LOOKING BACK PAGE 6
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: James Thomas; Gloria Trout; Rose Howell; Mattie Rainey; David Francis; Monte Wener; Vernon Graham; Georgia Avgeris; Lillian Jenne; Doris Wilburn; Suzanne Martin; Fannie Crowder; Phyllis Trabish; Bill Bishop; Shirley Ruleman; Shirley Hubanks.
Before, During, and After Humes by James (Jim) Thomas
I had to rack my old gray matter to come up with events from my early life. Thanks to you who shared your memories already , I can now recall some of the old days.
I spent 8 years at Guthrie School along with Bobby Perry, Monte Wener, Betty Diepholz, Arma Jean Hewlett, Marjorie Paullus, Renee (Sissy) Warmack, Vernon Graham, and many others I can’t seem to recall at this time.
In my neighborhood, near Chelsea and Breedlove, we had a group of guys who played various sports. Bobby Perry ( probably the best baseball player in North Memphis), Kenneth Wray, Johnny Martin, Billy Paul Warmack, Vernon Graham and I were among those who got together to play baseball, football, cork ball and other games we made up. We played a game similar to cork ball, using a tennis ball instead of a cork- saving on our parent's adhesive tape. One of my hobbies was photography. I still have many snapshots of snowball fights at recess or lunch at Guthrie. We had to improvise a lot of our playtime toys and activities so we wouldn’t get bored. We would have thought we had died and gone to Heaven if we had just a few of the electronic, motorized toys and gizmos kids have today. Of course, most of today’s kids lack the creativity that we possessed.
When I was 12 years old, I had a Press-Scimitar paper route in the afternoon. The papers were delivered at the intersection of Chelsea and Breedlove and I had to deliver them near Chelsea and Watkins. That was a long, long bike ride.
I was like so many others , when I started to Humes - wary of the size of the school and afraid I wouldn’t find my classes. I don’t remember much about the 9th grade. Johnnie Devine and I hung out together in Spanish class. Miss Schroll did everything possible to help us, but we only survived.
I wanted to try out for football in my sophomore year, but my father passed away in July before school started; it became necessary for me to work and help out my mother. I didn’t even talk to the coach about trying out until my senior year. I had gotten things in order at home, so I was free to play- if I made the team. Coach Rube Boyce would not let me even try out, nor would he give me an explanation why I couldn’t try out. That ended any thoughts I had of playing football at Humes.
I really liked ROTC. I was made an NCO, and later became a platoon leader. My first sponsor was Helen Hartsfield. When I was promoted to Captain, my sponsor was Billie Mae Chiles. She was the nicest, sweetest girl and was the only girl at Humes I ever dated. There were other nice girls there; but I was so shy, I could never muster up enough nerve to ask any of them for a date. I remember the parades down Main Street on Armistice Day, as it was called then. We would always win some award. I was also on the ROTC rifle team. I enjoyed going from school to school and competing with other ROTC rifle teams in Memphis.
One of the subjects I enjoyed most was drafting with Mr. Walter Hiltpold. He taught me quite a lot in the 3 years I was in his class. I also enjoyed History with Miss Schrivener; it was one of my double majors in college.
Some other kids I remember from Humes are Frank Greer, David Francis, George Grimes, Larry Holmes, Mike Henderson and Rose Howell. I spent a lot of time with Frank Greer on and off campus. I remember his pleasant home on Faxon, and his sweet mother. She was a joy to be around.
ELVIS: I remember Elvis from Humes; but we were not close friends. I went to see his concert in Baton Rouge in 1975. I ran into Red West backstage and he took me to see Elvis. After a nice chat, my friend and I were invited to their hotel for a visit. Elvis’ entourage had reserved the entire top floor of the hotel and I must say, those folks knew how to party. We had a great time.
After graduation, I married, joined the service and spent 13 months in Korea. I spent the remainder of my service time in Texas. I graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, stayed there and settled down. I attended Law School at Loyola in New Orleans and did graduate work in Criminal Justice at the University of Virginia. I am also a graduate of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. My career in Baton Rouge included service with the District Attorney’s Office (20+ years), the Public Defender’s Office (8 years) and teaching at LSU (8 years).
My current wife, Carole, and I have been married over 30 years. We retired to the country near Magnolia, Mississippi ( a town of 2000 residents) over six years ago and have loved every minute of it. We spend our spare time working on community projects, participating in the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, The Pike County Historical Society, and helped to organize the Southwest Mississippi Genealogy Society. We have done a lot of genealogical research. I have one daughter who has a career in Charleston, South Carolina, as the Public Information Officer for the County of Charleston.
I really missed not being able to attend some of the reunions. I fell through the cracks and no one knew where I was. Rose Howell saw my name on the internet and sent me an e-mail inviting me to our 50th Class Reunion last October. Carole and I enjoyed it very much and are looking forward to the next one.
