The class of ’66 started its twelve years of schooling in the first grade under Miss Blasingame, Mrs. Hines, Mrs. Honeycutt, Mrs. Leeper, and Mrs. Miller. Plays were the main interests of many of our energetic classmates. Don Davidson appeared as one of the “Three Little Pigs” in Mrs. Honeycutt’s play of nursery rhymes. Mrs. Leeper’s first graders matured quickly through the experience of presenting a wedding as their play. Homer McDonough performed the ceremony as preacher uniting Margaret King and George Wood in holy matrimony. An unfortunate casualty occurred during the play presented by Mrs. Hines’ class. It seems that the script called for a certain young lady to sit on a mouse’s tail. Neill DeShazo who played the mouse got awfully mad when the girl, Diane Denton, started to ham it up and instead of just sitting on his tail, pulled it completely off. Another play of interest presented this year was “Santa’s Toy Shop” which starred Bill Burrows as Old St. Nick and Rita Goolsby as Mrs. Santa.
Aside from our class plays the Seniors of ’66 had many and varied interests. One of Katherine King’s main hobbies was to trace pictures of Little Lu Lu, enter the art contest, and win first place. The first grade boys discovered a place which would be one of their favorites during their grammar school years, Mistilis’. Even though Mistilis’ was off limits, the fellas managed to bribe Jimmy Aron into going across the street to get them suckers.
Our first year of school ended with the thought of eleven more hectic and fun filled years ahead of us.
Our second year of school was under the guidance of Mrs. Craig, Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. Hyde, and Mrs. Sanders. Our class artist was at it again in the second grade. This year Kat admired a picture that Jane Cloud had drawn so much that she decided to erase Jane’s name and put her own name there instead. Mrs. Duncan was so impressed with the drawing that she insisted on showing it to the whole class much to the dismay of Kat. Jane and Katherine never did seem to be quite as good of friends after this incident especially since Kat steadfastly insisted that the work was her own. A talented prodigy of Katherine was Voncille Petty. Vonny won 1st place in this year’s art contest and promptly started drawing pictures all over everything. Wanda Boatright decided one day to sit down on the windowsill in the cafeteria while waiting in the lunch line. Wanda hadn’t counted on falling out of the window that day.
Brenda Faust caused quite a scare while practicing for one of the plays. She was to turn a cartwheel with one hand but unfortunately the one hand slipped. Another stir was created in Mrs. Duncan’s room when the King twins refused to bow their heads for the blessing before lunch one day. The renowned Sivley Street gang added to the excitement of the second grade with their exciting escapades. Among their experiences was setting the woods on fire then quickly running back to their homes to wait for the fire truck.
Our second grade year ended with us accomplishing one of our major tasks in school, learning how to write in script. Some of our teachers might dispute this point.
Our third year in grammar school was led by our teachers, Mrs. White, Mrs. Greene, Mrs. Hoar, Mrs. Godbold and Mrs. Joiner. One of the plays presented this year was “The Castle of Beans” written by Philip Stone, brother of one of our fellow classmates, Araminta Stone. The main characters, who just happened to like each other this year, were Araminta Stone as the princess and Mit Hobbs as Prince Charming. Larry Christman played Prince Harming and fought with Mit over Araminta, but lost. This was the beginning of Snake’s career as being a loser. Debbie Slade played the queen and David Freeman the king. Diane Denton, who along with Debbie like David, was given the part of the dragon.
Some of the big romances of the third grade year were Don Davidson and Lee Walker, Araminta Stone and Mit Hobbs, and Susan Collins and Chappie Pinkston. Mit tried to show Araminta what a great lover he was one day by trying to kiss her under his raincoat.
Another big play this year was given jointly by Mrs. White and Mrs. Joiner’s rooms. Some of the characters were Sheila Mitchell as Miss Spring, Wanda Boatright as the Fairy, and Neill DeShazo as a violet. Mrs. Joiner had a little trouble with one of her students during the rehearsals. She had to try to teach Bill Bryant how to skip. Poor Bill never did learn how.
New and lasting friendships were started this year. Denny Keye told Aileen Sanders that Katherine King had taken her penny, and Katherine very casually kicked Denny in the stomach. Katherine and Denny have been close friends ever since.
