This week’s column is from “The Last Black Kat” newspaper that was distributed during the 2005 all- class reunion held in Lexington. Several of the WHS graduates shared some of their fond school day memories with their classmates and some of these are being shared with our readers today.
Eva Lou Everidge Davis, class of 1955
She lives in Cincinnati, has three children, 10 grandchildren, and three greatgrandkids. She married Ralph Davis, who became a professional basketball player and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“My days at WHS I, along with about 80 percent of all girls at WHS, had a mad crush on Buddy Fields. He was just the coolest ever, good looking, good personality, great athlete, did I mention good looking? I hated Phyllis. She, too, was just about the coolest ever, pretty neat clothes, popular, and talented. More than I cared to deal with! I liked going to Mr. Stallard’s and Miss Dugan’s classes, they were easy. I loved the band and the trips. Mr. Taylor was neat too, with that mile-long convertible of his. He said it was a ‘Clipper,’ we called it a Packard’. That really got Jack going! My other heartthrob was Gene Sparks. He played football and basketball and drove a nice car. I fell down the study hall steps the first time I walked down with him. That was a huge embarrassment. For the duration of high school it was pretty much the two of us. My pals were Loretta, Christine, Claudette, Teddy, James Arnold, Trim, and Betty Joyce (she was the pretty Everidge girl), and my senior year, Walleen. I still love them.
“ My moment of glory was being queen of the Halloween Carnival my junior year. We had a great class and a bunch of go-getters who worked at car washes and candy sales; we won by a landslide. I bought some flowers and a really ugly dress with the money Daddy gave me.
“ Then I remember Arlayne, the energetic cheerleader, being in the Queen’s Homecoming Court. Here she was, my cousin, my dress, and arm-in-arm with my boyfriend. Am I gullible or what? She is still energetic and I thank God for her (and Bert). Absolutely no one loves the class reunions more than I do. I hope we have them forever.”
Jean Spangler Afdahl, class of 1960
“ The memories of my high school days are awesome. I hated to miss a day of school because I was afraid I’d miss something. I always felt I belonged and that everyone, teachers and students, cared about me.
“ I remember running down the hill as fast as we could to get to the Dairy Bar in time to have lunch. I can still smell the gym where so much activity took place, not a bad smell, just a gymnasium smell. I can remember walking to Ms. Dugan’s house where I had my science class and can almost hear the creak of each stair as we climbed them to go to study hall in the main building. I remember being on the football field and how exciting it was to be a majorette at halftime even with snow on the ground and freezing to death.
“My memories also include some awesome out-oftown band trips with parades and special dedications for dams, etc. I was also in All State Band my last two years of high school and had to travel to Louisville and Paducah with our band director, Mr. Secontine, and three of my other friends. I can’t believe we really got to go but we did and it was great.
“I remember the variety shows, being in them and sometimes just watching them. I would make sure I got my 20-cent donation from Mom or Dad the night before so I wouldn’t have to miss it. Even after 45 years I can still shut my eyes and see the auditorium and hear the seats being sat in by students and faculty alike. It seems like I spent a lot of time on the stage and can still feel my heart beating as the curtains opened.
“My greatest memory, even though it was during dire and sad times, was arriving at school and having our school hill taken over by young 18- or 19-year-old National Guard men and their tents, etc. We even had to step over their feet to go to classes, and for a 16-year-old girl, it was awesome. One of the young men even stopped and asked me if I had a sister attending Union College and after telling him, ‘yes, I did,’ the rest of the day was fantastic.”
Ernie Trosper, Coach 1955-58.
“I came to Whitesburg in the fall of 1955 a young man just out of college at the ripe old age of 21. Many of the players on my first team were almost as old as I was. Because of this I had to earn their respect.
“When we began winning it was a lot easier to coach the team because they bought in to what we were trying to teach them. Our teams won the district and went to the finals of the regional tourney all three years that I coached at WHS.
“The overriding thing that stood out in my mind, as I refl ect on those years, was the effort those young men gave to achieve our goal. The parents and townspeople were so supportive of their teams. It made coaching a joy instead of a job. I can truthfully say that those three years were the happiest years of my life and the memories of those years have lasted a lifetime. I view the beginning of Letcher County Central and the closing of our precious WHS with mixed emotions. I cherish the memories of my coaching and teaching days at Whitesburg, however nothing stands still and progress must be allowed to go forward. I can only hope that the new school will, over time, become as close-knit as that little band of fighting Yellowjackets that gave everything they had to make Whitesburg a bright and shining light on the ‘Hill.’”
Donna Sue Spangler Reed, class of 1958.
“I married Gary Harrison from Jenkins in 1959 and we had two sons. I have two grandchildren. Gary died in 1980 and I married Tom Reed from Elizabethtown in 1987. I have three stepchildren and six more grandchildren, whom I love dearly. We have all merged as one. Who could ask for any more than that?
“Tom and I are both retired and still live in Macon, Ga., where we plan to spend the rest of our lives. It’s not Whitesburg, but it is home now.
“My favorite memories of WHS are so very numerous, it is hard to pinpoint any one. I think the closeness that I felt for all the teachers and classmates was the very best. Cheerleading was my big thing. The practices, pep rallies, ballgames and the bus rides to and from the games were so much for a teenage girl. My biggest night was being crowned Prom Queen at our senior prom. That topped off all my dreams for my school days at WHS. I have always felt so very lucky to have had the kind of parents, teachers and friends that I had. I thank God everyday for my upbringing there at good old Whitesburg.”
Bert Coates Bach, class of 1955.
“I married Diana Miller, have two children, and two wonderful grandchildren. I got a BA from Eastern and a PhD from New York University. All my degrees were in English. I taught in colleges and universities in five states since 1959, and I am currently Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at East Tennessee State University (Johnson City). My father practiced medicine until he was almost 90, and I guess I have inherited some of his genes. I have no plans to retire.
“ I remember so many things about WHS. I remember teachers (Miss Raleigh, my sister Lucy, Mr. Boggs). I remember members of the basketball team on which I played. I remember a lovely young woman who died all too soon (Betty Francis Webb). I remember high school friends who were also neighborhood friends: Jimmy Giles, Jimmy Enlow, Arbadella Pigman, Arlayne Collins, Don Hughes, Harlan Collins.”
Ann Daniel Hall, class of 1956.
“ I married Carl Hall, class of 1960.” They live in Whitesburg and love to entertain classmates and haven’t missed a UK basketball game in many years! Ann is an artist and Carl is a businessman.
“I remember Jack Taylor making us march on the football field, until I didn’t think I could march any more, and then he would march us back to town, and back up the school hill. Lots of wonderful memories of playing music and traveling on band trips. I remember trying to direct a play in Mrs. Hall’s speech class. The play was ‘Anna Karenina.’ Don Webb played the Russian General and Phyllis Hall the role of Poor Anna.
“Well, as director, I could not control Don, and he turned a tragedy play into a comedy. All worked out at production, but we really had a fun time. Johnny Rogers, John Lynn Rice, Doug Polly, Don Webb, Mike Adams, among others we’re sure, gathered grasshoppers (or little frogs) and brought them into the classroom and turned them loose. Of course to hear the girls squeal. Well, the teacher let the girls out of class and kept the boys in the room until they caught all the little critters.
“Remember picnics on top of the hill behind the Upper Bottom in Whitesburg? Some have been known to slip off and go swimming in the Kentucky River. Boys would sit on the bridge over the river to watch the girls go by. Grilled ham salad sandwiches at the dime store were unforgettable. Sodas, lunch and listening to the jukebox in Quillen’s Drug were part of our fabric. ”