LOOKING BACK PAGE 5
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: Juanita Richardson; Betty Yarbrough; Larry Curle; James Rotenberry; Bonnie Sexton; Marilyn Wade; Frank Greer; JoAnn Van Blake; Don Clatworthy; James Cunningham; Johnny Dunwoody.
Humes Memories of Juanita Richardson-Mitchell
During my years at Humes I lived with my mother and baby brother in Lauderdale Courts. My mother worked at St. Josephís Hospital as a lab technician. I lived near Georgia Avgeris and Elvis Presley , as well as many other students from Humes.
Prior to entering Humes in the 7th grade, I went to Christine Grammar School. My best friends were Mattie Rainey, Norma Blankenship (Ď52) and Rachel Bailey (Ď52).
Shirley Loskove was also a good friend.
Mattie rode the bus to Humes every day and would arrive fairly early. Shirley and I walked together chatting happily along the way. In good weather, we would visit outdoors before class, but when the weather got chilly or rainy we would go to the cafeteria and meet with other friends. Mattie and I spent most of our free time away from school visiting each other.
My favorite teachers were Jennie Allensworth, Mildred Schrivener and Katie Belle Conyers. Coach Taylor was in charge of the Study Hall. I never stayed in there. He let me go to the Library or to some other class for additional study.
Miss Conyers( Home Economics) taught me a lesson I will never forget. I was sewing a red corduroy jumper. I had carefully cut it out and pieced it together. She walked by and told me to stop and try it on - in front of a mirror. I did so, and noticed something was VERY wrong. Half of the top of the dress was one shade of red and the other half was a darker shade. She made me rip the entire dress apart and re-cut the bodice, making sure that both halves were cut with the nap going the same way. As manager of the Craft and Fabric Department at our local Walmart for the last 21 years, I always warn my customers not to make that mistake!
Pep rallies and football games were particularly fun special events. Some of my other activities were Senior Y-Teens, T&I Club and FHA.
I loved roller skating at Rainbow Skating Rink. Gene Bernard taught me how to skate, so I wouldnít kill myself, and Perry Dannelley skated with us quite a bit. During the summer we would play basketball on the playground at Christine School or go to the park. I worked on the weekends and during the summer. I was a soda jerk and clerk at Walgreens and a clerk at W.T. Grantís.
mate of Elvis and a classmate of his dad would end up friends in a small town in Illinois?
Another memory was very painful - physically! Before graduation we had a class picnic at Maywood. It was overcast and we went swimming and spent the entire day outdoors having a wonderful time. This was another one of those "lifetime learning experiences"- I learned that you can get seriously sunburned on a cloudy day! By the time graduation arrived, I had huge blisters, many the size of silver dollars or larger, all over my shoulders and back. The graduation gown was horribly heavy and hot - and I was really miserable. The moment the ceremony was over, I took my aching body home!
About Elvis: Since Elvis lived near by, I did see him quite a bit, but we werenít close friends. We were in the same homeroom and had a class together in the 12th grade. I remember one funny story. We were invited to a weiner roast at Mattieís house. I rode with Elvis and his friends because they didnít know where she lived. When we arrived, Mattieís dad was "supervising" the festivities. When Elvis got out of the car and started, well, being his usual nutty self by taking off a silly floppy hat and slapping it against his leg and dancing around to the music, MattieĎs dad was not terribly amused. He was sure that Elvis was drunk. We convinced "Dad" that Elvis wasnít under the influence; he was just "normally" that way!
After Elvis became well known, I saw him in Lowensteinís Department Store. I didnít want to bother him ( I figured that enough people were doing that already) so I walked on by. Then I heard him say "What! Arenít you speaking these days?" I turned and said "Sure- I just figured you wouldnít want to be spoken to!" He laughed and said "My friends will ALWAYS be my friends." We had a nice chat, right there in the middle of the store. It was nice to catch up.
After high school I met my future husband, Don Mitchell, in Sunday School. He was stationed at Millington Naval Air Station. He became a career serviceman. After we married, we moved briefly to Rhode Island and then back to Memphis, where our daughters, Lita and Edith, were born. Then we lived in a house on the beach for several years in Norfolk, VA. Our next stop was San Diego, California, where Don made several cruises. Our son, Ken, was born in California.