Wayne Taylor decided instead of finishing his lesson in class one day as the other students were doing that he would fly his homemade kite out of the classroom window. His teacher made him write “I will finish my lesson” 500 times. Deb Slade one day decided to dot up her arms with mercurochrome so that it would look like she had the measles and therefore wouldn’t have to take a test that the teacher was giving that day. Lee Shellabarger, never to be conventional and do things like everyone else, always read her books from the end to the first.
The big fad this year for the girls was to wear as many slips as possible. It was nothing for one girl to come to school with ten slips on, all of different kinds and colors. Sandy Van Houten and Diane Denton were the leaders in the “who can wear the most slips” campaign.
Our fourth grade teachers were Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Green, Miss Mayfield and Mrs. Paterson. Kickball and marble games, the gully, and fights between the boys highlighted our fourth grade. All the girls this year wore full circular, felt skirts.
There were many surprises in the fourth grade. Teresa Ellis took off her shoes one day during class to the dismay of the boys. Carol Teichert put a dead yellow jacket down Denny Keye’s dress, but to his amazement the yellow jacket was still alive and stung Denny. Chappie Pinkston was swinging on a rope hung to a limb of a tree when suddenly the rope broke, and he lay unconscious an hour before anyone came to see about him. Football hero Wayne Taylor took to tackling cars and ended up with two broken legs and a hole in his head.
During Miss Mayfield’s valentine party Susan Collins showed the whole class her valentine from Don Davidson that said “I love you” on the back. Don said that his sister wrote it.
Many of the fourth grade girls could be found playing house down in the gully during recess. Everything worked out fine except for one constant argument – who would get to play with the dog, Homer McDonough.
One of the many new people to join our class was a particular boy who arrived the first day of school wearing boots. Who was it? None other than Kenny Gunion.
Everyone had to have cootie shots or they weren’t fit to be around. The cootie shots were given by drawing circles on each other’s arms with different colors of chalk. Billy Jo May was the queen of the cootie shot givers.
In the fifth grade, the Misses Yerby, King, Dubard, and Patterson undertook the job of educating our class.
The boys were beginning to learn how to get into trouble. One of their favorite pranks was to blow straws with mustard or ketchup on the end up to the ceiling of the cafeteria. One group of boys formed the “Gully Gang”. Don Davison was president. A few of the members included Sillers Hull, Jackie Brown, and Larry Christman. In order to be a member you had to jump across a little ditch at the bottom of the gully. Bruce Mize, who wanted to join the club, failed the test.
Don Davidson and Kenny Gunion were always getting into trouble,too. Their classroom pastimes included carving on their desks. By Christmas each one had a hole completely through the top of his desk and several tunnels going through the desk. Mrs. King happened to notice the desk tops one day and for a Christmas present the boys got to completely refinish their desks.
During that year most of the girls were bigger than the boys. This little difference didn’t seem to bother them much, though because many of the couples traded chains. Some of the couples included Voncille Petty Miller and Bill Lovelady, Susan Sneed and Kenny Gunion, and Susan Collins and Don Davidson.
Larry Hall started a fad which has continued through high school with great success. He gave the first book report without reading the book.
Mrs. Yerby’s classroom was quite active. One bright morning Evan Landrum caught Jimmy Mask copying off his paper, so Evan hit Jimmy. Mrs. Yerby spanked Evan even before he could make his usual excuses for his behavior. Afterwards, however, Evan explained, so Jimmy received a spanking, too. Mrs. Yerby’s play that year was a true melodrama starring Mimi Strickland as the heroine, David Freeman as the hero, and Neill DeShazo as the villain. The first graders sitting on the first few rows in the auditorium were scared when Neil came out on stage shooting his water gun into the audience.
Mrs. King’s room had a grand picnic at Avent’s Park in the spring. The girls, especially the one who sprained her ankle, will never forget their breathtaking tour through the woods to the cave. Eugene McLaurin started apple-polishing at an early age. Trying to gain influence in the fifth grade, he presented his teacher, Mrs. King, with a collie puppy. A great event was the presentation of the “Birds’ Christmas Carol”. Bill Bryant was perfectly cast in the part of the baby of the family, while Susan Collins played his mother. Poor sick Debbie Slade died at the end of the play.
At the close of school in May, 1959, our class attended the Sixth Grade graduation together and looked forward to our final year at Oxford Elementary.
