from Shelley Dettman in Nederland
I retired as of September 1, of this school year, after 46 years in education. I joined Retired Teachers and went to my first conference in Austin last week. It included a rally at the State Capitol to encourage legislators to give retired teachers much needed raises. The retired teacher leaders are encouraging us to get more retired teachers to join the organization. The goal is 100,000 Texas members. (We're about 97,000 members at this time.) The larger number will carry more weight in getting retired teachers more benefits. I am staying very busy.
from Sandra Vaughn Merrifield (TJ faculty)
Thanks for this update of the website. Thanks for including me on your mailing list. I just want to make a comment about that the use of rabbits, painted eggs, and other various popular Easter symbols have NO connection to the resurrection of Jesus. A good reference is the book, LILIES, RABBITS, and PAINTED EGGS, THE STORY OF THE EASTER SYMBOLS, by Edna Barth, which I used often in teaching about the origins of our Easter customs. Rabbits (or hares, which are different). lambs, lilies, are ancient symbols of new life in spring time. Painted eggs in early spring were on the scene hundreds of years before the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. These lovely spring customs were already in place when celebrations of Christ's resurrection began. Many Christian churches kept them to help express the deep, true meaning of Christ's resurrection (new life), because they fit right in.
(Sandra was referring to the article about Rabbits and Easter on the front page of the website posted in April)
from Kenny Bragg in Sheridan, AR
I am catching up on yard work and spending time with the grandkids. We leave the first of May with my daughter and her family for Disney World. We will probably need some physical therapy after that trip but we are looking forward to it. We spent a week at the beach last summer with both kids and their families and thoroughly enjoyed it. Beverly is doing well and spends about a day a week in Little Rock while my daughter does the accounting work for her husband's business. I have Energy Council meetings in Biloxi and Anchorage along with mission trips to the Dominican and India, but we hope to make it down to PA some time this summer for a visit with my brother, Bart. I enjoyed your visit last year and do appreciate the work you and Mike do to keep us up to date.
NEW LOOK OF THE WEBSITE
I am so thrilled with the results of Mike's hard work and hours and hours and hours of updating the website. It is even easier to view. I am finally able to see it on my IPHONE without scrolling and scrolling. We were able to update the softwear with your donations. Thank you, thank you!
from Walter Jones '69 in Colorado
I love the new site.
(Even friends from other classes enjoy our website!)
from Sandra Vaughn Merrifield Merrifield (TJ faculty)
What an excellent website with well written and informative articles.
(Nice comments make us happy that we are doing our “job” right!)
MEMORIES OF GROWING UP IN PA
(posted by Chuck Weatherall on FB)
There have been photos posted on FB about the Sabine Hotel hopefully being renovated. They reminded me of one of my very, very earliest memories. This took place at either the Sabine or the Goodhue, I really can’t remember. It was December of 1960. (I looked it up, so I know.) I had just turned 5. The whole family got dressed like we were going to church but this was in the evening.
We drove downtown and rode up in the elevator to a large open, carpeted venue. There were a few people milling about but not a large crowd. We made our way to an area against one of the walls where some chairs and sofas had been arranged. The center of attention was a large wooden structure. Someone opened the doors to reveal a television. For 1960 it was huge - maybe a 24-inch CRT. As the screen slowly came to life the excitement built. We were there to watch Peter Pan with Mary Martin and it was in COLOR. First time to ever see color tv. It was glorious. Little boy mind blown. Oh, the colors, the colors.
BTW, we didn’t get a color tv at home until the spring of ‘67 when Bill came down with mononucleosis (the kissing disease) and had to stay home from school. My mom took pity on him and we went to Neely Johnson’s (?) to shop for one. What a place. Boats, motors, and Sylvania TVs.
