The way we were.
Mox nox in rem
The official SHS website Spartanburg High School
Not the official site SpartanburgHigh.com
Reunion 2004 The Big 4-0
Reunion 2014 The Big 5-0
The SHS Class of ’64 Planning Committee
Sandra Alverson Camby, email@example.com
Judy West Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amaryllis Smith Almond, email@example.com
Gentle reminder, LynnSC
Fender skirts, JohnG
Older than dirt, HenryD
Our Gang, KayeBB
Our reunion, the Big 5-0, was held as planned in Spartanburg on Saturday, June 21, 2014. To those who managed to get there and participate, thanks for coming. To those who couldn't make it, for whatever reason, we look forward to seeing you and the rest of the gang next time. About this, we do not kid.
Sept 7, 2015. Our Classmate, Ted Painter, Remembers Señor Vilas and Mrs. Kerr. In his words:
In the 9th grade, for some obscure reason, I decided to take Spanish 1 the next year in the 10th grade. I mean, how hard could it be? All those little Spanish kids spoke it, so it should have been pretty easy.
When we moved up from Evans Junior High to Spartan High in the fall of 1961, we met Señor Santiago Vilas from Madrid, Spain. He was a former staff member of ABC, one of Madrid’s major newspapers, and a former futbol player for one of Spain's top teams. Futbol, by the way, is soccer to you. In any event, our class was apparently a formidable challenge for Sr. Vilas, as well as for the students, and we quickly earned a reputation as being in need of a firmer hand at the reins.
Near the end of the first semester, as midterm exams were looming, Sr. Vilas was holding forth on the finer points of conjugating Spanish verbs, and was writing on the blackboard with his back to the class. I was confused about something, and had my hand up to ask a question. From somewhere behind me a missile arced through the air, striking Sr. Vilas in the head.
Sensing danger, I pulled my arm down. As a former futbol player, Sr. Vilas was quite agile, and he turned very quickly after being hit. The only motion he detected was my arm going down. I was instantly ordered to take my books and report to the principal, Dr. Rice. This was on a Friday, as I recall, and on Monday our class was directed to report to another classroom, rather than the room we'd originally been assigned. We'd been reassigned to Mrs. Victoria Kerr, another Spanish teacher and a stern disciplinarian, and her class was reassigned to Sr. Vilas, so they could be exposed to his native Castilian enunciation.
For her classes each day, Mrs. Kerr's practice was to have homework papers passed up to her desk, then everyone stood by their desk until she'd handed back each individual their homework paper. Not having been in class Friday, when our homework was assigned, and not having much of a social relationship with any of my classmates, I didn't know what the homework assignment was. I had no homework, I was left standing.
When I was interrogated as to why this was, I responded I'd been in the office, not in the classroom, when homework was assigned.
“Why were you in the office and not the classroom,” Mrs. Kerr queried.
I explained about the missile striking Sr. Vilas, and my subsequent banishment to the office.
“Why on earth would you want to throw something at your teacher,” Mrs. Kerr asked, in disbelief.
When I proclaimed my innocence, Mrs. Kerr was skeptical, since in her vast experience miscreants seldom owned up to their criminal behavior. But in a spirit of fairness, before she handed down her sentence, she asked that the actual perpetrator of the crime reveal himself. We were both surprised when Larry G. admitted to throwing the object. Me, because I never figured anyone would own up to it, and Mrs. Kerr, because she had known for a certainty of fact I had done the crime.
From the pages of the 1964 Spartana. While this picture was staged for the camera, it does convey a poignancy we probably missed at the time.
Main Street and the Good Life, a reprint
June 16, 2015. Spartanburg has one. A central thoroughfare called "Main," that is. Fifty-plus years ago on that street, from the Aug W. Smith Co. down to Belk-Hudson's, one could find thriving businesses: Efrid's Department Store, Eckerd Drugs (complete with soda fountain), Thom McAnn Shoes, Kresge's, Gray's Jewelers, the Palmetto and State theaters, and so on and so forth. In the late forties and early fifties, there were at least two cafeterias on that short section of Main.
Saturday mornings back in those days of yore, the sidewalks would be full of people, some of them coming from as far away as Tryon and Pacolet. Shoppers. People who'd come to downtown Spartanburg to do a little "trading" with the local merchants.
There were also the town characters and the individuals who didn't know they'd become town characters. Naming no names because this isn't that kind of website, those people added to the ambiance of Main, and when they passed on, there were no replacements waiting in the wings. Anyway, none this writer's aware of.
