, they were not that good. I think they had a few shoes thrown at them by the neighbors.
It was at the Humes Talent Show in April, 1953 that I realized that Elvis could really sing. I remember our barbershop quartet singing. I remember Gloria Trout, a gorgeous little blond dancer who was also a cheerleader. But mostly, I remember Elvis. There were no swivel hips. His props were a chair, a guitar and a loud costume. He put one foot on the chair, strummed the guitar and sang his heart out. To me, that was when rock and roll was born. The ovation was thunderous and long. After graduation I went into the Army and was stationed in Germany. When I returned in 1956, Elvis was a huge star and many boys were wearing pink jackets, yellow pants and ducktail haircuts.
I'm now approaching 70 and for the most part, my life has been wonderful. I graduated from Memphis State using the GI Bill. I have been married twice, the second time for over 32years. I retired after 36 years at the Defense Department. My wife, a college librarian, is also retired. We enjoy our six grandchildren, playing bridge and traveling. We love coming to the Humes reunions especially last year's 50th. I am happy to be a member of the Class of '53 fraternity.
I came to Humes from Gordon Elementary with lots of other kids including Jean Johnson, Flora Mae Gatlin and Peggy Patterson. The school was so BIG and there were so many kids. I was overwhelmed. I finally got used to it and settled down to a great experience.
All of the teachers were memorable in their own way. I especially remember Miss Morman, my music teacher, who would make me put my gum on my nose for a whole hour whenever she caught me chewing. Miss Johnson was always sending me to the office for passing notes to Peggy. Miss Conyers sent me there because I usually didn't have my sewing materials. I think I spent more time with Miss Richmond than I did with any of my teachers. She used me to run errands. When Coach Taylor was in charge of study hall he always took a nap after roll call. We would sneak out, go to the auditorium and have talk sessions. Miss Scrivener had a saying which she used all the time "So much for that." We knew not to say another word about that subject.
I loved the talent shows. I remember Elvis singing "Old Shep." We just sat there and giggled at him and everybody else who performed. We were so young and everything seemed funny. I remember watching Robert Lyles and Arthur Hightower slug it out every afternoon by their lockers and then come back the next day the best of friends. I loved to watch Davie Lee Lawrence play football. I had a crush on him in the third grade.
Jean, Flora Mae and I walked home after school everyday and stopped at Bankmon's Ice Cream Parlor to drink cokes and flirt with the boys. We also walked home from football games and had lots of fun along the way. Things were so simple back then. I loved to ride around town on my bicycle with Fannie Mae Crowder or Mona Rayburn. We never got into any real trouble. We hung out at the Rialto Theater with Joann Liberto and flirted outrageously with the boys we wanted to impress.
The worst thing that ever happened was the time that Jean and I lied to our parents so we could stay out after curfew. Jean's parents were going out of town for the weekend, so Jean told them that she was going to stay with me. I told my parents that I was spending the night with her. We stayed out really late and when we got back to Jean's house we were afraid to go in because no one was home. We spent the night in a phone booth across the road. The paper boy woke us up. We started walking when a man stopped and drove us to my house. Out folks never found out about our adventure or we would have been grounded forever.
I never dreamed that Elvis and George Klein would become entertainers. They were always so quiet. I did see Elvis in 1954 in a drugstore at Adams and Manassas. He walked me home and gave me his phone number which I never used. The next time I saw him, he waved at me when I pulled up beside him in my car. He was on a motorcycle with Ann Margaret.
I still keep in touch with Jean Johnson and Shirley Hubanks. I saw Ada Lee Thompson in 1995. Other good friends were Margie Paullus, Beverly Bailey and Guy Ray Davidson. I will always remember my friends at Humes. They are in my thoughts, my prayers and my heart.
Early years: I spent the first six years of school at Pope Elementary. My sister, Sue, and I walked from our backyard onto the school ground! My family was typical of most families of that era. My dad worked at Firestone and later as a furniture maker. My mother worked for the American Snuff company. If we were poor, I was not aware of it. We lived on Bickford Avenue near Jo Ann Van Blake, Patricia Ross and Marilyn Todd. We probably saw every movie that ever came to the Roxy Theater.
Seventh grade trauma: When I started to Humes, we had to walk eleven blocks, rain or shine. The school was huge. When I left Home Economics class on the first floor at one end of the building and finally arrived at my English class on the third floor at the other end of the building, the bell would be ringing for us to be at our desk. I remember saving my lunch money so I could stop at Speedway Drug Store in the afternoon on the way home for a "Cherry Sundae."