Don left the Navy briefly about 1964 and we moved to Kansas, his childhood home for one winter. Don was offered a job with McDonnell Douglas as a tech rep on the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft, attached to the Air Force; so back to military life we went. Don served his first tour in Vietnam while we stayed in Florida. We then went to Japan for 5 years, a tour full of travel and experiences we will never forget.
All of my children live within an hour and a half and we get together frequently. In a strange twist of fate, one of the friends I made in Pittsfield was Kathleen Stout. She was older than me, and we were related by marriage through our kids. Turns out, she was a classmate of Elvisí dad in grade school near Tupelo, Mississippi. After all those years, living all over the world, whatís the odds that a class
Itís a small world after allÖ
Humes Memories of Betty Yarbrough-Rotenberry
Starting to school in Memphis in the fall of Ď48 was a scary experience. My family moved here from way out in the country in Mississippi. I had more classmates in my 8th grade class at Humes than I had in the whole school I came from. I was the 4th of five girls. My older sisters had graduated before we came to Memphis. We moved around the city several times, but I always went back to Humes even if I had to ride for an hour and transfer. My little sister didnít care, she would just go to the closest school.
I remember Miss Mormanís class; guess it was because I didnít know one musical note from another and still donít. That was the only class I had with Elvis Presley.
He brought his guitar to class and sang "Keep Those Cold Icy Fingers Off of Me". He probably never sang it again after the reception he got from her.
If I had a favorite teacher, it was Miss Kennedy. I didnít learn much about cooking, but I did learn the basics of sewing. Later I made some of mine and my daughters clothes, including her dance costumes.
One of my best friends was Norma Garner; we double-dated and did about everything together. In the 11th grade we had a lot of fun times. We would write our own notes, skip school and go downtown to see all the first run movies. When we finally got caught writing our own notes, we just stayed out all day. I knew where my aunt hid her key; we would to her house and watch TV until time to go downtown to see a movie. Another thing Norma and I liked to do was to go to other schools during the day and pretend we were students there. We would attend their special events, too. We got caught a few times, but it was fun.
I stopped skipping school in the 12th grade when I started dating James Rotenberry. He would have told my mother and dad. He took me to my first dance, the Junior- Senior Prom, after we were married in March, 1953. He always went to the proms and he wasnít about to go without me.
Norma and I are still great friends. She comes to Memphis and we go to Florida in the Spring and a cruise in the Fall with my church group.
I enjoy going to the class reunions and seeing people I never get to see otherwise.
Remembering William Larry Curle
As a close friend of many members of the Humes High Class of 1953, I take the liberty to recall some fond memories of my dear friend, Larry Curle. I first met Larry at the August, 1951, tryouts for varsity football. That was Larryís junior year. He was in competition with other outstanding players for the starting right end position; he made it. Larry and I became fast friends that year for many reasons. Back in those days there were defined districts for each school. We both lived out of the Humes district; in fact, we both lived in the South Side High School district. I rode the 13 Lauderdale-Waldorf bus to school, which passed by Larryís house at Latham and Lucy. He invited and I accepted the offer to get off the bus at his house and ride on to Humes with him in his car.
Larry was starting right end and I was at right halfback. There was a play we used successfully on many occasions named "quick to right end outside with a lateral." Larry was to catch the quarterbackís pass then lateral the ball back to me before turning downfield to block. On one occasion the play was called on the other teamís 20-30 yard line; Larry caught the pass as planned and quickly made a lateral pass to me. When he turned downfield to block, there was no one between me and an easy walk to the end zone. Larry said, "Why didnít you tell me I was clear so I could score for a change?" I responded, "Larry, youíre suppose to take care of ME!" We laughed about that play many times. Larry broke up many plays with his aggressive defensive play, and he was steady as a rock on offense.
Our times off the playing field were more enjoyable, though not more fun. Most of our tales are sworn to secrecy, so I canít put them in writing. Larry and I had several classes together, and though we were equals at cutting up in class, he always made better grades. During his senior year Larry and I had Miss Mossí 5th period American Problems class together with Elvis Presley. One day Miss Moss got so fed up with Larry and me she told us to take the rest of the day off and go to the athletic room. She allowed Elvis to tag along.