In the fall of 1959 the “Class of ‘66” was joined by Vic Theobald and Jerry Hollingsworth. We were the oldest class and truly felt our superiority in various ways. Several privileges were granted to us during the year. Boys with average grades became patrol boys. They enjoyed the influence and respect their jobs offered. Many girls worked as library girls for Mrs. Boyer. Both these groups had picnics at the end of school. The boys as usual, got the best end of the deal, however. They went to Spring Lake, while the girls only ventured to Avent’s Park.
A sudden interest in sports developed among the girls when Doug Elmore and Bobby Franklin became PE instructors. Kickball was a popular activity. Voncille Petty’s favorite trick was to kick her shoe on the roof of the building. The boys also became quite sports-minded. It was probably about this time that many of them discovered their athletic abilities that we are all now aware of. Mrs. Moore’s class usually was the football champs.
Two new couples appearing during the year were Jimmy Noyes and Katherine King and Lee Shellabarger and Bryon Ellis. Byron’s romance was kept a secret, however, because he was scared to tell his mother.
The sixth grade was a poplar year for slumber parties. Diane Denton can tell you how much fun it is to walk down University Avenue in your pajamas at midnight. She also knows the thrill of being buried as a pauper. One night at Susan Langdon’s house Susan Collins announced the “Royal Time” every fifteen minutes all night long. At another party Sheila Mitchell took Lee Shellabarger’s pillow away from her. Lee could not sleep away from home without her pillow, so she called her mother at two o’clock in the morning to take her home.
A big event in the sixth grade was the annual Sixth Grade baseball game. The Rebels led by Bill Lovelady and the Southerners headed by Neill DeShazo worked hard at practice for weeks ahead. Larry Christman especially remembers these practices, especially the one when Mit Hobbs knocked one of Snake’s teeth out with the baseball bat. The teams supported by the girls as cheerleaders fought to a bitter tie. Enough money was made from the game to leave the school a fence for the playgrounds.
As expected, it rained the day of the class picnic, but the girls on one bus and the boys on another still proceeded, to the old Methodist Campgrounds. After playing baseball, the boys took the girls on a snipe hunt through the wood. The only casualty resulting from this adventure occurred on the return when all the girls began screaming and running back, so Larry Christman fell down and got his new white pants muddy.
At the end of school The Pandorma was published telling of all the sixth grade activities and the results of the Who’s Who elections of each class. Would you believe Sillers Hull was elected Most Athletic and Mike Strachn was Quietest Boy?
After many practices under the supervision of Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Viganault, Mrs. Chilcoat and Mrs. Moore, graduation finally arrived. On that memorable day all the girls donned pretty white dresses and the boys conformed to wear suits. That night our parents gave a big party for us in the cafeteria. When the time came to square dance, however, the boys went outside and climbed up into the magnolia trees. After they were finally persuaded to come down they went in and sat in one end of the room, while the girls occupied the other side.
The class of ’66 ventured into the scholarly halls of U.H.S. in the seventh grade. Newly acquired nomenclature consisted of “Hoss” Hall, “Put Put” Walker and “Flash Herring”.
Mr. Culley’s science class went on field trips to – well- oh-study trees. Even though our maturity was in full bloom, we were not unaware of the constantly unsheathed “board of education”. Neill DeShazo was caught chewing tobacco in class and was allowed to chew but not to spit. He was assisted home that period.
Some of the couples seen being crushed amongst upperclassmen were: Lenore and Cuz, Susan Collins and John Tatum, Sneedie and Herschel, Diane Denton and Sillers Hull. It was in this year that U.S.H. lost the Little Ten Football championship to Amory by one point. It was great season. Kenny Gunion rode into the games in an ambulance, and Byron Ellis and Danny Smith assisted the band with its equipment. The less scrupulous misers sneaked in through the woods.
Mrs. Califf gave us a dance called the “Flamingo Club”, and taught all the boys how to dance. Mr. Henry stood in his chair when a long, black science specimen ventured into the math class. Wonder how it got there? Everybody, at one time or another, slipped over to the Alumni House, against the rules, to eat with the sophisticated upper classmen.
The eighth grade presented a less gullible collection of students. Rita’s slumber party was a success, but Ola walked around with a pillow all night and slept in the attic. She gave up and went home at 5:30 the next morning. At the show, “Susan Slade,” Lee Shellabarger cried and made quite a ruckus. Aileen Sanders and Susan Langdon had an extra scarf, so they gagged Lee immediately.