Friends: I met Shirley Hubanks, Peggy Patterson and Mary Jane Lassiter that year. I don't know where Peggy and Mary Jane are today, but Shirley and I are still friends. At the end of the eighth grade I met Betty Yarbrough and we shared lockers until we graduated. Betty married our classmate, James Rotenberry, in the 12th grade. They were married until 2000, when he died. Betty and I are still friends and we still "run around" together. My friends and I hung out at Porky's, Duke's, the Jungle Garden on Union Ave., and the Dave Wells Community Center for the summer dances on the tennis court with juke box music to entertain us. In the 11th grade I had a major crush on Billy Leaptrott.
Teachers: Miss Thompson and Miss Newbill
Other Teachers: Another teacher that stands out for a different reason was Miss Moffitt. I spent a lot of time standing in the hall outside the Art Room or in the School Office with Miss Richmond for talking her class. Even though I liked music very much, I always dreaded going to Miss Elsie Morman's class. She was a strict disciplinarian; but she knew her music. I enjoyed Glee Club practices and performances and especially the mornings the Glee Club would sing for Devotion.
Special Events: I was an ROTC Sponsor for Dick Tucker in the tenth grade. I enjoyed the marches, the parades (but not the blisters) and the UNIFORM. We all enjoyed the football games at Crump Stadium and Hodges Field. We may not have won a championship, but we had lots of heroes on our teams.
Now Elvis: I remember Elvis as a polite guy. He would speak each time we would pass in the hall. I can still see him dressed in a pink shirt trimmed in black and black pants with a pink stripe down the side along with his famous side burns, that strand of hair in the middle of his forehead and ducktails in the back. THAT WAS ELVIS! I saw Elvis and Red West in Newport News, Virginia in 1955. They were glad to see Sue and me. We had a great time catching up. The last time I saw Elvis and talked to him was on Audubon Drive. He was on his motorcycle and said he was leaving for Hollywood the next day to film Jail House Rock.
My Life since Humes: My husband Mel and I have been married 47 years and have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Mel retired from the State of Arkansas and I retired from the City of Jacksonville, Ark. We have been to all of the class reunions. He says he feels as if it is also his reunion.
I definitely feel that I attended the best school in Memphis. Hurray for Humes High School and the Class of 1953.
Reading the memories of my classmates has been an interesting experience. I too felt insecure and insignificant during my first year at Humes. My brother, Gene Maddox, was a Senior, but that didn't help my sense-of-belonging in the 7th grade.
My favorite English teachers were Miss Susie Johnson and Miss Margaret Thompson, very professional teachers. Mr. Meeks, my homeroom teacher, allowed me to purchase a football book on the installment plan of 25 cents a week. I'll always remember his kindness. Attending the Humes football games and walking home from Crump Stadium with a group of friends was a major social event.
Beginning in the 9th grade my attitude and self confidence improved. Taking Spanish from Miss Anne Scroll and working as one of Miss Gwaltney's helpers in the library gave me personal confidence.
My best friend was Edna Ruth Griffith. We walked to and from school together for 6 years and often shared lunch. She was a very quiet and reserved person. "Birds of a feather flock together" is a very true statement in our case.
My social life outside of school centered around youth activities at Decatur Street Christian Church. Billie Mae Chiles, Gene Gann, Ann Duncan, Larry Holmes, Cherry Taylor, Luther Nall, Sidney Mitchell, Shirley Hubanks, Guthrie Anderson and Mary Sanders were also members there. Three of my close friends were Ada Holmes, Shirley Vaughn and William Reed from the Humes Class of '54.
Since I was a speech major, Miss Lochrie arranged for me to usher at the Front Street Theater in the King Cotton Hotel. I saw my first adult stage performance, which I am positive I didn't understand! A highlight of my Senior year was winning an essay contest on opera and getting to hear Rise Stevens sing in "Sampson and Delilah".
Glee Club was a favorite class because I truly enjoyed singing. In April, 1953, I sang "Because of You" at the annual talent show. I heard Elvis play his guitar and sing and was surprised by how much talent he had. I think his performance was the reason I asked him to sign my yearbook.
While most of you were rearing children, my life-journey involved working with children. These are some of the events in my time-capsule of life after 1953.
After graduating from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma with a degree in Religious Education, I worked as a typist at the Memphis Police Department for two years to "give me an insight into the realities of life." Next I served on the staff of First Christian Church in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Returning to Memphis, I worked as a Probation Office for dependent children at the Memphis Juvenile Court.
