||Not So Tall Tales|
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...
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...!
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.
Life After High School
Subj: Yogurt Anyone?
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
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
Sorry Leo, I meant no disrespect.
Smoke of Another Color
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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