Sunday, September 13, 2015

Central Jr. High  (Miami, OK) late 1950's
WarPups:  Pieces of Memories (1959-1962)

Why this story is hard to write is a conundrum. Fifty-six years have officially passed since my mother bought my seventh grade books in the basement of that cornerstone building.  I must have walked past that building hundreds of times from my home on H. Northeast.   Walking West on 2nd NE street took me over the railroad tracks, the truck route (D. st),  past large two story homes, the corner Christian Church, the brick wall surrounding our school, the Candy Shop from where this photo must have been taken, the red brick public library (that once kicked me out with my little sister when she would not stop crying during story hour; where I began my career path as a librarian) and onto main street where I walked to the movies and other places with friends or looking for friends. I spent six active years on that block, and then ironically, another year when I worked for HUD in the 1970's in the old pink building that held over flow classes.  I watched that brick building being torn down, slammed to the ground and bulldozed into history.

This photo now stands in our memories as a record of our time and place. A glance of whom we might someday become.

I've searched my brain, and the internet for memories.  This site is particularly accurate if it is facts that are needed for research for a particular year: The People History .  Printed neatly and orderly, it serves as a refresher for where we were in those days, what we were doing, songs we listened and danced to, plus the current events.  

But for my heart which leads my fingers across the keyboard, my connectedness to those early years seems blurred. Six short years slowly crept by, three divided in Jr. Hi years by Central/ Will Rogers, then blended as the true spirit of being a WARDOG. These are the years and dates for "reunions", but not always the reasons.  

Nov. 14-18, 1960
Rather than stories with heart and soul, my memories run randomly, much like notes across a napkin.

   With a last name of Stapp, I often sat near some very ornery boys in our ABC ordered classes;  I learned in Mr. D's science class that Richard Spencer could draw gorgeous lettering called calligraphy. The beauty of those letters stayed with me and finally, when I was in my thirties I learned calligraphy.  Bill Smiley, Bill Smith, and John Stansell kept me distracted in math class, in geography, in history class, but did I ever have fun laughing and passing notes when I should have been paying attention to Mr. Hammons, or Mr. Teal,  Mrs. Vanetta,  Mr. Campbell. Miss McCoy and Mr. Akers, however, scared the fun right out of me on more than one occasion. They seemed to think that I was occasionally disruptive in class. I explained I always had help in the disruptions--like Vicki Newell, Nancy Burnes, C Ann Richards or those boys.  (They didn't realize that that phone call during Mr. Teal's math class in 9th grade was an offer for me to drive to El Paso, Texas with the Newell family to look at a race horse.  The truth is that we also toured a private girls school that Vicki would attend.  We even flew back to Tulsa and Opal drove the car with a new horse in tow, but in the end my friend Vicki left the halls of MHS, and I lost a friend.) I should have learned then not to blame others for my actions, but that would take a few more hard lessons in life.    

Stashed in a box of memories, I found my blue vinyl "Dear Diary". I did write something on nearly every page of that 1961 diary, but the adult English teacher in me went ballistic with that little girl's grammar errors.  
      January 27, I went to Mutt Hutt, danced two times, and played ping pong.
      February 8, We had an aptitude test from 9 to 3 in the gym.  Had to carry our chairs up and down three flights of stairs.
      February 14, Well, Patrice Lamobaba (Lumumba) was killed. We are having a lot of trouble with them.  Kennedy Pres.  Well, I'm going to the Mixer--Valentine Dance....I had a lot of fun. (I attempted to use different handwriting to denote time or mood changes.) 
      March 17, Mother and daughter banquet
      April 29, I went to see Gone With the Wind.  Wow, was it good.  Clark Gable xxxxx
      May 22, 3 1/2 days left.  Well, I got my wish.  I got to usher at the ninth grade promotion.
      May 26, Out of School.  Going into the 9th Grade.  Went to the lake at Grand Point and had lots of fun. (If memory serves me correctly I seriously sunburned myself.)
      May 28 Went to see the movie Cimmarron, the story of Oklahoma territory.  (I later showed that black and white film at an elementary sleep over in the 1980's and promptly put everyone to sleep on the gym floor.)
      June 7, Dress rehearsal for Virginia Lee and Tom's dance recital.  I'm an Indian in Peter Pan.
      June 13, Jonya had her eye surgery in Wichita.  Freddie fell on the picket fence and cut open his leg.  It made me sick.
      June 20, I played 18 holes with Daddy.   Daddy bought me a new tourquoise golf bag and a new wedge and putter. 
      September 9, Hurricane Carla hit Texas.  The worst so far of the twenteth century. 
      October 6,  Sat with Bill (guessing on the brick wall).  Went to Mutt Hutt.  Bill came in sat and danced with me about 10 minutes (I don't like him.) I finally asked Blaine Taylor to dance.  Wow.  
      November 8, Rainbow Dance is coming but I don't know who to invite.  Bill?  Tim?? 
      December 16, Went to see Blue Hawaii.  Mary Dahl and Judy Scruggs stayed all night with me.  I don't think Tim likes me.  

