Sunday, August 21, 2011


How many of your high school memories can you come up with from yesteryear? If you attended high school in Beaumont, no doubt you have numerous tales to tell. Recently, I enrolled in a very fascinating social-networking group on Facebook. The group is called “You’re Probably from Beaumont, Texas if you remember…” If you are interested in Beaumont’s “living history,” you should ask one of your Facebook friends to add you to that group.
Anyway, I entered the group and made the following request: “Since school days are with us once again, share your name, school, year of graduation, and share one memory from your high school days that stands out in your mind. I’ll share the memories in one of my guest columns.” I received 116 responses. Try putting that in your pipe and editing it.
Here are the abbreviations used for each school: Beaumont HS (BHS); Beaumont Charlton-Pollard HS (BCP); Beaumont Christian HS (BCHS); Central Catholic HS (CCHS); Forest Park HS (FPHS); French HS (FHS); Hebert HS (HHS); Kelly HS (KHS); South Park HS (SPHS); St. Anthony HS (SAHS); Touch Christian Academy (TCA); West Brook HS (WBHS);
• Elaine Kandeler, SPHS ’68, I remember the ever so popular “Juke Box” that was in the cafeteria.
• Ann Andrus, FHS ’76, Freshman year homecoming parade (aka The Pots and Pans Parade) and going to the bonfire that night. Going to the football game, homecoming mum, just a real memorable experience.
• Terry Roy, HHS ’78, Pep Rallies were some of the most spirited rallies you could ever attend. Only people that were there could tell you about them.
• Joan Crumpler Deggs-Chahan, FHS ’78, Streaking! You probably wouldn’t print some of my memories.
• Lester Dixon, SPHS ’77, the students didn’t see “black and white,” we were all “green”- that’s the mentality us guys on the football team had and it melted over to the entire school. I think I was the first black class president that came through South Park. President of the freshman class ’74, the sophomore class ’75 and the junior class ’76. Didn’t run for office in ’77 but put time into baseball to get a scholarship.
• LeRoy Feist, HHS ’76, We Panthers have an amazing sense of pride and community. School Motto “Whatever Hebert does, it must be the best!”
• Tommy Ellison, SPHS ’72, Friday morning pep rallies in the stadium, tons of school spirit.
• Lindy McAnulty, KHS ’91!! THE TWIRLERS!!
• Kim Glaze Perry, SPHS ’78, All 4 years in band were the best. “We’re so good; we’re so great; we’re the CLASS OF ‘78”
• Russ Evans, FPHS ’79, Graduation!!! lol, thank goodness I made it!
• Debra Lynd Pearson, SPHS ’86, I graduated in the last class of this wonderful high school.
• Sandra Curtis Livingston-Harper, SPHS, I remember being the only girl in the “Boys Choir” because I could sing tenor.
• Bridget Teare, KHS, One thing that has really stayed with me is the closeness that the whole school shared with each other. Most were like me. Three of my siblings graduated from SAHS, one from CCHS, and one from KHS
• Joey Schoen, SPHS ’71, Surviving Jerry Hentschel’s PE Class. To this day I have the utmost respect for the man.
• Patti Davis Trimm, SPHS, Loyalties ran deep! On Friday afternoons, my daddy, owner of “Murel’s Corner,” barber shop & filling station, would post a sign, “Closed Early-Gone to watch Greenies play.”
• Ron Berwick, SPHS, Seemed that all the girls in high school were short compared to junior high. Guess I had grown some.
• Dewayne Norris, SPHS, I remember the freshman initiation haircuts. The SP in back of the head.
• Kevin Cowen, BCP ’84, Two things I’ll never forget: My grandmother walked the same halls in 1944, and the smell of creosote from railroads during 2-a-days!
• Toni Tanner Scott, HHS, First day of school for me at Hebert meant wearing my “old” clothes. I’d wait a few months until I’d seen everybody’s new clothes and then I’d break out my new “rags” when everyone else was wearing “re-runs.”
• John C Byerly, SPHS ’72, summer band marching practice. The mosquitoes were bad, but it was standing at attention in the broiling sun for minutes on end only to realize too late that you have been standing on an ant bed. Those fire ants loved to crawl up your pants legs by the hundreds and wait for some signal to attack you all at once!
• Scott P. DeRouen, WBHS ’85, Winning state championship certainly helped the strain of the merger of FPHS & HHS. Very fond memories.
• Djwana Eldridge Butler, WB ’84, I remember this strange feeling attending a new school integration (HHS & FPHS) for the first time in 1982 after leaving Hebert High, an all African-American school.
• Marsha Davis Wall, FPHS ’72, Senior class would make the freshmen bow down to Egor, the Trojan mascot.
• Wendy Toups, FPHS, Smoking in the field while the principal watched us from the planetarium platform…BUSTED!
• Harley Rush, FPHS ’69, Mr. Stansbury, History teacher. Best teacher I ever had.
• Erica Cooper Patrick, CHS ’87, Going to the state football championship in 1984 as French High School and marching on the big star in Dallas stadium. Was part of the first graduating class of Central High Jaguars.
• DeWayne Norris, SPHS, Mr. Nevilles was our driver’s ed instructor. To pass the class, he had us drive over the Rainbow Bridge. You refused, you failed. Simple as that.
• Chris Sawyer, BHS ’67, We learned the formula for LSD in chemistry class. I seem to remember an explosion too!
• Margie Martin, HHS ’62, We had the best football team in town. Coach Ozan was one of the best.
• Stephen Blanton SPHS ’71, My favorite back-to-school activity was checking to see how much the girls had grown over the summer.
• Laura Souders, FPHS, I remember working on the school newspaper (Populi Verbum club activities editor), Journalism classes (Ms. Minerva), Trojan Marching Band (Mr. Janacek), volleyball, and hanging out with my best friends, Ann and Becky.
• Janie Sherman Alley, KHS ’80, Won State Football Championship that school year.
• Eugene Cambre, FHS ’71, The distant sound of the band practicing for a cool, fall evening of football.
• Jennifer Morris Sarah, BCH, Loved Mrs. Rao’s fall pilgrimage, dressed in character for the Canterbury Tales.
• Danny Richard, Touch Christian Academy ’87, Being the one school that almost no one knew about.
• Leah Scott, WBHS, Always loved being in band and marching into the stadium home games! We marched 308 members back then and completely took over the track.
• Elaine Kandeler, SPHS ’68, Mr. Lively made you stick your gum on your nose and stand in the trash can if you got caught chewing it in his typing class.
• Bridget Teare, KHS, I remember the closeness that the whole school shared with each other!!! I had (3) siblings graduate from St. Anthony and (1) from Central Catholic, and (1) from Kelly. Also my mother and all her siblings went to St. Anthony. A wonderful Catholic High School where friends were made for a lifetime. I loved the Bulldogs.
• Melissa Ellis Frederick, SPHS ’77, Freshman homerooms were in the west wing of MacArthur Jr. High and really hard to make it on time to class in the main building SPHS 3rd floor on time…long way in a short time.
• John C. Byerly, SPHS ’72, I don’t think they allow teachers the freedoms they once had. I’m not so sure that that is such a good thing!
As so many have proved here, our memories of school are among those favorite reruns we love to watch time and time again.