After six years of social work, I returned to college to become certified as a teacher and librarian. I began my teaching career at Longview Junior High in Memphis the year after Martin Luther King was assassinated. The student body was integrated and many of the parents were politically active. It was an interesting time in the history of Memphis. In 1972 I was assigned to Lanier Junior High where the Principal, Mr. R. Williams, gave me the opportunity to become the Language Arts teacher in a new program designed for children with learning disabilities. It was a turning point in my career. I had found my calling-teaching learning disabled children.
The next year I unexpectedly met and married Charles William Van Wagoner, Jr. of the USAF. (I had just earned my lifetime membership in Weight Watchers.) Getting married to Bill was the best "irrational decision" of my life. Ha!
After a couple of assignments, we were sent to Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Oklahoma. I obtained a teaching position as the EMH/LD Elementary Lab Teacher. Working with the younger children was a real blessing since we did not have children of our own. In 1983, I received an award as Special Educator of the Year from Oklahoma E.E.C. My teaching career ended in June, 1994.
Our home base is still in "tornado alley" in Midwest City. We purchased a second home in the retirement community of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, where we live for most of the Spring and Fall. Bill and I are grateful we still have each other and are thankful for each day we wake up with no additional medical concerns.
We enjoyed the 50th Humes Class Reunion and appreciated the time and energy of the committee who made it happen. I missed my friends who didn't come. We would be delighted to hear from any of my Humes classmates.
I was one of the "Guthrie Gang". We came to Humes High School in 1949 to begin the 9th grade after eight (glorious) (wonderful) (interesting) years at Guthrie Elementary School. For seven of those eight years, Mr. T. C. Brindley had been our principal. And guess what? -that's right- Mr. Brindley was once again our principal at Humes. He remembered some of us very well.
In the 9th grade, I participated in junior football. I played guard and a guy named Davie Lee Lawrence was the first string guard and I didn't get much playing time. That ended my brief football (or sports for that matter) career.
In Latin class (TOGA PARTY, TOGA PARTY) I became good friends with several Jewish guys - Freddie Minor, Harold Katz and Melvin Kirsh - who went on to Central after the 9th grade. NONE of their smarts in Latin rubbed off on me. It was there that I met my lifelong best buddies, Bill Clenney and Charles "Chuck" Manchester. After all these years and many good memories, we still meet for a cold one every week.
I took ART all four years with Miss Louise Moffett where our highlights were designing and preparing the posters and banners for school social and athletic events. That's where I first met the talented Rose Howell and I also had a crush on Phyllis Trabish (bet you didn't know that did you, Phyllis?)
Four years of Math (Algebra I & II, Plane and Solid Geometry, Trigonometry, etc.) is all kind of a bad dream now - why can't I work a first year Algebra problem?
I took the mandatory two years of ROTC and was fortunate enough to be chosen as an officer for our senior year. Some of the memories include being a member of the rifle team, marching down Main Street during the Veteran's Day Parade and, of course, Ann Duncan graciously consenting to be my sponsor. I'm so glad Ken and Ann Hearn attend our reunions - we still look so young.
An anecdote: Several years after high school, I was at Parris Island Marine Corps boot camp when a the Drill Instructor asked if anyone in the platoon had taken ROTC. I, along with a couple of other guys, proudly stepped forward believing this would earn brownie points for us, only to be deflated with the comment "SO WHAT!' (really some words unfit for this family publication) "STEP BACK IN THE RANKS!" I guess it was "ARMY' ROTC that did us in.
In the 11th and 12th grades in American History and World Problems, it was deja vu - Miss Frances Moss had been my third grade teacher. She was one of those teachers who influences you for life. She brought history alive and made it exciting and prodded me to get interested in current world events - read newspapers, listen to news on the radio (We weren't into television yet, at least not at my house). Thanks, Miss Moss.
Before I forget, let me mention all those mornings and afternoons WALKING to and from Humes for four years in the rain, snow, heat and cold with Dennis Wilson and several other Guthrie alumni. I lived close to Chelsea on Breedlove at the time.
