El Dorado Junior High School, 1952-55

“It was the Best of Times; it was the Worst of Times …” said Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities – and is probably how many people describe Junior High (middle school now) or the beginning of teen years, adolescence, puberty, more difficult school work, more complicated relationships, etc. When I later worked as a youth minister in several churches I somehow related best to this age of 13-15, maybe remembering my own awkwardness, struggles to “fit in” and challenge to accomplish what was expected of me during those days. At the same time I was also remembering the optimism, sense of adventure and enthusiasm of this age and hope for the future.

As a non-athlete, I found my accomplishments somewhat in school-work, but probably more in Boy Scouts and in the Junior High Band where the director used my art interests to have me draw out the special band formation on the football field for each game with numbers indicating where everyone stood in the formation. I even got to go to the office and use the lithograph machine to make copies for everyone in the band with that strong-smelling purple ink! But I felt important and needed which counts a lot at this age. And 9th Grade was when I studied Latin, my first other language experience which I think helped me later with English vocabulary and maybe now a little bit with Spanish. 🙂

7th Grade

That first year out of Elementary School is maybe best told by my 1952-53 7th Grade Scrapbook which has larger images than the slide show below and includes family and scout activities. But here is what school pages are in the scrapbook as an overview with smaller, web-sized photos of the pages including one page with a photo of me dressed up by the TV for my first dance to attend:

Our Junior High Band in an Auditorium Concert – not sure which year photo was made.

8th Grade

The 8th Grade was the “in-between” or middle year, while 7th Grade was the shocker year moving up out of Elementary school and from “big man on campus” to the youngest in Junior High. While the 9th Grade was big for graduating to High School and in my case to a whole new city of Tulsa. The scrapbook indicates that I got the Cushman Husky motor scooter from cousin Gene Hugh in ’53, probably in the summer before 8th Grade and rode it to school for two years. This was the year I started working for my Dad as janitor in his department store. And I think that by 9th Grade I got a paper route.

The 8th Grade was the “in-between” or middle year, while 7th Grade was the shocker year moving up out of Elementary school and from “big man on campus” to the youngest in Junior High. While the 9th Grade was big for graduating to High School and in my case to a whole new city of Tulsa. The scrapbook indicates that I got the Cushman Husky motor scooter from cousin Gene Hugh in ’53, probably in the summer before 8th Grade and rode it to school for two years.

Our band did not go to all the out of town football games, just the closer ones on a charter bus. We went to band clinics and concerts in nearby towns. What photos and memorabilia I have is in my 1953-54 8th Grade Scrapbook with the full size photos including family and scout pages there. The slideshow below is web-sized photos of just the school-related pages of that scrapbook to give a fleeting impression of my 8th Grade year in school.

9th Grade

Like in the 6th Grade we were again the biggest on campus and at least some of us were excited about graduating into High School. I did not know until summer of ’55 that we would be moving to Tulsa and sort of “starting over” in a totally new school, thus that big change did not color my attitude toward the 9th Grade. As far as I knew I would be going to El Dorado High School the following year.

I think it was this year that I decided my future profession would be as a medical doctor.

The larger photos and most information can be found in my gallery 1954-55 Scrapbook, 9th Grade with the following slideshow just an overview with smaller images.

They made our promotion to the 10th Grade look like a diploma which we liked.

“One day middle school will end and become high school and after that it just becomes life. All those things you think are important now won’t be anymore.”

– Diary of a Wimpy Kid

¡Pura Vida!