Winston Hamby

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I was seven years old in 1942, and living in Beaumont. That same year, my dad celebrated his 35th birthday. This made a significant impression on me. I thought Dad was ancient. There was just no way could one of my parents be that old.

Fast-forward to August 2, 2011. The headlines could have read, “BEAUMONT TEEN TURNS 40.” My daughter, Deana Hamby Nall celebrated her 40th birthday. Again this made a significant impression on me. How was it that my daughter could seem so young at age 40 when my dad was so ancient at 35? After all, I am only 75 and my wife, Mardell is only 66. What has changed since 1942? Don’t answer that.

Deana, who lived much of her younger years in Beaumont, agreed to sit down with me and answer a few questions:

Winston: What are your impressions of reaching 40 years of age?

Deana: When I was approaching 30, I wrote a column for the Beaumont Enterprise in which I reflected on the sadness that I was “too young not to be young anymore.” I don’t feel that way now. I still feel young and don’t think I’m too old to feel that way.

W: What is your first memory?

D: Lying in my crib on my tummy (no one knew that was dangerous back then) and Mom rubbing my back. I had to have been pretty small because I remember noticing her hand and my back were about the same size.

W: What did you think that day we visited Bottomless Lakes State Park in New Mexico? You were only five years old.

D: Like I told you and Mom that day when you asked me what I thought of that beautiful lake of green water, “God sure did do a good job.”

W: I have always wondered when it was that you became aware of boys being more than just boys?

D: Earlier than you probably think. By 4th grade, I wanted to marry Bo and Luke and Duke plus all the teenage boys at church. Boys my age, however, were just boys.

