Memories Shared in 2008
08-1: When I was a teenager, I lived in a small town in Idaho.
It was so small that there wasn't a police force in town & there weren't enough
boys in high school to have a football team. At that time I was in love with
football. I started a plot that I hoped would result in my being able to play
my favorite sport.
My uncle lived on the outskirts of a somewhat larger town in the Texas panhandle
& the school in his district did have a football team. So I worked on my
parents & my uncle to spend some summer months at his dairy. With some
reluctance, permission was granted & I was off to Texas. The next step was to
get permission to stay with my uncle & go to high school there the following
year. This was somewhat more difficult to arrange but I finally was allowed to
My uncle had his dairy on leased land in the breaks of the Canadian
River. In addition to his barns, cattle pens & milk processing center, he had
three small houses. He lived in one of these & the others were occupied by
people who worked for him. Next door to his house was a house occupied by a
field superintendent for the oil company. There was also a combination office &
warehouse used by the oil company for supplies & recordkeeping. Fortunately for
me, the field superintendent had a family which included a boy just a year
younger than I who attended the high school that I would attend.
That fall I entered the third year of high school there & was allowed to
practice football although I wasn't eligible to play in any games. During my
fourth year, I played in all the school's games & had a most enjoyable time.
That spring I graduated from high school & left town. I only returned
occasionally & briefly over the next years. The school had a great reunion
program which was attended by many alumni each year. Finally I decided to
attend a reunion when I had been out of school for 45 years.
While I was at the reunion, I had a desire to find my old stomping ground where
the diary had been. All of my old landmarks had been changed. There was a golf
course where open land had been before. The main highway had been widened &
rerouted. I couldn't find the old dirt road that led to the dairy. There were
no houses or buildings around at all. After riding around for some time I found
a spot that looked vaguely familiar & walked out in a field overgrown with
weeds. After looking around a bit, I found an old concrete slab with a pile of
broken milk bottles near by. I couldn't tell for sure but assumed that those
relics were the last remains of the place that had been home for me for two
As I gazed at the pile of broken milk bottles, memories of the past came rushing
by. My special memories were of the teenage boy next door & the many funny
things that had happened while I lived there. His name was Harold Hope. He was
in love with life & everything that happened was hilarious. If things didn't
happen, he would stir things up so that something would happen. He was a very
intelligent boy but made poor grades because he was too busy having fun. While
almost all of the boys went bare headed, he always wore a hat cocked at an
outlandish angle. So many amusing things happened when he was around that he
was given the name "Hopeless."
When the cows passed through my uncle’s "parlor," they were each given a
portion of grain to eat. This naturally was an attraction for rats. If you
went in the parlor at night & turned the lights on, rats would scurry in every
direction trying to find a hiding place. Sometimes when things were slow in the
evenings, Hopeless, my younger cousin Jim, my uncle's German shepherd Rowdy, & I
would sneak into the barn armed with clubs, plug some of the escape routes, turn
on the lights & kill as many rats as possible. On a good night we would kill 15
or 20 rats. One night in the middle of this orgy, a rat ran up the pant leg of,
of course, Hopeless. I have never seen anyone get out of a pair of pants faster
in all my life.
Hopeless played the saxophone in the high school marching band. He was rather
sweet on the young lady who was the majorette. One fall day the band was
practicing for a half-time performance at the next football game. The band
director was called away & left the majorette in charge of the practice.
Marching directions were given by signals with a whistle & movements of the
baton. Hopeless had a whistle in his possession & used it to evil purposes. He
would blow his whistle at inappropriate times & band members were marching off
in all directions. The majorette watched in frustration & finally located the
source of the problem. The next time he came marching by, she hit him over the
head & broke her baton. At least order had been restored.
The second summer I was in Texas, Hopeless & I decided to fix up living
quarters of our own. Behind his folks house was an old car garage that was not
in use. My uncle had a pile of junk lumber from some modifications in the milk
processing unit. We used that to build walls inside the shell of the building,
put in a floor, built bunk beds, installed a shower, & even ran electrical
wiring for our lighting system. The only thing we lacked was an inside toilet.
