HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

Scraps of High School Memories

John W. Pinkerton


I was very fortunate to have attended Pineville High School in Pineville, Louisiana, for four years.  Actually, I was in a Hell hole in New Orleans during my first six-weeks of my freshman year.  That’s okay: I was delivered from my misery.

I went to high school in Pineville from 1955 through 1960.  In human years that's a long time ago.  Although my memories of those years are still pretty strong, it's hard to present a coherent narrative of my time there.  My overall memory was that it was a good place for young folks to be.

The following are just a few impressions of my high school experiences.  They're not arranged chronologically or by order of importance---just jotted down as they came to my memory.

The five minute rush between classes in a school laid out like ours did not allow much time to get from class to class, but we made it every day.  (Well, I say “every day,”  but I was a tad tardy the day Obie Postem busted my lip between classes.  I had it coming.)

I don't remember how many of us had cars, but I recall the parking lot in front of the school being pretty full each day.  When I got a license (three tries), I drove an old Jeep Station Wagon and then a '53 Cadillac DeVille.  (The DeVille was better, but the Jeep was more fun.)

I recall that many girls wore poodle skirts.  The boys wore slacks or blue jeans.  Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was clean and starched and ready for school.  (I was really surprised when I was awarded “Best Dressed” one year---actually it was a tie between me and someone else, but who cares---I won.  The irony is that Mom pretty much determined what I was wearing through high school.)

We didn't have a football stadium, but even then there was  talk of building one in Red Gully, a huge clay depression behind the school.  Our games were played at the Louisiana College stadium.

The cafeteria served good food, not junk, and I think the cost was ten cents.

I've spoken more specifically of the teachers in other essays, but here I'll just say they were firm, friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  They were my models when I started teaching a few years later.

The coaches actually taught and were pretty good guys…even the worst of them.

The band director, Mr. Rivet, was very popular and was good at his job---“Swing and sweat with Joe Rivet.”

Of course, we had not integrated yet; however, we had one Mexican kid.  He was a popular kid as I recall, and I had a chance to speak with him at our 50 year reunion: he's done well.

I took full advantage of reading big boy books in high school which had a pretty good library and enjoyed discussing the books with my friends.

Dating was popular in high school.  Once I had the Cadillac, I began to date.  A movie, a meal, a ride around and home by ten.  I always liked girls and was scared to death of them.

I discovered golf  when I was about twelve, and when I got to high school, there was a public course nearby that I wore out, usually playing alone.  The school didn't sponsor a team.   (I think the coaches were considering having a team until they saw me play.)

The principal was Mr. “Rip” Barron.  I didn't have much to do with him.  I was sent to the office once because I'd gotten into a scrape with a fellow I barely knew.  (Although the other fellow was about twice my size, somehow I got to be the bad guy when being interviewed by Mr. Barron.  Go figure.)

Thanks to Mrs. Miller, I was in a couple of school plays.  The first year I had one line and I was great.  The second year I was a lead and I was awful.

I remember being in the Beta Club…end of story. (When I taught, my wife and I sponsored the Beta Club at our school, and we made sure it was very active and a lot of fun.)

Someone sponsored a donkey basketball game one year: that was probably the funniest thing I've ever seen.  (Oh yeah, it was also one of the most dangerous things I've ever seen.)

I recall a boys' basketball game one night that broke out into a brawl.  As I recall, it was Menard (a Catholic school) that we were playing.  I don't know how the game turned out, but it appeared to me that we won the brawl.  (By the way, as I recall, not many fellows specialized in basketball: the team was mostly composed of the toughest football players which is good when a brawl breaks out.)  

Mostly what I remember about high school was how friendly everyone was.  Gary McKay, a classmate, summed it up pretty well when he said at our 50th year reunion, “What I remember is how kind we were to each other.”