W: What have been your impressions of God and the spiritual warfare in your life?

D: I grew up with a very black and white faith and had answers to all the question. Now, the black and white have swirled into gray and I have more questions than answers. Which I think is healthier than the former.

W: How many times did you see “Back To The Future?”

D: Eleven times before it came out on video.

W: Are there any books you have read more than twice?

D: I’ve read To Kill a Mocking Bird many times since I first read it for English class at Beaumont Christian High School. I’ve read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series more times than I can count. I still read those books.

W: Since I was a youth minister during all those years of your growing up, how did you cope with being a PK (preacher’s kid)?

D: That was truly a blessing in many ways. It really only bothered me when the “glass house” syndrome would surface—when I couldn’t do something that was really OK, but it might reflect poorly on our family because of certain people’s beliefs. Like the way I had to beg and plead to go to West Brook High School’s homecoming dance with my then-boyfriend because our church frowned upon dancing. You didn’t think dancing would send me to hell, but you did worry about church people finding out and how they would react. You finally let me go when I promised not to dance. My boyfriend and I did dance to Bon Jovi’s “Never Say Goodbye” that night, and it’s still one of my sweetest high school memories. Sorry about that.

W: Out of all the houses where we lived in New Mexico and Texas, which one was your favorite?

D: Probably our Beaumont house (4060 Redwood Drive). We moved in when I was an awkward 11-year-old and I moved out after I got married at 22. I really feel like I grew up in that house.

W: We lived in five different towns during my 28 years of church ministry. Which of those towns was your favorite?

D: We didn’t move to Beaumont until I was 11, but it was home to me long before then. It was a great town for spending summers with my grandparents, who lived there. I remember my Meemaw taking me shopping at Gemco, Parkdale Mall and swimming at the tiny wading pool at Combest Park in Minglewood. And Beaumont was a fun place to be a teenager in the ‘80s. I used up untold gallons of gas by driving up and down Dowlen Road on weekend nights. I wouldn’t have wanted to come of age anywhere else.

W: Out of all those you dated in Beaumont and surrounding area, you ended up marrying Chad Nall. Comment on that decision.

D: Growing up in Beaumont, I never dreamed I would marry a guy from Alaska. I married very, very well. Chad’s the man of my dreams.

W: Give some thoughts regarding your two beautiful girls (our granddaughters).

D: They are Julia and Jenna, and Julia is now the age I was when we moved to Beaumont. It’s interesting to see them growing into the women they will someday be. Ten years ago, we had a high school reunion at Rogers Park on Dowlen Road. Julia was two. She kept getting away from me and I had to chase her down in the parking lot—the same parking lot where I used to hang out as a too-cool teenager on weekend nights. That was a surreal thought. I like taking them back to Beaumont and showing them where I lived and where I used to hang out, because Beaumont is such a big part of who I am now.

W: Describe your professional interests.

D: I’m a freelance writer for a number of publications. I work from home, which is a pretty sweet deal. I first became interested in writing as a kid, and I took a journalism class for teens at Lamar one summer. I don’t remember the teacher’s name, but he was the journalism teacher at French High School at the time. It was only a one-week class, but helped me realize writing might be for me. We toured the Beaumont Enterprise that week and I thought, “Wow, I want to be a part of this!” There’s just so much power in writing—so many ways to bring good into the world. Then I was on Belinda Graves’ yearbook staff my senior year at Beaumont Christian High School. That was also a great experience, and four years later, I was editor of my college yearbook at Abilene Christian University.

W: You mentioned publications. Which ones have you written for?

D: SUCCESS magazine, Success for Women, Success from Home, Your Business at Home, Empowering Women, ACU Today (alumni magazine for Abilene Christian University), Arkansas and Arkansas Life (lifestyle magazine based in Little Rock), and the Baytown Sun (newspaper in Baytown, where we lived for six years before moving to Arkansas).

W: What are your further educational pursuits, if any?

D: I’m working on my master’s in professional writing at University of Arkansas at Little Rock right now. I just wanted to learn more and be back in the academic environment. I’ve thought about a Ph.D. but we have two girls to get through college.

W: Deana, thank you for sharing your life and congratulations upon reaching 40 years of age. You are a wonderful daughter and Mom and I are so proud of you.

Note: Deana has a professional web site, and you will enjoy reading her blog at

Isn’t it ironic how little girls grow up to be 40 years old?

Winston Hamby