We lived in our apartment all that school year. When I left that spring after
graduation, Hopeless moved back in his folks' house.
Sometime that summer, some friends of the Hopes came to visit them. Harold gave
up his room to the visitors & moved back in our old apartment for a few days.
One evening the entire family & their visitors went into town to have a special
dinner at a restaurant. In honor of the occasion, Hopeless wore a new suit that
he had worn only once before. When they came home after dinner, he retired to
the apartment for a good night's rest.
Early the next morning Hopeless awoke with a serious need to use the
bathroom. He didn't want to bother his family or the guests so he went to the
outhouse located next to the oil field office. Now Hopeless loved to smoke
although he didn't smoke around his folks. When he flopped down on the toilet
seat, he pulled out a cigarette & lit it with a match. Then he threw the match
down the hole. The day before, the clerk in the oil field office had seen some
black widow spiders in the toilet. He had poured a quart of gasoline down the
hole to kill the spiders. The gasoline had evaporated slowly & conditions were
just right so that there was a tremendous explosion when the match neared the
bottom of the pit.
Hopeless was blown out through the locked door of the outhouse. His suit pants
were blown to shreds & he was burned rather severely in his sensitive parts. He
wrote me a letter to tell all about what had happened. I passed through town
about a month later & stopped to see him. His burns still weren't completely
healed & some of his parts were packed in vaseline.
Things did heal up eventually & Hopeless graduated from high school the next
spring. That fall he went off to college & seemed to be doing okay. However,
he was having some kind of love problems with a sweet young thing he had met at
school. When he was home for Christmas (1940), he decided he would go in
military service to avoid his problems. For some reason he enlisted in the
Marines. He must have given his drill instructors fits but he made it through
boot camp. He was assigned as a guard on a battleship & seemed to be enjoying
the military life. However, he was still a teenager & he was looking forward
to getting home for Christmas (1941).
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was tied up in Pearl
Harbor. That morning before the ship's crew had started their daily routine,
Japanese planes arrived & bombed the ships tied up along battleship row. One of
the first ones to be blasted was the Oklahoma & it was sunk in place with the
loss of a very large part of its crew. The ship is still in place with the
bodies of its crew still aboard. It has been made into a memorial for those who
were killed. If you visit the Oklahoma Memorial, you will find listed among its
crew Marine PFC Harold Hope. He managed to survive one blast in his young life
but didn't survive the second one.
By Dave Goldsmith (1921-2006), Class of '39, Phillips High School, Whittenburg,
Submitted by Dave Jr. goldsmithd_AT_ggc
The championship won
over Killeen in Dec 1954 was after I had already graduated. But brother Harry
was on the team. I did go to the game on the special train from Borger to
Wichita Falls. Coming back all I remember was that I encountered an old girl
friend, a cute blonde. Even though her "steady" boyfriend was on the team, she
and I had a great time "smooching" in the hallways between the cars.
I well remember the Sunday the old high school burned. Firemen managed to
save the new gymnasium, but the rest was a total loss. People said it had
started in Mr Harris' chem lab (not confirmed). The next fall I started as a
freshman with the library and study hall in the basement of the Phillips
Methodist Church. That's where I found several of the Mickey Spillane detective
novels and had already read most of them until one day Mrs Thompson (a nice
looking lady married to the Borger banker, Fritz Thompson) came over to me and
said, rather apologetically, "I'll have to take that book away from you...The
school board has voted to recall all of those Spillane books..." I gave it back,
of course, because I knew I could also get the books at the Borger public
library. Mike Hammer and his exploits were too raw for the tastes of the
fundamentalists in those days.
Chesty Walker was a perfectionist and I didn't like him very much, but he
did get great results. We boys weren't any better athletes than those in Dumas
or Hereford, but Chesty produced consistently winning teams and they did not.
His "football rules" would make a pretty good guide for boys and girls today,
and his nutrition advice is surprisingly up to date with regard to avoiding
I looked at the photo of the cub scouts, but I could not find one whom Pappy
always claimed to be the absolutely typical all-time cub scout. He didn't mean
that as a compliment either.
Love to all, and again, "Great Job!"