The three of us went riding in Larryís red 1940 Studebaker that didnít have a reverse gear. During our ride around town, we went somewhere to get Elvisí guitar; he sat in the backseat playing and singing. Larry and I were both impressed with his songs, although I was more impressed, I think. Larry was also a talented singer.
We talked about the upcoming talent show where Larry and I were appearing with several boys doing gymnastic things. Elvis said, "Iíll warm them up for you."
When that night came, he did warm them up! After a couple of his scheduled songs, the audience response demanded he sit on the apron and sing a few more. The show really finished when Elvis did, but we went on and performed our act without much distinction.
When Marcelle and I returned to Memphis in 1956 after my two years in the Army, Larry and June Johnson (Humes class of 1954) were married. We moved about two blocks away from them in North Memphis. His son, Mike, was about the same age as our first child. His second child, Joni, was born a couple of years later. We visited with Larry and June almost daily for many years, until developments changed our lives; but we remained friends. Joni worked in our law offices for a couple of years and she could always find time to ask about some of the "old days with Larry."
Larryís last days were really tough; but thanks to June, who stood by him like an angel with love and affection, he passed in a peace that we never dreamed of when we were kids. I truly miss all our deceased friends from the Class of 1953, but with Larry, maybe a little more.
George and Marcelle Blancett, Humes Class of 1954
Remembering James Rotenberry by Betty Yarbrough-Rotenberry
James and I met in the 10th grade. He was so cocky and sure of himself. I thought at the time, I would NEVER date him ; but then I had never dated any boys from Humes. I changed my mind at the beginning of our senior year. He had a car and I needed a ride to the Humes-South Side football game; so I went to the game with him. We hit it off and became engaged at Thanksgiving and married on March 8, 1953. We had 3 children in 6 years - 2 boys and a girl.
James worked for E.I. Dupont for 33 years and also had a laundry business and rental properties in Memphis and at Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas. He stayed very busy.
We went to Hawaii for 2 weeks for our 15th anniversary. We also took lots of short trips following the Old Miss football games. Every year he spent part of his vacation going deer hunting.
We built our present home in 1986 on 10 acres in Shelby Forrest. We both loved the peace and quiet of the country. When he retired in 1990, we traveled all over the U.S. and saw everything from the East Coast to the West Coast and Key West, Florida to Canada. It was a wonderful time in our lives. We loved to travel together.
After James got sick in 1994, we didnít travel much for a while. He spent 6 months in the hospital. As he got better and had a good year, we would start out on a trip and not really have anything in mind. We would look at the map at night and decide which way to head the next morning. We called home every few days to check in and make sure everything was o.k. and report on our progress.
We lost a son in October of 1996; that was a very difficult time for us. You donít expect a child to die before you do.
James always wanted to go to Alaska, so in 1998 we spent 17 days on a great cruise and land tour. That was our last long trip. We did go on a few more short trips by ourselves so we could set our own pace.
We have 6 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter who was 8 months old when James died. He did get to enjoy her for a while. We were married for almost 48 years. Itís been nearly 4 years since Jamesí death. My grandson, his wife and daughter have lived with me since then. I am selling my present home and building a home in Arlington. Itís time to make a new start without all the memories. I still miss him very much.
Remembering Bonnie Sexton Music
I want to take this opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings about my deceased wife, Bonnie. This will be very difficult for me because I feel anything I write will fall far short in describing the woman she was and what she meant, not only to me, but to so many other people.
I got to know Bonnie during our junior year at Humes High School. Although we never had a class together, I knew who she was. One winter day, while walking through the hall, I spotted her standing alone and stopped to talk to her. She was a petite girl with dark hair and big, beautiful eyes. After that we met just about every day for several months.
The weather became warmer and the call of cork ball sent me outside to play with Jim Humphries, Herbert Howell, Robert Bland, Terrell Cantrell, Ed Robinson and Bill Tatum. Well, that didnít last very long because Bonnie didnít follow. I went back inside to find her. I am not sure if it was me or my car that attracted her, but I now had a real girlfriend. It didnít take me long to see how sincere she was and I began to have deep feelings for her.
