Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back to school special edition

Sometime during the last 43 years I lost my high school senior yearbook.  It's been many years since I've seen it.  It's the only high school yearbook I ever owned.  It was for the year 1970,  It was an unfortunate loss.

I went to Southern Alamance in Graham, NC.

During my epic search for the lost yearbook, I did manage to come across a 1969 Southern High yearbook.  It was posted online at

The online 1969 yearbook photos are a tad fuzzy, but they did bring back some memories - some of them not so fond.  Academically, high school was pretty much a waste.  But, at least it got me into college.

Here's a few yearbook photos that I found interesting:

This is a photo of the administration at Southern High.  Principal L.M. Adcock, a not particularly warm and fuzzy man, is shown at the top right.  He died before I became a senior.  The second in command (bottom), Robert Stockard, assumed control of the regime.  Stockard also taught some sort of science course while he was assistant principal.  Mr. Stockard was a monotonous bore.  He made an excellent replacement principal.  In Mr. Stockard's day it was not necessary to have a personality if you were a principal or teacher.

I was once called into Stockard's office for him to lecture me about how playing music outside of the school band was a guarantee of going straight to hell.  Mr. Stockard used all of his personality to persuade me.  It didn't work.  I am sure my mother put him up to it.

The secretary was Mrs, King.  I don't have anything to say about her.

This is Mrs. Dismuke.  Poor, poor woman.  She taught me Latin for four years.  It was a total waste of both my and her time.  She got paid and I got nothing for my effort.  Latin was not even accepted to fill the foreign language requirement when I went to college.   I was never told of the inadequacy of Latin.  I had to start over in college with Spanish.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Dismuke.

These are three farmer teachers.  I never took any farming courses.  I figured farming to be about as useful as Latin.  I only show these farmers because I find it amazing that Southern High had three farming teachers.  The farming courses were only for boys.  No girls allowed.  The girls had to take Home-Ec.

I still remember this woman.  It's Mrs. Hadley.  Formerly known as Miss Newlin.  Mrs. Hadley was a pathetic excuse for a teacher.  She taught physical science.  Mrs. Hadley didn't know shit from shinola about science.  I am convinced she was only one chapter ahead of the class in the textbook.  For 9 months she believed CRT was an abbreviation for Cathode Ray Tray, not Cathode Ray Tube, as in a television screen in the olden days.  Her faux pus was so egregious that almost 50 years later I still remember Mrs. Hadley's Cathode Ray Tray.

Miss Newlin (later Hadley) was a former Southern High student.  She was Associate Editor of the So-Hi newspaper in 1962.  It's unfortunate for hundreds of her future students that she chose a teaching science career.  She was also a bus driver and member of the bus drivers club, the science club, Future Teachers club, a marshal, the French club, and had perfect attendance for three years.

Mrs. Hadley/Newlin should have grown up to be a bus driver, not a science teacher.

Her personal 1962 student slogan was: "As pure in thought as the angels are."

This is Calvin Jarrett.  He taught sociology and economics.  Mr. Jarrett had a personal hygiene issue.  He didn't bathe very often, but he had a Masters degree.  Mr. Jarrett enjoyed talking about his Masters degree and how other teachers didn't have a Masters degree.  Many years after high school I would learn Mr. Jarrett liked to collect western novels.  I learned this when he came by The Bookstore, when Reidsville had a bookstore, and tried to sell his western novel collection.  He did not make the sale.  Mr. Jarrett's Masters degree had not taught him nobody reads westerns.  Mr. Jarrett reminded me of comedian Jonathan Winters.

This is Mrs. Janet Loy.  I had her for four years of Accelarated English.  She was a pretty good teacher.  She was good enough that her seniors threw an after graduation party to show our appreciation.  Mrs. Loy took her Accelerated English senior students on a trip to New York City.  She was frequently the object of Calvin Jarrett's bachelor degree jokes. Her husband was a pro golfer.  She really liked a student who was also a golfer.  I heard the student committed suicide after he graduated.   Last I heard of Mrs. Loy she became a travel agent of sort and was investigated for taking money for planning student trips to NY that were never fulfilled.  I'm not sure how that turned out. If she's still living, she must be in her 80s or 90s by now.