MINI REUNION LUNCHEON
Save the date:
7500 Twin City Hwy Port Arthur, TX 77642 (formerly Jim Carr Auto)
May 18, 2019
11:30 – til
Patio area will be reserved RSVP needed
Ernie Castaneda Bullion
Marilyn Jackson Williamson
(As of May 11, we have 48 classmates and family & friends that have contacted us about coming and joining in on the fun.)
from Lyn Frasier Lee in Georgetown
What fond and special memories from William B. Travis Elementary School.
We had a rodeo in first grade. Can you believe we actually spent weeks in third grade on real handwriting? No more printing. I remember doing a study on Peter and the Wolf in music. What fun to ride the train all the way to Beaumont, with a real “sack” lunch. Eating at a Mexican restaurant on Houston Avenue after studying Mexico. Working in the cafeteria and library. Our teachers ate at the tables with us. Oh, and the decorated lunch boxes. I remember I shared mine with Ricky Bradley. Band started in 4th grade with Mr. Vela on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The study of Port Arthur’s history- the canal, Rose Hill, the Stilwells’, the Woodworth’s . Having Bluebirds at Sara Little’s house. Oh those achievement tests, however, those were nothing like the ones today.
I was able to go back to Travis in 1999. My daughter got her first teaching job as a first grade teacher at Travis. She had no home room moms. I would go help her sometimes. (Remember how wonderful our Homeroom Mothers were when we were students???) The next 2 years she taught Head Start then moved to Nederland ISD.( Now she is an educational diagnostician for Nederland ISD.)
I cherish my Travis memories. School life is so different now. I can see that with my grands. My what a challenge it can be now as compared to our school life.
Linda, thank you for offering this time of reminiscing back to the 50’s and 60’s days of education. Thank you and Mike for keeping us informed with those of whom we shared our early lives with.
from Cherlyn Hebert in Houston
What a fun assignment!! Thanks, Linda. I am so happy to hear that there is a new Sam Houston. The last time I rode around Port Arthur, it looked pretty ragged and had a lot of temporary buildings out back.
Here are a few of the fond memories I have of going to elementary school at Sam Houston:
1. I had rheumatic fever in kindergarten and missed about a month of school, I think. When I returned my teacher, Miss Barton/Mrs. Irwin, had a party for me and baked me a cake, her very first. I remember how special I felt.
2. One year (first maybe) we had a circus. My costume was a horse, using a box turned upside down with a hole cut in the bottom so it would slip over me and settle around my waist. I’m sure we had some kind of choreography but that’s all I remember.
3. I still have a booklet somewhere from maybe second grade where I wrote a summary of each book I read for our reading contest. I wrote an especially incisive summary of “Toby Tyler Goes to the Circus”. It read “it was about a boy named Toby Tyler who went to the circus.” I’ll blame having to compete with Diane Richmond Miller for my obvious efforts at speedreading AND speedwriting. LOL
4. One year, I was sitting at a desk or table that faced out onto one of the courtyards, where you could then see through the glass down the hallway. I saw my grandparents coming down the hall and remember wondering why they were there. Turns out they had come to take me out of school to go fishing!! I have NO idea how they got that idea past my mother, but I was sure glad they did.
5. I had Mrs. Jagoe for fourth grade; and in Olympic years, we had our own Olympics! This must have been 1960. I was not allowed to compete due to some lingering concerns about my heart after having rheumatic fever, so I had to be a judge instead. I was NOT happy about that because I wanted to run races and do the broad jump and things my friends were doing. Today doing as little as possible is right up my alley; I was just a little ahead of my time back then. LOL
I know if I put my mind to it, I'd think of a lot more; but I wanted to send these in before I moved on and forgot. How simple our school days were back then. No metal detectors. No security threats. You didn’t have to be told how to dress to go to school. It was just a great time of my life and, like with Port Arthur in general, I will always appreciate my childhood memories.I can't wait to hear from other Sam Houstonians.
from Georgia Peterson Winkler in Austin
Sorry to hear that Travis Elementary was torn down but the building was quite old. Hope the area enjoys the new school. Travis holds lots of memories. I'm sure that we worked at learning but the fun stuff is what sticks in the mind. The talent shows, carnivals (or whatever they were, seems like they were elaborate), working in the school library, making bulletin boards, the train ride, and walking or riding my bike home. There were always adventures to be found.
