A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook

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Grade 10: Midland High School


About a month before school started in 1961, I came down with hepatitis.  I’ve never been so sick before or since and it took me about six weeks to recover. That meant that I didn’t start school at Midland High until about two weeks after everyone else did.  I didn’t take the bus the day that I started.  My mother drove me because I had to go to the Dr.’s office first to get some sort of OK to go back to school. I don’t know why I remember that.


After 2 years at Northeast Junior High I should have been used to a big school but Midland High seemed even bigger and more impersonal than Northeast. I didn’t count the number of kids in the ’62 Yearbook but, by rough estimate, there were more that 500 in the graduating class that year so I assume that there were at least 3 times that number in the whole school. It was lucky for me that I had been riding the bus to school with the same kids for several years so there were at least some familiar faces.  It was also helpful that I got to know at least a few of the kids from Northeast who also transferred to Midland High. Even then, I don’t remember having many classes with kids that I already knew.


I remember my English class a little bit.  I had done so poorly in my Junior High English classes that someone decided that I needed Remedial English instead of one of the standard classes. I soon learned that “Remedial” was just a euphemism for “Dunce”.  I don’t remember her name but the teacher seemed to be there more as a disciplinarian than to impart wisdom or knowledge. While looking through the yearbook to see if I could recognize her, Mrs. Maursey on the Foreign Language teacher’s page is the one that looked most familiar. The only reason I can think that a foreign language teacher would teach English is that perhaps the school thought that, to some of us “Dunces”, English was a foreign language.  Regardless of her credentials, if memory serves, I suspect that the teacher spent at least as much time trying to keep people in line as she did on the finer points of the English language.


Other than the general impression that almost every kid in the room could be found on the back stoop having a cigarette between every class, I remember only two kids in English. One was a very quiet girl who sat near the back and after most of the school year had gone by, it became obvious that she was pregnant, and she dropped out.  The other was a guy who today might remind most people of the John Travolta character in the TV Series “Wel com e Back Kotter”.  He was big, easy going and unashamed of his inability to understand some of the things that went on around him. He might have been what we call a jock today, but I don’t remember if he was into sports or not. It seemed real easy for him to gloss over his short com ings with a smart or sarcastic remark and he often had the kids laughing at something he’d said at the teacher’s expense. Most of the time the teacher would ignore him and take it in stride but occasionally, when she’d had enough, would send him off to, what I’m almost sure to him was a familiar place, the principle’s office.


I have a couple of vague memories of Art class. There was a pretty girl there whose face I often tried to draw but I was to shy to ask her to pose. I don’t remember enough about how she looked to pick her out of the yearbook but she did have big doe eyes that I would sometimes sketch in my notebook whenever she wasn’t looking at me (most of the time).


One day, the big lug from Remedial English wandered into Art class and began talking to the pretty doe eyed girl. She was standing at a worktable and as he walked up to her he said something to make her turn around and look at him. As he stood close to her, face to face, he slid his hand inside his shirt just over his heart and, with his hand rising and falling under his shirt, said something like… “Honey, you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met and every time I look at you my heart goes ka-thump… ka-thump… ka-thump… ka-thump and I can hardly breath.  Would you please, puleeeeze take pity this poor, poor lovesick fool and let me take you to the game on Friday night???”


You could almost see her melt like an ice cream bar on a hot summer day and when she told him “No, I already have a date for the game”, and almost instantly followed with… But I don’t have anything to do on Saturday night...


That damned, dumb jock might have stuttered and stammered while trying to talk his way through a simple question in English literature but he sure was smooth talker when it came to the fine arts. Unfortunately, I never got quite that good in that kind of art that year (or any year, for that matter).


Oh well, so much for me and fine arts.


In addition to my scanty memory of art class, I have almost no recollection of Phys. Ed. either.  I must not have been too interested in high school sports because I don’t even remember going to any football, basketball or baseball games. I do remember the name of Larry Jaster who was a very good baseball player at the time. I think he was so good that he was recruited right out of high school into the major leagues. Out of curiosity I looked up his statistics and it looks like he played in the National League for 7 years. As a pitcher, he apparently did pretty well in his first 3 years at St. Louis but his stats sort of went down hill from then on.


While thumbing through the yearbook, I noticed that Mr. Buschman probably was my math teacher because he signed the book next to his picture but I remember absolutely nothing about him or his class.


