MEMORIES

 

Some reflections

1960 - 1963

 


I remember the lunchroom,. . . . . from Paula Stern


especially the dank unappetizing smell of the steam table. Compared to the smoky girl's room though, at least you could breathe. Talk about smoke signals!!. My fondest memories were of beautiful, brilliant, poised Mrs. Mary Liz Smith. I adored her. Of course, I also adored her handsome, whimsical son Jeff Smith, too! I miss them both.


Fulghum's Folly or, the Wrath of Potts . . . . from Bobby Pepper

 

Undoubtedly, my most memorable experience at Central occurred the Friday prior to that "Big Game". Time has erased the exact date and opponent from my mind, but all that week, rumors circulated to the effect that, as long as the crowd "Demonstrated spirit", our pep rally could continue.

 

Friday arrived, the cheerleaders cheered, the team looked menacing and the students absolutely shook the walls. The administration allowed the rally to continue a little longer than usual, and then attempted to shut it down. The students would have none of it. We had been promised a perpetual pep rally and that was what we were going to have!

 

The cheerleaders and football players, obediently headed to their first period class as instructed, but many students lingered in the auditorium. For some reason, Miss Potts assumed the lead in restoring order.

 

Now Shirley Potts was somewhat of an enigma. A competent English teacher, her legendary irritability had been ascribed to everything from being a jilted lover to raging hormones. What was known was that if you loved life, you didn't p. o. Potts.

 

Miss Potts cornered Gene Fulghum, and instructed him to bring her class to order and to distribute a prose and poetry book that we were frequently force-fed. Her peacekeeping efforts being required elsewhere, she would be late to class.

 

The class had taken their seats, when Gene, standing at the front of the room, began hurling those ancient manuscripts like Frisbees. Midway through the book toss, Gene shouted "Wouldn't old Miss Potts have a duck if she saw me chunking her precious books?" What Gene didn't know was that old Miss Potts was standing at the door behind him, hearing, and seeing all. Gene, ever the quick study, surmised from our silence that something was amiss; and turned to see the scowl of Shirley Potts, a near death experience. Gene quickly scurried to his seat as Miss Potts slammed the door and stormed to her desk. The next thirty seconds lasted forever. The silence was palpable. Varnish began peeling from the desks; linoleum, laid half a century earlier, buckled; plaster cracked. Some girls fainted from holding their breath, those with larger lungs, merely turned blue. I could hear myself sweat; everyone could hear Gene sweat. Some could even smell Gene sweat.

 

After an eternity, Miss Potts broke into maniacal laughter. Once convinced that we had escaped death, the tension left the room like air rushing from a balloon. The rest of that period passed uneventfully and The Mighty Warriors went on to become city champs. Yet today, over forty years later, the thought of that class and the wrath of Shirley Potts, still sends a shiver down my spine.

 


       

 

 


More on Fulghum . . . . from Raymond Spence

Last month’s story reminds me of our Tenth Grade Geometry class with Miss Laura Mauzy.

 It was one of those hot drowsy days.  We were working on a proof and Miss Mauzy was prowling the room. Gene was finished with his and was bored.  He was filling in the letters on the cover of that little red Geometry book with a ballpoint pen.  If you remember, each letter was outlined in black on the red fabric of the cover so the letter was really red.  Gene was filling them in to make them all black. Miss Mauzy caught him from behind and went postal (in her own way).  She shrieked at him for destroying school property and grabbed the book and threw it on the floor and jumped up and down on it (if you can imagine that pudgy little old lady being able to land on that little book.  She may have even twisted his ear.  All the time she was calling him Bobby - his older brother's name - like lots of them did to Warriors who were preceded by infamous siblings.

 


Phil's trip to the office . . . . Phil Aquino


In the first couple weeks of May, 1963, it became sporting in Mrs. Betty Biles's French class to eat candy and share with those around you.  This particular day was candy corn, which came in a plastic sack that in no way formed to one's lap.  Things were going really smoothly until the sack got passed back to me from D. Dow as Mrs. Biles was heading to the front of the room - ahead of my seat.  Inexplicably she turned around as I took the sack, hand inside, and placed it in my lap.  Taking the hand from the bag, and putting both hands in front of me, I was unaware the bag was obeying the laws of physics and shifting (open ended) to the lower part of my lap.  Trickle, trickle, trickle onto the linoleum floors.   It was the only time I was 'sent to the office' in my life and it just wasn't my day, as Mrs. Thomas was on duty at the time.  "What are 'YOU' doing here" was her question as not too many days before I had handed her my application for a bookstore scholarship.  Also, it was the only time for detention for me.

 

Memories . . . . . Jim P. Cole

 

Laura Mauzy was one of my favorites, too. And certainly Gene, the defacer of school property, deserved whatever she dished out. In comparing notes over the years with other Central grads, Keith Rogers, class of '60, now a lawyer hanging his shingle in Collierville, told me about his encounter with Miss Laura at the visitation following the death of her sister, Grace Mauzy. Sad for us in the class of '63 that Grace Mauzy, for decades Central High's premier English teacher, had retired just before we arrived. Anyhow, in offering his condolences to Laura, Keith said, "Miss Mauzy, your sister was the finest teacher I ever had." Laura snapped back, "That's because you never had me for mathematics."