Several of her friends and one teacher tried to dissuade her from seeing me. Miss Allensworth loved Bonnie and I am sure she meant well; however, through it all Bonnie continued to date me. We became engaged and married in December, 1953.
Our next 30 years together were wonderful. We had a daughter , Debbie and a grandson, Jason. It has been 20 years since her death, but many wonderful memories remain. Debbie and Jason owe a great deal to Bonnie for the influence she had in their development. The successes that both have enjoyed in their lives and careers are due largely to the ground work laid by Bonnie. They display traits that I always admired in her.
Bonnie had a very successful career with the Post Office before retiring in 1975. Until her death in July, 1984, I did not realize how many lives she touched. So many people wrote or came by expressing sympathy to me and admiration for Bonnie. They shared stories about their relationships with Bonnie and how she impacted their lives.
I married my present wife, Ginny, in 1987. She is a wonderful woman who understands Bonnie will always have a place in my heart.
Humes Memories of Marilyn Wade-Simpson
I grew up in the small town of Booneville, MS. I was in the 8th grade when we moved to Memphis to the Highland Heights area and I finished the year at Treadwell . My dad went to work as a butcher in a grocery store downtown near Court Square and my mother went to work for a company that made seat covers. My sister, who was 4 years younger than me, and I were soon joined by another sister. I was babysitter for both my sisters during the summer.
We then moved to Forrest Ave. close to the Water Works Plant. I spent my high school years at Humes which was about 5 blocks away. I usually walked to Shirley Cottonís house near the corner of Jackson and Manassas and we finished the walk to school together. George Grimes joined us in the 12th grade.
I donít remember many teachers, but I did enjoy English, Spanish and shorthand classes. The Spanish teacher had an all Spanish dinner at her house and I was supposed to bring Spanish rice. ( I didnít even know what it was). I took a number of office courses, because I wanted to be a "Della Street." As it turned out, I did work two years for a law firm in the Columbian Mutual Tower Building.
I donít have too many memories of Elvis, but I do have his signature in my yearbook. I remember him at the Annual Minstrel Show. I invited my boyfriend, Jim Simpson, who was pretty bored until Elvis walked out on the stage with a chair in one hand and his guitar in the other; then he got interested. Elvis put his foot on the chair and started playing. The PA system was poor and we couldnít hear his voice very clearly, but we were impressed. Jim likes to claim that he made some comment like, "That boy will go far."
My sister once double-dated with Elvis and his girlfriend. They went to the Fairgrounds to ride the roller coaster. Elvis borrowed 25 cents from my sister for one of the rides. After he became famous we used to tease her about writing him and asking for interest on her "loan."
Sometime after graduation, I remember that Jim and I, along with Shirley Cotton and George Grimes, made a low-budget trip to New Orleans. We got there during the middle of the night, parked at a service station and tried to sleep a couple of hours. Then we used their rest rooms to wash our faces and brush our teeth. I especially remember those spooky cemeteries with the graves above the ground.
I also remember making a trip with Carolyn Jones and John Davis. Jim and John worked at the Commercial Appeal at the same time.
In November, 1953, Jim and I were married after 4 years of dating. When he graduated from Memphis State, he entered the Navy Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island. Upon being commissioned in the Navy, our first tour of duty was in the "Paradise" of Hawaii for 2 years. Hawaii became a state while we were there. In addition, we have lived in Charleston, S.C., 3 times; Groton, Connecticut, 3 times; Virginia, 3 times; and California, 3 years.
After riding in a submarine and seeing the movie "Run Silent, Run Deep," Jim applied for Officer Submarine Training. We moved to Groton for his six-month training course. He served on diesel-electric submarines as well as nuclear powered Polaris Ballistic Missile submarines. He had command of his own submarine, which operated out of Groton. During our tour of duty in California, he had command of the Navy Astronautics Group which operated the Navyís satellite navigation system. His last years were spent on various operational staffs in Norfolk, VA. After serving in the Navy for 30 years, he retired as a Captain while we were living in Virginia Beach, VA.