I was most disillusioned when I returned years ago and saw the chain link fence around Travis. It was such a shock to my memories of being there. Hope the new generation of students will create fond memories of the school.
from Sandra Vaughn Merrifield (TJ faculty)
I especially appreciated the notice that the original Travis Elementary School building has been torn town and a new, updated school built. My class, originally at Lee until fifth grade, attended Travis, located across the street from my parents' house, right when it opened. (1953?) We were so excited to be in the brand new school that was so open, airy, with sinks with running water in each classroom. I am glad the students have a new building now, but I will miss the memories the sight of the old Travis would evoke.
from Bill Richey in Bridge City
sent in by Rhonda Carleton Richey
Bill Richey will be the first to tell you he is a very patriotic American. Bill is proud to honor our flag and sing The Star Spangled Banner. Actually, he and Rhonda sang with a choir last baseball season at Minute Maid Park. But, step back in time. 4th or 5th grade at Sam Houston Elementary.
Bill (trumpet), Mike McCarry (trumpet), and Robert McClintock (cornet) were charged with playing To The Colors and raising the American flag each morning. One late morning all three boys were called to the office and asked to meet with the principal and representatives from the National Guard! They had raised the flag upside down - a sign of national distress! They never played again. Hmmmm. Bill does not remember if it was a accident or deliberate.
from Jan Russell in Houston
I’m so happy that Travis Elementary has had a transplant, so to speak. The new building looks fabulous and I’m sure is wired for all the technology necessary for the 21st century.
My favorite memory is of my dog Bullet often following me to school. Principal Gladine Robinson would call my mother and say, “Mrs. Russell we have a four legged student with us again today. Would you please come pick him up?” I also remember the restrooms connecting 2 classrooms for 1st and 2nd grade. When someone (may or may not have included me!) was caught talking he or she had to go count the bricks in the bathroom!
Perhaps my favorite memory is of Miss Pat Campbell’s 4th grade class. She loved poetry and taught us several poems. Our class also memorized and recited the Christmas story from the Bible and performed it as part of Travis’s Christmas program. I still have it memorized. I have many more elementary school memories, but I’ll save them for another time. I’ll close with my favorite poem from Miss Campbell’s class:
“What a wonderful bird the frog are.
When he stands, he sits almost.
When he hops, he flies almost.
And when he sits, he sits on what he ain’t got almost!”
We have a wonderful space on our class website that includes classmates and family members that are now or have previously served time in the military. Consider sending in photos and information for us to include in the future. Make sure you check it out.
St. MARY HOSPITAL MEMORIES
Here we go again! My “cinco de Leendah” (Linda, for all you Gringoes) or “cinco de me, me, me” day. May 5th. 69 years old for all it is worth. Knowing that I will bore many of you with my story again, but who would have imagined that the moms of Mike Lawson, Barry Boudreaux and Linda DeCuir would all share a room in the maternity ward at St. Mary Hospital and the kids would become entwined in life. Mike (May 4), me (May 5) and Barry (May 6), all in the same room. Barry became my first “boyfriend” and I always tell his wife, Janice Hebert, that I saw him naked before she did! Janice and I grew up together in Lakeview, went to the same church and was in the same class at Travis from Kdg. through 6th grade. I was even a bridesmaid in their wedding. Mike ended up going to Sam Houston Elementary and his mom told him when he was about to enter Woodrow Wilson to be sure to look up Linda DeCuir. I guess I must have made an IMPRESSION on her. Little did we know that he and I would become “MARRIED” to each other working on the class website and raising our “babysite”!! Small world.
NEWS FROM THE HOMEFRONT
I had a fun-filled birthday WEEK. I got a clean haircut, a pedicure, enjoyed a birthday luncheon with Debbie Borres, Ernie Castaneda and Diane Richmond, went to listen to a Cajun band, ate my way through a couple of trays of crawfish, spent my actual birthday with my daughter and granddaughters and went andspent a couple of relaxing days in the RV at Dam B. It was a special week.