Downtown Sparkle City was never parking friendly. Of course, as kids, that's not something most of us would've thought much about. Between the Palmetto and Belk's, there was parking on one side of the street, though not on the other. That did, however, leave enough room for two lanes of opposing traffic. There was a little parking down on Morgan Square, just not enough. On Saturday mornings there was never enough.
Throughout most of the South, as in Spartanburg, blue laws were in effect. Those were laws limiting the hours stores could be open, and what the stores could sell and when. Very few retail establishments were open on Sundays, with the exceptions of gas stations, restaurants, and pharmacies.
The Main Street merchants of old went a little further, and, by custom, closed their doors early on Wednesday afternoons, as well as early on Saturdays. Before the Age of Air-Conditioning, that was probably a humane thing to do, giving the staff a little break in their workweek. In any event, that quaint practice lasted until the late '50s, when the retail business game started to become really competitive. Eventually, even the blue laws themselves were discarded.
The end of the blue laws may have had more than a little to do with the rise of outlying shopping malls and the demise of the downtown we knew.
that which one can buy on a Tuesday, one can almost always purchase on a
Sunday. with perhaps the exception of alcohol sales.
Laws and customs have changed. For the better, we hope.
Yet one is left wondering sometimes, if, perhaps along the way,
we threw the cat out with the bathwater.
Barbie and Bob Jones U
June 1, 2015. On a slow Saturday in the fall of 1960, Tommy Barnett and I were walking aimlessly up Main Street, when something caught our eye. In the window of a 5 & Dime, there was Barbie. All anatomically correct and just everything.
That was the first time we’d ever seen a doll exuding such pulchritude. We were fourteen years old, and we couldn’t help but marvel at the audacity of Barbie’s design, the sheer marketing genius behind her creation. Mostly though, we were taken with her anatomical correctness.
We had less than ten seconds to enjoy the moment before we were accosted by a sidewalk evangelist. In those days, male students at Bob Jones University over in Greenvillewere encouraged to sharpen their testimonial skills on Joe Citizen. The prevailing theory as to where the best place to snag Joe apparently was when Joe was walking the streets of Spartanburg. Leastways, that’s my theory about the theory.
Poor guy. We may have looked like innocent teenyboppers, but the sight of the little plastic "seductress" had triggered within us an intense adolescent curiosity.
When the Jonesian approached, Tommy and I started snickering, then laughing. We couldn’t stop. "What’s the problem?" he kept asking. The seconds ticked away, he got madder, and he never noticed that which was in the store window behind us. He was a real square daddy—no way he was going to dig where we were coming from. I may have been an immature fourteen, but I still knew there were things you'd better not try to explain.
There are good things to say about Bob Jones University. Like they have a notable collection of artwork done by minor Renaissance artists; they’ve put on some credible Shakespearean productions; and their alumni, as a group, don’t seem to be afraid of work. That said, I also share basic, closely held core beliefs with those espoused by BJU, and I have some understanding of their motivation.
The young man who spoke to us, well, he’d caught us at the wrong time. Fact is, we were true children of the ‘50s, and it wasn’t in our nature to be disrespectful to cops, teachers or street evangelists. Hopefully he went on to worthier, more receptive audiences.
Way the bye, Barbie’s boyfriend Ken came out in 1961. Ken’s shorts were non-removable.
Top Value Stamps
May 24, 2015. Kids today cannot possibly understand the sheer thrill of buying things and getting savings stamps along with one's change. In our day, you bought something at the Community Cash, Craft's Drugs or any of several dozen other stores, you got savings stamps. That was really cool, though salesclerks must have hated them.
Around Spartanburg the two biggies in the savings-stamp industry were Top Value and Green. Top Value stamps were bright yellow, Green stamps were not.
Put enough like-colored stamps together in enough books, and a guy could get some swell stuff. This writer, for instance, got his first tennis racquet using 4 books of stamps.
By anyone's standards that racquet was pure crap, but it did have strings and a handle, and if you hit the ball right, etc. I played with the racquet for several years, until I wised up and did an equipment upgrade. With my new racquet, I played as badly as ever, but I cut a more dashing figure on the court. [That's right, your webguy leads a rich fantasy life.]
I still have that old racket. If I looked hard enough, might even find a few Top Value stamps.
May 24, 2015. Ted Painter's reply. Nice article. As I recall, you got one stamp for each dime you spent, and it took 30 stamps to fill a page. I think there were 20 pages in a book (maybe more, maybe less), meaning you had to spend $60.00 to fill a book.
I also recall looking at the catalog, you could get a car with enough stamps. The number 1600 books sticks in my mind, but I really don't remember that clearly.
I do remember many churches would ask members to donate books so they could get a van for the church. Doing the math, you could get a $1500 car or van by spending just $9600.00._______________