 

 

More on Ms. Mauzy . . . Dorothy Dow

Do you remember how Miss Laura Mauzy INSISTED that we not crumple paper before tossing it into the wastebasket? It was to be released whole, without a single wrinkle, to float down into the trash ever so quietly and gently. She also wore glasses with rhinestones that she said gave "glitter to her glare!" But the Mauzy wisdom that has been the most helpful over the years was her demand that when called upon in class, even if we weren't sure about the answer, we were to answer with absolute confidence. This advice has been extremely useful in a number of circumstances, including those where I have been faced with reading aloud an Old Testament passage with lots of Hebrew names that are difficult to pronounce.

 

Passover begins this week and I still remember that the first matzos I ever had was given to me by Sylvia Saripkin in homeroom. Thank you, Sylvia!

 

 

 

CRUISING CAMELOT . . . . . Paula Wicker Hamby

 

Remember when John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States? It was the fall of 1960. Politics were very important in my family, and I heard the pros and cons discussed daily by my Democrat Mom and my Republican Dad! High excitement hit the smallest 'burb when John Kennedy was elected, and all of us looked to the future with high hopes! College was a soon to be discovered dream come true for many while others got their first jobs and some of our bravest entered the military.

The pillbox hat was the rage in ladies’ fashions, and everything was about the music of the Beatles, and  I was madly rolling my hair each night to produce that wonderful creation known as the “bouffant.” Times were carefree for me. I only had to negotiate  school, homework, piano lessons, church and cruising around with my friends. It was a time of special friendships and having fun!

We toured the White House by television when Jackie Kennedy took the stage to become our First Lady. She and John Kennedy cut a striking figure on the international scene too as the French referred to our President as “Jackie’s husband.”

Little did we know where our safe and secure time together at Central High would lead us. We are certainly a diverse group as we re-discovered at our Reunion 2003.

 

 

 

Sibling Rivalries . . . . .Jim Cole

 

Laura Mauzy was one of my favorites, too. And certainly Gene, the defacer of school property, deserved whatever she dished out. In comparing notes over the years with other Central grads, Keith Rogers, class of '60, now a lawyer hanging his shingle in Collierville, told me about his encounter with Miss Laura at the visitation following the death of her sister, Grace Mauzy. Sad for us in the class of '63 that Grace Mauzy, for decades Central High's premier English teacher, had retired just before we arrived. Anyhow, in offering his condolences to Laura, Keith said, "Miss Mauzy, your sister was the finest teacher I ever had." Laura snapped back, "That's because you never had me for mathematics."

 

 

 

 

RADIOS - - Mr. Branyan and Miss Potts  – Curt Crenshaw

Mr. Branyan was the electronics teacher at CHS.  I had three years of what
we called Radio, where we learned how to build and service radios.  I recall
fixing Miss Pott's (English teacher) car radio once.  She gave me $20, which
was a fortune in those days, but I did not expect or ask for anything.  I just
wanted to do it for the experience.  The car radios had tubes in those days,
which meant it took a while for the radio to come on while the tubes warmed up!

Anyway, Mr. Branyan was an excellent teacher, kind, thorough, clear, fair,
and really knew his stuff.  He also taught us a course on becoming commercially

licensed with what was then called our "phone license" at three
levels.  Most of us passed the first level the first time since Mr. Branyan had
so well prepared us.  And most passed the second level the first time.  I never
tried for the third level.  As I recall, they were termed "third phone," "second
phone," and "first phone" licenses.  He was a fine Christian gentleman, and
I dreamed about him just several nights ago, which seems odd.

See what Curtis has to say about his rifle team experience at SmokeSignals



CASKETS – Miss Martha Wallace (as told to Bob Pepper)


In addition to being the girls’ physical education teacher, I also assisted in
other, unrelated activities, one of which was the school’s theatrical productions.
One play called for a student to dress as SIVAD (The host of a local TV
station’s Saturday night fright flick. That part was created and played by Watson
Davis, whose last name is SIVAD spelled backward). In the Central play, Finley
Brown was the chosen actor. The bit called for Sivad to exit a casket dressed in
his typical vampire attire. Problem was, we didn’t have a casket. Finley said we
could borrow one from, I think it was, the First Assembly of God Church on
Highland. We didn’t have a pickup truck, so Finley, another student and I took
my station wagon. To accommodate the casket, I had to fold down one side of
the back seat. We loaded the casket, and Finley jumped into the other back seat.
As we drove west on Summer Ave., I began to notice that the other traffic traveling
west would slow and stare at us. This continued for a few miles before I turned to
check the rear of the station wagon. There sat Finley beside the casket, wildly
gesturing to passing cars with my folding shovel that he found in the back seat.

     See a picture of Miss Wallace from the 2004 Reunion HERE

(Miss Wallace would greatly appreciate hearing from her former students, most of whom she still remembers. Her address and phone number can still be found in
the ” 62-63 Hello CHS”, 1546 Monroe Ave. Memphis, 38104. BR6-3145)

Irma Sternberg from Patsy Sims Moore

My favorite teacher was Irma Sternberg, I think she got her PhD the year I had her. We
both loved William Blake. I do have some funny stories about my homeroom teacher,
Miss Ada Millett who taught home economics. We thought she looked so much like a 
chicken; even her erratic movements had a "pecking like" aura about them. And the 
name Ada Millet was often interpreted as, Ate a millet, what else do chickens do? She 
also told me, after I did the Bible reading one day for the room and expounded on it
that," You should be a preacher one day." So she couldn't be all bad, I did teach for 
several years and that’s pretty close to being a preacher, just less respect. ha, ha. It was a lot of fun. 

 

 

SEND YOUR CENTRAL MEMORY TO PAULA WICKER HAMBY                pjhamby2@aol.com