Rose Howell-Klimek and I have been working together since the reunion establishing a website for our class. It became a reality on February 10, 2004. We have included the memories and some of the pictures that will be in the “Dear Ole Humes, We’ll Always Love You” Memories Book by the Class of ‘53, which Rose is editing. We have been very pleased with the outstanding class participation in this project. We recently went to Memphis and had a nice visit with Rose and her husband, Walt. We all went to Anna’s Steak House to visit the Humes Room and think about those grand old days with other Humes students.
My Memories of the 50’s by Gloria Trout Sawyers
I grew up with two younger brothers, Ronny and Tommy, and we lived in North Memphis at the corner of Seventh and Cedar. Mother was a homemaker and also made costumes for the Gladys Reeves Dance Studio. My father worked at Used Equipment Exchange in the daytime and the Commercial Appeal at night. In the morning, Daddy accompanied me to Leroy Pope School on his bike and then went to his day job on North Third.
In the 7th grade I entered Humes. I walked there and back every day, rain or shine. Other kids, including Jo Ann Van Blake, would join me along the way and then it wasn’t so lonely. I was a little apprehensive at first with the new surroundings and the changing classes, but soon got the hang of the new routine and enjoyed all my high school years. I liked all my teachers, particularly Mrs. Moss, Mrs. Conyers, Miss Marmann, and Miss Alexander. The Glee Club was so much fun and helpful with the musical influences in my life. I looked forward to Christmas Caroling in the halls before the holidays. I also remember the Y-Teen potato chip drives and rarely made it home with an unopened bag.
The after school ROTC sponsor drills and cheerleader practices were always fun and the first part of my long walk home with Jo Ann was very enjoyable, until she left me at her street, and I had to finish the last 6 long blocks alone, sometimes after dark. If we had the time and the money, we would stop at Speedway Drug Store at Thomas and Chelsea for ice cream or a cherry coke.
Jo Ann’s grandmother made our long pleated cheerleader skirts out of wool (pre-polyester days). They were beautiful and we felt so proud to be wearing them. Early in the football season, it poured rain during a game and our skirts shrunk. We were soaking wet and looked ridiculous; so we walked all the way home from Crump Stadium, rather than ride the bus in our condition. It was a long walk! We had to have new skirts made. We laugh about it now. Mr. E. H. Crump, for whom the football stadium was named, came to almost every game and gave each team’s cheerleaders a box of candy before the games started.
During the summers we played at Bickford Park. I remember: the dances at Holy Names and Dave Wells, the Golden Gloves boxing matches, the Roxy Theater, Malone Swimming Pool, "Schmoos", "Kilroy Was Here", autograph books, Porky’s Drive-in, neighborhood ball games in the front yard, playing Rummy at the kitchen table with home made fudge and a bowl of popcorn. Those are great memories.
During the 11th and 12th grades, Mother and I drove to Turrell, Ark. on Saturdays, where I taught dancing to about 35 students. Mother took care of the bookkeeping and made the recital costumes. I alternated picking up Cora Louise and Sissy Davis, who played piano for the studio.
ELVIS: I had 12th grade English with Elvis and recall how nice and polite he was. His hair and clothes were unique and he had his own style (he did it his way) even then. His talent before his fame was already shining and he put all his efforts into his performances at the talent and variety shows and received thunderous applause.
After graduation I went to work at First National Bank and remained close friends with Nona Bass. We attended Harris Memorial Methodist Church and we sang in the choir together (AKA Bass & Trout duo). The first date with my future husband, Andy Sawyers, was at the home of Nona and her husband, David McCoy, during the 1953 Christmas holidays. We were the only people there without dates. We were married the following August and had two children. Andy and David were employed at Lavender Radio Supply and played baseball and softball on the same teams. Andy then worked at Ace Appliance Co. for 30 years until it closed and was with Haverty Furniture Co. when he died in December, 1993.
The class reunions have kept so many of us in touch through the years and I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with the planning committee and the alumni. One of my dearest friends since school is Shirley Ruleman-Palmer. I didn’t get to know her well during our childhood since we lived so far apart and rarely saw each other. I became very close to her and Billie Chiles -Turner while working on the class reunion planning committee. We all miss Billie. She was a driving force in laying the ground work for the reunions, a hard and dedicated worker and good friend to all.
The 50’s were truly the "Good Old Days"!!!
My Humes Memories by Rose Howell-Klimek
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 at The B and J Café, Ralph’s Sundry, Gerber’s Department Store and the Lamar Theater that I missed a lot of sports events and extra curricular activities which I would have liked to attend; but I was never broke.