On a sadder note, we cut our camping trip short because we got news from hospice that my sister, Gerry was declining. A week before she had tripped up getting out of her recliner and hit her head and spent a couple of days in the hospital. Even going in the ambulance she was flirting with the EMT's and shimmying her shoulders and winking. She was doing much better back at her private assisted living (only 5 residents) when she began to start having episodes that she does not normally have. The nurse feels like she possibly had a stroke due to a blood clot that broke away. She is not herself anymore, looks 10 years older, doesn't have a voice or smiles anymore. She gets extremely aggitated at times, barely wants to eat or know how. All in a short period of a couple of days. I spent the day with her and talked in her ear and prayed with her. I fed her and rubbed her hand while she napped. They have her on a low dose of morphine and the hospice nurse comes to assess her daily. They said it is just a matter of time. Only God knows.
Gerry is my oldest sibling (9 years older) and was already dating my future brother-in-law when I was 5 years old. I had my first nephew in the 6th grade and babysat her two boys growing up. Her daughter was born while I was in college. This girl has become like my other daughter growing up with my only child, Stacy. They are 6 years apart. My sister and I lived a half of miles apart in Bridge City and have done everything together over the years.
After she was diagnosed with being bi-polar, I became her guidance and “older” sister with the rational decisions. Then, she was diagnosed with dementia at the same time that I had dad living with me. She is now in end-stage alzheimers. I love her with all my heart. She is the most fun-loving, caring sister ever. I couldn't have asked for anyone better to be part of my life. A big part of my heart will be taken away when she is no longer here on earth. One weird part is that she has not remembered her children for quite awhile now but has never forgotten me. My angel, my sister. Please pray for a peaceful passing.
Bill Richey had surgery to repair his knee that was injured while on a skiing trip during spring break. He is recovering and looking forward to getting to play some golf in the near future.
3695 Woodway Dr.
Orange, TX 77630
Amy Latiolais Kidder's husband, Johnny has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. She has asked for prayers for a quick recovery.
Bridge City, TX 77611
Jack Etheredge is gravely ill due to complications from Glioblastoma. His wife, Charlotte (Cunningham) '70 has posted the following:
I want to thank each and every one who has stopped by to visit Jack in the time he has been sick. You all have a special place in our hearts and always will. But I now need to ask for only family members to visit. We want every minute of the day to be able to concentrate on our precious dad and my precious husband. If there is anyone who planned on coming and hasn't been able to please call me and I can let you know if it's ok. We love all our friends so much and hope you all understand. Please pray for Jack's comfort at this time. We will keep you updated.
Love and hugs to all.
450 Gilmer Bridge City, TX 77611
(death of a classmate)
SONDRA HOLSTEAD PROVENCHER
December 31, 1949 – March 16, 2019
4220 Wentworth Ave.
Port Arthur, TX 77642
(death of his father, Granville “Buddy” Landry)
April 23, 1930 – April 29, 2019
PO Box 2679
Crystal Beach, TX 77650
Fred Hollier, Jr. (death of his sister, Joanna Hollier Schmidtke tj '70)
August 27, 1952 – May 9, 2019 Services will be held at Melancon's Funeral Home in Nederland. Visitation will be 5-7 pm on Tuesday, May 14 and funeral services at Melancon's at 10:00 pm on Wednesday, May 15.
Fred Hollier, Jr
22030 Tower Terrace
San Antonio, TX 78259
I want to thank the classmates and faculty member who submitted their memories of their elementary days. Keep them coming. I know that Travis and Sam Houston were not the only schools! So, you still have homework. I hope that you all have a special Mother's Day weekend (rainy or not). Hugs to those who have lost their mom. Spend time remembering the good times.
Keep in touch and contact a classmate,
Linda DeCuir McFadden