Kirkpatrick, PHS 1954
I went to Phillips schools from the 1st grade to 9th grade
then my folks moved to Okla. & then back to Borger in 1964. I would very much
like to get in touch with some of my old class mates. I lived in Electric City
and rode the bus into school every day no matter what the weather was. I
remember I rode the bus with: the Bell boys, Mike & Gary; Dale Oswalt; Gary
Phares; the McNally's, Sally Freda & Floyd; Larry Talley. By the time we got on
the bus it was full as we were the last ones on and the last ones off as well. I
remember how full it was most days. With the skirts girls wore back then with
the can can's, we could hardly get on the bus much less get a seat. I remember
Larry Morton would always find a seat for me and the other girls -- he would
make the little kids sit closer so we all could get in.
When I was in the 8th grade, I was in choir and one day I was
talking like I always did and still do. The teacher had me stand up and put both
my arms out to my side and then he put a book in each hand. I had to stand until
class was over. This was very hard to do and not drop them, as they were heavy.
But I did not learn my lesson and I still talked in class. So the next time he
had me go to the chalk board and draw a small circle up high. I had to stand
with my nose in the circle until class was over. I'm tall but I still had to
stand on tip toes to do this. It worked and I never did talk in class again --
well at least not his...
One day at High School when I was in the 9th grade, I wore a
skirt to class which Mr. K. said was too short and I would have to go home or
get something else to wear. My Mom managed Berg's Tot to Teen in Borger and I
phoned her from Mr. K's office. She was so mad, but she brought me out a new
skirt and they all made sure it was the right length on me. Thank you Mr.
K. for the new skirt I got out of that deal. When I got home there was heck to
pay and from then on I was checked each day to make sure I had the right hem
My Daughter is a teacher in Baltimore MD and she thinks this
is the funniest thing she ever heard. Times have changed and now girls are lucky
if their underwear is not showing. Sharon Ann Stillwell (Colvert) Class of 1965
i remember the cut rate food store. when i was a freshman, i would walk to the
store and get all sorts of candy and gum chips and etc. And when anyone
wanted something to chew or eat they asked me! i kept all that in my purse! and
some one spoke of sliding down the tank dikes in card board boxes! i remember
that! my big brother used to do that with his friends! we lived on 3rd and i
remember walking from there to phiilips avenue! and playing basketball in the
streets! i also remeber when mr.burger was bulit! it was famous for limeades! Patti
I remember the Algebra class that Chesty Walker taught. Joel
Kirkpatrick and I were together in that class and enjoyed teasing each other
since he played football and I played basketball. One of the students delivered
papers and was all the time falling asleep sitting in the back of the class.
When Chesty noticed -- zing would go an eraser in his direction and those of us
who might be in-between really had to stay alert. Those were the good ole days
and we didn't even know it. Stanley White Class of 1954
I guess I could be called one of the 3rd Street gang. I do not remember sliding
down the tank dikes in cardboard boxes (my dad said we did). We did make
various wheeled vehicles to be tested on the dikes. I do remember catching
horny toads, mountain boomers, and lots of snakes. I did catch crawdads with
bacon at the creek. My family did not attend school in Phillips. Our parents
wanted us to be good Catholics and we went to St. John's in Borger. We left
Texas in 69 and still miss it. I will always be a Texan. John (Jock) Reilly
In my 4th grade classroom in and around 1959, there was a
"rocking the walls" event which I remember.
Only to look out the window for about a minute or two and pray: "I hope
daddy isn't on his shift right now".
I don't recall any injuries that we were notified of and life went on as we
practiced cursive writing or went to the board for an arithmetic relay.
Great Memories! Nikki Tisdale Acker '69
I always remember the Friday night football games for Phillips. After my
kids graduated, I told them the only reason I went to school was to play
football for the Blackhawks! What a honor that was! I also remember that it
seemed like Phillips had more beautiful girls than any school I have ever
seen. Three of the most beautiful Phillips gals were Kathy Williams and
Patty Pendleton (Class of ’70) and Cheryl Blankenship (Class of ’75). Jackie
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updated: 21 September 2008