I had 3 favorite teachers. Miss Fisher saved me from being kicked out of the Honor Society when I got caught leaving school early to attend a Hi Y basketball game. Miss Moss encouraged me to excel in all things. Miss Thompson taught me good basic English skills and how to communicate my ideas in print.
I received a wonderful education which allowed me to pursue a variety of interests. My one regret was I did not take typing. My sister, Doris, 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 should have listened. I had to learn typing as an adult. My best skills are in organizing and planning, not typing.
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 my teachers at Humes.
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 their great Christian youth 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! Carol Kimbrell and Barbara McKenzie were my best friends during high school . Barbara moved to California before she graduated and Carol got married and moved to Las Vegas. Iris Hopps, Jim Music, Frank Greer, David Francis, Jo Ann Hammett, James Thomas, Carolyn Dellinger and Margaret Johnson (class of 52) were other students I knew well. I had a diverse group of friends from Humes and Midtown.
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 for 10 cents. I didn’t think he could afford lunch. 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.
My daughters, Roxanne and Rozanne, went to Hillcrest High School with Elvis’ step brothers. 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 son, Ralph sold seats in our front yard.
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. Our class is special, but not because of Elvis. We were the last innocent generation and have contributed proudly to our county’s prosperity. We are still contributing!
After I raised my children, I graduated from Memphis State and the University of Tennessee, earned an MSW and spent many years working at the Metropolitian Interfaith Association (MIFA) directing many of their social service programs.
Humes Memories of Mattie Rainey-Smith
Dad worked at Ford Motor Company and Mom ran the Rainey Family Grocery Store. The 6 boys and 2 girls in our family took turns working in the store at some time or other while they were growing up. I attended Oakville Elementary and Whitehaven Jr. High.
After I graduated from junior high, my aunt, Yancie Luke, suggested that I take the cosmetology courses at Humes High School and get my license so I could work at her beauty shop. I transferred to Humes in the 10th grade. I had a long bus ride back and forth for 3 years. I was afraid I wouldn’t know anyone and would feel all alone with a bunch of students who had gone to grammar school and junior high together. To my surprise I ran into Kenneth and Joyce Black, who had been my neighbors; and Christine Johnson, whose father had worked with my father at Ford Motor Company. Then a few days later I saw Lewis Pittman from a church camp I had attended. I began to feel at home. I soon began to make other friends.
Aunt Yancie knew Mrs. Lokey, the cosmetology teacher, which helped me adjust faster. Some of the friends I made in that class were: Alma Jean Delk, Janice Lawrence, Frankie Miller, Christine Wilson, Betty Sparks, Peggy Butcher and Betty Beaty. They welcomed me and made me feel good about myself.
Phillis Trabish became a special friend. I lived so far from school, she invited me to spend the night whenever we had to go downtown to see movies that were English assignments. She was a beautiful person inside and out. I would love to see her.
Some other school pals were Juanita Richardson, Rachel Bailey and Norma Jean Blankenship. They often spent the night at my house. We would get up in the middle of the night and make a batch of fudge and eat it all. I met my future husband, Bob Smith, through Juanita . My date and I actually double-dated with Bob and Juanita at the Senior Prom. Ada Lee Thompson and I ran around together after graduation. I was with her when she met her future husband, Eddie Robinson. I would spend the night with her when her parents were out of town. One Sunday morning, we dressed up in heels, hats and gloves and headed for St. Matthew’s Methodist Church in her father’s jeep (which had a missing door). It started storming and we tried to keep out the rain by covering the door opening with an umbrella. We arrived at the church dripping wet, but we went in anyway. We were a sight to behold!
Miss Mildred Scrivener was also a good friend of Aunt Yancie‘s. The Scrivener family owned cabins on Long Boat Key in Florida. Aunt Yancie and her husband, Red , spent at least two weeks with them every year. Miss Scrivener and all of her sisters came to Yancie’s Beauty Shop. We fixed Miss Scrivener’s hair when she went to New York to accompany Elvis to the Ed Sullivan Show. She was a very good teacher. We didn’t have to take semester exams if we did all the work assignments and made A‘s. I did my home work between customers at the beauty shop and I never had to take any exams. I also helped a few other people in the class with their assignments.
I worked at Lowenstein’s during the 10th and 11th grade. I took my state boards after the 11th grade and received my State Hair Dresser License early. I worked at the Madison Circle Beauty Shop that summer and during my senior year. I worked at night at Dobb’s House at the airport for about a year and also did some modeling for the Memphis Hairdresser’s Association which met on Monday nights at the Peabody Hotel.
Even though school and work took up most of my time, I still had a social life. Some of my Humes beaus were Bobby Robbins, Charles Davis, and Herman Morgan. I also dated a lot of boys who did not go to Humes.