ELVIS: Elvis and I weren't buddies outside school hours, but we did have a few good moments at school. In Miss Jennie Allensworth's 12th grade English class we had assigned roles in one of the ever popular Shakespearean plays. Elvis, who sat behind me, and I, when our speaking parts came up, would pour it on with exaggerated southern accents (an oxymoron). Miss Allensworth warned us once, but being the showmen we were, we couldn't resist doing it again. She sent us out into the HALL for the rest of the period. Being sent in the HALL during class without an excuse was like being sent to purgatory - and if Mr. Brindley happened by - well watch out. Fortunately, it was close to the end of the period and we escaped unscathed. This was probably an early example of Elvis at his showmanship best; alas, perhaps I should have pursued other career paths.
Several years after graduation, I was working as a teller at a local bank. Every afternoon at about the same time, this very attractive young lady walked across the lobby and out the door. After several days, I motioned her over to my teller's station and asked her for a date. To my delight, she accepted. She turned out to be Judy Houston, Humes Class of 1954, whom I had not known in school. We have been married for 42 years with a daughter, a step-son and a grandson and she is still that same attractive lady.
And finally, a toast to our classmates who are no longer with us, but await that big, final reunion with us once again together.
I remember the night that I, Betty Chipman, Johnny Dunwoody, Herbert Howell and some others I can't remember stuffed ourselves into Herbert's father's car and went to the Krystal on Summer Avenue for burgers, fries and cokes. It was such a treat because we usually had to ride the bus. After we placed the order we pooled our change, even the pennies from our penny loafers. Hebert gave it all to the car hop and said "keep the change." She thanked us profusely, but returned a couple of minutes later to tell us that we had short-changed her 78cents. Herbert promised to return on Friday and bring her a dollar (which he did). She paid the difference.
About Elvis: When Elvis first started to Humes, he was really poor. The office sent a letter home about a classmate who couldn't come to school when the weather was bad because he had holes in his shoes, had no warm coat and needed a haircut. It didn't name him, but we all knew who it was. My mom gave me a whole dollar (WOW!) and a jacket she had bought for my brother Bill (she explained that she would get Bill another jacket when my dad got some overtime). I was so proud to take the jacket and the money to the office. My parents had hearts of gold.
The day we got our annuals, I asked Elvis to sign mine. I handed him my pen and he said he didn't do well with a pen so he signed it with a pencil. He wrote "To Lil, With Love, El". No, we were not close friends - I guess it was quick and easy.
I didn't sell my annual in 1978 when an offer came in the mail, but shortly thereafter it disappeared. My daughter thought that her brother might have sold it. In 1990 he said to me "Mama, do you want me to tell you what happened to your annual?" I nearly flipped because I thought he was going to confess he sold it. He explained that when he was in the 10th grade, he told some friends that I had graduated with Elvis and they didn't believe him. He took my annual to school to show them. He was driving a little hatchback and had left the back open. It rained; the annual got wet; the pages swelled up; and Elvis' penciled autograph faded out. He was so scared he threw it in a dumpster on the way home. My daughter still thinks he sold it, but I don't think he could have made up a story like that.
I'm sorry I didn't get to any of the reunions. I married a wonderful, shy guy. I didn't want to go alone. I do miss those wonderful days at Dear Ole Humes.
My son Robert Allen Mitchell is writing these memories down for me. I can no longer write since I had a stroke, but I still have wonderful memories of Humes, Elvis and some interesting events in my life.
The eleventh grade was a very significant timed for me. I was chosen to be Miss Moss' helper and I became great friends with Phyllis Trabish. I also helped Miss Richmond and Mr. Brindley in the school office during the 11th and 12th grades.
My father, Robert G. Horne, Sr., worked for the L & N Railroad and my mother, Beatrice Simmons Horne, was a housewife. We lived at Faxon and Stonewall. Elvis Presley and I were good friends and he liked to come over to my house because my mother would make him toasted cheese sandwiches and his beloved peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
After graduation, when Elvis was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer, I received a phone call from Miss Ginny Allensworth asking me to come over to Humes and help Elvis with his English because he had been invited to sing on the Ed Sullivan Show. I laughed and said, "Miss Ginny, Elvis wouldn't listen to me when we were in school and I doubt if he would listen to me now."
I did meet Elvis at Humes and he agreed to let me coach him. After talking for a while, he said, "Well, if you are so intent on helping me, why don't you come to New York, too, to be sure I do it right." I ended up backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show and got to see Elvis perform.
I worked for Tennessee Governor Frank Clement. His wife, Anna Bell Clement, was the only other woman in his office. In 1960, I went to Chicago to see John F. Kennedy accept the democratic nomination for President. I was also in Dallas, Texas in November, 1963 when he was assassinated.
