Okay, where was I?
I remember, we were playing tackle football at Tingley Park. Many years ago one of the radio stations conducted a contest of sorts. You listened to the radio, might have been KQUE? Periodically they would give out clues to the location of a hidden token of some sort. Over the span of a few days someone eventually found the token and I don't remember what you did with it. I imagine that you turned it in for some sort of prize. Anyway, this was later on when I was old enough to drive. I was driving down Tingley drive one day when they announced the location of the latest token. It was hidden at the sign that had the words Tingly Park on it. They announced the exact location of the sign and the street, Tingley Drive. It was a matter of who got there first. I happen to be driving on Tingley drive about one or two blocks away when the disk jockey made the anouncement. I simply turned around and drove back to the sign and searched for the token. I was there in less than a minute. It took me about another minute to find it. It was a plastic token about the size of a poker chip and it was literally hidden down between the posts that formed the sign. It was so long ago that I don't remember what the prize was. It must not have been very valuable because I don't remember the prize. Mentioning the radio station reminds me of Tom Dunn. He was the early morning host on the radio and I loved to hear him say: "Good up! Smell the coffee cooking." I have always remembered Tom Dunn and his morning wake up call. I was sad to hear that he died not too many years ago I think.
I mentioned that I went to Albuquerque High School at the corner of Broadway and Central. I was not the best of students while there. In fact, I was a problem student for the school and my teachers. I gave several of them considerable grief and I am truly sorry and repentant for the trouble I gave them. If I could find them I would give them a sincere apology for my behavior and disrespect. Dr. Buskirk was my World History teacher. I often skipped the class. Mrs Rita Minkin was my Spanish teacher. I would drive her nuts because I rarely came to class but whenever I took a test, I usually managed to pass the test. I used to argue with her a lot. Not because I disagreed with her about anything. I was just being a snot. I didn't dislike these teachers, I think that I was in a class that required that I pay attention and I just couldn't. There were some classes that I loved and rarely missed. Mr. Coker was my Geometry teacher. He may have also been my Algebra II teacher. I loved math. All math. I would almost never miss my math class. I gave my math teachers no trouble at all because I couldn't wait to get there every day. It's no wonder that I earned undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering and Geological Engineering from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, A Master's in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Houston and an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. And I also loved American History with Mrs. Virginia Cravens. She was such a nice lady. She was so nice to me that I couldn't bring myself to misbehave. I was not outgoing. I think I was embarassed about being poor. I imagined that everyone looked down on me because we were so poor. I rarely participated in a positive way in class except for math classes. But in Mrs Cravens class I stood up in front of the class and delivered an oral report on the "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. I was a voracious reader. Even when I cut school I spent much of the time reading. Mrs. Cravens' class was the first time I can remember getting up in front of the the other students and making an oral presentation. I would have done anything for Mrs Cravens. She was my Junior year teacher I think. I seem to remember that she tried to help me get a scholarship to New mexico State, in my senior year, but because of my behavior in high school, they were reluctant. They told me that they would consider it if I came for one semester on my own and demonstrated that I was serious about getting an education. There was absolutely no way that I could go on my own. My mother raised four of us by herself, she only completed the fifth grade and we had no clue about how to go about going to college. And I had not necessarily endeared myself to the administration so I imagine that they were not enthusiastic about my attending college. Mrs. Cravens was the one that tried to help. Most of my teachers would probably keel over in a dead faint if they knew that I am now a high school teacher! I am also pretty sure that they would double over in laughter. I am probably the last person that they thought would ever become a teacher.
I was in Mr. Coker's Geometry class on Novemebr 22, 1963. We were in shock and also a little scared. The announcement seemed to create fear in the students and I kind of felt that we, the students, might be in some sort of danger. I don't remember why. I just remember that I was scared that something else might occur. Mr. Coker tried to be assuring but within minutes they announced that the President had died. Once the second announcement was made, there wasn't much he could say or do that was re-assuring. I do remember very clearly that our parents did NOT come and take us out of school. I say that because now that I am a teacher I see what teachers have to put up with. Today, here in Houston, parents come to school and remove their kids at the drop of a hat. Even if there is no danger to their kids and no real reason, they come to school and take their kids. After walking a mile in my teacher's shoes, I don't have anything negative to say about the spanking and paddlings that we used to get in school. We deserved them. Although it didn't stop us from misbehaving. Actually, I don't believe in spanking. I have never spanked my two kids. I yelled a lot but I never spanked them. I could never bring myself to hit my kids. I can imagine how I would feel if I did.
Julian Serda, Ricky Martinez, and Nick Chaves were some of the few kids I associated with in school. Julian was incredibly smart. He alway had very impressive science fair projects. One year, he had a project that converted voice (actually music) to a light, and beamed the light across a distance where a receiver converted the light back to music. Incredibly impressive for a high school kid. The next year he created a synthesized voice with transistors. He had a translucent head through which he would pass the voice. This must have been the precursor to the digital voices that we hear on phones everywhere today. Ricky Martinez was a big friendly farm type boy. He was always very friendly to me. I realized that Ricky was a guy you wanted to have as a friend and not as an enemy. He was a BIG guy, compared to scrawny me: 120 pounds, maybe 5' 6".
There came a day when I decided to behave myself in school and go to class regularly. I decided to try to participate in school activities. So I decided to go out for the football team. Refer to my size above. I went to practice and suited up. The first day, I guess the coach thought I was too small to play anyplace other than as a defensive back. Again, refer to my size above. So very soon after scrimmage started; Paul Bryant, our star track and field, and football star came runningaround left end, with the ball, where I waited. Once again, refer to my size above. Paul Bryant was about 6' 2" (BIG AND STRONG), weighed about 200 pounds of solid muscle and held the school record in the 220 and 440 yard runs. I did my best but I had no chance. With cleat marks all over my battered body, I realized that football was not my sport. I lasted one practice and quit. I had no businees playing football on the high school team
I will continue tomorrow.