The eighth grade band went to the Junior High Band Festival and got all superiors and new peashooters. Betty Hinds helped Mike Strachn do his math homework. At the show, “Sparticus” Carol Teichert let half the Senior class in on his single ticket. The Junior high football team went zero and four. In Coach Calhoun’s science class, the boys received fine education from the past season’s football films. Sheila went from Jimmy Fondren to Mit to Cuz, to Mit and to Mit.
As the year closed, Mr. Blair’s science class was operating on the biology class leftovers. We cut open worms on Wednesday and fish on Friday of that last week. The entire class of ’66 was getting tired of the bottom of the totem pole, which it had occupied for the first two years at University High School.
The ninth grade was our first big year. For the first time in two years we weren’t the lowest class in the school. This grade also marked the year when most of us got our driver’s licenses. Many enterprising young freshmen took driver’s education under their qualified teacher, Bobby Sanders. The course progressed well until a minor setback prohibited them from using the driver’s car for a while. It so happened that “Fireball” Boatright wasn’t going fast enough for the garbage truck, and the truck hit her from behind. That’s alright, Wanda, we understand!
One of the highlights of the year was the band trip to the state contest at Jackson. As was expected, the upper classmen initiated the freshmen into the band. Among the victims were Danny Smith, Chappie Pinkston, Bryon Ellis, and Mike Strachn. But despite all the devilment, the band played very well. Diane Denton was the only casualty of the trip. As she was running up an escalator that was going down, she tripped and had several stitches.
The freshman year was brighten by a dance given by the Jr. Y-Teens and also one given by the Hi-Y. The “Windsors” played for the Y-Teens, and the “Satellites” furnished music for the Hi-Y. A frequent couple at the social gatherings was Lenore and Jimbo. I am sure that Diane Denton will never forget the Sweetheart Ball this year, thanks to Bill Hartman. He very kindly sent her home in a taxi – alone. Several other couples made the scene too – Susan Sneed and Toad Lewis, and Sheila Mitchell and Johnny Morgan. The romance-of-the-year was between Aileen Sanders and J.W. Walker. Anita Smith and Debbie Slade had a crush on Richard Fauncher, but their crush didn’t even compare with the wild love of Susan Sneed for Harry Vaughn.
The scandal-of-the-year happened one night at Susan Collins’ slumber party. Everything was going fine until the girls screamed and called for Mr. Collins. The disturbance was being caused by two peeping toms, and I’m sure that Mit and Neill will never forget that night!
As a whole the year was pretty good, except for Mississippi History. Mrs. Bounds never had time to teach because she was either scolding Ray Pennington or putting out fires in her office.
After nine months of studying, were finally ready to enter into the tenth grade.
Our sophomore year marked our first at O.H.S. To go with a new building, we had several tenth grade tigers on the football team. The sophomores who lettered were Bear Bryant, Roger Tubbs, Jimmy Noyes, Jackie Brown, Wayne Taylor and Snake Christmas.
This year Mr. Johnson entertained us all with his expansive vocabulary and his rubber legs.
Some of the couples which highlighted our sophomore year were Susan Sneed and Jim Alger, Susan Collins and Mac Wimbish, Lee Shellabarger and Joe Sam, and Kenny Gunion and Ann Malone.
We were deeply indebted to Donna Ptak and Bill Hartman for keeping our spirits high in Mrs. Cooper’s English class. Every time things got dull, they would strike out with a lively chorus of “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
One social engagement that was a big success was one at which “B.C. and the Blazers” played given by the Sophomore girls. Several couples attending were Don Davidson and Aileen Sanders, Snake and Susan Langdon, and Toad and Squeaky Denton. Everyone also enjoyed the parties that Ola and Aileen gave after the basketball games, but no one has ever said what kind of entertainment they had. We’ll probably never forget the homecoming dance that year; well, Susan Langdon won’t anyway. She had quite a time with Carlos Teichert, who had too much Pepsi Cola at the game.
Our first year finally ended at O.H.S. and the class of ’66 was now ready for the eleventh grade.
This year our class was led by Bill Bryant – president, Mit Hobbs, vice president, Anita Smith, secretary and Don Davidson treasurer. Under their supervision we sold stadium cushions and slaved at the concession stands during the fall to put on one of the most successful Junior-Senior Banquets ever, with our theme of Shangri-la. We will forever be indebted to the Pi Beta Phi sorority for “lending” Mit and Larry Turner some stones to decorate our exotic garden with; and even though our fountain did leak all over the dance floor, the night will never be forgotten!