This is Mrs. Miller, at least I think that's her name.  The fine print under her photo looks like "Mrs. Miller."  Funny I don't remember her name, but I remember she taught me advanced composition.  I also remember her assigning me a short story to write.  She read it and loudly exclaimed in her thick yankee accent - "God, you're so dynamic!"  i was never sure what she meant by "dynamic."

This is Mrs. Price.  I never had her for a teacher, but I remember she ran So-Hi, the student newspaper.  Apparently I whined about the quality of So-Hi, so she challenged me to write an article for the newspaper.  She promised she would publish whatever I wrote.  I wrote an article about the foolishness of the Vietnam War.  I turned in the article, she read it, and then ripped it to shreds in my face and yelled, "You're a Communist!"  At one time it was considered quite fashionable to call someone a Communist, but the fashion was fading in 1970.  By 1975 Mrs. Price was very much out of style.

Not surprisingly, I never wrote anymore articles for the So-Hi news.

This is Elbert Rhodes.  He was a math teacher, but was drafted to teach band when somebody heard he once played an instrument.  I have no idea what instrument because in the four years I had him for band I never heard him play a single note on any instrument.  The band teacher he replaced was said to have run away to join the circus.  Elbert should have given up teaching band and joined the circus.

I and a few other band members had a routine called "chaos."  Whenever Elbert would be leading the band and turn his back to us, we would begin to shuffle our feet and mumble quietly.  We would make quite a fuss for a few seconds.  Elbert would whip around to see where the noise was coming from.  As he turned we would immediately stop the "chaos".  The poor man never figured it out, probably thought he was hearing things, perhaps going insane.

This is Chesley Rimmer.  Chesley is a math teacher.  I remember taking geometry with Chesley.  I also remember Chesley snatching me out of class and him giving me a stern lecture in the hall about how I would grow up to be a total failure and a useless excuse for a human being.  It's amazing how perceptive geometry teacher Chesley was.  Chesley was not married and I believe he lived with his mother.  Chesley wore a lot of sweaters.  I seem to remember his 1970 photo showed him in one of his sweaters.

This kid is Ricky Farrell.  Ricky and I were friends for a very long time, starting in elementary school.  With the exception of this class photo, Ricky always looked like a slob.  All his clothes were wrinkled and ill fitting.  Sometime during high school Ricky died.  Apparently it was during late 1968 or early 1969.  It was all very mysterious.  Ricky reportedly committed suicide, but no adult would confirm this.  Hardly anyone would ever talk about what happened to Ricky Farrell.  It was also said that he ate snow that had been contaminated by Russian nuclear fallout.  It was a strange time.

This is Terry Johnson.  He was a year ahead of me.  I mainly remember him from elementary school when he would bully all the other kids.  He grew to be President of the 1969 senior class, a SBI narc in Reidsville, and the Sheriff of Alamance County.

These photos don't show it, but I discovered Southern High had about five black teachers and quite a few black students.  By quite a few I mean maybe 10 percent of the student population which is much more than I would have guessed.  I never had any black teachers, but I do remember two black friends - Roger the Drum Major and Cynthia, a pretty black Drum Majorette.  This is all the more interesting when you know we were known as the Southern Confederates.  The Confederates turned into the Southern High Patriots in 1971.

There were also a lot of club sponsors and attendants for this and that.  I have no idea what a club sponsor or attendant is, other than a gaggle of pretty, young girls.  Which reminds me...I discovered there were really a lot of pretty girls at Southern High.  I didn't think so in 1969, but looking back from 2013 it all seems different.  I should have spent less time studying and more time chasing snatch.

I discovered my photo was nowhere to be found in the 1969 yearbook. It was like I didn't exist, but I'm almost certain I did.

If you have a 1970 Southern High annual that you would be willing to donate or loan out for a few weeks, please let me know.  I can be contacted at


  1. I hope a lot of this is intended as humor (cute). The first graduating class at Southern was 1961 and mine was 1962 after which I attended Mr. Adcock's alma mater Wake Forest University (on need-based scholarship, B.A. Philosophy). Brother graduated in 1963, other brother graduated 1964 - later came along five sisters, the fifth of which was born 1960 my first Southern high semester (which was for me a huge culture shock). My first two years in high school were at Eli Whitney high school. I have lived in Fairfax County, VA, since 1984 and retired 2009, started social security 2011.

  2. You may read it as humor, but it is also the truth.