Elvis: I never dated Elvis, but we were good friends. I helped him pass a couple of subjects. He came to my house once with some of my other friends and wound up being the life of the party. When I was riding the bus to school every morning, I would usually see Elvis sitting at the corner of Alabama and Poplar, listening to a black man in a chair playing a guitar. He wanted to play and sing like that man. He was a country boy with big dreams. After he became famous he did something to thank every person who ever helped him in any way. I knew his cousin Bill Mann, who was also a hair dresser. He and Elvis were very close.
I have been happily married to Bob since October 8, 1955. We have two boys, one girl and 8 grandchildren. I worked at Yancie’s Beauty Shop for over 20 years and then went to work at Sears after we moved to the other side of town. Bob retired as Deputy Chief of the Memphis Fire Department. I am currently working part time at Sam’s, making memory books for my grandchildren and putting up home-made jams and jellies. We are active members of Grimes Memorial Methodist Church. Our family is truly blessed.
I will always remember my friends at Humes and the good times we had together.
I REMEMBER …………..MR. T. C. BRINDLEY
I remember my first day in the 7th grade at Humes High School. I was a skinny kid, but tall (the tallest kid in my 6th grade class at Christine) and I felt I was going to be OK with those "Big Guys."
There were several "Big Guys"( I don’t believe they were seniors, just bigger than me) who walked the halls with their arms locked together, just daring someone to try and not "hug" the wall. I became a "wall hugger." After several days, I got angry and decided I had as much right to walk down the middle of the hall as anyone else. ..I did…and I was no longer hugging the wall, I was laid up against it.
This incident along with several other "bully tactics" went on until Mr. T. C. Brindley arrived to become our principal. He didn’t "hide out" in his office like the other principal had done. He made himself very visible.
I was lucky enough to witness Mr. Brinkley in action. He came upon a young man who was smoking out by the bicycle parking area. Mr. Brindley walked up and asked him if he knew that Humes had a smoking room. The young man took the cigarette out of his mouth and put it on one of the bicycle seats. As they talked the cigarette burned down close to the leather seat and Mr. Brindley asked him if that was his bicycle and he responded "no." Fast as a bullet, the young man was on the ground looking up….
We ALL looked up to Mr. Brindley. He was tough, but fair and I believe he made Humes a school that we were proud to be a part of…..I was.
Greetings from Monte Wener
I remember my years at Humes very well. I will never forget all the kids and teachers who made it so much fun to be there. I enjoy coming to the reunions and dancing with all the girls and talking to all my friends. Life was so simple then.
I am blessed with a great family- my wife, Ida Leigh; daughters, Sharon Fielder and Cynthia Brown and granddaughter, Magen Felder. Cynthia is a LPGA Golf
Professional in Park City, Utah.
Now that Ida Leigh is retired, we are going on a long trip out west for a month or two. Hope we make it back for the next Humes get together to celebrate the memories book publication.
I have two best memories of Humes.
The first is how many friends I had that I have never forgotten. I went to school with many of them for 12 years, starting at Guthrie. Some of the Guthrie gang were: Arma Jean Hewlett, Davie Lawrence, Carolyn Jones, Betty Diepholz, Barbara Logan, Sidney McKinney, Marjorie Paullus, Beverly Bailey, Kenneth Hearn, Donald Morris, Gene Gann, Renee Warmack, Verna Nell Faverty, Bobby Perry, Kenneth Wray and Suzanne Martin. My best friend in the 10th, 11th, and 12th was Terry Johnson. We had a lot of fun together at Rainbow Skating Rink and East End Skating Rink, along with many of our other classmates, especially girls.
The second is how I found my wife. The Barber sisters, Nancy and Peggy, were usually together and really looked like twins, even though they were 2 grades apart. I first spotted them in the hall when I was in the 10th grade. Even though Nancy was a grade ahead of me, by the 11th grade, I knew that she was the girl for me. In 1952 Terry and I were in the school auditorium watching the Honor Society Induction Program and I pointed her out on the stage and said, "Look up there at that red haired girl- I am going to marry her someday!" My dream came true when we were married on September 18, 1953.
Elvis: One year, I think it was the 10th grade, he sat in front of me in the big study hall. His hair was extra long. We were talking and I asked him why he didn’t get a haircut. He said he had nothing to get one with. I walked around with the cigar box that pencils were stored in and collected enough for him to go to the barber shop. The next day when he sat down in front of me, I asked him why he didn’t get his haircut with the money. He said he did. He only had it trimmed. That was Elvis! I still have my Humes Herald, signed by Elvis. Must be worth a few bucks by now!
My life since leaving school: Nancy and I both retired from E. I. DuPont Chemical Company in December, 1992. She worked there 34 years at various positions, and was the first female supervisor at the Memphis plant. I started as an operator and after 33 years I retired as Production Supervisor of one of the plants at the Memphis site. There were a number of Humes graduates at Dupont: Billy Warmack, Class of ‘52; Robert Bland and James Rotenberry, Class of ‘53; Jean Kelly, Class of ‘55. There were probably others but my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.