One of the highlights of our year was the Powder Puff football game. The “Hussies”, coached by Rhett Atkinson, Don Davidson and Snake, and led by Katherine King, defeated the “You-Birds”, coached by Wayne Taylor, David Wilson and Ralph Lewis, by a score of 28-0. The girls were supported by their cheerleaders, Bruce Mize, Steve Shankle, Jackie Brown, Bill Bryant, Jimmy Aron, Rian Ringsrud, and Mit Hobbs. At halftime our lovely homecoming court was presented and Roger Rodrena Tubbs, escorted by Karen Redmond, was crowned queen. Other candidates for this coveted title were Clark Neal, escorted by Lenore Ethridge; Carlos Carlotta Teichert, escorted by Susan Sneed; Bill Wilma Hartman escorted by Deb Slade; Kenny Gunion escorted by Susan Collins and Larry Turner escorted by Lee Walker.
This year Snake and Catfish decided to add variety to their dull lives when they dated two Ole Miss coeds. They told these girls that their names were Rick and Nick from the University of Kentucky and that they were quite wealthy because Snake’s father was the owner of the Holiday Inn chain.
Walker Houston’s lake was the scene of many parties for a certain group during their junior year. I am sure that Carolyn Griffin will never forget the night that she, Catfish, Lee Shellabarger, Wayne Taylor, Karen, Snake, Ann Dorset and Ralph made their weekly trip to the lake and Carolyn decided to take a moonlight swim.
This year the bank went to Hot Springs to the Arkansas State contest and I am quite sure the King’s Inn Motel will never be the same. Fortunately for Chappie and Danny, a Memphis band was in the motel at the same time we were, and they found out what nice atmosphere those Memphis girls can give to a room! On this trip Bryon and Carlos had a sudden craving to see Larry Bunch demonstrate his dancing ability, and Larry complied with their wishes by performing at certain intervals all night long.
The “Missing Links” had begun to really be well known this year, as they played for many dances all over the state and cut a record “Come Into My Heart”, written by Byron Ellis, with their famous version of “Night Train” on the flip side.
Besides the appearance of musical talent in our class, we also had the only all-conference football players from our team, Terry Stone and Bill Bryant.
The years slipped by, and before we knew it we were embarking upon the threshold of our senior year. Guided by our sponsors, Mrs. Dallman, Mr. McCracken and Mr. Sanders and led by our officers Mit Hobbs, Bill Lovelady, Susan Langdon, and Anita Smith, we set out to make this year the very best!
Members of our class excelled in every area of school activities. Under the leadership of the seniors, we emerged as one of the top football teams in the Little Ten, and eight senior boys were named all-conference. For the first time in the history of the school our basketball team went to the state tournament in Jackson and won third place. Also, Billy Gilmer was named all state in basketball. In track, Don Davidson went to the state track meet in the high jump, and also a relay team with two senior members, Mit and Bear, went to state.
The senior boys expressed their authority after the Homecoming Bonfire by making the sophomore football players run laps around the parking lot behind Beles’ Shoe Shop and giving licks to the boys that came in last.
During the month of January the seniors were occupied with their term papers; but, unfortunately, Ola had a little trouble concentrating on her subject because her attentions were diverted by some Old Miss students.
The highlight of our senior year came with the exciting Powder Puff game between the “Senior Stars” and the “Big Mammas”. The senior girls – urged on by their lovely cheerleaders, Bearetta Bryant, Denny Fondren, Kenny Gunion, Ralph Lewis, Mike Clements and Wayne Taylor - emerged the elated victors with a hair-pulling 7-0 score. The triumphant moment came in the last three minutes of the game when Little Roids Blass caught a beautiful pass from Star King, who was protected by the great linemen, to make the winning touchdown. Our fabulous coaches - Rhett Atkinson, Don Davidson and Snake Christman – were presented with footballs autographed by the entire team after the game, and Katherine King was named “Most Valuable Player” while the Golden Squeaky Hawk took the honors of “Lineman of the Year”.
Our senior year is drawing to a close. In years to come, as we look back over the wonderful memories of our school days, we will never forget that we were the clicking class of ’66.