Mr. Marshall’s shop class must have been a good place for me at MHS. While there, I think I may have made a ring out of silver, a leather billfold, a plastic gearshift knob in the shape of a fist and something like a cutting board or a picture frame out of wood. In hindsight, these sure seem like silly things to be wasting any memory cells on.


Mr. Marshall was easy going, good with kids and really seemed to like what he did. I even knew him from outside school because, back in the days when most milk was delivered by truck, he worked as a milkman in the summer and he was occasionally on our milk route. Despite my mediocre English class, my English wasn’t totally neglected in shop class because I did learn at least one new word. “Halitosis”.  As nice as he was, we all learned not to stand too close to Mr. Marshall in personal conversations because of his bad breath. I guess no one had either the courage or kindness to tell him.  I don’t know, maybe Listerine hadn’t been invented yet.


On the social side of school life, I was impressed that so many kids had, and could afford cars. I was also impressed that so many kids could afford to drive off to McDonalds for lunch almost every day. Even though hamburgers were only 15 cents, I packed and carried my lunch ‘cause about all I had most of the time was a nickel for milk.  It was a real treat to buy my lunch in the cafeteria when I had a little money from an occasional odd job (usually babysitting because a lot of local parents assumed that, with 5 brothers and 1 sister, I might know how to take care of couple of their kids).


I’m sure now that I wasn’t alone, but I remember that not having any money in high school was kind of embarrassing.  For whatever reason, at that point in my life, the difference between the haves and the have-nots was real noticeable to me.


That year I learned that, to some people, money was no object, even to some of the have-nots.


Butch (Leon) Schneider had a Volkswagen bus. One day he offered me a ride home after school along with his brother Dave, Tom Boman, Ruth Bailey and Dick Case.  One reason the trip was memorable is because Butch had used the VW bus the previous weekend to haul smelt (just oversized sardines, as far as I'm concerned). Rather than put the fish in pails, Butch just took the seats out and filled up the whole back end with fish. Although the fish were gone when I got in, the van wreaked with the fresh aroma of dead fish. The seats were still removed and we had to set on crates or chairs that slid around on the smooth steel floor with every lurch, start and stop (long before we ever thought seat belts).


Anyway, on the way home, Butch stopped off at a small shopping center not too far from the school. Before Dick Case went into the clothing store there he asked the guys what size pants they wore and before long, he returned to the car with several pairs of pants under his coat and gave them to the guys.  Someone must have mentioned that he needed some tools so we all went into the hardware store next to the clothing store and while Butch was at the cash register buying something Dick went out the back door with more stuff under his coat.


I don’t think I ever rode home with Butch again. I didn’t care to hang around with Dick Case after that either.


So much for Midland High. The next two years at Meridian were much more interesting, fun and memorable.


The following is a list of the kids from the 1962 Chemic yearbook whose faces or names I remember. You may remember many who went on to Meridian.


Jim Andrick, Dave Bacon, Ruth Bailey, Bruce Bean, Barbara Bellew, Tom Boman, Gary Boots, Gayle Boulton, Kathy Bozer, Ilene Card, Dick Case, Peggy Collins, James Cooper, Pat Devericks, Duane Dice, Terry Elmore, Judy Fick, Susan Finney, Susan Fordyce, Ken Gay, John Gower, Jill Gowing, Linda Grant, Dick Hale, Sue Hand, David Haught, Diana Hect, Ed Hess, Linda Hess, Anna Hildebrandt, Cheryl Hiner, Becky Horton, Tom Houghtaling, Prudy Howard, Anne Howe, Connie Hulett, Linda Hunt, Dave Husted, Madeline Irish, Christina Jewett, Gary Kelsey, John Kowalski, Carlotta Lafaver, Christina Letts, Dale Laplow, Wanda Lower, Sharon Lowley, Ray Mason, Roy Mason, Dixie McClellan, Mike McCrary, Suzanne McGraw, Mike Metcalf, Pat Moe, Carol New com b, Kevin Nilles, Dexter Pressnell Larry Piper, Bill Reese, Audrey Richardson, Vaughn Roller, Carol Sampson, James Sampson, Charles Sasse, Bob Scharich, Dave Schneider, Gretchen Schuette, Carl Seelhoff, Sandra Sepos, Tom Shauger, Barbara Shearer, Mike Sheetz, Bruce Smith, Richard Staehling, Roger Suppes, Gordy Swinson, Al Throop, Sally Varner, Doris Walter, Jim Wasser, Janet Watts, Dana Wint & David Zilinski.  


freeman_mhs_62.jpg (2857428 bytes)  1962 Chemic, page 99


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