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.
Kendall V. Boggs, class of 1934, completed his senior year at Whitesburg. He spent the other three years at his local high school located across Pine Mountain at Eolia. This is how a school day started for him: I left home about 6 a.m. and walked to the Big Ben Motel where a cab picked five of us boys up each morning. There was no bus so we had to hire a cab if we wanted an education.
One snowy morning especially sticks in my mind. About a foot of snow had fallen, and when I arrived at the motel, there was no one there. I started walking, thinking that a vehicle would happen along and give me a ride. I met a vaudeville group who had spent the night by the road, and one of the men asked where he could get something to eat. I told him I would walk him up to the Pine Mountain Motel and get something warm to drink. Then I kept on walking toward Whitesburg, mostly sliding down the side of the mountain where cars were stranded all along the road.
I finally arrived in Whitesburg about noon and walked into Professor Squires’s office for a tardy slip to admit me to class. Professor Squires wanted to know why I was late, and I told him I missed the bus and had to walk across the mountain. He seemed impressed that I would walk 15 miles in cold, icy weather just to get to school.
That afternoon before dismissing us to go home, Professor Squires stood up on the stage of the auditorium and said he wanted to recognize a student who had walked 15 miles to reach school. He remarked that I had beaten some of the town kids to school that day, because some of them did not come in until after lunch.
That is one of the things I remember about Professor Squires, he wanted to recognize a student when he thought someone deserved it. I’ll never forget that day of all days.
One of the important things I remember about the teachers is that they would give their time to help a student who had a problem or needed extra help in a subject. The teachers were very dedicated and the students really wanted to learn or they didn’t bother to go to school. WHS was a fine school as I remember it in 1934.
(Mr. Boggs later served as Principal of WHS from 1953-1957 and Superintendent of the Letcher County Schools from 1966-79).
Arlayne Collins Francis, class of 1955, graduated from EKU in music and later on married Bert Francis, class of 1955. We have two sons and one grandson and four step-grandchildren.
What wonderful memories, there are so many! School trips-band, mixed chorus, Glee Club to Corbin and Middlesboro. Football and basketball games going to the away games on the bus (Coach Pigman made us, cheerleaders, sit up front). Cheerleaders with Dee Dee Pigman, Gay and Jean Profitt. I remember leading snake dances through town and back up the school hill for a peprally bonfire. I remember how hot I got in my cheerleading uniform, orange sweater and black felt skirt (down to my ankles) but so proud to wear it. I remember Homecoming, how thrilled and surprised to be on the Queen’s Court. Riding in a convertible through town and walking across the football field that night in Eva Lou’s beautiful dress, and holding on to Gene Sparks’s arm. Oh, I felt so special! But the best of all are the wonderful teachers we had and the lifelong friends I love so very much, especially the one I married!
Anita Sue Scott Winchell, class of 1957, is married to Harold Winchell and lives in Tennessee. We have 2 sons, 3 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. We are retired and like to spend time on the lake.
My best memory was when Mr. Boggs called me to the office, (I was scared, I’d never been called to the office before.), just to congratulate me for being in the top five of our class.
My worst memory was when Miss Dugan grabbed my pattern off the fabric, wadded it up and threw it down and said, “Straighten that up and put it back on the fabric like I said”. She was very angry! I only asked her if it was on correctly. That made me so mad, I could have wrung her neck, but I still liked her.
Jimmy Darrell Bair, class of 1956, and his wife Beverly live in Somerset. They have four children and three grandchildren. Jim’s career was primarily in corporate management with K-Mart Corporation. He is retired and loves boating and fishing.
Enjoyed Janet Ison trying to teach me, Basil Sexton and some others how to jitterbug. Janet was a good teacher, but the sessions were deemed failures.
My fondest memory is almost beating Carr Creek in the regional the year Carr Creek won the state tournament. Carr Creek had 3 All-State players and Whitesburg still outplayed them throughout the game.
Janet Ison Tate, class of 1956, married Rod Tate and lives in Virginia. They taught school in Berea and Virginia as vocal and band directors. The many friends and activities of WHS will always remain in my memories.
I am reminded of one rather humorous event!
Crinoline petticoats were an absolute necessity for poodle skirts. They “poofed” out the long full skirts and were just as common to the fifties as bobby socks, “I Like Ike” pins, and white buck shoes. I had a beautiful red crinoline. Dee Dee had a big date with Windus and needed to wear my crinoline. Since we often exchanged such items, the petticoat was hers for the evening. However, the next day, walking home from school, Dee Dee was wearing my crinoline when she and I got into a little “fuss” as teenagers typically do. Looking first up and down the street for traffic and a possible onlooker, Dee Dee stopped dead in her tracks and in the middle of the street removed the flaming red garment from under her skirt and promptly flung it to me. However, we have remained best friends throughout the years.
Rosemary Collier Brooks, class of 1958, graduated from U.K. in 1963 with a BS in Medical Technology. Worked at the Lexington Clinic Laboratory for 42 years. Retired June 1, 2005. She married Robert D. Brooks 04/15/1972 (deceased 12/29/1999.)
Some of my favorite memories and happiest times are from WHS and I treasure the fun times especially being in the band and going to all the football and basketball games. I am thankful for the caring teachers who were there to give us a good education. I especially cherish my friends that I had and still communicate with so often.