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Not So Tall Tales

 Beaver's "Paradise"

Meanwhile...I was a freshman when Beaver's Paradise was being demolished for "improvements", but I enjoyed the show for one year, anyway.  I remember one episode in particular...
My older brothers, wise in the ways of Paradise, warned me not to stray from the path as a passed through, lest I fall prey to the "kickers" on one side, the "freaks" on the other, the "jocks" over yonder, or any other social divisions that carved out there territory in Paradise. 

As I walked along one day, hoping to remain an anonymous freshman (translated as "amoeba" to the upperclassmen!), a fellow Frosh several paces ahead of me was abruptly lassoed!  I watched with a combination of horror, laughter and, of course, gratitude, as he was quickly pulled toward the "kickers", expertly coiled, up-ended and stuffed head-first into what I hoped for his sake was an empty trash barrel.  He was then rolled along the ground amidst whoops of laughter for several moments, until he was hauled out.  Dizzy and nauseous, he was able to come out smiling and laughing about the experience, which probably diffused the situation and kept it from becoming any worse for him. 

I'll never forget watching him stagger over and try to pick up his books and head for class.  I made a mental note that if I ever was the victim of a similar fate, that laughing about it was a better strategy for survival than getting mad.  The "new and improved" Beaver's Paradise the following year was nice, but it lacked the charm and tradition of the old one, and it left little opportunity for social factions to band together and glare at each other over short distances.  Alas!  Of course, the whole thing was toast in another five years or so anyway, so it may have been poetic justice after all...!
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it...

Kirk Thompson, Class of '79

Marsha writes about the times of 63-67.

I'm not the best authority about everything that happened during those years---I was the resident "dork" who observed rather than participated but here are some things I remember.

Our freshman year where the auto shop guys drilled holes in the wall to the gym hopefully to see girls and instead saw a football coach getting it on with our women's PE teacher on the mats----our Scottsdale Superintendent's daughter was a Freshman at the time and would regale us with stories of what was happening---both teachers were fired -- and we got an education in sex/ed!!

15 cent hamburgers outside at the snack bar full of thousand island dressing --and dipping fudgsickles into coke to make chocolate cokes?

The time somebody came in the middle of the night and drew in graphic detail a hand flipping the middle finger throughout the campus especially represented on the wall of the bookstore?

cheese crisps???

Jim Palmer ( a "63" alumn --how come nobody ever has him come to the reunions?) pitching in the World Series during the Autumn of "66" and our school sending out all sorts of autographed signs --- we were a proud campus---

And he would want it to be remembered---I dated him in college and he loved to tell the story-
Lee Meyer (SHS '67) making all the lockers screwed up so we couldn't open them on the last day after a major food fight in the cafeteria. Lee died at age 40 and loved his time at SHS

Teachers---Sra. Rosbach, (who died the night before our 30th reunion) Sra. Baker, who continued to make 16 year old males lust after her for years in the Scottsdale district, Mr. Davis, who taught me how to write an essay, and Mr. Thorndike who turned into Jell-O when Jud Smith asked where his children got off the bus----like if Jud didn't get a better grade it was Sopranos time!!!

Life After High School

I recently auditioned for a local playhouse for a play I really knew very little about. The title is Is there Life After High School? As part of the audition process I had to tell a true story from High School. When put on the spot like that the only thing I could think of to tell about was rodeo days and how some of the guys would rope the girls and have "mock weddings". They liked the bit so much that I not only got a part in the play, they are incorporating it into the play! Funny how the spirit of SHS lives on even after the buildings have gone!

Connie Lamoureux

A Teacher Who Made the Difference - Eugene L.. Hanson, Band Director

Subj: Yogurt Anyone?
Date: 9/27/00 7:24:09 AM Central Daylight Time
To: SHSAlumni

This is for the YOGURT CLUB . . . A Scottsdale High School teacher who changed my life.

When I was growing up, my father was a highway engineer. Highway done? Move! Another highway done? Move again! By the time I was 14, we'd lived in four states and 23 houses and my only best friend was my brother. We were then transfered to Arizona. I hated my parents, ran away from home to California and gave my family a lot of grief.

But by then, I'd learned to play the clarinet and, back in Arizona, I auditioned for the Beaver Band. Didn't make the cut. I had never even heard the Beaver Band before and when I did in late September of '59 I was mesmerized! They were great!