I worked for the FBI while in Hawaii, thanks to a recommendation from one of the attorneys in Memphis, who had been an FBI agent. While in Charleston, S.C. , I worked for Lockheed Aircraft at the Polaris Missile Base. I also worked at the Charleston Police Department and for Palmer Business College.
Our daughter, Jennifer, was born while we were in Newport News, VA. I didnít work after that.
We have lived in Conyers, GA for the past 15 years. We moved here from Virginia Beach to be near our daughter, when our grandsons Kyle, 16, Christopher, 14, and Matthew, 12, began making their appearances. They live 5 houses down the street.
In November, 1953, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. The years have flown by so fast.
Jim and I have always been faithful members of the Church of Christ, no matter where we lived. We keep up with the friends we made over the years from all our churches and our tours in the Navy through Christmas cards.
The Lord has truly been mindful of us and blessed us in our travels and in our journey through life.
Humes Memories from Nancy Fisher-Greer and Harvey Franklin Greer, Sr.
Since I canít get Frank to write his memories, here goes! I was in the Class of 1952, but should have been in the Class of 1953. Mom thought it would be best for my brother, Charlie, and me to be only one year apart in school; so she started me at St. Maryís until I turned 6, then transferred me to Guthrie. She got fooled though, because the year I graduated my youngest brother, Byron, started in the 1st grade!
I went to Guthrie through the 8th grade, then on to Dear Ole Humes. My favorite person was the Principal, Mr. Tom C. Brindley. I looked on him as a grandfather. He was great! My grandmother lived in South Memphis, as did Mr. B. , and many times he would pick me up and give me a ride to school when I had to stay at her house overnight. Sure canít see that happening in this day and time; can you?
Frank went to Gordon and then to Humes. His big buddies were David Francis and James Thomas; and I think, most of the girls in that class. Through the years he has kept good friendships with Betty Diepholz, Shirley Ruleman and JoAnn Liberto.
Frank had to work at his dadís famous Greerís Sandwich Shop (best bar-b-q in town) so he didnít have lots of after school fun times.
We married in 1960, and have 2 wonderful boys: Harvey Franklin (Chip) Greer, Jr. and Charles Houston (Hugh) Greer. Chip has 2 daughters and a son and Hugh has a son and a daughter. They both live in Cordova with their families.
Frank had a great career as a CPA (retired now) and has been an active fan of the University of Memphis (U of M) Tigers for many years. He graduated from Memphis State (MSU) with a degree in Accounting, and received the first Masters in Accounting degree ever given. He served as President of the Alumni Association and was chairman of the Annual Fund drive for 2 years. MSU became U of M.
It has been great to belong to the 1952 and 1953 classes because we get to go to a reunion 2 years in a row, skip 3 and start all over again. I donít think we have missed any! We are looking forward to the next ones.
I just wish kids these days could have all the wonderful times we had. We were never afraid to walk to Crump Stadium for a football game, to school , or be out after dark. The dances at Guthrie Park , Dave Wells Community Center and St. Maryís were always fun and we didnít miss any of them. We had a lot of great dancers at Humes. We never had to worry about drugs and other bad influences. We couldnít get into too much trouble as all the neighbors watched out for us as much as our parents did. Do you know neighbors like that today? I lived on the dead-end section of Kney St. and it would take 30 minutes or so just to walk to the corner - everyone was so friendly; I had to stop and visit along the way.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!
Greetings from Jo Ann Van Blake-Brown
Terry and I are so happy to be a part of the Humes alumni. We both enjoyed our years at Humes and have many fond memories of friends and teachers. We love coming to the class reunions and hope that we can continue to do so. Terry, Class of 1952, and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on September 23, 2003, at the First Baptist Church in Bolivar, TN.
I worked at GMAC for 10 years and then became partners in The Purple Daisy, a dress shop in Bolivar, for 23 years. We have lived in Bolivar for 40 years. Terry retired from a manufacturing plant.
Both of our daughters are teachers. Holly, our oldest, teaches at St. Maryís in Memphis. Amy is a math teacher in Bolivar and also sells real estate. Her 3 year old son, Taylor, is our only grandchild and is already spoiled rotten.