What I do remember with heart and soul are the memories we shared after the school day. Ironically, I carry fond memories of watching TV with my family and eating our meals on TV trays. The Ed Sullivan Show was my favorite, but I rarely missed Bonanza,Gunsmoke, Candid Camera, Andy Griffith, or Alfred Hitchcock. I discovered "As the World Turns" and other soap operas thanks to the lunches we shared at Judy Scrugg's house. Judy and I cried together at the drive in movie when mother took us to see "West Side Story."  I just knew that boy didn't die, even though mother and Judy let me know I was wrong.  

Eighth grade became a pivotal time in our history, and my parents took the Soviet threats seriously. Driving the Muntz, Dad's race car, my father made it an adventure to find shelter and safety for his family. By summer of 1961 a "bomb shelter" had been dropped into the
The awning covers the bomb shelter entrance.  
ground at 209 H NE.  Mother filled it with the proper foods and toiletries. (We didn't know all the dangers.)   It was my job to remind her to change the foods every six months.  It was a schedule we kept throughout my high school years.  And, yet, I only wished to live to be 16 and legally drive a car.

Fear comes in strange forms, and I suppose I never really thought I'd live to see the world, raise a family, much less enjoy a reunion fifty years after graduation. Like my diary, the count down has begun....11 days.    

Miami Oklahoma Class of 1965

P.S.  Doug Gosney, looks like I owe you a nickel.  


  1. May I refer my curious readers to a facebook page called "You Know You are from Miami when,.." You will enjoy the dialogue created by this photo and the history that comes to life with a simple picture.

  2. You’ll enjoy your reunion! Mine was in April and it was wonderful! Walking through the aisles of gabby “girls” at the receptions was like walking down the halls at school between classes… loud… noisy… each of us sharing snippets of our lives, jokes, laughter. Most girls I recognized when animation returned their signature expressions to their faces, some I did not recognize at all (over 600 girls in our graduating class). But the best part was having six other girls staying at the same hotel with me. We gathered in the bar for a nightcap and a recap after each evening’s event. The second night we who had our yearbooks with us brought them down and collectively we went through the pages of graduates remembering who we’d spoken with at the receptions. I put gold stars at the edge of each photo of a girl we identified. I was the yearbook editor my senior year and it was a pressure-filled yet wonderful experience. And now I have a VERY special yearbook that means a whole lot to me. And each of us, the “Wyndham Seven,” are keeping in touch, and there are a few more I am staying in touch with on Facebook and others I email and text frequently. This was the very FIRST reunion I was able to attend… and I’m so glad I did!

    Enjoy yours!

    Love, M

  3. A wonderful trip down memory lane. At least I did not have to see Central High torn down. I graduated 1959 and was in the USAF NC when it happened. jr

  4. Good Blog, lots of memories even tho I was 5 years earlier than you. They were there. And all looked to correct. Really enjoy reading your Blogs. Thanks for adding me to receive them. rj

  5. To enjoy more dialogue that this photo and story evoked please go to the facebook page called "You Know You Are from Miami Oklahoma When...."


  6. Another enjoyable story Letty. Memory lane for me too!! ru