I practiced like crazy and auditioned once again for Eugene L. Hanson. I was still lousy, but Mr. Hanson saw the look of determination in my eyes and he let me in! I was last chair, but fortunate enough to play in the Rhapsody In Blue concert in January of 1960 featuring his son, Steve Hanson. (You were great, Steve, and we miss you!)

After that, my world revolved around that band and music. I made peace with my parents and made new friends. Mr. Hanson (who has since said I could call him Gene, but will always be MISTER to me) was a stern taskmaster, sometimes a D.I., inspirational, and caring, gave me a drive. I went on to make All State and win a music scholarship. Mr. Hanson, you gave me disclipine, insight and foresight.

You also gave me back to my family who love you as much as I do. Were it not for their strength, I would not have been driven to the strength and challenge you gave me, Mr. Hanson. Thank you, Sir. Home at last. I love you!

Judy (Hallas) Webster


That's what Ned Flanders, neighbor of Homer Simpson, would say.  Co-inky-dinky, or coincidence in normal speech.

But, let's get to the real story.

 Tom Larsen and I had been acquainted since October when our family moved to Sugar Land, Texas.  My son, Chris, is a Cub Scout and Tom is the Cubmaster and there's one connection.  Being a former Cubmaster myself I ended up attending the pack committee meetings at Tom's house about a Flanders distance away.  He's not exactly right next door, but only a few houses away on the next street.  Well, after about seven months of meetings, Pack events, and what not, ole Tom put a swimming pool in his back yard which in itself is not a remarkable event, especially here in Sugar Land where you could swim the wet part of a triathalon from house to house.  Yet, this is where the co-inky-dinky began to reveal itself.

At the last committee meeting, as people were arriving and chatting and going on, admiring Tom's pool and such, someone quipped that it wouldn't be long before one of his kids jumped off of the upper deck into the pool.  Tom related that when he was a kid he drove his bike off of the roof of his house into his pool.  Well, this struck a chord with me.  I had friends who did the same sort of thing when I was a kid.  We had these little bicycles with big handle bars and "banana" seats.  Riding off a roof into a pool was a cool thing to do.  Surely, Tom wasn't a desert rat so I suggested that he must have been raised in California.  After all, roof riding couldn't be just an Arizona sport. Little did I know. 

Tom replied that he was not raised in California, but in Phoenix.  I rejoined that I, too, was from Phoenix,  but Scottsdale, actually.  It was then that Tom dropped The Bomb:  He was from Scottsdale, attended Pima Elementary and Scottsdale High School, class of '78.  

You could have blown me over with a feather.

I, too, attended Pima Elementary and graduated from SHS in '69, a finer year I might add.

Our family homes were less than a mile apart.  Tom's best friend was my neighbor.  Although we had never met in a previous life, we had traveled here and there, over hill and dale, through thick and thin, and via several metaphors I can't bring myself to write, to one point in time, with a common interest and a common bond.  As they say, go figger.


Bill Farrell, Webmaster;  Tom Larsen, Cubmaster.

Subj: Leo Landers
Date: 98-01-22 01:04:30 EST
From: (John Baker.)

I woke up this morning with the name "Leo Landers" on the top of my brain.

Senoir year: BUSTED in the bathroom by Leo. I was smoking those Real Man smokes and the door opened wide. Officer Landers was looming large in the foggy haze. Everyone threw down their butts, quickly. For whatever reason, I decided that since I was a senior, I didn't care. Leo pointed his mean lean finger at me and said with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, "YOU!" I said, "Me?" He smiled and nodded, affirming the dreadful bust.

I was marched to Mrs. Casky's office. Leo didn't say a word, he just did his little short man's forward stroll and I followed. Once inside Casky's office, he put his threatening hand on my shoulder and gave the principal his report, "Smoking. Boys bathroom." (As if I would be smoking in the girls bathroom). Mrs. Casky called my Dad. "No big deal," I reasoned to Mrs. C., "My Dad knows I smoke." She called anyway and my Dad pretended to be surprised and disappointed - you know, the saving parental face thing. Mrs. Casky seemed to know my Dad was bluffing because as soon as she hung up the phone, she launched into her theory of on-campus smoking policy. "If I had my way," she explained, "Beavers Paradise would be divided into two sections, one for smokers and one for non-smokers." Whew, was I relieved: no suspension, detention, nada.

She ASKED me not to do it again then added, "At least don't get caught, okay?" I agreed to those consequences and left the office. The whole ordeal took about an hour, so by this time I really needed another smoke. You guessed it, I headed back to the boys room, lit up my cig, and told the boys my story. We all laughed and had a good smoke.