We have retired to a canal of the Tennessee -Tom Bigby Waterway. I can fish out in my backyard. We celebrated our 50th Anniversary last year. We have a daughter, Sharon; a grandson, Christopher; and two great- grandchildren, 4 year old Lexie and 3 year old Colby. I recently had knee replacement surgery caused by an accident I had at DuPont years ago. Life is good.
My Wonderful Years at Humes High School
by Georgia Avgeris-Scarmoutsos
My days at Humes High School were a wonderful experience I cherish even today. They were warm and fruitful times, which I enjoyed immensely. In order to properly reflect, I must address the teachers. I could never forget the loving principal, Mr. T. C. Brindley and his assistant, Miss Eleanor Richmond. Miss Alexander, the music teacher, guided me through Glee Club, which assisted me to sing in my church choir for the past 50 years. She was grand! Mrs. Conyers, sewing; Miss Branch, home economics; Miss Allensworth, English; Miss Scrivener, history; and the rest of the faculty were instrumental in guiding me. My business courses enabled me to be my husband’s legal secretary and my brother’s medical receptionist in the years following graduation.
I was most pleased to be Robert Lyles’ ROTC sponsor and to be a Princess in the Cotton Carnival. My sister, Helen, and I worked in the school cafeteria, which paid for our lunches. It helped our family since our parents were poor immigrants from Greece. They were old-fashioned so I was not allowed to date, unless my big brother, Johnny, went too. He tagged along to the ROTC Ball with Robert and me.
Elvis Presley was our neighbor in Lauderdale Courts for many years. He really liked my mother’s homemade hot Greek bread, and ate more of it than I did. Mama liked him, but did not understand the way he dressed- which was mild compared to today’s standards. Elvis worked at Loew’s State and I worked at the Malco, so we exchanged free tickets. We had a lot of fun with that. He made sure I got the best seat available. We had several classes together and in our senior year, we were in the same homeroom. He sat behind me and threw gum wrappers at me to get my attention. He was fine and genuine, and did not bother anyone.
On June 6, 1955, our classmate, Bessie Ghika, married a young man from Corning, New York. My future husband, Manuel Scarmoutsos, came from Corning to the wedding and we met at the reception. We became engaged on August 15, 1955 and married on December 25, 1955! Who says long distance relationships don’t work?
We had three children, Peter, Eve and Andrew. We lost Andrew in a house fire in October, 2000; but we have been blessed with two beautiful grandsons, John and Manuel Andrew.
One never gets over the loss of a child; but much of our therapy came when Manuel and I wrote a humorous book about the law and judges, "Unfrocked & Unashamed" A Collection of Humorous Stories from the Courtroom. The greater part of the proceeds of the sale of this book are for a scholarship fund for poor students in memory of Andrew. Many have responded and the scholarship fund is growing.
Our life in Memphis has had many experiences - a few downs, but mostly ups. As we enter our twilight years, I can’t help but reflect on my tender years at Humes and the many friends I enjoy to this day.
My Memories of Humes by Lillian Jenne-Sommerfield
Most of all I remember the Humes Band. Mary Sanders and I were the best of friends. We always sat on the bus together when the band traveled. We went to the Humboldt Strawberry Festival every year. We really looked forward to that event. We marched in the Roy Rogers Parade down Main Street, then a bunch of us went to the Warner Theater, stopping first at the Carmel Popcorn Store next door. We couldn’t afford lunch and the movie, too. I remember the first Minstrel Show we had at Humes. The entire band blackened their faces and the girls braided their hair. I can’t believe we did all that. It was fun at the time but what a mess! After the first year only the end men blackened their faces. Oh, what memories!
I walked to Gordon Grammar School and Humes most days with a group including Billie Ann Banks and Margaret Johnson (class of 52). 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 my older siblings. Miss Boswell told me that my sister, Esther Louise, would never have done what I did in her class ( I was defending myself from getting my hair pulled.)
Miss Mary Fisher was my favorite teacher. Frank Greer, Nancy Fisher and I were her pets. Mrs. 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 Scrivener 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 at 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 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 Rosemary Theaters, but not to the Suzore. My father said it was in a bad neighborhood. I hung out in the O & S five and Dime Store a lot.
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. Herbert 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 78 cents. Herbert promised to return on Friday and bring her a dollar (which he did). She paid the difference.
It was a wonderful time to be a kid. I enjoyed every minute of it.
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.
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 on November 8, 2000. I have 2 girls and 2 boys and 14 grandchildren, who are the lights of my life.
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. My husband was very shy and I did not wish to go alone. Even though I now have health problems of my own, I have had a truly blessed life. God has been good to me and I am trusting the Lord that my health will improve.
