After the Alumni Banquet I received this great story from Bill and Earline Kennedy. If you have a memory from your class or family, please send it to me! Thanks. I also posted just a few photos at the end.
At Saturday night’s alumni meeting it was interesting that as usual the Class of 1947 had either the most attendance or near to it. We had nine members present and if we counted right the nearest was the Class of 1958 with seven present.
Our graduating class had 26 graduates, more than half had begun First Grade together with Mary Wilson as our teacher. We barely got through 8th Grade. That year we had 14 different teachers due to World War II and subsequently we were ill prepared to pass the examination necessary to enter High School. One of those teachers, Mr. Laughlin, taught us nothing but ”cotton problems” during English, History, Government, Science and Math. The problems were applicable to Math, but nothing else. As close as 8 weeks before the test we were in danger of the failure of most of the class. Fortunately, Mr. Dayle Sawyers arrived at Caddo and took over the class. He organized study sessions and taught us how to succeed and except for a very few we passed into high school.
When we began 9th Grade the principal asked for volunteer boys to drive the school buses. At that time during the war there were few able bodied men in town and for some reason women were not considered. He got about 8 volunteers who had driving experience and we were taken to Durant where the Oklahoma Highway Patrol administered a special test and issued those who passed a provisional school bus driving license. Three boys in our class were chosen and passed the examination. At the time there were 5 school bus routes serving our Grammar, Junior High and High School. It was a good job, paying $1.50 per day for the two trips. During Shop Class those of us who were drivers spent an hour each day working on our bus, cleaning it, and performing maintenance under the supervision of Mr. George Jones, the only adult driver. There were few replacement parts because of the needs of our armed forces so we kept the buses running any way we could. The oldest and biggest bus was a 1936 Ford we called “Big Mama” and Bud Carlton (Class of 1946) drove it until he graduated and then Doyle Glendenning of our class took it over.
In May, 1947 when we graduated we wanted to take a real Senior Trip. Previous classes had been prevented from making such a trip due to the war and the conditions of our old buses, the newest of which was a 1940 model Ford. Now, the school had recently purchased a brand new 1947 Ford bus. We worked and saved money for the gas and oil and gained permission to take the bus from Superintendent J. N. Broadhead. Mr. George Jones went along to supervise the driving and Ms. Zuilika Pace (our class sponsor) went along as chaperone and we paid their way from the money we had saved. It was the trip of a lifetime. We went to Carlsbad, NM, spent 2 nights in a hotel and toured the Caverns. We went on to El Paso, TX, walked across the border and rented taxicabs and hired a guide and toured Cuidad Juarez. We still laugh about the wild taxi rides. We got to see a church that had been under construction for almost 100 years. We were in El Paso for 2 nights and then drove back home. T. J. Witherspoon, Doyle Glendenning, Mr. Jones and I all took turns with the driving. One of my turns was the last 100 miles or so and I was so proud to drive that bus up in front of the high school safely.
We have stayed in touch for all these years. We had our 50th reunion during the Heritage Day activities in 1997 and 19 of the graduating members were present together with 5 other students who had, for one reason or another, not been able to graduate with us. We are a close knit group. Several of our members still live in and around Caddo. Our ties are in Caddo and will always be.
Sincerely, Billy Mac Kennedy
Class of 1947: Lee Roy Ammons, Elvis Argo, Roy Lake Barber, W. J. Boydstun, Ida Lee Draper, Almazene Dufur, Sue Freeny, Doyle Glendenning, Mary Sue Harris, Nina Floyd Joines, Charles Jones, Billy Mac Kennedy, Wanda Kitchens, Paul Lahman, Eugene Lane, Mozelle McGee,
A. J. Pecinovsky, Kenneth Peters, Lois Anne Petty, Bob Phipps, Wayne Prentice, Charleen Robinson, Christine Robinson, Harold Slack,
Francile Taylor, T. J. Witherspoon.
Former Members not graduating in 1947: Billy Eslick, Thomas A. Evans, Dorothy Freeny, Hiram Lee Harbin, Mack Henry, Sam Jones, Clara Pope, Nina Faye Smith, Eldridge Freeman, Billy Ray Covey, Lindy Dufur, Albert Linewebber, Ray Hogan. There are probably a few others.