Sorry Leo, I meant no disrespect.

Smoke of Another Color
From:  Bill Farrell, Class of 69

Not enough homework.  At least, that's one explanation for why four or five normally normal high school students would hatch a plan involving rubber gloves, strong acid and the cafeteria trash can.  Most high school teachers would be proud to inspire their students, but in the aftermath of the Great Cafeteria Smoke Out, Mr. Bryan, the chemistry teacher, undoubtedly harbored less noble thoughts.  In retrospect, it was Mr. Bryan's passion for demonstration in lieu of handing out masses of homework, which would have blotted up our creative juices, that led to a scaling-up of a simple laboratory experiment to a plot of such ghastly proportions.  But, maybe that gives the Mad Bombers too much credit.

One thing is  certain:   activities that a typical high school student would consider "cool" are illegal in most states, violate stacks of OSHA regulations and possibly international law, and have, no doubt, resulted in the hole in the ozone layer, the extinction of fauna and flora, and the creation of television shows like "Married, With Children".

Mr. Bryan's demonstration, had it a title, would have been called "Creating a Little Purple Smoke", and had it been a failure the Mad Bombers might have turned their collective attention back to their real passion, nuclear fission.  [As a side note, had the Bombers actually succeeded in their fission experiments, thus reducing the school to a vacant, dusty lot, they would have only been 14 years ahead of their time.]  Unfortunately, the demonstration was a success.  The Bombers visualized that if a little bit of chemical produced a little purple smoke then a BIG bit of chemical would produce a BIG BIT OF SMOKE, and, short of nuclear winter, wouldn't that be a lot of fun!?!

The plot was hatched.  The game was afoot.  And with planning rivaling the Great Train Robbery, materials were sneaked out of the chemistry laboratory, roles were assigned ("You create a diversion.  You hold the door.  You look innocent.  You put the bomb in the trash can."), a day was chosen and the Point of No Return reached.

"Nothing succeeds like success" the old saying goes.  The plan executed flawlessly.  Too flawlessly.  Expecting only a puff of smoke, some giggles and a few faked screams of terror, the Bombers were surprised by the fire alarm, general pandemonium, brief food fight (Never really explained. But the Jocks and the Surfers had been on edge for weeks.), and ultimate stampede.

Mr. Tripp , the Principal, demanded retribution.  Mr. Bryan saved our hides, but ultimately delivered justice as the Bombers, to a man, spent nearly countless years toiling in graduate school, paying our penance ten-fold to become chemists and doctors, ourselves, strangely averse to smoke and the color purple.

But, man, at the time it was really cool.


Teachers - Gotta Love 'Em!

"Art" class was weird. We didn't learn any art skills, but mostly sat around chatting, tossing water balloons in the backstage area adjoining the classroom, or trying to catch a glimpse of the "teacher" as she sipped whiskey from a flask or snuck a peak at a Playboy magazine stashed in her desk. As an innocent freshman, I tried to avoid an older guy who'd been in school a looong time, and who was trying to get me to go to the stock car races with him.

"Biology" class was also interesting. The fellow who taught the one I was scheduled for had seen better days. Only one smart kid actually learned biology by disciplining himself to sit there and read the book. The teacher was from the old school. Every day we began class by singing "The Itsy-Bitsy Arachnid." He wrote phrases on the board, we'd memorize them, then stand and recite. If we said "uh" while reciting, we'd have to stay after school and write "I will not belch while reciting in class" 100 times on the blackboard. A similar punishment awaited anyone who pronounced the word "dissect" as "die-sect" instead of "dih-sect". He loved to make girls hold scorpions or other yucky things. Most of the other kids in that particular class were from Girls Ranch or Boys Ranch. One guy next to me held the scorpion and let it sting his hand multiple times. Teacher didn't mind. The topper was when he walked in one day, gleefully crunching a handful of dried earthworms, which we were supposed to have "dih-sected" that day.

Before the Indian Bend Wash was engineered into today's beautiful park system, the area would flood with each big rain. One really bad storm stays in my mind. My dad said, "There won't be school today". I insisted he take me anyway. As we drove up, there was the principal, Mr. Tripp, barefoot, pantlegs rolled up, standing in water and the pouring rain, waving and yelling, "GO HOME! GO HOME!" What a funny sight.

Babette Wood  1968

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