I do miss those special days at Dear Ole Humes.
Remembering Doris Wilburn by Lillian Davis-Hicks
Doris and I were really good friends. Her aunt was married to my brother so we were sort of related. We were in the same grade at Humes so we spent a lot of time together at school. She lived on Loony and I lived on Seventh Street. Since we didn’t live that close, we kept the phone lines busy planning what we were going to do and where we would meet. We went to dances, movies, and football games together. We talked about all the football players, and which ones we would like to date. Doris was a pretty girl with long hair and a great big beautiful smile. She didn’t have any trouble getting boys to like her.
After graduation, I moved to Plymouth, Michigan, and kept in touch with her through her aunt. Whenever I came to Memphis for a visit I always called her. I loved to hear her laugh. She married, had two children, then died of cancer at the age of 29.
She was a special person and I will never forget her.
Greetings from Suzanne Martin-Toth
My husband Bob and I have moved to Meridian, Idaho and have built a home on a horse ranch owned by our youngest son. We plan to have some great adventures in the wide open spaces of the West. We had to move from our property on Holmes Road, right outside of Memphis, when the city decided to widen Holmes Rd. We raised 2 daughters and 3 sons in Memphis. The two older boys have a business called Hubcap Heaven in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our two daughters are still in Memphis. We have 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Seeing the pictures from my old Humes days brought back wonderful memories of many good friends and good times. I enjoyed going to Humes. It was very special. I want to say hello to all my friends. Thanks for inviting me to participate in our Humes memory book. I am enclosing some family pictures.
Humes Memories of Fannie Mae Crowder-Caldwell
My memories of the past are somewhat vague, but I do have some impressions that I would like to share. I do remember that no one at Humes was ever rude to me. I think I can say I basically enjoyed my years there, and made some good friends. I ran around with Rosemary Barracco and Carolyn Poole.
When I was in junior high, I remember listening to the radio after dinner at night. I would finish my homework and the dishes so I could join the family for our favorite radio shows. We didn’t have a TV until later. Life was so simple.
I liked Art Class very much and enjoyed working on the floats for the Cotton Carnival parades each year. We worked after school ,sometimes late at night and then walked home from the downtown building where they were stored.
During my senior year, I worked downtown at a department store. I left school at noon and worked all week until the store closed and then caught a bus home. I also worked all day Saturday. I think I cleared about $5.00 a week after I paid for my lunches, dinner on Thursday night, when the store stayed open until 9, and bus fare.
I would go with Carolyn and Rosemary to a dance club in East Memphis. I was very shy and wasn’t much of a dancer; so I just went along to watch the other girls dance. If Carolyn found a good partner, the dance floor would clear out and everyone would watch them dance. Carolyn was an excellent dancer.
The person who taught Carolyn to dance was Elvis Presley. I think he had a crush on her for a while. He would find us in the hall and at lunch and various other places. He always wanted to talk to Carolyn, so I made myself scarce. Sometimes I had to walk to my sister’s apartment when my mother had to work late. Elvis and I would walk along together since he lived close by. We were both fairly quiet and did not say much. I found Elvis to be a nice boy who was a little shy.
I don’t remember how I got into a couple of plays. One was just for Humes students, the other one was for the public. I remember getting the giggles in a serious part and laughing until tears ran down my face. Another time I remember freezing up in the wings when my time came to go on. Someone put their hand in the middle of my back and pushed me onto the stage. Ha! What a great performance I gave that day.
I’m sorry that I can’t remember more. I was in an accident several years ago which affected my memory. I have chronic pain most of the time. Since I have gotten older I realize just how nice and courteous most of the people in our class were. I
appreciate being included in the class memory book. A lot of the memories of my classmates are my memories, too. God bless you all.
Phyllis Trabish, please contact Rose at her e-mail address on the first page of our website.
Memories of Humes by Bill Bishop
I guess I can try to remember some things about dear old Humes. I remember walking to school everyday during my early years there. I was usually bringing up the rear. I must admit that I was somewhat of a sleepy head and my mother would say that it would take a stick of dynamite to wake me up. George Grimes likes to tell about how he and some of the other players would stop by to get me for early football practices and my mother and father would tell them if they could get me up they could have me.
My mother and father raised us to do our best and to treat others as we would like to be treated. They were great parents.
My favorite teacher was Miss Mary Fisher. She was always helping me to do my best and encouraging me. After I became a coach, she was teaching at the school where I taught and became like a second mother to me. I certainly can’t forget to mention Miss Allmond. I was there when she threatened to jump out the window. I think she probably did that on a regular basis, so it has become a Humes legend.
I also have great respect and fondness for Coach Phillips. He had a steady influence on me in school and later when I was a coach. He made my football life bearable during the years he was the assistant coach.