In 1966, I met and married my husband Don Allen Mitchell of Grenada, Mississippi. We had twin boys, Donald Mark and Robert Allen in 1968. Don died of a heart attack in 1985. We only had 18 years together.
When my son Robert Allen was 29, he needed a kidney transplant. My Humes friends came through for us during that stressful time. They had a benefit at Decatur Trinity Christian Church. It was a great success and he has had his new kidney for 7 years. We want to thank all of you again who helped make that possible.
I love all my Humes friends and I won't forget how wonderful you are.
When I finished the sixth grade at Gordon Elementary, my family moved out off the Humes District. My dad was able to get a school transfer so I could attend Humes High School and off I went for the next six years of school.
We had a great principal, Mr. Brindley, and excellent teachers. Having so many different classes was difficult at first, but everyone was friendly and that helped a lot.
I met a special friend, Betty Hall, in the 7th grade and we have stayed friends all these years. We keep in touch regularly. Betty and her husband, Francis Bradley, are a wonderful couple.
I enjoyed being a member of the Glee Club in the 12th grade. Miss Alexander, our music teacher, worked really hard teaching us to sing "The Lord's Prayer" for our graduation program. Thanks to her we did really well. I was so proud of our group that night!
The National Honor Society had a talent show at the school. We had many performances by our classmates. The winner of the talent show sang and played "Old Shep." His name was Elvis Presley. Little did we know Elvis would become so famous.
In 1956, I went to the Overton Park Shell to hear a country western group and Elvis sang and played the guitar. I enjoyed it very much and said, if Elvis got the right manager, he would do real well.
My favorite recording of Elvis is "Memories." I enjoy all his gospel music, his Christmas songs and many others.
When Elvis passed away in 1977, it was hard to believe at first. Elvis and other classmates were too young to have already left us. But they all gave us wonderful memories.
To those who have worked on our reunions through the years, we appreciate all the hard work you have done for us. We have truly had the best reunions! Our own Vernon Yarbrough and his excellent band have been there to keep us moving on the dance floor. Everyone is very friendly and caring. It is lots of fun to laugh and talk with our classmates and catch up on what has happened since the last time we were together. That's what makes the reunions special for all of us! I'm looking forward to the next one.
Mom, Dad, my brothers (George and Richard) and I moved from South Memphis to North Memphis in 1946. I went to Gordon, 6th and Guthrie, 7th and 8th grades.
My principal at Guthrie, Mr. T. C. Brindley, was transferred to Humes when I started there in the 9th grade. He called everyone by name. I found it hard to believe that anyone could remember the names of so many people. He was amazing and I liked him very much.
My best friend was Verna "Dockie" Faverty. She was my neighbor so we walked to school together. I loved her family. My next door neighbor was a boy named Dub Vincent, who graduated from Humes in 1950. He was my brother George's good buddy. He was the only boy I ever loved. I never dated anyone but him. He worked at the GM Parts Warehouse until he went into the Army in 1952.
Miss Kennedy was a favorite teacher. She taught me how to plan and cook meals and how to sew. I am thankful to her because I have used those skills in raising my own family. I never had any complaints about my cooking and I made most of my 3 daughters clothes when they were going to school.
Miss Scrivener was my home room teacher. (I had her sister for History at Guthrie. They were both good teachers.) On the last day of class, she asked if anyone wanted to sing or perform. Elvis got up and entertained us. That was the first time I heard him sing. After he became famous and Elvis collectors started sending offers; I finally gave in and sold my Year Book to someone in Florida.
Exciting things were always happening in Miss Lochrie's Cosmetology class. One girl got her ear cut pretty badly while getting her hair cut by another student. I think that student flunked hair cutting. There were lots of girls who ended up with green hair when they used too many chemicals. I passed the state boards, but I never worked professionally as a beautician. I later used those skills on my family.
Two days before graduation, I married my sweetheart, Dub. He had a 10 day leave from the Army; so the day after graduation we left for South Carolina where he was stationed. He didn't want me to work so I became a housewife and concentrated on taking good care of my family. It has been a very rewarding life.
We came back to Memphis in late 1954 and Dub went back to work at the GM Parts Division. When they closed that warehouse in 1972, we were transferred to Cincinnati where I still live. It's home to me and two of my daughters; one daughter lives in Bartlett, TN. My Mom lived with me the last 15 years of her life. She died last year at 87.
I lost Dub 9 years ago after 41 years of marriage. I really miss the boy next door.