Terry and I were Christmas shopping in Memphis before we moved to Bolivar and as we were returning to our car, we ran into Elvis Presley. We exchanged greetings and pleasantries. By that time he was pretty famous. I commented as we left that he knew our names. Terry said, "Well, I knew his name!"
Remembering Donald Clatworthy
From Rose Howell-Klimek:
Donald was like a great, big teddy bear. He was a sweet guy. The guys were always kidding him or pulling pranks on him. He always laughed with them. He drove his old car like a maniac; I only rode with him once.
From Ken Hearn:
I remember his sense of humor was bigger than he was! He was always joking, even at "two-a-day" football practices in August - not normally a fun time. At that time he was driving a Crosley, one of those little bitty cars ( I donít know how he fit into it). One day after practice, while he was still in the shower, several of us (who shall remain unnamed) picked up his car, which was parked in front of the school, and carried it into the front hallway of Humes. He thought it was funny, too. We had to help him get it out of the school building. The first date that Ann Duncan and I had was to the Optimist Club Picnic, and we tripled- dated with Clatworthy and his date and Bill and Becky Bishop.
Remembering James (Jimmy) Cunningham
From Ken Hearn:
Jimmy was one of the Guthrie kids. He and I were best friends for several years. We were in the Cub Scouts together and often spent time at each otherís house after school. He was probably the smartest boy in our Guthrie group; but, not as smart as Joyce Record or Carol Waldrip. We drifted apart at Humes, as I was interested in sports and he was not. I never saw him after graduation, but heard he had become an M.D. and had a family in Mississippi before he died.
From Larry Holmes:
Jimmy and I were close at Humes. I was there from the 7th grade and he came with the Guthrie bunch in the 9th grade. He lived 4 blocks from my house and we visited often. He was into lifting weights and working out after school and I had equipment in my garage. He was also much into magic and "The Great Cunningham" practiced avidly and gave a number of magic shows to different groups. Chemistry was his favorite subject and the chemistry teacher was his favorite teacher.
Jimmy was diligent at whatever he chose to do. He went to Med School and became a brain surgeon. I went west to Texas and he went south to bigger and better things. He was a terrific guy.
From Dennis Wilson:
I, also, remember "The Great Cunningham." I attended a few of his magic shows. He was a great actor. He lived on Ayers, just off Lee, where I lived.
Remembering Johnny Dunwoody
From Rose Howell-Klimek:
Johnny was a cute guy who was a favorite among his friends.
From Ken Hearn:
Johnny and I were not real close in school; in fact, we competed for the office of President of the Student Council, and he won. He had a winning personality and was much more at ease meeting people than I. I learned a lot from him in that campaign. He was a tremendously tough guy. We played football together and he was a tough tackler.
After graduation, Johnny, Bill Parks and I were hanging out at Guthrie Park one day talking about what we were going to do. Jobs were hard to find; so we decided to join the Marines. On July 29, 1953, the three of us went off to Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina for four months. He was quiet and efficient and kept out of trouble; unlike Bill and I, who seemed to always be in some mess or other.
After Boot Camp, Johnny and Bill were assigned to school at Quantico, Virginia, and then to the 1st Marine Division in Korea. They returned from Korea, and were stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Upon discharge in 1956, I believe Johnny returned briefly to Memphis , married Patty Mitchell, and then moved to southern California.
Iím not sure what his occupation was, but he worked in the aerospace industry for many years. I know he had at least one daughter. When he retired he moved to Provo, Utah, I think, and after a few years Patty died. He came to one reunion after that, and then a short time later, I learned he had suffered a heart attack and died.
He was a good friend, a smart guy and a tough competitor. He is missed.
From Lillian Jenne-Sommerfield:
On graduation day, Johnny and I learned from the Commercial Appeal that we had won "The Danforth Award." We had no idea what that was. We were excited ! Johnny said "Maybe itís a $1,000 or even more." I really hoped he was right, cause I could have used the money. Well, it ended up with each of us receiving a book about succeeding in life entitled "I Dare You". Oh, well, so much for the $1,000. We had a good laugh about our "great" awards. Johnny was (as the kids would say today) a real cool kid. I really liked him.