I enjoyed my years playing football at Humes much more than my college years at Southern Mississippi. The Humes football players formed a special bond that will exist as long as we live. We will never tell certain things about the team that will remain ours alone. I have a special place in my heart for my Humes team mates and I know they feel the same way about me.
I worked full time during the 11th and 12th grades. It wasn’t easy but I managed to do it because I had some teachers who helped me and a family who was supportive. My favorite subject was American History which I later taught when I was a coach. Coaches usually have to teach classes as well as coach.
Paul Hathcock and I coached together and worked at a freight lines together for a while. He was a really neat guy. I will miss him.
I have been happily married to my wonderful wife, Anne, for many years. We have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. I am retired, but Anne is still working. I am fighting multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells which attacks and destroys bones. I am fighting the battle the same way I fought in every football game, to win.
Humes Memories of Shirley Ruleman-Palmer
Our North Memphis neighborhood on Dunlap was a safe, secure place to live with a strong closeness among the neighbors. I was happy with our friends and our modest home. Gordon was my elementary school and most of my Gordon friends went with me to Humes. Because Humes was the junior high and high school for several feeder schools, I easily made many new friends.
I looked forward to going to Humes High School - MY HUMES! My two older brothers, Wilbur and Jack, went there before I did, so my time had finally come.
Just before I entered the 7th grade, we moved to Woodlawn Street. Our yard backed up to the school grounds; I could sleep longer and spend only 3 minutes walking to school. I really liked that advantage.
Our Principal, Mr. Tom Brindley, was a very firm but fair man who had a tight control on school academics and activities. Miss Eleanor Richmond, the Assistant Principal, kept a close watch on everything. Most of the teachers were our friends, but they commanded respect for their positions.
Teachers: Mary Frances Kennedy ( Home Economics) taught me to sew and cook and was sweet and helpful.
Louise Weeks (Typing) was very attractive and sophisticated. She made me want to work hard and display excellence in all my studies.
Delores Fuller (Latin) was so caring, she made me enjoy learning the "dead language."
Miss Marmann (Music) I was scared of her. She wore "old lady" black oxford shoes, carried a black umbrella between the handles of her carpet bag, and walked very fast with a long stride. She made sure we learned the National Anthem correctly. If you made a mistake, she would smack you on the arm or back. I did my best to sing it correctly.
Mr. Meeks (Science) was a sweet man who loved to laugh, but was very serious about science.
Fall was my favorite time of the school year. Why? FOOTBALL GAMES! They were exciting - Cool nights! Crowds! Running around with my friends yelling for our team! WHAT FUN! If we won the game, Hooray! If we lost, it would be okay because we had another game next week.
When I was a Junior High Cheerleader, we rode to the games with the players on the back of a flatbed truck with railings along the sides. After one of the games at Hodges Field, we were acting silly on the way back to school and we all lunged to one side of the truck when it turned a corner. The railing broke and several of the players fell from the truck and were injured. The driver, Wendell Seelig, Class of 1951, checked on everyone and then ran as fast as he could to call an ambulance. He had to climb a tall fence to get to a phone. Soon he returned, running and out of breath and began consoling everyone until the ambulance arrived. That was the last time we rode on a flatbed truck. And Wendall was my hero.
ROTC: I was Tommy Young’s sponsor. Our families were friends and we were long time friends. We had a great time together, laughing often. He had a great sense of humor. Our school won 1st place for best marching ROTC unit in the Armistice Day Parade. We were very excited and proud. Our military leaders, Major John Ellis and Capt. John Evans, were prouder than we were. It made them look good.
During one of our "inspections" some visiting high ranking Army ROTC military officers were present. Carl Bethea had to introduce all of the Humes officers and sponsors. He was very nervous (as we all were). During the intros he couldn’t think of someone’s name, so he made one up. I thought that was very smart and displayed the quick thinking skills needed for success in the military, which he later achieved.
Don Morris was also an officer who marched close to us and always had something funny to say and was a pleasure to be around. I enjoyed my time as a ROTC sponsor very much.
I was supposed to graduate in 1954, but after taking 11th grade English in Summer School in 1952 , I was able to become a senior and graduate in 1953. I was a little nervous and apprehensive because I would have to make close connections with some different girls. Fortunately, Joan Liberto and Marie Henson were willing to include me and we spent a lot of time hanging out.
Some of us went to Maywood Swimming Pool the day of graduation and got sunburned. That was a pretty stupid thing to do and we were miserable during the ceremony, but we had great fun.
Gloria Trout and I became good friends when we met with the Planning Committee to work on our Ten Year Class Reunion. Our relationship has grown over the years and she has become the sister I never had. I cherish her dear friendship and hope for many more years to come.
Because of the atmosphere at Humes, I have life long friends that mean a lot to me. We may not see each other for a long time; but when we do, that same feeling of loyalty and friendship returns.
DEAR OLE HUMES WE’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.
Editor’s notes: Shirley married Charlie Palmer in June, 1956, and became a stay at home mom, which she loved. She and Charlie have raised 3 very accomplished children. They have no grandchildren - yet; but they have a lot of fun babysitting 5 grand dogs. Shirley helps Charlie in his business at busy times during the year.
Humes Memories of Shirley Hubanks-Scott
Growing up in North Memphis on Pearce Street was the best. I was an only child of young parents. The houses were small and close together, so we all knew each other and the neighbors very well. Great friendships were formed that have lasted to this day. When I run into a North Memphis person from the old days any where, there is an instant bond. It is just like it used to be.
Gordon School: Don Sage and I held hands during story time in Miss Bell’s 1st grade class. We were teased a lot. I liked Robert Lyles in the 3rd grade. He ruined my new coat by spilling ink on it. My mother never let him forget it. When my dad was District Chief over the Memphis Fire Dept.Training Center, Robert was accepted for training. Dad told Robert he knew he was a tough football player, but he was going to make a fireman out of him. And he did. Robert later became a chief.
I developed a passion for travel in Miss Hopkins’ 4th and 5th grade geography class. One day a strong gust of wind came in through the open window and blew her hairpiece out the window. I felt so bad for her I almost cried. One of the boys had to retrieve it. I think of her often as I travel all over the world. One day George Klein told me that he wanted to be a disc jockey. We both had dreams that came true.
Humes: Mr. Meeks was a quiet man and a good teacher.
He and his wife didn’t have any children. I called his wife
when he died and she seemed pleased that I remembered him.
Miss Marmann, my 8th grade music teacher, was very strict. If
you chewed gum in her class it wound up on your nose or behind
Ada Lee now lives in Metairie, LA and we get together 2 or 3 times a year. Maryleen’s son, John Robertson, owned Alfred’s on Beale until his recent death.
Fun things included football games at Crump Stadium. We would walk either to the game or home. We couldn’t afford the bus fare both ways. Maywood was another adventure. Maryleen and I borrowed Henry Pittman’s car to go swimming there. On the way back we had a flat tire. We found a ride home and Henry had to come get his car after he got off from work. My dad thought Henry was too old for me, but he let him take me to my first prom. The dances at Dave Wells Community Center and Holy Names Catholic Church were great. We attended the Midnight Rambles at the W.C. Handy Theater on Park Ave. Most of the entertainers went on to become stars. It was there that I met Buddy Scott, my future husband.
Freddie Barrow, Billie Chiles, Mattie Rainey and Mary Sanders are some of my dearest friends. Billie had a knack for putting people together as friends and couples. Her brother, Sonny, taught us to dance. I really miss her. Billie was the glue that held out class reunions together. I also remain close to the Anderson family. Guthrie Anderson’s personality reminds me of my dad. Fun! Fun! Fun!
Buddy and I were married at Decatur Trinity Christian Church. We have one child, Teresa Kay. Also married that night was Ben Anderson and Mary Sanders, in the preacher’s study, during our wedding reception. Over 100 Humes alumni still attend Decatur Trinity which moved to Bartlett many years ago.
Elvis: The first time I saw Elvis perform was at the Male Beauty Show at Humes.
Elvis asked me to sign his yearbook, and I asked him to sign mine. He couldn’t believe that I wanted him to sign mine. Elvis’ mother and my grandmother worked together at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Buddy, Teresa and I visited Graceland several times during the early years that Elvis lived there. My mother, Katherine, and I had the pleasure of being the guests of Elvis and Red West for a weekend at the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada in May, 1973. The opening night party was spectacular. Elvis never forgot his roots or his friends. I saw several of his concerts before he died. He was a great entertainer and a good friend. George Klein comes to the Elvis Festivals in Tupelo (where I now live) and we have fun talking about the old days and catching up with what is going on in our lives.
I have had a wonderful life, certainly not without problems. Mother used to say a person can’t have it all. God has truly blessed me. He is my Savior and the Lord of my life. I had a very serious illness and actually saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Without God, I would not have had all these extra years.
I retired from General Electric. I have lived in Tennessee, Florida, Texas, California and Mississippi. California was my favorite place to live. God made a beautiful world for us to enjoy and I am still traveling as much as I can to see it. I have met people and made friends I will always remember. I do a lot of mission trips and enjoy them tremendously. They are very rewarding. I am involved in absolutely everything I have time to do in Tupelo including church projects, Civitan Club, ballroom dancing, Friends of the Library, Telephone Pioneers and other senior group activities.
I was born in Memphis, TN, and Elvis was born in Tupelo, MS. I guess I could say that Elvis and I changed places. I hope Elvis is as happy as I am.